Dogs get older just like their owners do, though their life span is relatively shorter. And just like humans, biological and physical changes are parts of their normal aging process. You may notice them as your pet continues to show them. But before you panic, be sure to set a regular appointment with your pet’s veterinarian to know what’s good for well-being of your aging dog.
Frequent visits to the veterinary clinic will help treat any medical problem and diagnose chronic diseases. Knowing what to expect from your senior dog will help you cope up with the changes, thus learning how to handle them. Who says these physical and biological changes have to stop you from spending more time with your dog and continue doing the things you both love to do?
Here are just some of the things you need to know about your aging dog.
Slowing down – You may notice that you dog slows down some with aging. This isn’t always the case, but look for subtle changes in how s/he gets up, lays down, and uses stairs.
Graying around the face, muzzle – One of my dogs went prematurely gray at two years of age, but most dogs commonly show a bit of gray starting at middle age (5-6 years).
Reduced hearing – Is your dog hard to wake up after sleeping or does s/he become startled easily if you approach from behind?
Cloudy or “bluish” eyes – As they age, dog’s eyes often show a bluish transparent “haze” in the pupil area. This is a normal effect of aging, and the medical term for this is lenticular sclerosis.
Muscle atrophy – Mild loss of muscle mass, especially the hind legs, may be seen with old age. (Click here to learn more about what to expect from senior dogs and how to care for them)
All in all, it’s important that as an owner, you are aware that your pet ages faster than you. But through the implementation of better nutrition or balanced diet and regular veterinary check-ups as well as excellent care coming from you, you may add a few years to your dog’s life.
Now that you know what to expect from your senior dog, it is now your responsibility to keep him happy and healthy during his geriatric years. Who knows? He may be wagging his tail at the front door and licking your face for a few more years to come.