Is your dog aged six or older? If so, Fido may be near—or already in—his golden years. Dogs don’t all age at the same rate, however. Your pet’s breed will play a huge role in how and when he ages. Large dogs, like Great Danes, are generally considered seniors by age six. Smaller pooches, however, aren’t considered seniors until they are about ten. No matter what type of pup you have, it’s important to watch for signs of aging. A Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet lists some of them below.
Older dogs often get confused or forgetful. Fido may forget where his doggy bed is, or get ‘lost’ in the hall. He may also act disoriented and/or pace a lot. Or he just may not seem like himself. This type of behavior is often normal, but can sometimes be indicative of a specific medical issue, such as cognitive dysfunction syndrome, or, in other words, doggy dementia.
As Fido ages, he will slowly lose interest in his toys, and spend more and more time napping. He may also become stiff and sore, and have trouble getting around, especially if he develops arthritis or hip dysplasia. Ramps or stairs can help dogs stay mobile, while supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, may help with bone/joint trouble.
Incontinence is not uncommon in older pups. (Never yell at your furry buddy for this: often dogs are very embarrassed by this issue.) If notice an increase in Fido’s urination, or if your pooch is straining to go, call your vet: these things may indicate kidney problems or UTIs.
Just like people, senior dogs sometimes have trouble with their ears and eyes. Fido may bump into things, for instance. Or, he may not hear you when you call him.
Some signs of aging are a bit more subtle. Dental problems, for example, are not unusual. These are often marked by bad breath, bleeding gums, and/or tartar build up. You may also notice skin issues, such as lumps and bumps, dry skin, or bald spots. Changes in weight are also quite common. If you see any of these symptoms, consult your vet immediately. Medicine, treatment, and/or dietary changes may help manage your beloved pet’s medical issues, and help keep him comfortable.
Please contact us, your Saskatoon, Saskatchewan vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!