As your dog ages, he or she may suffer from health issues. Luckily, many of these conditions are treatable. Your veterinarian can provide you with advice and resources for improving your dog’s quality of life.
When dog’s age, they are prone to many health issues. These are often similar to the issues humans face as they get older. It is important to be proactive with your dog’s care to prevent these issues from occurring.
Some common senior dog health issues include arthritis, cancer, and kidney disease. Many of these can be treated with diet and medication. Other conditions can be managed with the help of a veterinarian.
When Is a Dog Considered a Senior?
It’s important to know when a dog is considered a senior. A senior dog will be more prone to illnesses and need more care. Senior dogs can lead happy and healthy lives if they are well taken care of.
The best time to find out when a dog is a senior is when they start showing signs of aging. This can happen in a number of ways. Some changes may be noticeable right away, while others are gradual.
The size of a dog and its breed will also play a big role in determining its age. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger breeds.
Smaller breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Shih Tzus, are not considered seniors until they reach the age of 10. Larger breeds, such as Great Danes and Labradors, are more likely to be old by the time they are eight.
One of the biggest clues that your pet is getting older is grey hair. However, you should not panic if you see gray hair on your dog. Grey hair can be a sign of an underlying health issue.
Common Health Problems In Senior Dogs
If you have an elderly dog, there are certain common health problems that you need to be aware of. It’s important to make sure that your pet’s health is taken care of so that it can stay healthy for a long time.
Hearing and Vision Loss
Senior dogs may experience some of the same health problems that we do. Besides the usual ailments, some dogs have issues with their vision and hearing. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to ensure your dog’s safety and well-being.
One way you can tell if your senior dog has lost the ability to hear is by checking for signs of ear wax buildup. If you notice a change in your dog’s ear, you’ll want to take him to the veterinarian for an exam. He’ll also check for foreign objects and obstructions in the ear.
Another way you can test for a loss of hearing is by exposing your dog to softer sounds. The average dog can hear tones at about 50 dB. You can also test your dog’s hearing by snapping your fingers close to one of his ears.
- Joint Problems
Senior dogs often suffer from joint problems, which may be caused by overuse, injury, or genetic predispositions. Proper management and treatment can improve the quality of life for your dog and prevent more serious conditions from developing.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that leads to the breakdown of cartilage and bone. The condition is most common in large-breed dogs and elderly animals and is characterized by inflammation, pain, and reduced mobility.
Osteoarthritis can be treated with a variety of therapies. The primary goal is to relieve pain and restore normal mobility. These treatments include medications, rehabilitation, and exercise.
In order to reduce the effects of osteoarthritis, a veterinarian will recommend a diet that is high in protein and low in fat. Exercise and weight management can also reduce stress on the joints.
- Dementia/Cognitive Dysfunction
Dog dementia is a degenerative condition that affects older dogs. It causes physical, behavioral, and cognitive changes. As the dog gets older, it may show decreased ability to recognize familiar people, objects, and places. They may also lose interest in socializing and become less responsive to outside stimuli.
Dementia in senior dogs is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans. The symptoms may come on suddenly, or they can be gradual. If you think your dog might have this disease, make an appointment with your vet.
There are several tests your vet can do to diagnose canine cognitive dysfunction. These tests can identify the severity of your dog’s memory. For example, the Canine Dementia Scale (CADES) can help detect if a dog is displaying the first signs of dementia.
Cancer in senior dogs is a reality for a large percentage of dogs. There are many types of cancer, and it is important to know what to look for and how to prevent it.
The most common forms of cancer in dogs include melanoma, osteosarcoma, and hemangiosarcoma. These are typically incurable cancers. However, treatment can often provide a good quality of life for the dog.
Anal gland cancer can be an extremely aggressive form of cancer, but there are many ways to help your dog. Your veterinarian can diagnose it and discuss options for treatment.
In addition to cancer, there are several other ailments that can affect your dog. For example, cataracts can be painful. They can affect your pet’s eyes, causing cloudiness or complete blindness.
- Heart Problems
If you have a senior dog, your veterinarian will likely recommend tests to detect heart problems. This can be a very important part of your pet’s care, as it can allow you to detect issues early on and prevent them from becoming a larger problem.
Often, veterinarians can identify heart problems with blood tests, electrocardiograms, and echocardiograms. Depending on the condition, they may also use dietary supplements to manage arrhythmias and inflammation.
Many dogs can live normal lives for years with proper treatment. The goal of heart disease therapy is to detect it as soon as possible, which can help extend a dog’s life.
Once you have a diagnosis, your vet will begin to recommend a treatment plan. Your vet will determine what medications are needed to treat the heart disease and monitor your dog’s heart function. Depending on the severity of the condition, your vet will often recommend rechecking evaluations on a regular basis.