Senior dogs - Be pro-active if you want your
seniors to live longer
written: 26 Dec, 2002
02 September, 2010
Senior dogs are usually those over 5 years old in large
and giant breeds and 7 years old in small or toy breeds.
One dog year is said to be equivalent to 7 human years.
In Singapore, the bigger breeds live up to around 10 -
12 years old while the smaller breeds can live up to 15
- 20 years old if healthy. If you want your dog to
live longer lives, here are the following tips:
1. Observations. Observe your dog's
behaviour or physical changes and write them down in a
note book before you visit your veterinarian. Be alert
to changes in your dog's energy level, eating and
drinking habits, stamina and interest in favourite toys,
activities or people.
Is your dog always thirsty, hungry, losing interest in
eating, losing weight, gaining weight or urinating too
much and too frequently? Is the heat period regular? Any
big lumps in the breast or skin? Increased urination and
drinking are signs of kidney trouble. Do not delay
consulting your vet. See case study at:
Update: A Chihuahua has
2. Feeding. Consult your veterinarian to
consider a change to a senior diet after the
veterinarian has ruled out any acute or chronic health
problems. The kidneys are less efficient at getting rid
of the excess amino acids which are converted to ammonia
products as a byproduct. This collect in the blood
stream and can cause kidney failure. Senior diets have
less total protein than the standard adult or
"maintenance" foods but they offer more easily
Some dogs may need special or prescription diets if they
suffer from diseases of the teeth and gums, kidneys,
heart, liver damage, pancreatic insufficiency, joints,
constipation and the endocrine system.
Older dogs with kidney trouble need less phosphorus in
their diets while those with heart diseases need less
sodium which can worsen hypertension associated with
obesity and chronic renal disease.
3. Vaccinations. Maintain his annual
4. Decayed teeth. Bad breadth. Usually the
teeth are decayed and full of tartar. The dog eats less
because of tooth ache. Most Singaporean owners do not
have their dog's teeth examined regularly by their vet
and brush the teeth. They live with the bad breadth. The
bacteria in the mouth multiply and goes to infect the
heart valves. Get regular dental check ups and adjust
your dog's diet if necessary.
5. Tests. If your veterinarian recommends blood
and urine tests, do them as they help identify diseases
like diabetes in their earliest and most treatable
stages. For example, in anaemia, the red blood
cell count is below normal. Blood tests may also
reveal low haemoglobin level. Your dog transports oxygen
via haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that binds
to oxygen molecules and moves them from the lungs to
muscles and other tissues. Blood tests with low
haemoglobin levels will need further advices from your
veterinarian as regards abnormal blood results. See one
Urine tests for 2 dogs -
shivering and leaking urine
- Part 1
7. Exercise. Exercise your dog moderately
to help control weight and keep muscles toned.
8. Reproductive organs. If your dog had not
been neutered or spayed, ask your veterinarian to do the
surgery to avoid tumours of the mammary gland or
diseases of the prostate.
9. Regular weight and health checks. Make
appointment with your vet for a regular health
examination which is more important as your dog
10. Minimise stress. Maintain a familiar
routine and environment if possible. Heat stroke
can occur in your dog, if it is unfit, obese and thick
coated dogs taken for long walks under the sun in
Singapore to visit the veterinarian. Their rectal
temperatures are above 39 degrees Celsius. Some of them
die from heat stroke.
11. Nutritional supplements. Vitamins A, C
and E, beta-carotene, anti-oxidants like omega-3 fatty
acids in fish oil, zinc and selenium which in limited
doses, make vitamins # and A more effective. Vitamins E
and C are antioxidants which fight cell-damaging free
radicals. Many commercial foods add omega 3 fatty acids,
but some owners use fish oils to help alleviate the dry
skin and dull coat in older dogs. Glucosamine and
chondroitin for joint health are generally in low levels
in commercial feeds and you may wish to include them
although it is hard to know the right doses to be
The above tips may let your dog live longer and you have
fewer veterinary expenses.
Senior kois - Be pro-active if you want your
seniors to live longer
02 September, 2010
On Sep 1, 2010, I visited a hobbyist's beautiful koi and
arowana set up to appreciate the beautiful champion kois
and to educate myself. They grow to a very large size of
over 1 metre. This length is seldom if ever seen by
Although I don't treat koi diseases, it is good to see
what the other industry is doing and get some ideas.
I share the following advices and experiences from my
client to koi lovers all over the world.
Stress of competition. A champion koi won top
awards in China. It attended 3 koi shows. Two weeks
after returning to Singapore, it died. No more sending
champion kois to China for competitions.
2. Food quality. A champion arowana died as he
was given live frogs or bait. The supplier was trusted
and reliable for many times but hi's water might have
affected the pH of he arowana tank. A separate tank with
poor quality show kois would get the live bait food
first, just in case.
3. Treatment for white spot by an expert. His
assistant must have given another dose of the medicine
into the water. All koi died.
4. Quarantine. All new arrivals will be
quarantined in a tank and get used to the noise and
5. Oxygen tank to supply oxygen to the koi tank
when needed. Close-circuit tv monitors the koi. Every
evening, the caregiver or a trusted worker will check
the water pH and do all the maintenance.