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Antelope Valley Animal Hospital
1326 W. Avenue N
Palmdale, CA 93551
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Caring for Your Senior Dog

Caring for Your Senior DogAs your dog’s whiskers start to whiten and it moves more slowly, it can be tempting to try to ignore the fact that it is getting on in years. After all, nobody wants to see their best friend get old! However, aging happens to everyone, and you aren’t alone in wanting to make life the best it can be for your furry friend. Here at Antelope Valley, we are passionate about doing all we can to keep older dogs comfortable and happy.

As we said in our last blog, dogs are good at concealing health issues. As an owner, you need to watch carefully for signs of trouble and make adjustments to ensure that your dog gets the correct support. The good news is, you’re not alone! The team at Antelope Valley Animal Hospital is here to support you with regular wellness exams.

The Benefits of Regular Wellness Exams for Older Dogs

Wellness exams are important for humans and animals alike, no matter what their age may be. That being said, wellness exams become especially important as a dog gets older. Generally, a senior dog should be examined every six months. Each exam provides the following benefits:

  1. Identifying and controlling health risks unique to your dog
  2. Detecting any issues at their earliest points and providing the best treatment
  3. Enhancing your dog’s longevity and health

What Should You Expect?

When you visit us for a wellness exam, we will ask you several questions in order to get an accurate view of your dog’s recent health. These questions will often center around behaviors and any observed changes. This is why the observations you make between appointments are so important.

In addition to getting information from you, we will physically examine your dog for arthritis, signs of pain, and tumors. Ears, eyes, nose, and mouth will be scanned for irregularities, and we will listen to your dog’s heart and lungs. Depending on the situation, we may also include any of the following tests:

  • Urinanalysis
  • Blood pressure
  • Heartworm blood test
  • Thyroid function test
  • Fecal test
  • CBC (Complete Blood Count)
  • CHEM screening (kidney and liver function)

A majority of vets agree that these baseline tests should be performed at least once a year for dogs who are two to seven years old. The older the dog gets, the more often the tests should take place because they allow us to identify and monitor possible issues with your dog’s health.

Diet Changes You Can Make for Your Dog

Your dog’s dietary needs will change as it gets older, and you’ll want to consider food formulated just for senior dogs, provided in smaller, more frequent servings. This type of food generally has less fat but plenty of protein to give your dog a healthy source of energy. But how do you know when to change foods? Well, it depends on the size of your dog. The larger the dog, the sooner it will need senior-friendly food.

  • Small (less than 20 pounds) — seven years
  • Medium (21 to 50 pounds) — seven years
  • Large (51-90 pounds) — six years
  • Giant (91 pounds or more) — five years


Turn to Antelope Valley Animal Hospital

The team at Antelope Valley is proud to offer world-class expertise to dog owners throughout Palmdale. Make an appointment today!

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Monday - Friday
8am - 12pm & 3pm - 6pm
Saturday - 8am - 12pm 


Every Wednesday
No Appointment Necessary


Available During Office Hours
OR Antelope Valley Animal ER & Critical Care
at 661-729-1500 


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