Senior Dogs 101: What changes can I expect in my senior dog? | Small Door Veterinary

written by the medical experts at small door

As your dog gets older, he will experience many changes, from graying to loss of mobility, vision and hearing changes, and increased susceptibility to medical problems. While some changes may be more noticeable than others, it’s important to be aware of everything you can expect from your aging pup. He continues reading to learn everything you need to know, plus tips to keep them healthy well into their senior years.

Reading: Old age in dogs

in this article:

  • When is a dog considered a senior?

    What changes can I expect in my senior dog?

    • thinning and graying of the coat in older dogs

      reduced activity and mobility in older dogs

      weight changes in senior dogs

      temperature susceptibility in senior dogs

      hearing and vision loss in older dogs

      behavioral changes in older dogs

      dental problems in older dogs

      medical problems in older dogs

      Should you have a puppy when you have an old dog?

      Read more: Can Dogs Eat Tortillas? What To Know About Dogs And Tortillas

      summary of changes to expect in an older dog

      Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not age at 7 years per human year. how quickly they age actually varies based on their size, with large and giant dogs aging faster than smaller breeds. The following is a rough guide to when dogs are considered senior:

      • small dogs (under 20 lbs): 7-10 years old

        medium dogs (10-22 kg): from 7 years old

        Large (51-90 lbs) and Giant (over 90 lbs) dogs: 5 to 6 years old

        however, dogs don’t get older overnight. Aging is a slow and gradual process, and changes can be subtle, so it’s important to closely monitor your dog’s health and behavior and discuss any changes you notice with your veterinarian.

        There are many natural changes that occur during the aging process, and it’s important to consider the changes you may need to make to accommodate your dog’s changing abilities, senses, and preferences. Here is a list of common changes to expect as your puppy ages:

        thinning and graying of the coat in older dogs

        One of the most obvious signs of aging in your dog is a distinguished, silvery muzzle. It is normal for a dog’s coat to turn gray or white as it ages, especially around the face. graying usually begins around age 5, but you may notice odd gray hair as early as a year or two.

        In addition to turning gray, you may notice your dog’s coat thinning a bit. again, this is normal as hair follicles age. However, if you notice complete hair loss in large areas, or any signs of discomfort, such as over-grooming or reddening of the skin, it could indicate a condition such as atopic dermatitis, or hormonal problems such as Cushing’s disease or Cushing’s disease. hypothyroid, among others. other possibilities, so it’s best to get your dog checked out.

        reduced activity and mobility in older dogs

        It’s normal for your dog to slow down a bit as he gets older. they will generally have less stamina and will not be able to exercise for as long as when they were younger. you may need to reduce the length of your walks and adjust to less strenuous activities; they may need to “retire” as your running partner!

        It is also normal for them to experience a little stiffness from time to time. however, if your dog begins to avoid exercise and playtime, has difficulty with daily activities such as climbing stairs or jumping on the couch, or notices that he is slower or stiff, especially after periods of rest, it is You may have a joint problem. such as arthritis, which you should check out at the vet.

        weight changes in older dogs

        As your dog becomes less active, he will gain weight unless you adjust his food accordingly. Weight gain can have a huge impact on a dog’s life; it increases the risk of a number of conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease, among others. it also reduces their quality of life by putting more pressure on their body, making it difficult for them to move around and enjoy their walks and playtime. That’s why it’s so important to keep a close eye on your dog’s weight as he ages.

        Weight loss can also occur in older dogs, but this is usually related to a medical issue, so it’s important to contact your veterinarian if you notice weight loss or changes in your dog’s appetite.

        temperature susceptibility in senior dogs

        As their body slows down, some older dogs may find it difficult to regulate their temperature as effectively as when they were younger. they may have trouble keeping warm in the winter or cool in the summer, so it’s important to take extra precautions to avoid problems like heat stroke or hypothermia.

        hearing and vision loss in older dogs

        Some degree of hearing and vision loss is normal in older dogs, but this deterioration of the senses can have a noticeable impact on your pup. Keep in mind that dogs suffering from progressive deafness or vision loss may be more easily startled and may snap. take special care with small children in these cases.

        Read more: How to Brush Your Dogs Teeth | Small Door Veterinary

        Hearing loss can be treated if it is due to certain medical problems, such as inflammation of the ear, but unfortunately there is often nothing that can be done in some cases. When it comes to vision loss, if it is caused by a medical condition like cataracts or glaucoma, it can be treated with medication or surgical intervention. Certain other conditions, such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a genetic disorder, cannot be treated. If you notice any signs of vision loss, such as your dog bumping into things, you should see a vet.

        behavioral changes in older dogs

        Behavior changes may be one of the first signs of aging you notice. Dogs may become more irritable or reluctant to engage in their old favorite activities if they are struggling with pain or discomfort due to arthritis or another condition. In general, older people may prefer more relaxed activities than they did as boisterous adults, and are likely to spend more time resting and sleeping.

        Senior dogs can also suffer from cognitive decline or senility, known as canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), similar to Alzheimer’s. Symptoms are often first noticed as confusion, agitation, restlessness, and vocalization during the evening hours, known as “sunset syndrome.” however, cognitive decline can also be caused by other medical conditions, which must be ruled out first.

        dental problems in older dogs

        Dogs of all ages can suffer from dental problems, but older dogs are particularly susceptible to problems like periodontal disease, after a lifetime of tooth wear. You should continue to brush their teeth with a dog-safe toothpaste once a day and have their oral health checked by your veterinarian at least every 6 months.

        As your dog ages, his teeth may also weaken, so he may not be able to handle toys and chew toys as forcefully as he used to. As a general rule, if you can’t indent the teether with your fingernail, it’s too hard for your dog.

        medical problems in older dogs

        As dogs age, their immune systems weaken and they often become more susceptible to illness and disease. It’s important to keep up with your monthly preventatives to keep parasites at bay and to follow the vaccination schedule recommended by your veterinarian.

        It’s also important to remember that aging doesn’t just happen on the outside. As his coat turns gray, a senior dog’s organs age as well. This increases your chance of developing certain diseases and conditions. Medical conditions that are more common in older dogs include arthritis, cataracts, hormonal problems such as hypothyroid disease, kidney disease, and cancer.

        You may have heard that a puppy will restore energy and vitality to your older dog, and training a puppy is much easier when he can learn from the adult. however, there are several things to consider before adding a new dog to your family:

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