It is important as an older dog owner to familiarize yourself with the signs of aging. It is important as an older dog owner to familiarize yourself with the signs of canine aging. Recognizing health issues and knowing how to deal with them will help your four-legged friend live his golden years with comfort and happiness.
Mental routine and Physical Therapy
You can help slowing down his natural aging process by providing him with a mental routine and physical therapy.
Dogs like to work and play with you. This will keep their mind sharper and from becoming lethargic.
Massaging your dog will help with joint stiffness and improve blood circulation…Not mentioning that he will love it!
Blindness and deafness
A bluish, hazy film on his eyes is normal and he can see through it. However, a whitish, heavy growth of cataracts can lead to blindness. You should learn the difference.
Because sight is not a dog’s primary sense,(smell is), most dogs becoming blind will learn the land layout and will be just fine. Just remember not to move things around the house and yard.
Your dog’s hearing might diminish as he ages. He will start not responding to his name, verbal commands and even bark for no reason.
Most are usually benign fatty tumors which are round, soft with well define edges. Any change (especially fast) of size or shape should be check by your veterinarian.
Stiffness and Arthritis
These two conditions are very common in older dogs. Although there are no cure for them, treatments are widely available. Glucosamine Chondroitin supplements and anti-inflammatory medications will help considerably.
Make sure that he gets daily moderate exercise, but moderate his play dates, as he could get painfully stiffed next morning if he plays too rough with other dogs.
Do not let your dog get overweight as extra weight will add extreme stress on his joints. Feed him a well balanced diet, low fat and that contains vitamins and anti oxidants. If he shows difficulties bending to reach his food or water, get him an elevated dog feeder which will help him tremendously. Such a feeder will relieve strain on his neck, shoulders and joints.
On the opposite, sudden weight loss could be a sign of internal problems. Make sure to check it with your veterinarian.
Skin and Coat
Your older dog might get a duller coat and dryer skin. A daily dose of Omega 3 fish oil will keep his coat shiny and his skin healthy. Grooming and bathing on a regular basis is also a good idea.
Dog can develop these conditions just like Humans (Alzheimer’s). 70% of 16 year old dogs become more disoriented, getting stuck in corners, starring into space. You can help your dog by guiding him and talking to him.
It is sometimes difficult to see our best friend going through all this, but we will grow old also. Remember that love is the best therapy!