We prefer to think of our dogs as immortal puppies who will be with us forever, no matter how big they become. Even if you want to deny that your dog is growing older, it’s important to keep an eye out for senior dog health issues so you can help him live a better life. Continue reading to learn about frequent health issues in older dogs that may impact your companion in the future. When Does a Dog Become a Senior?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a dog is considered senior when it reaches the age of seven, however, this varies greatly depending on the size and breed of the dog. Large breeds age at a faster rate than tiny dogs. A Great Dane may be regarded as a senior by the age of six, whereas a little Chihuahua may not be until eight or nine years old. Other variables, like genetics and environmental circumstances, may, of course, influence how a dog matures. Your dog might be classified as a senior dog whenever they begin to exhibit indications of age-related health concerns, regardless of their exact age.
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Here are eight of the most prevalent health issues that older dogs face:
1. Loss of hearing and vision
Tissue degradation in the eyes and ears may produce varying degrees of hearing and blindness in elderly dogs. Cataracts, which are described as a foggy coating that grows over the lens of the eye and may cause partial or complete blindness, are also common in senior dogs. Dogs have a superb sense of smell and great hearing, so they can get about even without surgery to remove cataracts. Hearing loss and deafness may be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from heredity to recurrent ear infections. While deaf dogs will not be able to hear you speak, they will be able to sense vibrations on the floor as you approach, and you may communicate with them using hand gestures. When you’re outdoors with a dog that can’t hear or see properly, always be cautious. You don’t want them to go out and get themselves into trouble!
2. Joint Issues
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent cause of joint discomfort and stiffness in dogs. This is a degenerative illness that causes the lack of lubrication in the joints as well as the wear and tear of the cartilage. Although there is no cure, there are a variety of therapies that may assist to alleviate discomfort and delay the disease’s course. Nutrition, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, is important in helping dogs with joint problems. Inquire with your veterinarian about joint-health meals and if a therapeutic diet might be good for your dog.
3. Alzheimer’s disease/cognitive dysfunction
Dogs, like people, may lose cognitive function as they age, resulting in symptoms comparable to senility or Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Cognitive dysfunction may manifest itself in a variety of ways, including confusion and disorientation, whining or barking for no apparent reason, seeming confused in familiar settings, and potty accidents. Dementia, like arthritis, has no cure, although it may frequently be aided by specific drugs and antioxidant-rich diets.
Older dogs are prone to lumps and bumps, which are fortunately not all malignant. Senior dogs are more prone to cancer thus it is advised to get any random tumor checked by a vet. Cancer screenings and regular checks may help detect malignancies that aren’t visible or feelable.
5. Heart Issues
Senior dogs may develop heart problems. One problem in dogs is congestive heart failure, which develops when the heart is unable to pump blood properly and fluid backs up in the heart, lungs, and chest cavity. Coughing and trouble breathing is some of the symptoms. Exercise intolerance and loss of consciousness and unexplained vomiting can be symptoms of heart problems and you should consult a vet immediately.
The weight of your dog may have a big influence on their health, particularly as they become older and less active. Excess weight in older dogs makes them more susceptible to ailments like diabetes. Obesity may contribute to and complicate the treatment of heart disease and joint issues. In addition to giving your senior dog as much activity as they can take, it’s critical to offer them age-appropriate meals to ensure they receive the proper nutrition.
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7. Incontinence and Gastrointestinal Issues
GI difficulties in your senior dog may be caused by a variety of factors. While GI issues aren’t necessarily significant, they might indicate issues like renal disease, so if vomiting or diarrhea doesn’t go away immediately, see your veterinarian. Also, when the muscles that regulate the bladder weaken with age, older dogs may have urine accidents, although incontinence might be an indication of a larger disease, such as a urinary tract infection. Accidents may sometimes signal the onset of dementia. It’s essential to see your veterinarian if these problems aren’t one-time occurrences.
8. Kidney Problems
As dog ages, their kidneys lose their ability to function. While chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, it can be treated with the right medicine, extending your dog’s life and enhancing their quality of life. Routine blood tests for your senior pet may detect renal illness early on and enhance your dog’s chances of survival. Nutrition is also crucial for keeping healthy kidneys, so talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions about what you’re giving your pet.
It’s just as difficult for your senior dog as it is for you to age. Taking your older dog for routine wellness checks every six months to test for these frequent health concerns is one of the finest things you can do for them. Keeping a watch on your dog at home and reporting any strange behaviors to your veterinarian may also aid in the early detection of these ailments, increasing your dog’s chances of living a long and healthy life. They may no longer be puppies, but they will always be yours!