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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ASK THE VET: Helping Your Senior Dog

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My Senior Dog, Xena

Dear Dr. Jacki:  

I have two older dogs that are both beginning to show signs of age. One is having occasional nausea, even though the majority of her days are spent in good quality. 

The other  has a slight difficulty getting into the car now. I read somewhere that I shouldn't simply lift him into the car, as it makes the dog feel incapable and less confident. The article indicated that I should assist him, rather than lifting him completely. What are your thoughts on this? He is able to do it on his own sometimes, but often I have to assist when he becomes frustrated. Is that okay?

Thanks, Worried Reader
Dear Worried Reader:

If occasional vomiting means once every few days then that could be fixed with a few things.  Notice if your dog vomits before or after a meal.  If before a meal, try offering a snack in between meals (all dogs should be fed at least twice a day) or try offering the meal a little sooner in the day.  Sometimes an empty stomach can cause nausea.  

You may be able to offer an acid reducer like Pepcid.  You would have to call your vet to get the appropriate dose as it is based on weight.  Small dogs usually get ¼ tab, medium sized dogs get ½ tab and large dogs can get 1 whole tab.  

If the vomiting is daily, then you need to take your dog to the vet.  Bloodwork should be run in order to rule out any serious issues that could be causing the nausea. 

As for your other dog….I don't think they care at all if they are assisted or lifted into the car.  Dogs don't operate like people do so, it isn't important if they do it on their own. 

If you have to lift your animal into the car, this means that he has pain (probably due to arthritis) and he needs to be on medication.  It is very painful to have arthritis and this is why he does not want to jump up in the car. Again…see your vet about this.  He can prescribe medications that will help with the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.  Good questions!!

Best of luck,

Dr. Jacki

Dr. Jacki, D.V.M.
ASK THE VET on All Things Dog Blog

For more information on Dr. Jacki and her practice, you may find her at  4 Paws House Calls. A personal appointment will likely provide more specific information on your dog and your specific questions.

Dr. Jacki's opinion or advice does not replace an actual exam with a veterinarian. 

 Would a car ramp help? 

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