Magazine article USA TODAY

Overlooking Senior Dogs' Health Concerns. (Pets)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Overlooking Senior Dogs' Health Concerns. (Pets)

Article excerpt

For many Americans, dogs are part of the family--almost like kids in some instances. However, although owners want to provide their dogs with the best possible care, a number of them inadvertently fail to recognize signs that indicate health problems in their pets.

A survey conducted by Yankelovich Partners for Pfizer Animal Health discovered that 61% of senior dogs (age seven and over) play the role of either friend or child in their families. Just as parents remember key moments in a child's life, 85% of owners of senior dogs were able to recall memorable moments in their pets' lives. Nevertheless, while many regard their dogs as children, some don't always recognize their pets' signs of aging.

"It's important that people learn to recognize the signs of pain in their pets," says veterinarian Bernadine Cruz, Laguna Hills (Calif.) Animal Hospital. "Just as parents notice when their children are in pain, dog owners should pay special attention to the signs of pain and aging in their senior dogs and not just accept them as normal."

Osteoarthritis is one of the most-common canine diseases, affecting more than 8,000,000 dogs in the U. …

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