What Happens When Dogs Get Old?
Lots of us have a dog that is reaching his senior years. You may already have noticed a few changes in his appearance and his behavior. You may also have noticed your insurance premium starting to rise sharply too! This is because there is a greater risk of injury and illness in dogs that reach their old age. But don’t worry, you can do a lot to help him live out his life in great shape.
Like humans, dogs will start to slow down a little as they age. The bounce and excitement of their puppy hood are now long gone. Instead, cuddles and naps are their favorite two pastimes! Walks may be at a more leisurely pace, and there may be less straying from your side. Ball games such as fetch may finish a little sooner than they used to as well.
Exercise is essential for your dog no matter how old he gets. But as he ages, you can’t expect him to keep up with your old exercise program. You may need to get your vigorous exercise in other ways while he stays at home. Instead, take gentle walks. Don’t wander as far from home as you used to in case he fatigues. You could go around the block or the park twice to make up the difference.
Dogs can sometimes suffer age-related illnesses. Many of these only require supplements or a daily dose of a prescription medicine to manage. However, it is important that you keep an eye out for any changes in your dog’s eating or toileting habits. Sudden weight gain or loss could also be indicative of a more serious medical problem that requires urgent attention.
Your dog’s coat may also start to change. As humans age, our hair grays, becomes thinner, and changes in texture. Your dog’s fur will also change as he ages. His eyes will become less bright and clear, and his ears may be less upright. Even the tail may wag less! None of this means he is ill or in pain. But it’s worth noticing when your pet starts to reach his later years so you can adjust your lifestyle to help him at this time.
We all love our pets, and it is never easy to accept we will outlive our ‘fur babies.’ However, dogs and cats now live considerably longer than they did thirty or forty years ago. Better health care and understanding of the aging process can help us give our animals the quality of life they deserve in their senior years. Love your pet for life.
Filed under: Caring For Your Senior Dog
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