Older Dog Health Problems – Common Health Problems Facing Senior Dogs

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Like all animals, as dogs age they tend to develop health problems unique to

older dogs. Many dog owners have a difficult time accepting this fact and

think that their lively pooch is not an older

dog and will not have health

problems. Dogs can, however, show signs of aging as early as seven

years old. Older dog health problems generally affect larger breeds

earlier than small breeds that tend to show signs of aging around 10 to 12 years

of age. The fact is that senior dog

health problems will eventually be a concern for every dog owner.

Common Health Problems Facing Older Dogs

All dogs are different and, depending on their size, breed and activity level,

will exhibit health problems differently. However, there are common health

issues that may manifest in all senior dogs including the following:

  • Joint and bone problems

  • An overall reduction in their metabolism
  • Difficulty with their eyes and ears
  • Liver and kidney dysfunctions
  • Skin becomes thin and less pliable while the coat becomes mottled and patchy
  • Problems with teeth and gums
  • Unlike a little puppy who has an endless supply of energy, an older dog will

    tend to slow down and take longer to lay down or stand up. Instead of

    bounding up the stairs your senior dog might take each stair one at a

    time. Your dog may develop arthritis, an inflammation of the joints

    causing pain and discomfort, which is generally the cause of this slowing

    down. There are a host of anti-inflammatory drugs that your veterinarian

    can suggest to reduce the discomfort caused by arthritis.

    In many cases, an older dog will have problems with their eyes as they develop

    cataracts or even glaucoma. A cataract will become obvious to the owner as

    the eyes have a cloudy appearance and tend to reflect light. Senior dogs

    may also develop glaucoma, an increased amount of pressure on the eyes, and can

    cause more serious problems if left untreated.

    The entire circulation system and many of the major organs are taxed in older

    dogs. The heart, lungs, liver and kidneys all become less efficient and

    the immune systems can become weak and vulnerable to viruses and bacteria.

    Serious health problems may develop in your senior dog as some of the symptoms

    develop gradually. It is your responsibility to maintain your older dog’s

    health and remain informed of the possible senior dog health problems that

    commonly arise.

    Helping Your Older Dog Overcome Health Problems

    As an aging dog inevitably develops health problems, you can help alleviate many

    of the symptoms and keep your pet comfortable. The most basic thing you

    can do is simply pay more attention to your senior dog making sure you’re aware

    of the changes taking place. Brush your dog’s coat daily and ask your vet

    if there are special shampoos to help with her skin and coat. Spend time

    rubbing your hands on his coat feeling for bumps or lesions. Be patient

    when your dog needs a little extra time walking up the stairs or jumping up into

    the car. Make sure you make regular visits to your vet and stay current on

    vaccinations. Brush your senior dog’s teeth regularly and have them

    professionally cleaned occasionally. Provide regular exercise while also

    making adjustments needed for your dog as she ages.

    As your older dog slows down, you might have to adjust her diet to help

    compensate for the reduction of energy for both her weight as well as her coat

    and her circulation system. Not only must the overall calorie intake be

    reduced, but you can also feed your senior dog specially formulated foods made

    to fit their particular needs. Try to purchase the most expensive, best

    quality food you can afford and avoid greasy table scraps.

    It’s an inevitable fact that dogs age, but you can make a difference in helping

    your older dog overcome health problems. Keep in mind that in the last

    eighty years or so the average lifespan of dogs has increased from 7 years to

    12. Expanding your knowledge and paying attention to your dogs health will

    help ensure your dog lives a long and comfortable life.

    Source by John Hinkley

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