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Old Dog Health Q&A: Health and Dietary Concerns in Aging Dogs

WebMD veterinary expert answers common questions pet owners have about their aging dogs.



Q: Are there any new drugs or therapies that can help an old dog get back some of his spark?

A: Some of the arthritis drugs are incredible. They can take a pet that’s really suffering -- that’s not playing, is depressed, inactive, getting overweight -- and you put him on these drugs and it’s like you loaded new batteries in him.

There are other things, too. There’s a new FDA-approved drug for weight loss if you’ve done everything and you still can’t get the weight off your dog.

Older dogs get more separation anxiety. There’s a wonderful drug out called Reconcile. It’s basically Prozac in a chewable form. We have a dog that had terrible separation anxiety that we put on that and, with behavior modification, our dog is 98% better.


Q: Any supplements or vitamins I should add to my pet’s diet as he ages?

A: Sometimes there are supplements a specific pet might need, but again it’s not one size fits all. Talk to your veterinarian. Maybe your dog needs a fatty acid coat supplement or would benefit from additional calcium. But inappropriate or too many supplements can also cause problems, so it's always important to talk to your vet before starting any type of program. Personally, I'm excited about potentiated antioxidant cocktails. Now we know about free radical damage to the brain and how this may lead to cognitive disorder syndrome, like early Alzheimer's. And we know that it's not just some dogs, but most dogs that will suffer from that. If we can prevent it by starting young and middle aged dogs on these antioxidant cocktails, it may have unbelievable results.

Reviewed on June 19, 2009
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