Senior Care

Aging dachshunds go through many changes, and these changes can occur quite rapidly. Reduced mobility from arthritis, graying hair and drying skin, decreased vision and hearing, increased sensitivity to things and noises that didn't bother the dachsie before, and increased barking or other vocalizing (sometimes due to hearing loss) are all common changes that can occur as your dachsie enters his senior years. Your senior dachshund may need encouragement to exercise and extra efforts to help him stay slim. Excess weight can seriously aggravate musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis.

Owners should not, however, take any symptom for granted as just another sign of age. All unusual symptoms should be checked out by your veterinarian and treated. Your dachshund has been a wonderful companion for a long time. You owe it to him to keep him warm, loved, and comfortable during those last precious years.

Once your dachshund reaches eight or nine years of age, you should consider scheduling semiannual visits to your veterinarian. An annual veterinary exam for your dachshund is the human equivalent of a complete physical once every seven years. There aren't too many people in their early seventies who would wait until they turned eighty for their next appointment — don't make your aging dachshund wait, either!

Of course, there is always that difficult decision as to when to let your dachshund go. No one can tell you when to make the decision to euthanize your beloved friend. Your veterinarian can advise you as to what she feels is best for the dog, but ultimately it's up to you. Most people are reasonable about limiting their dog's suffering. When there are no more options left, and the dog is in pain, it's time to let go. Your dachshund would be the first in line to thank you.

Before you make a final decision, talk to your veterinarian and make sure you completely understand your options and all possible outcomes. Weigh these against the age of your dachsie and how many more years you could reasonably expect if he were able to recover from the surgery or medical treatment. Listen to your dachshund, too. Sometimes the answer is in front of you. Whatever your decision, the dachshund will always love you.

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