1. Slowing Down: One of the most common signs of a dog’s older age is slowing down. Your dog may not be the first one up in the morning anymore or they may not be into those morning jogs as much. Typically, this is normal for older dogs but if it is a fast, drastic change it’s a good idea to take your pup into the vet to make sure they don’t have arthritis or thyroid issues. As dogs slow down so does their metabolism which can bring on some extra weight. To keep your dog fit and feeling good a change in diet may be necessary but again, it’s a good idea to consult with a veterinarian. Feeding your dog a higher quality diet will help them to maintain a healthy lifestyle even as they age.
2. Bathroom Breaks: As your pup gets older they may require more bathroom breaks than normal. Going outside to pee may increase from twice to 4 times. If your dog is having accidents inside the house and they are older you may need to let them have outdoor access more often or leave them with pee pads.
3. Cloudy Eyes: Cloudiness in the eyes doesn’t necessarily mean cataracts but when you do notice it in your dog take them to the vet just to be sure. The blueish gray coloring may mean nuclear sclerosis which is normal and no cause for concern. However, there is a chance it could be cataracts, glaucoma, corneal dystrophy or anterior uveitus.
4. Bad Breath: If your dog’s breath becomes worse than usual ask to have their teeth checked as dental disease can be an issue for older dogs. If you haven’t considered brushing our dog’s teeth now may be a good time to try but if you can’t, use dental treats and toys.
Just because your dog is older doesn’t mean exercise is out of the question. Unless your dog suffers from an illness that keeps them from walking, your dog still needs exercise. Perhaps not as much or as fast, but they still enjoy their neighborhood stroll and hike. There supplements and vitamins for elderly dogs that tailor to specific needs so it may be worth looking into for your dog!
Not everything has to stop as your dog ages. Keep them active, entertained and challenged. Let us know your tips to caring for your senior dog!