Older dogs are a blessing. They are sweet and gentle fluffs, and they are full of personality. Most older dogs are just as playful as younger dogs, though they do run into some issues because of their age. Just like humans develop age-related issues, dogs also have similar issues that crop up as they get older. It is up to their owners to be mindful of their changing needs and keep an eye out for them so that their quality of life remains the same.
What Are Common Issues That Crop Up In Older Dogs?
Many problems in senior dogs will sound familiar as humans also develop these issues as we age. They are:
- Kidney Disease
Senior dogs develop degenerative arthritis, meaning that it gets worse as they get older. Their joints get stiff, and they develop issues with mobility. To help your senior dog, you can provide a comfortable bed that makes lying down more comfortable. If your floors are very slippery, then putting down carpets will help their joints as well. Your vet may prescribe joint supplements and other therapies. Low mobility can lead them to develop obesity.
Incontinence is more likely in certain breeds and spayed females as they get older, though it affects nearly all dogs as they get on in age. Different spaniels, Doberman Pinschers, and Old English Sheepdogs are more prone to incontinence than other breeds. Dogs might have bloody urine, leaking urine when walking, and more. They can develop bladder stones as well. Your vet may recommend a change in diet, prescribing a high-quality diet food that specifically targets these issues like Hill’s Prescription metabolic urinary care diet for dogs that helps them keep the weight down and prevent bladder stones. Also, make sure to get the product from a reputed pet pharmacy such as PetCareRx.com.
It is a common sight to see senior dogs with cloudy eyes, meaning it has a cataract. Vision problems can take many forms, from macular degeneration to glaucoma’s. If you see your dog being clumsier than usual, not being able to catch food like he did before, or being unsure about heights, he might have developed vision problems. Up to 70% of older female dogs also develop SARDS, a permanent form of blindness. To help your dog cope with declining vision, you can use various training methods and be mindful of his routine and obstacles around the house.
While this seems very unlikely, dogs do develop dementia as they get older. Also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, it refers to changes in a dog’s neurobiological behavior. You will notice the dog wandering around the house, taking bathroom breaks around the house, and can get stuck in unusual places like behind furniture. Because they are confused, they can get aggressive and lash out. While there is no cure, your vet will make a treatment plan that mixes training, medication, and dietary changes that will slow down the progression of the disease.
If your senior dog is drinking water excessively and is losing weight no matter what you give her, then it might be wise to discuss diabetes with your vet. Most cases of diabetes develop in dogs over the age of 7, and the breeds of Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Fox Terriers, and Bichon Fries are more susceptible to it. It is important to identify and treat diabetes as fast as possible because diabetes can lead to cataracts, kidney problems, infections, inflammation, obesity, and cancer. Depending on whether it is Type 1 or Type 2, your pooch might need insulin or medications. This condition is very manageable, and many dogs live a long, healthy life after diagnosis.
If your dog’s breath has developed a chemical tinge, if she is vomiting, has pale gums, and there is a change in both water intake and urine excreted, she might be suffering from kidney disease. Since untreated kidney problems can be fatal, it is important to keep an eye out for these symptoms so you can take your best friend in to see the doctor as soon as you suspect anything. The disease has many different treatments ranging from medication that regulates urine production, dietary changes, and medication of related conditions like anemia, vomiting, and high blood pressure.
Senior dogs have changing bodies that have changing needs. As your best friend gets older, the responsibility falls on you to help him manage his conditions. It is important to make sure that the quality of life of any dog is not negatively impacted because their happiness also impacts how well they take treatments and medications!