Watch carefully for any changes in appearance. Even though slight, these are more important now. When he was young, a quick, high fever resulted when the forces of the body were fighting an infection. The old dog cannot fight infection as effectivelyhe takes it lying down, as it were.
If anything seems wrong, take the temperature. Even a one degree rise, which may mean nothing in a younger dog, is a danger sign in the old fellow. Though infection spreads slowly, nevertheless it does spread. Successful treatment must begin before damaging headway is made.
Watch the Toenails
Long toenails strain the feet and make walking difficult. The pastern or wrist joints often weaken with age, then the arch flattens and the foot lets down. The nails can no longer grip the ground and so they grow rapidly. An old dog’s nails rarely wear down to comfortable length naturally, so it is necessary to shorten them with a nail trimmer or a coarse nail file to give the dog better footing on smooth surfaces.
Whatever the state of the nails, however, an old dog is likely to become uncertain on his feet. He may not even try to jump anymore or, if he does, he falls back. If he is used to snoozing on your bed, don’t deny him the privilege; he’ll miss it. Instead, place a low chair beside the bed to let him hop up in easy stages. The same goes for the windows he enjoys looking out of to watch the world go by. Arrange a low chair or an ottoman close to the window so he can sit there and watch for you to come home.