Are you an animal lover? Perhaps you share your home with a furry friend?
As it turns out, there are actually many benefits to having a pet. For one thing, it can ward off depression. Not to mention that it can boost heart health!
Dogs, in particular, can reduce anxiety and stress. If anything, they make great companions. After all, they’re always happy to please their owners!
As it is, however, their bodies mature much quicker than ours. You’ve probably heard this before, but one human year is equivalent to approximately seven dog years.
Not sure whether or not your dog is considered a senior? Curious about the signs that your dog is getting old?
Well then, you’ve stumbled on the right page. We’ll be going over all that you need to know below—so be sure to keep reading!
What Are the Signs That Your Dog Is Getting Old? 6 Things to Watch For
Wondering whether or not your dog is getting “old”? Here are a few things to look out for.
1. Loss of Senses
As your dog ages, his sense of smell, hearing, and eyesight will degrade. In some cases, they might even become deaf or blind.
Keep in mind, however, that their loss of senses might not always be noticeable right away. As it is, the initial signs are often subtle. For instance, they might be less responsive to commands or more easily startled.
Pay attention to their behavior—never assume that they’re just being “bad” as that can cause them greater stress.
Want to make life easier for your senior dog? There are a few things that you can do. For instance, it helps if their food, water bowl, and bed are always in the same place. Avoid making sudden movements as they can startle your dog.
2. Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is fairly common among older dogs. As they age, they’ll find it more difficult to control their bladders, which can lead to the occasional accident in the house.
As frustrating as it may be, you never want to punish your dog for the behavior. Instead, you should take them out for walks more often so that they have more opportunity to do their business.
It’s important to note, however, that not all cases of urinary incontinence are caused by aging. For instance, it may be due to an underlying condition. If you’re not sure, visit a vet—they’ll be able to rule out the different causes.
3. Infected Teeth and Gums
Older dogs tend to have dental disease. For instance, they might have infected gums. Tooth decay is also common.
How can you tell? Some of the first signs include bad breath and swollen gums. If left untreated, it can cause great discomfort, which can affect their appetite. There’s also a chance of infection, which can enter the bloodstream.
Given all that, it’s vital that you brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis—starting from when they’re young. It might be challenging at the beginning but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.
If anything, it’s one of the best things that you can do for their overall health.
4. Changes in Behavior
Don’t expect your senior dog to behave like a puppy. After all, their energy levels will be lower. Given that, it’s not surprising to know that they sleep a lot during the day.
Not only that, but their behavior can change in other ways too. For example, they might be more cautious on walks and less enthusiastic about people. Generally speaking, however, you don’t have to worry about it too much.
With that said, you do want to be wary of cognitive dysfunction. If you notice any strange behaviors, such as slow response times or staring into space, it might be best to contact your vet.
5. Joint Stiffness and Pain
As with humans, a dog’s joints will degrade with age. Keep in mind, though, that you might not notice anything at the beginning as they have a tendency of hiding aches and pains.
Over time, as the condition worsens, however, you might start to notice certain symptoms. For instance, they might not be as mobile—especially in the morning. It’s also a good idea to watch for signs of arthritis.
Given all that, it’s best to avoid long walks if you have a geriatric dog. Consider getting them an orthopedic bed as that will help to reduce joint soreness and stiffness. There’s also the option of giving them supplements.
6. Weight Gain
As your dog gets older, their metabolism will slow down. Couple that with the fact that they have lower activity levels and there’s a high chance that they’ll gain weight.
As you can imagine, that will put greater stress on their bodies. Don’t worry, though, there are a few things that you can do that will help.
For instance, you might want to switch to a brand of senior dog food. Generally speaking, they have fewer calories, which will make it easier for you to manage their weight.
If their weight gain is accompanied by other symptoms, however, you might want to visit the vet as there might be an underlying condition.
Taking Care of Your Aging Dog
And there we have it—six signs that your dog is getting old. As you can see, there are various things that you want to watch out for, some more obvious than others.
When in doubt, contact your vet—they’re the ones that will be able to help your furry friend. You should also think about investing in an insurance plan as your pets get older; as the savings will start to add up quickly.
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