A Little Long in the Tooth? Signs of Aging in your Dog
Chase Correll | August 22 2018
One of the most universally difficult things to admit is growing older. According to my aunt, she’s still 35. Father time continues to tick away, but we do our darndest to ignore him. When it comes to our furry little friends, recognizing the signs of aging can be difficult. Not because all of the signs are subtle, but more so because we hate to recognize our precious pups are growing older. Maybe not growing older, but growing wiser! Being able to recognize signs that your pup is growing...wiser...will do wonders for its health and wellness.
It’s All In The Eyes
If your wise pup begins to bump into things, it may be dealing with vision loss. Vision is often one of the first signs of aging in a dog, and don’t fret if your pup’s vision is deteriorating: vision loss plays a natural role in the aging process of our furry friends. However, be sure to be on the lookout for treatable eye disorders (like cataracts and dry eye syndrome) that are more common in aging dogs. Cloudy eyes are a sign of cataracts, a condition that causes vision loss. If your pup has cloudy eyes, take the little fella to its veterinarian to see if medical treatment is recommended. Dry eye syndrome occurs when your pup’s tear ducts have stopped working well. Excessive blinking and swollen blood vessels in the eye are the primary symptoms of dry eye syndrome. If your pup displays these symptoms, take it down to the vet to get some eye lubricants and treatment.
Changes in dental hygiene are common for senior dogs. Bad breath, bloody gums, and oral issues, in general, act as common indicators of an aging dog. You’ll certainly be able to smell any issues with your pup’s breath, but if your dog excessively drools or has inflamed gums, these may be signs of aging. Be sure to take your aging dog to the vet for regular mouth cleanings to counteract oral health issues. Regular teeth cleanings greatly benefit your dog’s wellness.
Let’s head south of the mouth. Another sign of your pup becoming a wise ole dog comes with changes in its bladder control. If your pup starts to go number one more often, or has greater difficulty doing so, then this may be an indicator of a urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney disease. Don’t fret though, both kidney disease and UTIs are common in older pups, and both are treatable with medicine or dietary changes. If bladder issues arise, keep your dog’s health in check by taking it to the vet.
Lumps and Bumps
While you’re showing your furry friend some love, be sure to check for any lumps and bumps on its skin and coat. As dogs age, they grow more susceptible to skin health issues. Rashes, lumps, lesions, dry skin, and hair loss are all signs of aging related skin issues. If your pup has any of these symptoms, notify your vet. It should be no sweat to treat your furry friend, and keep its skin nice and healthy.
Behavioral and Memory Issues
Dogs that exhibit increased signs of confusion, memory loss, unusual pacing, or disorientation are likely having behavioral and memory difficulties. Behavioral and memory problems are common for aging dogs. If your pup shows signs of behavioral or memory issues, then take it to the vet for a wellness check.
It’s always difficult for an owner to see that their pup doesn’t move like it used to. Joint issues, like arthritis or hip dysplasia, are common in senior dogs. Dietary additions, like antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, will benefit your pup’s mobility. Antioxidants and omega-3s support joint health and will help keep your dog’s joints healthy. Also consider ramps or orthopedic beds to help ease the load on your fur baby’s joint health. Dietary changes should also be considered, especially if your pup has gained a bit of weight. A heavier load to carry around can lead to greater joint issues. Speaking of weight gain...
Some older pups have difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. A common indication that your pup is aging is if it begins to pack on some poundage. Weight loss also occurs in aging pups. It’s not ideal for a pup to be over or underweight. Consulting a vet about dietary changes is a great start to confronting weight changes in a senior dog. Watching your dog’s weight greatly benefits your its health and wellness.
Weight A Moment
Owning a senior dog that struggles with its weight is tough. Our next article will examine weight change in senior dogs and detail why it happens, while also discussing the best treatment options. Stay tuned!