As much as we want to stay young and energetic, we are all bound to age and weaken. The same truth applies to our dogs. You may see them running around and playing rough right now, but in a few years, you will see some changes that come with old age. As their owner, it is important that you know how to spot those changes and what to do about them. Your pet ages in dog years and that is faster than how you age. This is the time when they need you more than ever so make sure to support them well.
Changes to Look Out for as Your Dog Ages
Here are some expected changes that your dog may exhibit as he ages. Make sure to be mindful and observant.
Heightened Anxiety Levels
You may be wondering why your dog tends to be more agitated or irritated when dealing with other dogs, hearing sounds, encountering visitors, or when you are leaving. These are situations that may not have mattered in the past but are happening now because of your dog’s increased anxiety levels. As your dog ages, it becomes harder for them to deal with stress and fears. Hence, their anxiety levels increase which leads to this type of behavior.
When this happens, try going for a walk regularly, play games, lessen stimulation especially when in public or in a fairly new place or when dealing with new faces. Establish a daily routine so your dog knows how his day is going to turn out, thereby lessening his anxieties throughout the day.
Tooth Decay and Gum Problems
As they age, you will notice the presence of plaque, bad breath, loss of appetite, and swollen gums. This is usually because of decaying teeth and gum infections that have gone as far as their bloodstream. This is why it is important to promote proper dental health and hygiene while your dog is still young. Make sure that they are getting enough nutrition to keep their gum and tooth health in their best shape. Age-related dental problems can develop over time; make this less painful and more comfortable by checking on their dental health from time to time.
Sight and Hearing Problems
Like humans, dogs can also develop hearing and visual challenges as they age. You may notice this in instances where your dog becomes less responsive to when you call them or when you try to play games with them. Sometimes, this may be mistaken as aggression because some dogs that do not hear or see a person approaching them may be startled when someone touches them out of the blue. To prepare them for this, you can start training them so heed to hand signals. In this way, they do not need to solely rely on sound to understand what you want to say. For visual problems, you can help in transitioning them by creating a fixed area for all their needs. By creating a controlled and fixed environment for them, things get easier as they are used to habitual practice. Make sure to remove clutters around the area to prevent injuries and accidents.
Poor Bladder Control
As your dog ages, you have to practice being more patient. This is because they tend to lose the ability to control their bladder effectively. Sometimes, you may find them peeing during unexpected times like when they are scared, stressed, or have been around the area for some time. You can have them checked by a veterinarian if you see the signs of this ensuing. You can also provide more areas for peeing to help minimize your load on cleaning in case it happens.
Stiff and Painful Joints
If you notice that your dog has less energy and is not engaging much in different activities, it is very likely that they are experiencing troubles with their joints and muscles. Dogs’ bodies degenerate just as humans do. So as a dog owner, you have to prepare them for this situation by giving those supplements and vitamins as they age. If they are already suffering from such, have a veterinarian prescribe anti-inflammatory and pain relievers to lessen the chances of them being inactive and unable to eat properly. You also have to look for diet suitable for older dogs that are showing symptoms of degenerative diseases.
Dogs have their own limitations just as humans do. Responsible dog ownership entails the preparedness and willingness to take on measures that will help them prepare for their old age. Make sure to prolong your patience and be observant. Look out for the conditions mentioned above as these can easily be approached and treated with the help of professionals. Help make your dog have a comfortable and pleasant aging.