Posted 33d ago
Unfortunately, the reality of getting older is true for all of us – even our furry friends.
Ageing can bring us all a couple of different lifestyle changes, and dogs are no exception. Some will become less active, have their appearance change and possibly experience differences in their temperament, writes Jonathon Crump.
However, if you are thinking of adopting, don’t be put off by older dogs – they can still be an incredibly affectionate and loving addition to your family.
Remember, while it’s entirely normal for your dog to change in nature a little as they get older, this should not be confused with any medical problems. Always err on the side of caution and consult with your vet if you think something is amiss.
How to notice that your dog is getting older
Every breed is different, but there are a couple of common signs that your dog may be entering what Frank Sinatra called “the autumn of your life”.
The Kennel Club lists these potential changes
- Reduced Appetite
- Increased drinking (which may indicate diabetes, liver/kidney failure)
- Smelly Breath
- losing weight
- lumps or bumps
- exercise intolerance
- increased tiredness (hypothyroidism)
- difficulty passing urine or faeces
- becoming dull
- disorientated or having trouble with balance
Your dog may also change in appearance and possibly in temperament. Many older dogs lose some of their hearing and eyesight effectiveness, so be extra careful not to startle an elderly pet.
Managing some of the potential changes
Many elderly dogs may have to change their diet to manage their weight, with some vets recommending a lower-calorie diet as your dog gets older. However, rapid weight gain or loss can be a sign of a medical problem.
Joint problems can affect older dogs (especially first thing in the morning and/or in damper conditions), making weight control important.
Managing your dog’s exercise regime as they get older can be critical to both things, with vet’s recommending you begin to take a more “little but often” approach to walks.
You (and your dog groomers) should also keep your dog’s nails in check regularly in their old age.
Most importantly, regular vet visits are a must for older dogs - especially when you think they might have a problem. This can be especially useful when managing your dog’s teeth as they get older. More senior dogs will also require regular vaccinations, as well as flea and ringworm treatment.
Always consult a professional about your dog’s health, regardless of their age.
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