It doesn’t matter how old your dog becomes, since we always tend to think of them as a puppy who will always be with us. It’s hard to accept that your dog is getting older, and it’s important to watch out for health conditions that senior dogs often suffer from. Here are a few common health issues that a senior dog may suffer from one day.
When Do You Consider a Dog a Senior?
Typically, dogs are considered senior age when they reach seven years old, but it can depend on the breed and size of the dog. A larger breed dog ages faster than a small breed. For example, a Chihuahua reaches old age status when he is eight to nine years old while a Great Dane is considered a senior dog when he is six years old. You also want to consider environmental conditions and genetics when considering how quickly a dog will age. When your dog starts to show the signs of health issues that are age-related, you can consider him no matter how old he is.
Common Health Issues in Senior Dogs
Arthritis is the most common issue among dogs of advanced age. Occurring when the cartilage between your dog’s joints acts as a buffer in order to protect his bones becomes damaged, which causes joint inflammation. The most common symptoms of arthritis in a dog include favoring a limb, stiffness, limping, or slowness when your dog gest up. This can change how your dog sits, his ability to jump, excessive sleeping and panting, and a reluctance to go on a walk.
In aging dogs, the most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis is known as degenerative joint disease. A progressive disease, arthritis means that it will get worse over time. And while there isn’t a cure, there are treatments that can ease the pain and slow its progression.
Nutritional joint support and weight management are important parts of managing osteoarthritis in cats and dogs. Physical rehabilitation is also a good way to keep your pet active and improve his mobility as he ages.
Dental issues are another common problem among senior dogs. Specifically, periodontal disease can be a common dental condition in cats and dogs. By the age of three, a dog is likely to have early evidence of periodontal disease that can worsen as your dog gets older if preventative measures aren’t used.
There is an increasing severity and frequency of periodontal disease that increases with age in a dog. Signs of dental and oral disease in a dog include tartar, bad breath, loss of appetite, chewing on one side of the mouth, and sensitivity when you touch their face. Remember that it’s vital to take gum disease seriously in a dog since it has the potential to impact your dog’s bladder, lungs, liver, kidney, and heart.
Caused by poor functioning and production of insulin, diabetes in dogs can occur at any age. Typically, diabetes will occur in senior and middle-aged dogs with most dogs diagnosed at age five or older. Usually, a dog will be overweight and have pancreatitis, a urinary tract infection, or hyperadrenocorticism that are associated positively with canine diabetes mellitus. Early signs of diabetes in a dog can include increased appetite, weight loss, increased urination, and excessive thirst while advanced signs can include vomiting, loss of appetite, depressed attitude, and lack of energy.
If your dog’s diabetes isn’t controlled, it can have devastating effects on a dog’s body including ketoacidosis, kidney failure, seizures, urinary tract infections, and an enlarged liver. Plus, it is possible to control a dog’s blood sugar through exercise and a healthy diet.
Eyesight deterioration is a normal part of the aging process in a dog. As a dog ages, he can even lose his vision or become blind. If you notice that your dog has become hesitant when he moves around, particularly in the dark, it’s important to see the vet right away.
Blindness and cataracts are often the results of diabetes in a dog along with hypertension and kidney failure which can result in blindness or retinal detachment. Plus, there is a less well-known cause of blindness in a dog called sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome or SARDS. If you want to help your dog with his vision loss, it’s important to teach him how to rely on his hearing ability instead of his eyesight.
Chronic Kidney Disease
A common condition in a senior dog, chronic kidney disease is also called chronic renal failure, which is a disease that causes a dog to have progressive loss of his kidney function over a period of time. What this means is that the kids aren’t able to remove waste products from their blood, which allows toxins to build up in his body and create problems.
One of the early signs of kidney disease to look for in a dog is drinking water and urinating frequently. Over time, you will notice even more symptoms like weight loss, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, dehydration, urinary incontinence, oral ulcers, bad breath that contains a chemical odor, and a pale appearance. While there isn’t any cure for chronic kidney disease, you can treat it to prolong your dog’s quantity and quality of life.
If you have an older dog that is having issues with his kidney function, you can treat it with diet changes and low doses of mediation that can reduce stress on his kidney. Plus, if he receives the proper treatment, kidney disease that is acute can be reversible while chronic kidney disease may be managed to a certain extent.
Other Health Issues in Senior Dogs
Along with the other mentioned health issues, these are a few more commonly seen health problems in a senior dog.
• Heart disease
Make sure to take care of your senior dog’s health and see your veterinarian anytime you notice there are changes in your dog’s behavior.