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Older dogs 'need regular blood tests'
A vet has reminded pet owners that older dogs need regular check-ups.Older dogs need regular blood tests at the vets, an expert has advised.
Vet Stephanie Sosniak of the Northwoods Animal Hospital in Minocqua, Wisconsin, said this is essential to check their organs are still working well.
Speaking to Jackson Newspapers, she recommended taking older dogs to the vet every six months for a check-up when they reach their senior years, which usually happens after the age of about seven.
As well as making twice-yearly trips to the vet, Ms Sosniak reminded owners it is more important than ever for people to look out for changes in their pet's behaviour as it gets older.
This could include differences in the amount of dog food it eats, as well as how much water it drinks and how active it is during the day. Any changes could mean something is wrong and it is better to be safe than sorry.
She noted catching any variations early can make a big difference to the health of a pet, especially as they get older.
While blood tests may be important for checking organ function, the expert also discussed the oral health of dogs. Ms Sosniak stated periodontal disease can be a particular problem among older animals and this is not always noticeable.
"Many pet owners are unaware that their dog has a tooth problem," she noted, adding vets can offer advice on how to properly care for dog's teeth.
One way to ensure they stay in good condition could be to use special dog toothpaste, as this fights the build-up of plaque and helps to control tartar. Similarly, dental dog treats are designed to freshen breath as well as tackle bacteria in the mouth.
Although older pets will not have as much energy as they did when they were young, they still need exercise to stay fit and healthy, while it is important they do not become overweight, Ms Sosniak added.
Chief executive at the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association Michael Bellingham explained obesity can lead to heart disease, diabetes and arthritis among pets and feeding them human takeaways can be a particular cause of the problem.
Posted by James Fullerton
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