Older dogs often exude a type of gentle dignity and acceptance that few heartfelt canine lovers can resist, especially when spotted on the "ready for adoption" list at your local pound. When making the decision to adopt an older canine, however, there are some important points that the adoptive pet parent will want to go over with a caring veterinary health provider at the time of adoption.
Transitioning to new surroundings
Elderly dogs that have been in the somewhat rowdy confines of the local pound are likely to be blissfully happy to be taken into your home. However, pet parents should expect the animal to experience at least a few instances of anxiety, especially if there are other animals or small children in the home.
In most instances, your new pet will just need a day or two of quiet time while slowly becoming accustomed to the sounds and smells of their new home. If your pet does continue to exhibit anxiety beyond what you might expect, consider asking the veterinarian to prescribe something to help them feel calmer.
Handling possible incontinence
Older dogs often suffer from a bit of incontinence, especially in situations where they are learning new routines, when excited by new surroundings and playmates, or at night. If the incontinence occurs infrequently, pet parents may be able to use special pads, diapers, and belly bands to help resolve the issue.
If the incontinence is ongoing, the elderly dog may be suffering from an illness or disease that causes them to be unable to control their bladder. Your veterinarian will likely want to examine the animal to rule out potential urinary tract infections, diabetes, or kidney issues. Some older dogs may even become incontinent if they have arthritis or suffer from dementia, which the vet will also check for during the initial examination.
Knowing what to do when the end nears
Another topic that you will want to discuss with a veterinary health provider when adopting an elderly dog is what to do when the end nears. Even though you will hopefully enjoy many years with your new friend, it is still important to have a plan in place to guide you when your dog will need you to be strong.
Taking time to have a discussion with a caring veterinarian about euthanasia and the signs a dog may exhibit near the end of their life is an important responsibility when adopting an elderly dog into your home and heart.
For more information, contact a clinic such as Wolfchase Animal Hospital.