Watching your dog age can be difficult. They’re often less enthusiastic and active as they once were and the effects of time are beginning to show. Many start developing ailments you probably weren’t prepared for. While some of them might be hereditary, some of them could be due to poor lifestyle habits or choices on your part. This is why you should know what type of issues you can expect so you can be ready for early signs. Act early, and you might be able to prevent some of them. Here are some of the most common health issues older dogs have to face.
Joint pain and osteoporosis are two of the most common problems older dogs start to experience. Joint pain and stiffness are caused by gradual and natural joint degradation, while osteoporosis is a degenerative disease where bone density starts to drop. While joint issues can occur with any dog, some breeds are more prone to it, e.g. larger dogs like Labradors, Doberman Pinschers, or Rottweilers.
The good news is that there are tons of things that you can do to relieve some of that discomfort. One is through supplementation. You have joint tablets for dogs like YuMOVE that contain a combination of ingredients that can help promote better bone and joint health. Their joint tablets for dogs contain things like glucosamine, omega 3s, and manganese, all of which have been proven to prevent degeneration and reduce discomfort. The tablets also have the benefits of being tasty, so you won’t have to fight with your aging dog for them to take them.
You might also want to modify their environment to accommodate them. Make sure that their bedding is well padded and away from the cold and reduce the number of times you walk them. Make sure that you feed them nutrient-rich food. You could also sign them up for massage therapy as it has been shown to stimulate blood flow to the joints and relieve pain.
Dogs will also start to lose some of their vision and hearing as they get older. We can blame tissue degeneration for the loss of eyesight. Dogs are also much more likely to develop cataracts. This is when a cloudy film starts forming over the retina leading to complete or partial blindness.
Cataracts can be removed surgically, however. Also, dogs don’t rely on their sense of sight as much as humans and can find their way using their vision and their sense of smell at the same time. When it comes to loss of hearing, however, the damage is often irreversible. The best thing you can do to prevent it is by cleaning your dog’s ears as often as you can.
This can be one of the toughest issues to witness. Like humans, dogs can start showing signs very similar to Alzheimer’s or become senile as they age. They can start having bathroom accidents or look confused in rooms they were once familiar with, for instance. Others might start to bark for no reason.
The sad thing here is that there is no real cure for this. You can try to act early by providing them with good nutrition full of antioxidants. You can also try to keep them as active as possible before they get older. Heavy socialization with other dogs could also help them maintain important neural connections.
As your dog ages, it’s very important that you get them screened for cancer as often as you can. They will also be more prone to developing bumps and bruises, but not all of them will be malignant. Regular screenings will allow you to see what they actually have and be able to get treatment early. Certain dog breeds are also more prone to developing cancer, which is why you should consult with a vet early and ask if your dog’s breed could be an issue.
Heart problems are another common problem for senior dogs, though dogs of all ages are affected. Congestive heart failure is one of the most common, and it occurs when a dog’s heart is not able to pump fluid efficiently. The fluid then starts accumulating in the chest cavity, heart, and lungs.
In this case, you have to pay special attention to potential symptoms and go see a vet right away. Some of the common symptoms of congestive heart failure include excessive coughing, unexplained vomiting, exercise intolerance, and loss of consciousness. Chances are you’ll also need to make modifications to their diet to reduce the chances of complications.