Aging can take its toll on dogs, just as it does with humans. As dogs age, they can start to exhibit a number of issues, both physical and behavioral.
Don’t get frustrated when your senior dog starts acting out of sorts or doing things he doesn’t normally do. These behaviors are natural and this is the time when he will need your help most.
Here are a few common issues for senior dogs:
Accidents at Home
As your dog gets older, he might not hold his bladder as well. This could lead to incontinence, and as a result, may cause him to have accidents before he can let you know he has to go. To help prevent this, monitor your dog’s drinking. Only put down water at certain times of the day and take him out soon after he drinks. Also, consider products such as Senior Bladder Support or dog diapers.
Hearing loss is also common among aging dogs. It can be partial or complete, but realize there is a good chance your dog will have some degree of hearing loss. If he doesn’t respond to calls or commands the way he used to, help him out by patting him when you want his attention.
Another common problem is vision impairment. If you find your dog is suddenly anxious, is constantly at your side, barks more, sleeps more than usual, and is more reliant on you, chances are good his eyesight is failing him. Be patient with him. Guide him to where he needs to go and offer him the reassurance he needs.
Difficulty Getting Around
Another age-related problem dogs can experience is difficulty getting around. Arthritis often afflicts dogs and as their joints become inflamed, moving becomes painful. Try to offer a helping hand or make some adjustments if at home. Your dog may find it harder to get up and down the stairs or might just move more slowly. Aids such as Cosequin Plus and ArthriSoothe-Gold can also help improve joint mobility and relieve stiffness.
If you see any of these signs, check with your vet to confirm there aren’t other issues affecting him. But consider this a time to be kind to your aging dog and treat him with patience and understanding. He may be getting older, but he is still your best friend.