Aging is normal for both humans and dogs. The indicators can be subtle and quite easy to skip while we go about our daily lives. But then, being conscious of and taking notice of the aging signs in your senior dog could help you discover health problems early, which may make treatment less complicated and affordable, not to mention save your senior dog discomfort.
While we look out for all of our dogs daily, if you have an older dog you need to be hyper-alert to any changes. It can be difficult to tell if a change you observe is normal illness or aging, and whether or not it can be assisted. So let’s always check our dog’s body to know when to be concern about aging.
- Decreased Energy
Your senior dog will gradually lose his or her energy rate. You will observe that your dog will have less tolerance for the hyperactive activities he is familiar with. The dog may like to take part in such play, but will not have the ability to play for extended time. You will understand when the dog needs to stop because he or she will lose interest. Also, due to usual age-related modifications the joints and muscle become weak and the dog may be more prone to injury. You and your senior dog can still play these games, just go slower, for short period of time and watch out.
- Increased sensitivity to temperature changes
Senior dogs lose their power to control their body temperature. This implies they are less adaptable to climate changes. Dogs, who could withstand cold temperatures when they were young, will not be able to as they get older. Observing the environmental temperature around your senior dog, and making changes will help your aging dog become comfortable. You may have to move his bed to a warm part of the house, get a coat for him, or keep him indoors during cold weather.
- Doesn’t recover at a normal rate
When your senior dog doesn’t recover from injuries or health issues as fast as and his health condition is changing. At seven years of age senior dog bones start to lose strength making it harder to cure. It is usually at this point that symptoms of arthritis begin to show. An older dog’s immune system also weakens which explains why it is extremely important what he is well fed in young life.
- Changes in ‘Dog Breath’
An aging dog’s breath can change or become much more noticeable as a result of increased tartar accumulation from previous years. Except if your pet has been receiving regular dental cleaning. Even those commercialized chewing toys that believe to clean teeth are insufficient. The senior dog may also have inflamed gums that may bleed once in a while and boost the mouth odor. In most cases a change in dog’s breath is a symptom of other health conditions in the body and it is wise to consult your veterinarian.
- Hearing loss
Slight hearing loss is difficult to measure in dogs. Usually hearing loss is intense before the dog owner becomes aware of the issue. The first noticeable sign may seem like aggression. Actually, it may be the senior dog was unaware of a person’s course of action, became stunned when touched, and instinctively reacted. Owners can also observe the dog has stopped obeying instructions (the dog no longer hears them).
The hearing loss usually cannot be undone, but some adjustments in communication with the senior dog will help reduce the effects. The reason why you need to teach your dog hand signals for different commands while they are still young is the fact that these hand signals are quite helpful if the dog develops hearing problems. Dogs with hearing difficulties can still feel vibration, so clapping hands or stomping on the floor will probably alert the dog you are attempting to interact with.
- Decreased heart function
As a dog’s heart ages, it loses its effectiveness and cannot pump so much blood in a given period of time. The valves of the dog’s heart can lose elasticity or the muscles in the heart weaken. Diagnostic examinations such as electrocardiogram (EKG), radiographs (x-rays), and an echocardiogram (ultrasound) can be used to analyze heart problems by your veterinarian.
- Irritability and Less Patience
Irritability and less patience sets in and reflects itself in your aging dog when he has less tolerance for screaming children playing and hopping around him. Good dog wellbeing practice implies ensuring your aging dog has a peaceful place he can go to when confronted with this type of circumstance. Ensure the children never disturb the dog when he is in his peaceful spot. Another usual time he may exhibit less patience is at meal time. He may become more aggressive. Just be sure he still understands you’re the owner but help him out by feeding him a quicker pace.
Most dogs develop a disorder of the eye known as nuclear sclerosis. In this condition, the lens of the eye looks cloudy, however, the dog can always see very well. Many dog owners mistake this with cataracts (which do influence vision in dogs). Cataracts are prevalent in senior dogs of specific breeds, as is glaucoma. Any immediate changes in vision or physical appearance of the eyes could indicate an emergency; contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Change in Sleep
Senior dogs rest longer and harder. You are most likely familiar with the pet lightly napping during the day, but getting up with effervesces at the least noise, sight of food or excitement. While the senior dog may sleep harder and require more coaxing before waking up. It is fine to allow them to relax. Ensure he or she has a neat, softer and supportive bed. Some pet stores sell unique orthopedic beds.
- Skin and hair coat changes
As with human, senior dogs may begin to show grey hair, particularly on the muzzle and around the eyes. The coat might end up being duller and thinner, however, it may also be an indication of disease or nutritional deficiency. Feeding dog food formula with fatty acid supplements may help reinstate some of the lustre too.
As the dog’s owner, you should understand when your senior dog has discomfort by understanding his or her actions to age-related modifications. It is possible to discover how comfortable the dog is by looking in your senior dog’s eyes. You can work effectively with your vet to give you the perfect pain management plan for you and your senior dog.