A Golden-Age Health Exam
Even if your Lab is still frisky as a pup, a geriatric screening exam, starting at age seven, establishes a basis for comparison as he grows older. The typical geriatric exam includes bloodwork or other diagnostic tests to determine the status of your Lab's organ function and body chemistry, as well as a physical exam to check dental health and skin condition. Because dogs age at a more rapid pace than humans — the equivalent of five to seven years for every chronological year that passes — changes can occur quickly. For that reason, if your Lab does develop a health problem, it's a good idea to schedule checkups every six months instead of every year.
An eleven-year-old chocolate female Lab enjoys being outside.
At some point, your Lab may show behavioral changes related to aging, such as disorientation or a different sleep pattern. Don't assume that nothing can be done. Your veterinarian may recommend lifestyle changes that can help — a change in diet, an increase in exercise — or prescribe medication that can improve the situation. Simply reducing stress by providing a stable routine is also beneficial.