While nobody likes to think about their dog getting older and succumbing to ailments associated with old age, it is better to be prepared for the future rather than to bury your head in the sand.
When it comes to senior dogs, there are a number of health concerns that you should be aware of and be able to recognise.
From hearing loss to vision impairment, joint pain to dementia, keep reading to discover the six most common health problems in older dogs and how they can be treated.
1. Vision Loss
Deterioration of eyesight is incredibly common as dog’s age, with senior dogs being much more prone to cataracts than their younger counterparts.
If you think your dog may have cataracts, you can ask your vet to have these surgically removed. However, as dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell when it comes to navigating their environment, you should find that they can still get around even with impaired vision.
2. Joint problems
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of joint pain and stiffness in senior dogs. A progressive degenerative disease of which there is no cure, this joint support treatment for dogs with bad mobility from Buddy & Lola can significantly improve your dog’s quality of life.
Nutrition is also crucial in dogs with joint problems, so you must make sure that your senior dog is eating a healthy and nutrient-rich diet.
In the same way that people can lose their cognitive function as they age, so can dogs. If your dog is acting confused or disorientated or barking for no apparent reason and appears to get lost in familiar surroundings, these are all signs of dementia in dogs.
If you notice these behaviours, you should take your senior dog to the vet as soon as possible so that they can diagnose your dog and recommend medications.
As your dog gets older, their chance of developing cancer increases. Although lumps and bumps on the body are common for older dogs, you should always get them checked out quickly if you notice any new lumps.
Your vet can also advise you on regular screenings that can detect cancers that are not easily seen or felt.
5. Hearing Loss
Hearing loss in older dogs is nearly always permanent, so, unfortunately, they will not get it back once your dog starts to lose their hearing. Make sure that you regularly clean your dog’s ears as this can help slow down hearing loss progression.
If your dog still has good eyesight, you may want to think about training them to understand hand signals so that you can keep them safe when you are out and about.
6. Heart problems
Heart disease is common in older dogs and can be recognised by coughing, difficulty breathing, an intolerance to exercise, and unexplained vomiting. The most widespread heart condition in senior dogs is congestive heart failure which occurs when the heart is not able to pump blood efficiently, and fluid becomes backed up in the heart and lungs.
If you suspect your dog has a heart problem, make an appointment with your vet to talk through your options.