Are You Ready For Your Yorkies Golden Years?
As a smaller breed, your Yorkshire Terrier can live well into the teens. Between the ages of 8-10, a Yorkie is considered to be a senior.
Caring for a Yorkie in their golden years requires some adjustment in the timing of their preventative care and daily care, as well as having awareness of some concerns typical of the breed. Here are some things to keep in mind when caring for a senior Yorkie:
1 – Veterinary Care:
Whereas a yearly veterinarian exam is sufficient for a younger Yorkie, after the age of 8, it is recommended that they receive a comprehensive exam every six months to screen for health conditions that are common with ageing. Medical issues can arise very quickly and without warning in the elderly dog, and by scheduling these preventative exams every six months, the risk of missing a serious condition is lessened.
2 – Daily Exercise:
Like humans, staying active is important for Yorkies, both young and old. Keeping your Yorkie active through daily walks is important, but may require some modification as they age. Making more frequent stops for water and rest may be necessary, as well as protecting your ageing dog from temperature extremes. Walking your elderly dog in the morning and evening can help avoid the extreme heat during the summer months. Using a sweater or fleece coat in the winter can help avoid chilling.
3 – Dietary Concerns:
Many dog owners worry that their ageing companion will need to be given a food specially prepared for the senior dog. Yorkies, being an active breed with an appetite that lessens somewhat with age, may not require a change to a lower calorie senior food preparation. It is recommended that you seek the advice of your Yorkie’s veterinarian prior to making any changes in food preparation, even if your Yorkie is a senior.
4 – Grooming:
The senior Yorkshire Terrier may have a thinner coat, with drier, more sensitive skin. Use of high-quality emollient shampoos and conditioners and regular grooming can keep your Yorkie clean and comfortable. While bald spots aren’t common, it’s important to keep any areas of exposed skin covered or apply sunscreen if your Yorkie will be outside.
5 – Sleep:
Like an elderly human, the ageing Yorkie may require more naps and shuteye. It is recommended that your companion have an age-appropriate bed with padding to support their ageing body. Orthopaedic or memory foam bedding can ease the pressure on sensitive joints and the thinner build of the older Yorkie.
6 – Weekly Hands-on Assessment:
Once a week, carefully inspect your Yorkie for anything out of the ordinary. Check his or her eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and paws for changes. Carefully feel the entirety of his or her body for unusual masses or skin changes, making sure to report any changes to your veterinarian.
Many Yorkies enter their senior years with the same robust zest for life that they entered puppyhood with, while others prefer a slower pace. With a bit of awareness and preventative care, you can keep your older Yorkie healthy and happy for years to come. For more information regarding the special health needs of your senior Yorkie, contact us at The Yorkie Times.