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Senior Dog Care Challenges

The notion of dog years stems from the common belief that one year for a dog equals seven years for a human. Although canine aging is more nuanced than a simple formula, any dog lover knows that dogs’ lives pass far too quickly.

Even so, America’s 70 million dogs, like their human companions, are living longer, on average, because of better medical care and nutrition. Caring for elderly dogs can be heart-wrenching. Many pet owners struggle to understand when to pursue aggressive care and when to stop and help a beloved pet pass on.

“Older patients are the biggest challenge veterinarians face,” says Dr. Alicia Karas, an assistant professor of veterinary medicine at Tufts University. She argues for a holistic approach to older dogs, saying that “too often we focus on the affected body part or the results of an X-ray, not how an animal walks into the exam room.”

Pain tops the list of common health concerns for older dogs, with causes ranging from the routine, such as arthritis, to the more serious, such as cancer. As in humans, pain management can be complicated by other conditions. A dog with weak kidneys, for instance, may not be able to take canine-specific pain medicine.

Read more here http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/02/25/515610795/when-you-love-an-old-dog-managing-care-can-be-a-challenge

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