Older dog: what are the signs that show that my dog ​​is aging?

 Older dog: what are the signs that show that my dog ​​is aging?

Older dog: what are the signs that show that my dog ​​is aging?

As with any living being, the aging of the dog is accompanied by physical and sometimes behavioral changes. The appearance of the signs of aging varies of course according to the dogs and especially according to their breed and their size since the large dogs live less long than the small ones. Here are the main signs of aging that you can detect in your pooch.

At what age is a dog considered senior?

A dog is considered old in proportion to its life expectancy. Thus, the first signs of aging are likely to appear around 9 years old for small dogs, 8 years old for medium dogs, and 6 years old for large dogs. This threshold beyond which the aging of the animal begins to be felt is called the senescence threshold. We can then observe various changes of a physiological order (graying hair, difficulty in moving, alteration of the senses...) and psychological (senility, anxiety, incontinence...).

Obviously, the aging process in dogs will not happen overnight, it fortunately takes several years! It is nevertheless important to know how to recognize the signs to adapt his lifestyle, his diet, and the care to be provided to accompany him as best as possible in his old age.

Physical signs of aging in dogs

Being attentive to the symptoms of aging in your dog can keep him healthy longer. To do this, we can observe several signals that are relatively easy to take into account:

  • a duller general appearance, mainly seen in the hairs: the appearance of gray or white hairs, hair loss in places, thinner and less shiny fur.
  • visual impairment: older dogs tend to lose their sight, which can go as far as blindness in the event of cataracts; we then observe an opacity of the lens and the animal may seem more and more disoriented in its environment, bumping into itself while moving because it becomes visually impaired.
  • impaired hearing that can go as far as advanced deafness: it happens that the dog no longer responds to calls, has surprise reactions because he does not hear you coming, etc.
  • weight loss possibly accompanied by a loss of appetite: like the elderly, old dogs may show less attraction to food, be more difficult, and have difficulty eating; conversely, they can gain weight if their diet is no longer suitable.
  • digestive and intestinal disorders, kidney failure: diarrhea and vomiting, constipation, incontinence (sometimes due to senility), dehydration, increased thirst, or, on the contrary, a refusal to drink and/or s to feed in case of renal insufficiency.
  • diabetes: any dog ​​that has passed the threshold of old age should be checked for diabetes at the veterinarian, in case of weight loss and increased thirst with or without loss of appetite.
  • poorer general shape: lack of vitality, difficulty with exercise, shortness of breath, fatigue, decreased motivation for play and outings, loss of motor skills, stiffness, osteoarthritis, long periods of sleep...

Psychological signs of aging in dogs

They necessarily go hand in hand with the physical difficulties and fatigue felt by the dog. He may then show less enthusiasm for his formerly favorite activities, be less reactive to your requests, seem disoriented in certain places, even known ones, want tranquility or even isolation, become a homebody or morose, show signs of depression. Any or all of these symptoms may or may not be related to what is called dog senility, degeneration due to the progressive breakdown of brain tissue.

The dog suffering from senility can bark or whine for no apparent reason, sometimes in an untimely way, undergo disorientation in space, can no longer bear loneliness, and feel anxiety that can lead him to do stupid things in the absence of his masters: defecating indoors, having destructive behaviors in the house, lying on the beds, entering rooms that have always been forbidden to him... These signs reminiscent of separation anxiety can occur when he did not suffer from it before.

What can I do to help and accompany my old dog?

To soothe the older dog in this new period of its life, it is first necessary to provide it with more quiet time and a comfortable place away from sources of agitation. We can offer him a larger basket where he can lie down despite his pain, a thicker cushion, a blanket... In general, we will be careful not to disturb him or ask him more than he needs. is necessary, while being present and benevolent towards him. It goes without saying that reducing the frequency and duration of walks is recommended if he doesn't seem to enjoy them anymore.

Particular care must be taken for his well-being and health: do not make him run, avoid going up and downstairs, regularly check the condition of his eyes, ears, hair, examine in search of tumors or any abnormal size... In short, routine hygiene and monitoring care must be increased in frequency, as well as visits to the veterinarian. Two to three consultations per year are recommended, including two complete health check-ups (against an annual check-up in non-senior dogs). These control examinations will make it possible to detect any anomaly or emerging pathology, to take care of them as quickly as possible, and thus improve the comfort and life expectancy of your companion.

Some alternative medicines can also bring well-being to aging dogs: homeopathy, herbal medicine, osteopathy, etc. Consult your veterinarian if you have the slightest doubt about your animal's state of health and get advice on the aspects to be adapted: care, food, supplements, medication...

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