The body of a dog changes with age, just like humans. They lose muscle and gain more fat. Their sleeping time increases. They are less interested in exercising and playing now. Thus they require less food for energy. Are you confused because of these changes in your dog? Read on to know vital information on aging dogs, which will help you take care of them. We will cover the general signs of aging and the age brackets as to when your dog turns into a senior. Afterwards, we throw light upon the 6 major health issues of aging dogs.
Early Signs of Aging in Dogs
Here are some possible early signs of aging in your dog:
- Loss of appetite and thirst
- Change in the frequency of urination
- Increased panting or difficulty breathing
- Frequent diarrhea & vomiting
- Unexplained aggression
- Accidents because of loss of hearing and eyesight
- Discomfort in different body parts
The signs mentioned above can be cause by other underlying conditions also. Therefore, a qualified veterinarian can only reach a correct conclusion after a detailed diagnosis.
Age Brackets to Consider a Dog a Senior
If your dog falls in the following age brackets, you should consider them as a senior.
|Dog Size||Age Considered Senior|
|Small Breed (2-20 lbs.)||7|
|Medium Breed (21-50 lbs.)||7|
|Large Breed (51-90 lbs.)||5|
|Giant Breed (over 90 lbs.)||5|
6 Major Health Issues in Senior Dogs
We are listing here some common health issues which your dog may face with aging.
Arthritis & Other Joint Issues
Aging affects the cartilage between the joints in dogs as it does in humans. It wears down with age. Notice if your dog is stiffer than before. Dogs may feel more stiffness and pain when they wake up from a nap. Their walk will also change, and they will walk with a limp. You don’t need to worry, as one in five dogs get age-onset arthritis.
Pressure sores can develop in dogs due to less mobility and spending more time in their bed. To avoid it, you can provide them a copper dog bed. It has anti-microbial properties. Parasites, fungus, or bacteria won’t develop in the copper dog bed.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
Like other organs of their body, aging affects the dog’s brain as well. This neurobehavioral syndrome is known as canine cognitive dysfunction or dog dementia. Cognitive decline can start mild, but it gets worse with time. You will see declining awareness in them regarding their surroundings and memory loss.
You can keep night lights on to prevent confusion for your dog. In addition, maintain a rich, positive, and active environment around your dog to slow down the cognitive decline.
Loss of Hearing & Vision
Dogs also go through a hearing and vision loss in older age like humans. Consult your veterinarian when you notice signs like them bumping into things and not following instructions. Vision loss can also be a consequence of cataracts or glaucoma. In this case, it will be easily curable. In the meanwhile, you can be more patient with them. Also, avoid changing your furniture settings for them to navigate their way with limited vision.
There is a strong possibility of your dog getting cancer in old age. Thus, you should be careful if you notice any lumps on their body. They can be fatty tumours in most cases, but why take a chance? Take them to your trusted veterinarian for a complete check-up. They can also run a biopsy if required. The complexity, time, and cost of the treatment will depend on the stage and type of cancer.
Loss of Bladder Control
Dogs might lose control over their bladder with time. They might also need more potty breaks now. This condition is known as incontinence. Their aging nerves make it difficult for them to hold urine. Some medications help in controlling incontinence. Take them out more so that they can get relieved often. Also, keep checking them for wetness or soiling.
Change in Weight
Extreme weight gain and loss are harmful to a dog’s health. It can be a result of aging. The dog can suffer from malnutrition with a lot of weight loss. On the other hand, weight gain increases the possibility of arthritis. Their aging body doesn’t consume calories in an ideal way. And they are less active. Thus consult a dietician to adjust the portion of fats and protein in their diet according to their weight fluctuation.
If you notice any of these or other abnormalities in your pet, don’t delay taking them to a veterinarian. It can be emotionally devastating to see your always active and joyful furry friend facing these 6 major health issues. But you can make situations better by being strong and following the advice mentioned above.
Rory is the R&D Director and passionate entrepreneur, fascinated by the workings of the human body and natural solutions for common health problems. He’s single-minded in his aim to make Copper Defence a brand that’s recognized across the globe, by partnering with global brands to make these high-tech materials easily accessible for everyone. If you’d like to get in touch, email Rory at Rory@copperclothing.com or visit copperclothing.com for copper-infused clothing, pet accessories and more.