Senior dogs are our special dogs. They don’t have the cuteness or flashiness of puppies, and they’re usually not the athletic partner that they were in their “prime.” Senior dogs are special because they’ve earned the right to be our true companions. We know them and they understand us intimately, which is why we owe it to them to provide them with the best quality of life and comfort in their golden years.

With improved diet and veterinary care, our dogs are now able to live longer than ever before. Older dogs, like people, now tend to live long enough to experience more age-related conditions and challenges and a new set of needs.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, depending on a dog’s breed or type, a dog who is 6-8 years of age can be considered a senior dog. Large and giant breeds mature late but have shorter life spans and age much more quickly than small or toy breeds.

Dogs can develop many of the same physical problems that humans experience as we age, such as metabolic or endocrine disease (kidney, liver, diabetes), heart disease, vision and hearing problems, joint problems and degenerative weakness.

In addition, though dogs (and people) can get cancer at any age, it becomes more prevalent in older dogs. Almost half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer. Here are some basic considerations when caring for older pets:

Dog days of winter

Here's advice from the American Kennel Club to help prepare your pet for the long, cold winter.

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