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Caring for Your Senior Beagle

The senior years of your Beagle’s life are ones you treasure. Partially, because you know that your time together is drawing to a close, but also because you know each other well at this point. You’ve been through the ups and downs of puppyhood, your dog’s life and your own. Your old friends by this point. Keeping your senior dog healthy and happy becomes a key aspect of extending your time together.

Weight

One of the best things you can do for your senior Beagle is ensure that he is at a healthy weight. Being obese puts extra strain on his joints and can exasperate arthritis and other joint conditions. It’s also not good for other aspects of your pet’s health. It puts stress on the vascular system and can cause hypertension. It can also cause problems for cardiac and respiratory systems. Obese dogs are also less likely to exercise. Exercising is one of the best ways to keep the body healthy. It will help keep the joints moving and delay further degeneration. It’s also good for the heart, lungs, and the body in general.

Annual Veterinary Checks

The annual veterinary check becomes increasingly important as your Beagle ages. Your vet will likely want to run blood work which is a good idea. It can show potential problem areas when it is still early enough to effectively treat the issue. Checking out small changes can be very important. Watch for changes in behavior and appetite. Little things can be hints that a problem is starting. Treating early is not only cheaper but it is much more effective.

Maintenance

Keep nails trimmed and short to give your dog a better grip on floors. Some dogs develop runnier eyes and waxier ears as they age and you may need to clean these areas more frequently than you did when your Beagle was younger.

Many people overlook keeping their dog’s teeth clean as being important. Buildup of tartar and gingivitis happens over a period of years. Eventually, it can lead to oral infections. Dentals problems can cause heart problems. Although the exact mechanism that connects them is not clearly understood, there is a definite correlation between cardiac issues and poor dental conditions. Having a proper dental cleaning done by your veterinarian can get rid of years of built up plaque and tartar. Once his teeth are clean, you can keep them that way using dental rinses, hard treats that are designed to remove plaque, and chew toys. Proponents of raw food diets swear by raw bones as a way to keep teeth clean and healthy.

Diet

Some older dogs benefit from a low fat diet designed for seniors. These diets can be lower in proteins and easier on some body systems than a normal adult diet however not all dogs need or benefit from these changes. If your senior dog is maintaining a healthy weight and your vet sees no reason to change him to a senior diet or one that is medicated for any condition he may have developed, than there is no need to change his diet. Many dogs stay on an adult diet throughout their lives.

Most of all though, take the time to enjoy these final years in your Beagle’s life. Keep a close eye on his weight and keep him comfortable. Follow up on any changes in behavior or health with your veterinarian. Checking things out quickly and treating early can prolong quality of life and lifespan. Although time begins to run short, there is no reason it cannot be the best time of your lives together.

Photo credit: Andrew Lynch/Wikimedia

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Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).