There will come a time when your dog’s joints will ache after climbing up the stairs and forget some tricks they learned from their professional dog training. It’s normal. Dogs grow old too.
Bigger dogs age faster than smaller dogs. The age dogs reach seniority depends on their breed and size. Smaller breeds like a Chihuahua or Yorkie are considered seniors at 11. Meanwhile, bigger breeds like a Mastiff and Great Dane are seniors once they reach 6 years old.
As the body grows old, it starts to not work like it used to. That’s a universal experience for everyone. As much as it’s a bummer that dogs age quicker than the rest of the human race, you want to make sure they’re as healthy as they can be in their age. Knowing what these signs of aging are will give you insight into how to care for your pet as they grow older.
Like humans, aging dogs get eye problems too. If you notice your dog bumping into things and knocking things over, it’s probably because they can’t see as well as they used to. One of the most common causes of eye problems is cataracts. It’s not hard to miss. It’s a milky, opaque layer over the eye that usually goes together with other ailments such as diabetes.
Speaking of ailments, senior dogs can also develop hypertension which can cause vision problems too. Other issues such as infections and tumors may cause blindness. To get ahead of things, be religious about regular visits to the vet.
Brushing your dog’s teeth can be a challenge, but it’s worth doing as it prevents oral issues, pain, and discomfort for the little one. If you haven’t been keen about brushing your teeth, however, symptoms will start to show. These symptoms include bleeding gums, bloody saliva, loose teeth, bad breath, difficulty picking up food, and chewing on one side of the mouth, among others. If brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t something you do regularly, might as well start now. Oral hygiene is a form of health maintenance. Be more prompt about visits to the vet, and brush your dog’s teeth every day.
Skin and Coat Problems
Skin and coat issues can happen at any age and at multiple times throughout a dog’s life. The only difference is that as dogs get older they become more sensitive and susceptible to these issues. Dry, flaky skin, ringworm, shedding, and mange are among the most common skin problems to watch out for. Although the maintenance is a hassle, it’s worth it for your dog’s health. To mitigate the symptoms, seek professional advice most especially if your dog displays signs of discomfort and pain.
Changes in Weight
Since older dogs are less active than younger ones, they tend to gain weight. Senior dogs might still have the same appetite, but they don’t play and run around like they used to anymore. Old age is no excuse for being spoiled this way though. A dog’s weight will always be important, especially in old age. Due to lack of activity, the extra weight may lead to other physical problems like heart disease and diabetes.
Talk to your vet about a diet plan that will suit the lifestyle and body type of your senior dog. This should also cover any deficiencies in their diet so your dog may be given the nutrition it needs.
A time may come when your aging dog will seem disoriented, soiling inside the house, interact with you differently, and experience movement problems. These are some symptoms of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction or CCD. This affects about 50% of doges over 11 years of age. As sad as that may sound, dogs can be senile too. However, there are ways to go about it and make sure they are comfortable and well taken care of. Before making this assumption, set an appointment with the vet for a definite diagnosis.
Arthritis and joint pain
Old dogs become inactive for many reasons, and it’s got everything to do with aging. Again, just like humans, dogs develop joint pain too. Running, and getting up and down the stairs, can be painful most especially during colder seasons. To help your dog cope better, ask your vet for a pain reliever, dietary changes, and even supplements.
Everybody ages, that’s a fact of life. But watching man’s best friend getting old stings a bit. The best thing anyone can do is to make the best health decisions for their dog, so they can live a happy, comfortable life