Caring for Your Western Highland White Terrier as it Ages
Large dogs usually have a shorter life span as compared to that of the smaller breed dogs. Hence, you will find giants like the Great Dane live for about seven to ten years while little ones like the West Highland White Terrier live for 15 to18!. The difference in the age will mean that different dogs enter into their golden years at different times.
West Highland Terrier Care In Old Age Requires Love and Attention
The West Highland Terrier breed is quite active and they literally die on their feet. It is very rare that these highly energetic dogs ever stay still other than when they sleep. This breed of dogs is usually healthy and does not require too many veterinary interventions unless you live in the country and your dog spends more time outdoors than indoors, you will not have too much to worry about its health.
Regular medical check-up – The senior West Highland Terrier will need periodic check ups – preferably every six months – after they cross 12 years of age. These check ups should include X-rays of the hip (and other bones) since this breed is susceptible to Perthe’s disease, blood tests and if necessary ultrasound tests. These would be the minimum requirements unless the doctor asks for more tests.
Checking eyes and ears – One of the basic aspects of West Highland Terrier care would involve periodic checking of eyesight and hearing as well. With age, these dogs will lose a little of these senses but unless they bump into things or become totally unresponsive to sound, this shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Grooming –West Highland Terrier care would have to be more intensified as they grow older, because they will not be able to take care of themselves as well as they were taking care when they were young. You will need to pay special attention to its skin for infections and parasites (since these dogs are prone to skin diseases in particular). Pay attention also if you find any ‘bumps’ on the skin or unusual hair loss as this might indicate beginning of cancer.
Dental care – brushing teeth becomes a critical part of the West Highland Terrier care since build up of tartar combined with old age will result in loss of teeth. This in turn would affect its eating habits creating a vicious circle, which weaken the Westie. Hence, it is very important that its teeth stay healthy for as long as possible.
Provide direct access to outdoors as it ages, because the Westie will need to relieve itself more frequently and hence, it will need direct access to the outdoors or you should take it for small walks more often than before. The process of aging would be heavily influenced by the diet and nutrition that you provide for your West Highland Terrier.