Did you know that in 2017 there were about 89.7 million dogs that live in homes in the United States?
It’s no surprise that with so many dog owners out there, as their fur babies start to age they look for common issues aging dogs have. If you have your furry friend aging and you’re wondering what to look for and how to help them you’re in the right place!
Keep reading to learn 7 common issues among senior dogs and different things you can do to help them.
6 Common Issues in Aging Dogs
Everyone ages, even our fur babies and while it may be sad to not see your dog as active as they were in their puppy days, it’s great to get educated on common issues and ways to make them feel better. Before we dive into some common issues in aging dogs you might be wondering if your dog is technically considered a senior.
The answer to this varies. Depending on the type of dog breed you have is what determines senior status. Usually, larger breed dogs age faster than small breed dogs.
For example, a Teacup Yorkie or a Chihuahua might be considered middle aged around 5 or 6 years of age while a Great Dane would be considered a senior when they’re 5/6 years old. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a good chart showing the ages dog’s age.
As your fur baby begins to age you might notice that they seem more anxious than their younger years. Senior dogs have a hard time handling stress. Things that might’ve not affected them when they were younger such as being left alone might suddenly appear.
They might begin to suffer from separation anxiety when you leave the home, the room or leave them alone at night. They might also get anxious around other dogs.
Anxiety is a common issue but make sure to keep an eye out for aggressive behavior as a reaction to their anxiety. If they start to become aggressive you should take a trip to the vet to have an exam to make sure their anxiety isn’t medically related.
Recently with the widespread testimonials about CBD for adults and pets, some dog owners are turning to CBD to help their pets with anxiety. If you are wondering where to buy organic Cbd oil for dogs, thanks to the online world you can shop from the comfort of your home.
Other ways to help your dog’s anxiety is to increase his or her mental stimulation. You can do this by playing games together or making food puzzles for them to participate in.
2. Weight Gain
As your fur baby begins to age they tend to act like they have the same appetite as their younger years but their metabolism slows down. Their body doesn’t burn calories the same way it used to. This leads to gaining weight which might turn into obesity if you’re not careful.
As dog’s age, it’s a good idea to change them over to a food that’s designed for senior dogs. These foods are made with senior dogs in mind so they have fewer calories and less fat. They also gave more nutritional supplements and more fiber.
Sometimes cutting back on their treats will also help with keeping their weight under control.
If they gain too much weight you will have other issues to deal with when it comes to their health. They might get out of breath easily and this can end up turning into liver or heart issues. If they’re overweight it can also cause them to have joint pain and be uncomfortable.
At the first signs of weight gain make sure to switch their food, cut back on treats, and take them on more frequent shorter walks to increase their activity level.
3. Skin and Coat Changes
As your dog hits senior status you might notice that their coat and skin begin to change. Sometimes even their nails change a bit.
Their coat might become more coarse. Their skin might become drier. Their nails might become more brittle.
This means they will need some extra help with their grooming as they get older. Try to increase the number of times you brush out their coat to stimulate their fur growth. This is a good time to examine them for any unusual lumps or any areas that might hurt them while you’re brushing them.
Make sure to trim their nails more often because as their activity levels go down they are no longer filing their nails on their own like they used to.
4. Senses Lessen
You might start to notice that your dog won’t answer when you call them unless you scream really loud. This is a sign that their hearing sense is not as great as it was once upon a time. Don’t ever think they’re ignoring you, the truth is just like a human their hearing begins to go with age.
To help you transition into your dog’s senior stage in life train them with hand signals. This way when they begin to lose their hearing senses they will still be able to recognize your hand signals you trained them with.
Keep in mind that dogs can still feel vibrations even when their hearing isn’t quite there anymore. If you clap your hands or knock on a surface they’re able to feel the vibration and respond.
Another sense that a dog begins to lose with age is their sense of sight. You might notice your dog becoming more clumsy as they walk into walls by accident. You might also notice that they don’t want to move around much.
These are signs of eyesight loss. If your dog is losing their sight try clearing clutter from the floor to avoid them getting hurt. If you have a pool make sure that they can’t get to the pool area to avoid accidental drowning.
You can also have a different scent in each room to help them recognize what room they’re entering. You can use air fresheners, or candles to help with creating a different scent.
5. Feel Colder
As a dog ages, they aren’t able to regulate their body temperature as easily. Older dogs tend to LOVE warm cozy beds – this is the reason. If your dog was able to handle hanging outside all day on a cold day don’t be surprised if they can’t hang all day anymore.
They might need a sweater and less time outside when they become a senior citizen. This is important because the cold might make their joints hurt even more than they already do.
Always keep an eye out when they show signs of being extra cold.
To help them you can keep their bed near a heater in the cold winter months. You can also buy them a heating pad and keep it on their bed under a blanket. If you go this route make sure to monitor the heating blanket to ensure they’re not getting too warm.
The goal is to be warm, not hot.
6. Hurting Joints
If you begin to notice that your furbaby isn’t trying to move much it can be a sign that it hurts to move around. If their joints hurt they might have a difficult time going up and down stairs or getting in and out of the car.
If they suffered any injury when they were younger this can begin to flare up with time and cause discomfort when they’re seniors.
You can give them glucosamine supplements from an early age to help keep joint issues at bay for as long as possible.
Once join pain sets in your veterinarian can prescribe anti-inflammatory pain relievers to help them with their mobility. Adding ramps to your home to avoid them climbing stairs will help them and doing exercise that’s non-impactful such as swimming, will help them.
Love and Enjoy Your Fur Baby!
As your dog moves into the aging dogs stage of life it’s important to not forget to show them as much love as when you first brought them into your home. As seniors, they might even need extra attention and love to remind them that they’re not alone.
It might seem like a lot more work as they age but don’t forget your four-legged companion has been dependent on you since the day you brought them into your family. They will love you and be loyal to you until their last breath.
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