Life with Aging Dogs - Problems and Tips

Is your dog aging? Do you know how to cope with an old dog? If not, we are here to help!!

Understanding senior dog behavior can get tricky. You might be wondering that it has only been a few years since Rover was born. Then, why my dog is pacing and acting weird?

The reason, simply put, is that dogs age faster than humans. Their bodies get old five to seven times faster than humans.

There is no denying the fact that you love your pet. You surely don’t want them to cross the rainbow bridge and leave you alone in this lonely world. To keep them healthy, you have to put in some effort.

Alas!, your dog is getting older. They may not possess the same energy as they did when they were a tiny pup. Regardless, never forget, every cloud has a silver lining. Here are some tips to keep your old pal as fit as a fiddle. Besides, the guide can assist you to increase your aging dog’s lifetime too. 

Problems with A Senior Dog

Visual and auditory loss

Tissue degeneration in the eyes and ear is the most common cause of vision and hearing problems in dogs. Your senior dog might eventually develop cataracts in the eyes.

 

Cataracts are the condition in which a cloudy layer is formed on the eyes. Luckily, it can be removed. However, it won’t be able to make your dog as alert and active as they were before. 

It is because old dogs rely more upon a sense of smell than on hearing. It assists them in navigating and perceiving their surroundings. 

Kidney Problems

Kidney problems are another ailment predisposed to your senior dog. As your dog ages, they might develop an incurable chronic kidney failure.

Some of the medications suggested to your pet can also cause renal issues. Therefore, to keep your old pup healthy, a complete checkup every six months is recommended.

A routine blood screening for your old dog is an effective way of early diagnosing kidney problems. Here are some signs that your dog is suffering from kidney failure: blood in urine, ulcers in the mouth, weight loss, and pale gums. 

Joint Pain and Stiffness

Have you observed your senior neighbor complaining about his crackling knees? The crunching sound that we hear is due to roughening of cartilage. Your senior dog is no different. 

Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent joint-related ailment in canines. It is a condition in which breakage of cartilage takes place. Cartilage is a rubbery material that reduces friction in your joints. 

You can help your senior dog by focusing on their nutritional needs. Incorporate protein-rich meals in their diet. If your old furry companion is a bit overweight, opt for lean proteins, such as turkey, grass-fed meat, and chicken. There are also many doggie supplements available to help lubricate your pup’s joints. 

Dementia

The aging process also affects the memory and brain activity of canines. If you’re often wondering,  “why my dog is pacing and acting weird?” cognitive dysfunction can be the answer. 

Other symptoms include barking, whining, disorientation, getting lost in familiar surroundings, bathroom accidents, and whining. The signs are somewhat similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

 

 The progression of these issues can result in other complications. Therefore, it is suggested to consult a vet for further assistance.

Gastric and Intestinal Incontinence

Old dogs usually have their muscle-controlling bladder weakened as they age.. However, this inability to control bowel movements can also indicate other problems. 

These problems can include liver or kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and colitis. If vomiting and diarrhea do not get resolved rapidly, consult a veterinarian. 

Gastric issues can also be the result of improper diet. Your senior dog might be suffering from gut infections. A thorough gut examination along with a prescribed diet is recommended for them.

How to calculate a dog age in human years

The University of California, San Diego of medicine has come up with a dog age calculating formula. It can help you calculate how old is a dog in human years. 

This formula is based on researches made by researchers studying dog and human DNA changes. These changes were identified by overlooking variations in DNA patterns called methyl groups in Labrador Retrievers and humans. 

It is arranged as: (human_age = 16 x(dog_age) + 31)

(1 year dog life equals to 7 human years life) 

It shows that you can calculate a dog’s age to human years. This is done by multiplying the natural logarithm of a dog’s age by 16 and adding 31. If you have a tough time understanding it, go for an automatic calculator. 

A more convenient and accurate method is as follows: 

  • One year of the dog’s living years equals fifteen human years.
  • The second year of a dog’s living equals around about nine human years
  • Each added year equals four or five human years. 

This methodology applies to small, medium, and large canines under 100 lbs.

How to cope With an Old Dog

Create Optimum Diet Plan

Food for old dogs should have the following qualities 

  • Filled with nutrients
  • Has optimum quality
  • Suitable for senior canines 

Usually, a low-calorie high-fiber diet is suggested if you have a senior dog. Instead of one big meal, try to give him multiple meals in a day. 

Engage him in Physical Activity

Get yourself alive and kicking with your oldie! A senior dog should never be left as an inactive pet or a couch potato.

A daily exercise will assist your canine in maintaining muscle strength, improve cognitive and cardiac functioning. It will support adequate blood circulation keeping your Fido healthy.

Maintain Healthy Weight

Is your pooch gaining weight once they have started aging? Have you ever wondered why is my dog panting and restless? If so, it is your time to consult a specialist.

Old dogs can readily gain weight. They won't require the same diet as they used to while they were young. Being obese can cause your senior dog to have many other problems. Such as kidney issues, diabetes, and cardiac ailments. 

Incorporate Treatment Modalities

Exercise and diet won't be enough to maintain your old buddy’s health. Your canine’s knee or joint pain might come in the way of his physical activity. 

In that case, it is necessary to take some extra help. Consult your vet to find the perfect treatments that can ease out the workout sessions of your senior dog. 

Such modalities include:

  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Supplements
  • Underwater treadmill therapy

Stay Attentive

You need to help your furball at the drop of a hat! Unlike young and middle-aged canines, old dogs have a weak immune system.

They would not be able to cope with sudden ailments and might get affected by symptom, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Therefore, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Follow up with Your Vet

Unfortunately, canines cannot communicate about their sufferings. Therefore, it is necessary to keep their health status checked in the routine. 

Old dogs should get examined professionally from snout to tail. The exam should include renal tests, blood screening, bone density assessment, and overall mental and physical fitness. 

Therefore, you should take your old guy or gal to the vet for an extensive checkup twice a year. You can also outline a preventive health care plan for your senior dog. 

Wrapping Up

Life with an aging dog can be a bit difficult. Specifically when their pace of maturing is so fast and quick. Nonetheless, you can surely keep your pooch in a healthy state with the right strategy and consistency. 

So review these common problems and solutions. These can surely help you out! 

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Life with aging dogs is difficult. Here are some ways to help you cope!

 


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