The average life span of dogs is increasing, just as the average human life span is. A well-cared-for dachshund usually lives to be 14 — 15 years old; many live longer. One of the first signs of aging is slowing down. It will take your dog longer to get up and get started from a lying position, longer to climb stairs (one at a time, rather than two). Some of these changes are natural, but it is important not to overlook changes that may be symptoms of a condition needing treatment.
10 Tips for Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy
- Establish a relationship with the best veterinarian you can afford. Make an appointment with the vet every 6 months. Your vet should be someone you trust and feel comfortable talking with him.
- Inform yourself about common conditions for older dogs and possible therapies available. Be alert to symptoms. When symptoms warrant, bring them to your vet’s attention promptly. Discuss treatment options.
- Feed your senior dachshund the best food you can afford; consider preparing a homemade diet that can be specially adapted to your senior’s specific needs. Provide two small meals daily rather than one large one.
- Don’t overfeed. Obesity creates health problems and shortens life.
- Consider dietary supplements such as glucosamine/chondroitin for arthritis.
- Provide adequate exercise, and adjust to changing abilities.
- Dental health in seniors is very important. Brush teeth daily and cleaned them professionally whenever your vet advises.
- Vaccinate only once every 3 years, as currently advised by the major veterinary colleges.
- Control fleas and ticks. Keep your dog and his environment scrupulously clean.
- Make your senior as much a part of your life as possible, and do all you can to keep them interested, active, happy, and above all comfortable.