Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Annual vaccinations may not be recommended depending on the severity of your dog’s symptoms. It is best to check with the vet that is treating your dog currently to see what the recommendation is. Since your dog is older, it may be better to instead perform a titer test, which is a blood test that measures the amount of antibodies from previous vaccines still left in the blood. If the titer is still high enough, you may be able to skip annual vaccination and still have enough immunity for your dog to be protected.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Due to the natural physiological deterioration that occurs with age, experts estimate that the risk of anesthetic death increases as much as seven times for dogs older than 12 years of age. Oftentimes, older dogs have significant underlying diseases that complicate their ability to be anesthetized with a good outcome.
Age is not a disease, and your dog is never “too old” to receive the quality care he or she needs, even if it requires anesthesia and surgery.
Fatal complications from anaesthesia are very rare.

So 99.8% of pets, regardless of their age or health status, (i.e. even very old or unwell patients) survive anaesthesia. In summary, at Stem Cell Vet we always weigh up quality of life, relative benefit of treatment and tiny risk of anaesthetic, against doing nothing.

Splenomegaly in dogs can occur for multiple reasons, including: Infections, such as liver infections (also known as hepatitis), intestinal or stomach infections and bloodborne infections.
If your pet is in good health and likely to enjoy several more active years, our veterinarian may recommend surgery. That said, if your pet is approaching the end of life, struggling with pain, widespread cancer, declining health, or any other medical issues, the veterinarian may recommend putting your pet to sleep.
An upper age limit in outpatient anesthesia does not exist to date. However, functional rather than chronological age is crucial in patient selection.
Small dogs are considered senior citizens of the canine community when they reach 11-12 years of age. Their medium-sized friends become seniors at 10 years of age. Their larger-sized colleagues are seniors at 8 years of age. And, finally, their giant-breed counterparts are seniors at 7 years old.
Anesthetic risk increases with age, but underlying medical conditions can exacerbate this risk. Heart disease, diabetes, Cushing`s disease in dogs, thyroid disease, and other chronic issues can cause problems under anesthesia.
14 years old can generally be considered old for a dog. A small dog is considered old when they`re 11, a medium dog is considered old when they`re 10, and a large dog is considered old when they`re 8.
Injectable Sedation

An example is Dexdomitor and Torbugesic, which are used as a sedative and analgesic in dogs. They are used for minor procedures that do not require full general anesthesia, such as orthopedic radiographs and minor wound/laceration repairs.

Certain conditions such as infection, parasites, tumors, anemias, toxic states, storage diseases, heart failure, congenital heart disease, and metabolic disturbances may all cause an enlarged liver.
When a person has cirrhosis, the high pressure in the portal vein backs up into another organ called the spleen, which becomes enlarged and destroys an excessive number of platelets, the blood particles that help with blood clotting.
Dogs can live without a gallbladder but may require special care to support the digestive process. You will need to watch for complications, give your pet all required medications, check the incision, and feed them food that`s easy to digest.
Since dogs can get cancer at any age, even senior dogs can benefit from a spaying procedure. As long as a dog doesn`t have any health issues that would make it dangerous to use anesthesia or undergo a surgical procedure, no dog is too old to be spayed, says Chewy.
The cost to have a gallbladder obstruction removed depends on the specific case and the type of surgical procedure performed. However, dog owners could estimate the cost of gallbladder removal surgery to be about $3,000-$6,000. Discuss price with your local veterinary provider to obtain a more accurate estimated cost.
In addition to the elderly, people who have conditions such as heart disease (especially congestive heart failure), Parkinson`s disease, or Alzheimer`s disease, or who have had a stroke before are also more at risk. It`s important to tell the anesthesiologist if you have any of these conditions.
Neglecting annual dental cleaning could put your dog at risk of developing gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and in severe cases pain, tooth decay and tooth loss.
Older dogs tend to need more dental care than younger dogs, and the reason is simply that time, diet, and eating habits contribute to oral decay. So it`s always a good idea to have annual exams with your veterinarian if your dog is over seven years of age to make sure their teeth and gums are healthy.
Pit bulls live between 8 and 16 years on average.

Their life expectancy varies depending on the specific pit bull breed.

He may still enjoy a long walk, but he is not quite as zippy as he used to be. You might even notice that he sleeps more or takes a bit longer to rouse or respond to commands. Regular veterinary visits can help determine whether those changes are normal aging or signs of illness.
Male dogs that are not neutered can develop a prostate enlargement that can ultimately cause difficulty with urinations and bowel movements. They can also develop infections of the prostate. Other medical conditions that can occur are testicular cancer and tumors around the anal area that require surgery.
GDV study using Vets Now data reveals 80% survival rate in dogs who undergo surgery.
Just like senior citizens need more sleep, an older dog sleeps a lot when compared to their younger counterparts. On the higher end of the scale, a senior dog can sleep up to 18-20 hours a day, says Dr. Rossman. She estimates that the lower end is probably around 14-15 hours per day.
Take a new approach to exercise

“In fact,” she says, “I would encourage shorter, but more frequent, exercises over a long exercise duration for most senior dogs—for example, a 10-15-minute walk in the morning, a 10-minute walk in the afternoon, and a 20-30-minute walk in the evening.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. I have a 10 year old mutt who is hyper but doesn’t like hyper dogs. Getting another dog from a shelter soon any ideas on calm breeds?
ANSWER : A. If your dog is uncomfortable with other dogs (of any sort), it is important that you bring your current dog to the shelter so he can meet the dog you plan to adopt. You should check out your local shelter, and walk around looking at all of the dogs. Mixed breeds have mixed amounts of energy and it’s tough to recommend a breed. I suppose I would say calm breeds would be the Great Pyrenees, the Newfoundland, the Bernese Mountain dog CAN be a calm breed.. really with any breed you will have mixed litters. Many breeders breed specifically the “calm” Newfies, or the “hyper” Bernese. If you are going to adopt from a shelter however, it’s impossible to expect that level of breeding.

As I said, just be sure you bring your dog along so you can slowly introduce the dogs. If your dog is uncomfortable, immediately separate them, and try again in a couple of minutes. You don’t want to force them to get along, and you don’t want to move too quickly when introducing them.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. My 4 yr old male Catahoula Leopard Dog mix is a rescue. He’s become very possessive of me around larger dogs. How can I correct this behavior?
ANSWER : A. Sudden behavior changes can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue, so scheduling a checkup with your regular vet is always the first step. Once any health issues have been addressed, then you can address the behavioral ones. It is very common for dogs to become “possessive” of people or objects when around other dogs or people, and is called location guarding. Possession of objects or places can be a little easier to manage, however possession around other dogs can be treated as well. Working from a distance in a technique called BAT or Behavioral Adjustment Training may help. This technique involves your dog and another calm dog. Start off at a far distance and then move in until your dog becomes reactive or wary of the other dog. Move back a small amount and wait for your dog to become calm. If he shows calm behavior, reward with lots of praise, treats and love! If he becomes agitated or possessive, move back until he is calm, or stop the session completely and try again later. While this may take some time, it can help dogs learn that other dogs are not a threat to them or their people. Reading more information about BAT training or contacting a local trainer in your area can help with further advice and techniques!

Q. My cocker spaniel is 9 years old. He has involuntary bowel movements (little drops) very frequently, especially when he is asleep.
ANSWER : A. Is your dog on a senior dog food? I would get your dog on a high quality high protien dog food. Ask a pet store assosicate or your regular vet for a food recommendation. When you buy a better food the dog will have to eat less to get the same amount of energy from the food. The dog has to eat more of the cheaper foods to get the energy it needs from it. Meaning more poop and buying more food. So the cost really evens out. So the lessen your dogs bowel movements get on a better senior dog food. Next talk to your vet they may have a recommendation. If you switch dogs do it slowly by mixing the foods. Start with 10% new 90% old mixed for at least a week until you have switched to 100% new 0% old. Senior foods have more fiber to help with bowel movements. Take the dog outside to go potty more frequently, right before bed time.

Read Full Q/A … : Symptoms Questions & Answers

Q. Pit mix dog 12.5 yr old w/enlarged spleen,liver and gallbladder is it safe to continue with annual injections
ANSWER : A. Annual vaccinations may not be recommended depending on the severity of your dog’s symptoms. It is best to check with the vet that is treating your dog currently to see what the recommendation is. Since your dog is older, it may be better to instead perform a titer test, which is a blood test that measures the amount of antibodies from previous vaccines still left in the blood. If the titer is still high enough, you may be able to skip annual vaccination and still have enough immunity for your dog to be protected.

Q. We have a 3 yr old Weiner dog, she is having pus in her eyes, I took her to the vet he gave me derma vet ointment, used it as the doctor prescribed
ANSWER : A. If the pus really isn’t all that bad, and it’s just some discharge, your pup may benefit from a diet change. It could be that the food you’re feeding just isn’t right for your dog, and that’s okay! Dogs grow and change over time, and now that your dog is fully matured, a diet change may be in order. Try something like Taste of the Wild, maybe a grain free dog food, Orijen, or Ziwipeak. These are all really great food options.

If the pus is really bad, and continues to get worse, see your vet again and let them know what’s going on. Maybe you could try a diet change, and then see if there are any improvements.

Remember, you should always gradually change a dogs diet. By gradually, I mean you put a tiny bit of new kibble in with a bowl of the old kibble. Reduce the old kibble by just a few bits of kibble. Throughout the course of at least two weeks (or as long as you want depending on whether or not you want to finish off the old food) you slowly add more of the new kibble while removing some of the old kibble. This makes the process gradual, and won’t cause any tummy-upset in your dog.