Age slowly creeps up on us all, including your much-loved dog. As difficult as it might be to accept that your canine is reaching the latter stages of its life, acceptance is key to ensuring they receive the help and support to increase their comfort and lifespan.
A dog can grow older with only minor issues developing, but diseases can strike that may impact their quality of life and happiness. Spotting signs of a medical issue could help you catch a problem early and find ways to support their health.
Make it your mission to protect your pooch. Here are five signs your dog is growing older and the best ways to help.
- Weight Changes
Older dogs start to gain weight due to changes in their physical activity levels and a slower metabolism. As a result, their bodies will accumulate more fat over muscle. For this reason, you must ensure your canine follows a diet more suitable for senior dogs.
If you have noticed your dog has lost weight, experiences digestive problems, or has a smaller appetite, don’t hesitate to take them to a local easyvet.com veterinary clinic for an exam and diagnosis, as a disease might be to blame for their weight loss.
A pet owner may believe their dog’s stiffness is due to aging, which is only partially true. The reason your canine might struggle with stiff joints might be due to arthritis. It’s a painful joint condition that affects approximately 80% of dogs over the age of eight years old. Don’t ignore the issue and visit a vet to ensure they receive an official diagnosis and the best pain relief treatment for their needs.
- Poor Hearing
If you have noticed your dog doesn’t come to you when calling him or her, or they no longer respond to the sound of canned dog food opening, hearing loss could be to blame. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your dog is just growing older, as they might be losing their hearing. As a result, you can adjust your lifestyle to support their needs, such as training them to understand hand signals.
- Cloudy Eyes
Cloudy eyes commonly affect senior dogs and it is caused by nuclear sclerosis, which is similar to cataracts because of its blue-white shine. In addition to cloudiness, you may have noticed a decline in your canine’s sight, which happens gradually for pets living with nuclear sclerosis. It often isn’t an issue to worry about, and it is a normal part of aging for dogs, but it’s worth taking them to a vet for an exam to be on the safe side.
- Coat Changes
Aging dogs will experience coat changes, which can be due to growing older or a medical issue.
For example, they might develop:
- Hair loss
- Hot spots
- Dry skin
- Gray fur
If your dog is experiencing coat changes you suspect aren’t caused by the aging process, don’t hesitate to take them to a vet. For example, an itchy coat might be caused by flea allergy dermatitis, a food allergy, or seasonal allergies, to name a few possible issues.