Every dog owner knows the hard time that comes when your pet starts to show signs of age. Knowing the signs of aging that can come about as your pet climbs up in years is key to stymieing the steady creep of time: if you know what old age looks like, you can slow its destructive effects and keep your dog comfortable in the meantime.
So what age-related effects can you keep an eye out for?
Here are 5 signs your dog is aging and some advice about how to better care for your 4-legged friend.
Nuclear sclerosis is a natural part of the normal aging process where the lenses harden, resulting in milky eye appearance. It doesn’t typically significantly impact vision, so there isn’t anything to be done for this condition.
However, cloudy eyes are also a side effect of cataracts, which can be treated; any milkiness should be looked into by a vet just in case.
Difficulty getting up.
We all get a little stiff after extended periods of lying down, but in your senior dog, the loss of sprightly energy can be a sign of joint pain.
Arthritis is a common affliction of aging canine companions, meaning this and similar symptoms, like difficulty remaining standing, warrant a trip to the vet.
In breeds known for joint problems or when your dog exhibits any signs of joint pain, consider adding glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements to your dog’s routine. They work to strengthen cartilage and reduce inflammation, easing joint pain.
Advanced age means reduced calories, but if your pooch suddenly starts packing on the pounds, it’s possible there’s some underlying cause. More than likely, your pup’s metabolism is just slowing down with age, or they’re less active and burning fewer calories.
Combating this is as simple as reducing the amount you feed or switching to a lower calorie diet. There could, though, be a thyroid issue or other chronic illness, so once again, consult with your vet.
Stubbornness might be a part of your dog’s personality, but a sudden spurt of unresponsiveness could be a signal of hearing loss. This might be due to age or from an infection in the ear, so be sure to get a vet to check it out.
If it is determined your dog is losing their hearing, starting in on teaching hand signals can help to increase your dog’s confidence in the face of a scary event, and provide you a means of communication should your dog go completely deaf.
No one ever digs their dog’s breath, but if it starts to get exceptionally funky, your pooch could be suffering from dental disease.
Caring for your dog’s chompers is just as important as brushing your own teeth; putting off doggie dental care could see you shelling out big bucks for dental surgery at a veterinary hospital, if your old pup is even a candidate for surgery.
Brush your dog’s teeth regularly, and in between cleanings, give your dog dental chews.
Taking care of an aging dog doesn’t require too much extra work, provided you are on the lookout for any signs of distress.