Every dog owner knows the time will likely come when your ageing dog begins to ail. Though with some breeds not all the signs of ageing are very obvious. There are various things you can do to help make that ageing process more comfortable for your beloved pet. Here are a six signs to look for that tell you when your dog is ageing.
6 Signs That Your Dog Is Aging
Aging is something that none of us can escape, not even your dog. Your cute little puppy one day grew into an independent adult and now, may be reaching the later part of their life. Perhaps your dog is starting to show signs of aging, both mentally and physically. The more aware you are of these common signs, the sooner you can help them through this transition.
Noticing behavioural changes in your ageing dog
Your aging dog may begin to act differently when he reaches a certain stage in life. It may be difficult to determine if your dog is acting out because he doesn’t feel good, or if it is just a normal sign of aging. For example, if your dog is normally sweet as pie and now he is grumpy as ever, you may want to get him checked out to see if he is suffering or is in some sort of pain.
Another way that behavioural issues may manifest is that your dog may be less enthusiastic about greeting you or might be more cautious when exploring when you take him on a walk. Dogs who suffer from cognitive dysfunction may experience confusion at times.
Tooth and gum issues
Though dogs aren’t known to have minty-fresh breath, if all of a sudden your dog’s breath is so strong it about knocks you out, it is time to get him checked out by his veterinarian. He could possibly have gum disease, tooth decay, or some type of infection. After giving your dog a good dental cleaning, your vet might give him a blood test to check for an infection.
And ageing dog and joint discomfort
You may notice that your dog is having difficulty getting up and down the stairs, jumping into the car, or getting up on all fours after waking up from a nap. This may be happening because his back legs have become weaker. This may be because the dog has developed arthritis. If his vet determines this is the cause, you will need to make sure to shorten his exercise time and tone it down a bit. His vet may also recommend specific supplements that may calm down inflammation in your dog’s joints.
Loss of senses
Have you noticed cloudiness over your dog’s eyes? Although it doesn’t affect their vision, it may be a sign of nuclear sclerosis, which is fairly common in older dogs. However, your senior dog may also be experiencing some degree of vision loss, if you have noticed him bumping into things or having difficulty locating familiar objects.
Hearing loss is also common. You may discover that your dog becomes easily startled when he is approached by someone, and also may be less responsive to commands. You may mistake this for bad behavior when the truth is that he just can’t hear you.
Weight changes in your ageing dog
Because older dogs are less active, logically they are prone to gaining more weight. To counteract this, you may need to adjust your dog’s diet and exercise routine. With that being said, you should also pay particular attention if your senior dog is losing weight. It could be caused by reduced muscle mass, poor appetite, or an undiagnosed illness. Should your dog begin to lose weight and you can’t identify why, be sure to consult your veterinarian.
An increase in accidents
Your dog will give you signs if he has developed a urinary tract infection or kidney problems. He will start peeing in the house or will look like he is straining to go pee. Thankfully, there are medications available that will heal this condition in your dog.
Final thoughts on your ageing pet
The best thing you can do for your aging dog is to meet with your veterinarian if your dog is showing any of these signs. It is crucial to determine any underlying causes rather than just writing it off as ‘getting old.’