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Are you a pet owner of a senior dog? If your dog has been a loyal companion for years, you want to make sure your pet stays healthy. Dogs, like humans, have health needs as they age.
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The aging process in dogs is similar to people, it just happens faster. As your dog ages, there are symptoms you want to pay attention to.
Aging and Size
Aging in dogs varies significantly by size with large breed dogs aging at a faster rate than smaller breeds.
Do you now how to estimate your dog’s age? Here is one article which explains the same – Estimate Your Dog’s Age.
Just like us humans, aging impacts just about every part of a dog from their physical state to their emotional state. Below are some of the most common age-related changes impacting a senior dog.
Do you know the signs that tell you that your dog is in his golden years? Check out this article. All Signs Your Dog is His Golden Years
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Energy and Nutrition
Old dogs have slower metabolisms and are less active so keeping your senior dog healthy means less calories than younger dogs. If you feed your dog the same amount of food you would a younger, more active dog, they will become overweight.
An overweight dog is at risk for arthritis and other joint diseases, respiratory disease, diabetes, and kidney disease, which can result in a shorter lifespan.
Movement and Exercise
Arthritis is a common disorder affecting the joints of older dogs. Larger breeds carry more weight so they suffer from more acute arthritis than smaller dogs.
Some pet owners avoid the stress and side effects of drugs and surgery and explore natural treatments for arthritis and other joint diseases. Additionally, older dogs can benefit from treatments such as acupuncture and prolotherapy.
And, some dogs have other health issues that make them more susceptible to complications from surgery and the effects of prescription medications.
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The most common eye condition affecting senior dog health is nuclear sclerosis, a normal age-related change where the fibers in the lens of the eye lose some of their moisture, making them appear cloudy. Fortunately, this does not generally impact the dog’s vision.
A more serious eye condition is cataracts. If left untreated, cataracts will result in blindness. Cataracts can occur at any age, with smaller breeds such as Poodles, Shit Tzus, and Bijons most commonly affected. However, as dogs enter their senior years, cataracts frequently affect all breeds.
Dogs develop hearing loss as a normal part of the aging process. Although dogs have better hearing than humans, they can lose the ability to hear higher pitched noises. For example, they may not hear a child sneaking up behind them and bite out of fear.
Do you want your senior pet feel like a puppy again? Here is the one for you – Let Your Senior Dog Feel Like a Puppy Again
Other Medical Issues
All senior dogs are susceptible to chronic kidney disease as the kidney ages and tissues dies. It can be medically managed for a few months to a couple of years, but eventually a dog will die from it.
Since breaking down protein makes the kidneys work harder, you may want to feed your pet a lower protein diet.
And, just like humans, heart problems and cancer are also typically age-related diseases that can impact your senior dog’s health.
Certain breeds are more likely to have specific problems. For example:
- Scottish Terriers are predisposed to transitional cell carcinoma, a tumor of the urinary bladder
- Small breed dogs are more prone to endocardiosis, a condition that results in fluid backing up into the lungs, causing coughing and exercise intolerance.
Some health issues aren’t as obvious as other. Ask your vet what health issues are common for your pet’s breed. Or better yet, take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups every six to nine months. Your vet may be able to identify age-related diseases early and suggest treatments.
Here is a short video on how to care your senior pet.
If you enjoy watching a video than reading, this is for you.