Is your old buddy acting in a strange and uncharacteristic manner? Old age can result in a lot of changes in senior dog’s behavior, as in humans. You have to pay attention to these changes early on, so you can make the necessary changes and allow your beloved pet to live a happy and full life.
One of the first senses to decline are your dog’s sensory or cognitive functions. Your dog will not be able to hear high-pitched sounds like before, so you might want to use your lower tone. You might also need to learn hand signals, which older dogs can fortunately learn easily.
Your dog’s mental functioning will decline at around six years. If your dog won’t turn six in a while, you might want to counteract the ill effects of aging on your dog’s mental health by feeding them foods that are rich in antioxidants and providing them a safe and socially healthy environment.
Physical decline is inevitable at your dog’s old age. Sure, they won’t be able to run and jump around but that shouldn’t stop you from playing with your old buddy. Exercise is still possible by playing small and fun games with your dog—like hiding treats in familiar areas and taking them on rides in your car.
If you find your older dog walking around aimlessly, pacing back and forth, barking randomly, or standing in a corner looking like he’s stuck, he may be suffering from cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). With CDS, the dog forgets he’s house-trained, or gets stuck behind furniture, or stares into a room as if he’s forgotten where he is, or barks for no apparent reason, or fails to recognize familiar people, or paces around, especially in the evening. In one study, two-thirds of dogs between 11 and 16 years of age showed at least one sign of CDS, and in another, almost half of dogs over the age of 8 years.
The brains of dogs with CDS show similar, but not identical, changes as those seen in human Alzheimer patients. These include deposits of beta-amyloid and the formation of plaques in the brain
Where indicated, your veterinarian can prescribe medication that can control the signs of CDS in many dogs. After a month of daily treatment, about 75 percent of dog owners report improvement in at least one sign of CDS in their dogs. About one third showed dramatic improvement, one third showed mild improvement, and one third showed little to no improvement. (Read More Here)
At its worst, advancement in age can result in some physical problems, like loss of sphincter control and urinary incontinence. These are problems not caused by CDS alone, and may be related to hormonal problems, diabetes or kidney disease. However, they are fully treatable—ask your veterinarian for drug therapy. You also ought to use urine puppy training pads, and rinse-free shampoo.
Through all the changes that your older buddy is going through, the most important lesson of all, of course, is to treat your beloved pet with respect and compassion. This is, after all, the time when your dog will need you the most.