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Older Dog FAQ Part 6

Q & A: Part 6

Do older dogs lose their teeth as do humans? Yes, but for slightly different reasons. Excessive tartar builds up. This creates a bacterial climate whereby destructive agents invade the gum and bone surfaces, causing damage or destruction to both, and eventual tooth loss in some dogs. Machines such as the cavitron have been used with some success in removing excess tartar from a dog's teeth. Once the dog has bitten down on a piece of food, the outer surfaces are not utilized very much so most of the tartar forms on the outside of the teeth. The inner surfaces are being stimulated more by the action of chewing and therefore remain cleaner. Dogs' teeth can also be kept healthy by natural means.

Why do dogs live such a relatively short life span? Every type of animal has a predetermined life span and we cannot deduce any logical or medical rationale for the relatively short life span of dogs. However, all dogs will reach their maximum longevity if kept in good health. A proper diet will increase your dog's lifespan.

Why do small dogs live relatively longer than the larger breeds? It probably has something to do with the metabolic rate. The greatest difference occurs within the very large breeds, such as the St. Bernards, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds. Their average life span might be eight or nine years, as opposed to a tiny Toy Poodle or Chihuahua that can seemingly live on forever, becoming senior citizens of eighteen or nineteen years old.

What is the most humane way of ending a dog's life? Euthanasia, as performed by an overdose of anesthesia, is the most painless way of ending a dog's life. He simply goes to sleep, in a matter of seconds, and feels no pain or apprehension. Phenobarbital is the anesthesia used. Some facilities use suffocation, which means putting the dog in an evacuation chamber and extracting the air, a method most often employed where cost dictates mass disposal. This procedure, of course, is much less humane and to be avoided wherever possible. Carbon monoxide is also used, and could be considered a second alternative to the phenobarbital.

How often should the older dog be bathed? The older dog, as well as any age dog, should be bathed whenever he is dirty, and as often as he needs it, in a wild, natural, herbal shampoo especially for dogs.

Do older dogs need special vitamins? An older dog should be on a good multivitamin, mineral, trace mineral, intestinal flora, and enzyme preparation, because he does not absorb nutrients as well from the intestinal tract.

For more information on Care of the Older Dog and for your FREE Dog Health Report, click here!

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