7 Signs Your Dog is Aging
Without realizing it, our dogs will gradually age and you will notice physical and mental changes. Their coat won’t be as soft and fluffy as when you first brought them home. Their eyes will become cloudy and their vision will start to have a blur. We never want to believe it, but our dogs are going to grow old and show signs of becoming a senior, just like we do.
Depending on your dog’s breed and size, they will become ‘senior’ dogs at different paces. Larger breed dogs will start showing signs normally around 5 or 6 years of age, while smaller breeds will show signs after 7 years of age. We won’t notice the differences overnight, but there are several signs you can see when your dog is transitioning into a senior.
They aren’t as playful they used to be.
They become less active and start living a more sedentary lifestyle. They’ll tire out faster after walks, lose interest in their toys, and react slower to your calls. If you notice that they are having difficulty moving around and are walking slower, they could have developed arthritis or hip dysplasia. If you see any major changes in mobility that can affect your dog’s health, contact your veterinarian for a physical exam.
As dogs become older, they will start to grow white or gray hair normally around their muzzle and eyes. Through time, more and more white hairs will cover the surface of their coat. Their coat will become duller and less fluffy as they were before. Supplements such as fish oil or omega 6 (linoleic acid) can result in a shinier, healthier coat.
For older dogs, it is more likely that your dog will have dental disease if they have bad breath or bloody gums. If you don’t bring your pet for annual oral checkups, they have a higher chance of developing periodontal disease or gingivitis. Dental sticks can decrease the buildup of tartar and bacteria on the surface of their teeth. Read our blog post on how to keep those canine’s clean!
Cloudiness in eyes
As dogs grow older, their eyes become cloudier and their vision starts to deteriorate due to cataracts. They will have more difficulty seeing things, like spotting the treat you threw on the floor. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. All dogs will experience some kind of vision impairment due to old age. Most dogs with cataracts do not to undergo surgery. However, if you notice that their eyesight is significantly worse, consult your veterinarian for a checkup.
This might a little harder to notice. If they don’t respond to you as quickly as they used to, they could be experiencing hearing loss. You can notice if they have trouble hearing if they get startled more easily when you approach them. If you have a dog who normally barks at any sound they hear, you might notice the changes when they start becoming less vocal around the house. If they have difficulty hearing, try raising your voice or clapping to get their attention. You can also get your dog’s ears cleaned by clearing out the wax buildup in their ear canals at the vet clinic.
Because senior dogs become less active, their nails will not wear out as quickly as they used to. If you notice that their nails are getting long and brittle, get them trimmed. Simple grooming is necessary to keep your pooch happy!
Make more accidents.
Senior dogs need to urinate more often because cannot control their bladder as well as before. Even if they have previously been potty trained, they will eliminate in the house if they can’t hold it in. Don’t get mad at them! They’re just turning older and will occasionally make an accident. Take them outside more frequently to prevent them from leaking inside the house. If you notice that the cause is from a bladder infection, consult your veterinarian.
Senior dogs are more prone to getting disease and is harder for them to fight off illnesses. Consult your veterinarian if you see any sudden abnormal changes. It’s best to treat the problem before it becomes worse!