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10 Tips for Managing Your Senior Dog’s Medications

Reviewed by Bill Saxon DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC on Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Posted August 19, 2015 in Dog Checkups & Preventive Care

Has your Yorkshire terrier transitioned into his teens? Is the hair on your golden retriever’s muzzle now a lovely shade of gray? If so, it’s likely that some medical issues have accompanied your dog’s aging process. Examples include:

Fortunately, many of these maladies can be successfully managed with long term, if not lifelong, medication. Here are ten tips to ensure that, as a conscientious caregiver, you are doing the best job possible with your dog’s medications:


1. Learn as much as possible

When a new medication is prescribed for your dog, talk with your veterinarian to gather answers to the following questions:


  • What is the medication supposed to do?
  • What signs of improvement should I be looking for?
  • Is this medication compatible with other drugs and supplements my dog is receiving and can they all be given at the same time?
  • What are the potential side effects and what should I do if I observe them?
  • Does the timing of administration need to be exact?
  • Do I need to take special precautions when handling the medication?
  • What happens if a dosage is accidentally skipped?
  • Should I give the medication if my dog is having an “off day”- lethargic or not eating well?
  • How long should the medication be administered? (Just because the pill vial is empty, doesn’t necessarily mean that your veterinarian wants it discontinued.)

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Nancy has more than 30 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is a board-certified veterinary specialist in internal medicine as well as a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2014.