General Care Of The Old

The old dog is slowing down, so do everything in moderation.

Exercise

Old dogs tire very easily. Adjust the walks and exercise periods to the old dog's pace. Don't overdo them—strenuous play or long hikes may overtax the old dog's heart. If lie doesn't want to walk or exercise, don't force him. And if he insists on sleeping, let him; he's earned his place in the sun.

Feeding

The caloric requirements of the old dog are considerably less than those of the younger dog. This reduction is due to the lessening of activity and a lowering of the metabolic rate. Avoid overfeeding. Obesity in the old dog is just as dangerous as it is in aging human beings. You will definitely shorten your dog's life if you allow him to put on excess weight. If your dog tends toward overweight, cut down on his daily intake of food, but not the quality. The old dog still needs a complete and balanced diet, albeit in reduced quantities.

You can go right on feeding the old dog a high-quality prepared dog meal and meat ration. The old dog still needs moderate amounts of protein and carbohydrates. But his fat intake should be kept to a low level, about 4 or 5 percent of the total daily ration. He'll need vitamins and minerals, too. If the veterinarian puts the old dog on a special diet, stick to this diet. The old dog's life may depend on it. The best feeding policy is to divide the total daily ration into two parts and feed one in the morning and one at night. This will keep him more contented.

Grooming

The old dog will probably need more attention as far as grooming is concerned. Brush him daily, oil his skin and keep him free from fleas, lice and ticks. Remember, he can't stand much stress and an infestation of parasites will put him under stress. Avoid bathing him, except when absolutely necessary and then only on very warm days. If he has a doggy odor, use one of the spray cleaners and deodorizers on him. Watch his nails and trim them when they get too long. If his eyes weep, wash them with boric-acid solution and soothe them with an eye ointment.

Teeth

Tooth decay can cause misery for the old dog. Have the veterinarian remove any decayed teeth. Avoid giving the old dog big bones or hard toys that may break his teeth. Accumulations of tartar should be removed from the teeth. This is best done by the veterinarian.

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