Ageing is a fact of life. It might be something that we can accept for ourselves, but a little harder to deal with when it comes to our pets. Different dogs age at different rates, so it’s important to keep an eye out for signs that your best mate might be slowing down.
Changes in movement
Arthritis and other degenerative diseases are common in ageing dogs. Your dog may become lethargic, tire easily, have difficulty getting up, or take longer to get comfortable before they have a nap. You might be used to taking them for a walk each day and also start to notice they aren’t as keen to walk as far. Your dog may become less mobile and become reluctant to fetch balls, move up and down stairs, or even jump into the car. This inactivity can often result in weight gain.
Loss of vision and other eye disorders are often part of dogs getting older. Your companion may begin to bump into things, misjudge spaces, or fall or trip over more regularly. Their eyes may also become irritated, red or cloudy.
Many dogs will experience hearing loss as they get older. Your dog may become unresponsive and no longer listen to your requests. Sometimes they might become startled or act grumpy if approached. These are all signs that your dog might not be able to hear you approaching. Unfortunately, hearing loss is often permanent. Changes to the way you interact with your dog are the best way to accommodate their needs.
If your dog is struggling to urinate, or urinating more frequently, they may be showing symptoms of kidney disease or urinary tract infections (UTIs). These are usually temporary issues, as medication and dietary adjustments can help fix these issues.
Sometimes your dog may have trouble doing ‘number twos’ too. Pain while defecating can be a result of conditions such as hip dysplasia or anal gland disease. It could also be due to inactivity, or a natural symptom of old age.
As your dog slows down, inactivity can lead to weight gain. On the contrary, your dog may also lose weight and there can be a number of reasons for this. Have you checked your dog’s teeth lately? Poor dental care can lead to dental disease. Dental disease can be quite painful, causing your dog to experience difficulty or pain when eating, meaning they may avoid meals altogether. Keep an eye out for bad breath, excessive drooling, inflamed gums and loose teeth. Other common causes of weight loss include kidney disease, liver disease and heart disease, among a number of other conditions.
Older dogs can also experience more skin and coat issues compared to younger dogs. They may encounter rashes, lesions, swelling, lumps, dry skin or fur loss, but you need not worry, as these are usually temporary and can be alleviated with the appropriate remedies.
Another sign your dog may be aging is behavioural changes. Your dog may show signs of confusion, disorientation, memory loss, irritability, and other temperament changes.
If you’re starting to notice any of these changes in your companion, take your dog to your vet for a checkup and advice for a long and happy life. Remember, we all get old and we all need someone to depend upon, your pet needs you most during their aging years.
When the time comes and your pet has lived their long and happy life to the fullest, our Pets at Rest team can help your pet on their final journey across Rainbow Bridge. You can contact us anytime to discuss your needs.