Having a dog in the family gives us a special kind of happiness. But with life, comes aging. You may not want to see your dog grow old but it is inevitable. Generally, dogs start to enter the senior years when they reach the age of seven. The signs of a senior dog begin to be noticeable. The behavior of your old dog will become your hints to what he is feeling or if he is suffering from an ailment.
As your beloved pet grows older, here are the things to look out for:
If you always cuddle with your dog, bad breath is probably the first indication that your pet is aging. Dogs generally have fresh breath. So, if your dog’s breath starts to smell odd, pay attention to it. It is typically a symptom of gum and dental disease. The teeth of your senior dog can easily decay. A visit to the vet can prevent the condition from getting worse.
Bad breath is probably the first indication that your pet is aging
Slow Metabolism and Weight Gain
Just like in humans, the metabolic rate slows down as dog's age. Even if your dog is still a voracious eater, the body has a tendency to gain weight because it does not burn calories fast. Weight gain results in several health problems in dogs such as liver and heart diseases. So, if you notice your dog gaining weight, it is a common sign of aging.
Changes in Coat, Skin, and Nails
The coat of a senior dog starts to become coarse, and the skin dry. These are some of the signs of a senior dog. Your dog may suffer from hair loss, flakiness, itching, and hot spots. Keep an eye on your dog when he is outdoors to prevent him from getting hurt, as his skin becomes thin. Also, an old dog develops brittle nails, in which you need to trim more often.
A senior dog will change in coat, skin, nails
Not as Energetic as Before
Do you notice some slowing down in the movement of your dog? Was it a long time when your dog beat you in running? Does he need some encouragement to run along with you now? Slowing down is one of the signs of a senior dog. This can be due to arthritis, thyroid issues, and joint pain.
These health conditions can cause some difficulty in your aging dog such as from using the stairs and getting in and out of a vehicle. On the whole, moving around proves to be a difficult task for your dog.
Moving around proves to be a difficult task when your dog gets old
Loss of Vision
One of the signs of a senior dog to watch out for is a vision problem. Observe if your pet has a hard time finding food or toys. Is he startled easily? Is he getting lethargic? The cause of this behavior could be weakening of his vision. Make sure to be attentive to your aging dog as he could develop cloudiness in the eyes, which is a symptom of cataract. In this case, your dog needs the necessary treatment.
Loss of Hearing
If your dog does not come to you when you call him, he is not getting stubborn but just old. It is because your dog has started to lose his hearing. Your dog is simply not ignoring you. You should pay attention to your senior dog as owners usually notice the problem until it becomes more serious. You may want to learn hand signals to communicate with your old dog.
If your dog usually does not come to you when you call him, he is not getting stubborn but just old
Loss of Cognitive Ability
Being slow and confused with a lot of things are common with aging. Do you have to always repeat what you ask your dog? A senior dog tends to forget tasks and behaviors that you have trained him. Moreover, learning new tricks seems to be impossible for your old dog. While the physical appearance has been showing some signs of getting old, his cognitive ability is being affected as well.
Frequent Potty Breaks
An aging dog has an increased need to go to the bathroom. You will notice it with your own dog if bathroom accidents happen often. It is because the pet has difficulty holding his pee. If there is frequent peeing, you can use pee pads especially when you leave the dog at home.
An aging dog has an increased need to go to the bathroom
One sign to watch out for with your aging dog is lumps. You may be able to easily notice it if your dog has short hair. If your dog has long coat, you can check for lumps by feeling his body. Early detection is important, as lumps can lead to cancer.
When golden years hit your loyal dog, it is your responsibility to know and understand what he is experiencing at this stage in life. Your dog will not be able to put into words what he wants to say to you. There are several signs of a senior dog to watch out for. The good news is, there are also many ways to delay the symptoms and solutions to still make life easier for your aging dog.