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How to Care for Elderly Pugs

Your Pug is such an important part of the family. As you enjoy all the love, affection and happiness your Pug has given you through the years it is hard to realize that you are seeing your Pug reaching his golden years. The time has come for you to take special care of your Pug’s specific health issues.

Health Exam – Take your Pug to your veterinarian for screening every year from age seven for aging signs even if your pug does not act like a senior. It has been determined that aging begins at this age but at age twelve your Pugs actually enters his senior years. These annual screenings will make you aware of any specific health issues before they advance too far, prevention is better than treatment. Your veterinarian should check for anemia, stiffness, heart murmurs, organ function, arthritis and nerve damage. Your Pug’s diet should be adjusted to prevent him from gaining weight because he is less active at this age. Your Pug’s eyes need to also be checked because they have eye problems such as keratoconjunctivitis sicca, along with pigmentary keratitis and progressive retinal atrophy that cause blindness.

Exercise – Physical and mental stimulation will help make your Pug feel active and young. To exercise your Pug indoors you could purchase treat toys that dispense his meals in less quantity so he plays with the toy and his mental state will be kept sharp. If your Pug is on the heavy side he will be able to lose weight. Another good exercise is to have your Pug slowly go up and down stairs in your home, which keeps his muscles loose and his joints moving. Ramps are another choice if stairs are not available. Outdoor exercise is good so your Pug can be out in the air taking short walks so your Pug will not get worn out especially if he is having any medical problem. Ask your veterinarian for advice on a good distance for him to walk that would be beneficial for your Pug. A great exercise that would not hurt the joints and help the muscles is swimming. If your Pug has any injury this is also a great therapy routine.

What to Feed your Pug – To prevent obesity in your Pug which is a big problem in seniors your Pug needs a high fiber diet to improve gastrointestinal health and food that is low in calories. Your Pug’s energy becomes less making it easier for him to carry excessive weight. There are formulas that dog food companies offer for senior dogs labeled for you to make your choice easier, such as age appropriate, multi-stage, and seniors because they are lower in calories and have all the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients that will insure your Pug the best food for his complete health. Senior Pug’s diets should have high levels of antioxidant compounds such as vitamin E and beta carotene which eliminate free radical particles that could cause signs of aging and damage body tissues. Snacks are also available that are a healthy choice that are low in sodium and low in fat. Milk biscuits and dog bones are good but you could include vegetables and fruit like carrots and apple slices which is a very healthy choice and your Pug will really enjoy. Senior Pugs also need a lot of water because your Pug’s body’s ability to maintain water is decreased.

Helping your Pug get through his senior years as easy and enjoyable as possible is a very simple task to accomplish. All he needs is your love and devotion.

Photo credit: zoomar/Flickr