Friendship Animal Hospital, P.C.

9825 S. Mason Rd., Suite 150
Richmond, TX 77406


 Preventive Care Recommendations for Senior Dogs

Semiannual Exams


Senior dogs need regular (semiannual) check ups to:

  • Obtain a thorough physical exam to identify problems early
  • Evaluate for common problems seen in senior dogs, such as arthritis pain, and endocrine abnormalities, and for common problems seen in geriatric dogs, such as cognitive dysfunction
  • evaluate for parasites and implement a healthy parasite control program that protects both the dog and the family
  • implement a vaccine series to protect from preventable infectious diseases
  • discuss any health concerns


Senior Early Detection Lab Testing       


Senior dogs need at least yearly blood and urine testing to screen for health problems that may not be obvious at home and that may not be found by physical exam alone. 



Feed a quality diet that is appropriate for the size and lifestyle

(I.e. large breed food, small bites, etc.)

        Make sure the food has an AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) stating that the food meets the requirements based on feeding trials.

        Choose food companies that keep a board certified veterinary nutrition specialist on staff.

        Monitor body weight and body condition scores and adjust calorie intake as needed. 

        Remember to count calories from treats when adjusting intake

        Body Condition Scoring, 1-5:

1 = emaciated                  4 = over ideal weight (losing waist definition,

2 = too thin                              excess padding over ribs, hips, &/or tail base 

3 = ideal                           5 = obese (no waist definition, ribs hard to feel)

        Many senior and geriatric dogs have medical conditions that can be managed, at least in part, by therapeutic diets.


Dental Hygiene

Regular dental hygiene can prevent, or slow the progression of periodontal disease, which is one of the most common medical conditions of adult dogs.

Various hygiene options exist and can include:

  • CET chews daily
    • Don't add significant calories
    • Tooth cleaning enzyme
    • Antibacterial
  • Dental diets
    • Science Diet Oral Care
    • Hill's T/D diet
    • Various others, both prescription and over the counter
  • Toothbrushing
    • Fluoride free, flavored
  • Dental treats
    • Greenies, others





  • DA2PP (Distemper/ Adenovirus type 2/ Para influenza/ Parvo) vaccine:
    • Core vaccine (all dogs need this)
    • Every 3 years after the initial booster series
  • Rabies vaccine:
    • Core vaccine (all dogs need this)
    • Every three years AFTER completing a booster no more than 1 year after the initial vaccine
    • ***NOTE: Some local jurisdictions still require annual boosters, which legally takes precedent over Texas law that allows 3 year rabies vaccine intervals if using a vaccine labeled for 3 years.
  • Kennel cough (Bordetella)
    • For dogs who go to boarding/grooming facilities, doggie day care, dog parks, or who may be admitted to a hospital (i.e. for spaying/neutering)
    • Boost every 6 months if indicated by risk of exposure.
  • Leptospira vaccine
    • For dogs who go to places where small mammal wildlife has access, such as dog parks, neighborhood fields, bayous, ponds, the country, or who have open land bordering their yards.
    • The risk of vaccine reaction is higher with this vaccine, so we may not administer it at the same time as the rabies vaccine.
    • Initial vaccine must be boosted in 3-4 weeks, then yearly if risk continues.

Parasite Control


Monthly heartworm preventive

  • Needed for all dogs, once a month, year round
  • Sentinel
    • Controls heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and fleas
    • Recommended for most dogs
  • IverHeart Max
    • Controls heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms
    • Recommended for dogs with a lapse in monthly prevention
  • Other choices exist and can be discussed as needed


Heartworm Test

  • once a year if taking monthly heartworm preventive


American Heartworm Society Guidelines and info available at


Fecal Examination by Centrifugation

  • 2 times a year for routine screening
  • Commonly found parasites:
    • Hookworms ? contagious to people
    • Roundworms ? contagious to people
    • Whipworms
    • Giardia ? contagious to people (not proven if direct transmission from dogs, but possible)
    • Coccidia
    • Tapeworms