Is your dog getting older? Whether you adopted your dog when she was a puppy or as an adult, you expected years of fun and companionship. Unfortunately, dogs age faster than adults and you expect to eventually see her grow old.
Aging is a normal process which you can accommodate by knowing your dog well and adjusting your lifestyles to suit her needs. By being aware of her changing behaviors and health concerns you can continue to have a great friend well into her old age.
How To Care For Your Older Dog
The Aging Process
All dogs age differently, as defined by their breed and their individual personalities. Some dogs may become thin and require special attention to their feeding to assure they eat a healthy diet while others become lethargic and gain weight. Some dogs may become grumpy even though they were quite friendly in their younger years.
Most older dogs have become accustomed to a schedule and will be less adventurous concerning situations outside of their regular routine. Each of these aspects of aging can be accommodated if you pay attention as you always have and adjust to your dog’s set of needs.
Digestive Health and Energy Levels
Older dogs tend to develop dental issues which lead to pain during eating, or they may develop digestive problems which make them eat less. There are specialty foods available for older dogs which can be softer or use specific ingredients to provide the nutrition they need, but they do need to eat the proper amount in order to maintain their fitness.
Whether a result of eating less or the aging process in general, dogs’ energy levels are likely to drop as they get older. Again, at a reasonable level this is normal and nothing to be concerned about, as long as they are able to get enough exercise to stay healthy.
Symptoms and Conditions to Watch For
Changes in your dog’s behavior and eating patterns are normal, but the main issue which shows there may be a problem is when changes occur suddenly, seemingly overnight. In such a case, you’ll need to schedule an extra visit with your veterinarian who can determine whether there is any immediate action which needs to be taken and if your dog needs to start having more than an annual checkup.
Any time your dog is limping or seems to have trouble getting up and moving around can be cause for concern, but with older dogs it may be caused by joint problems or arthritis rather than an immediate injury. Again, your vet can describe the problem and a solution, whether surgery or medication.
When your dog begins to show signs of aging, try not to get too worried, it’s normal and with the proper care you two still going to have years of love for each other. You two have cared for each other for years, you know her well enough to accommodate her needs.
Check with our staff at North Dallas Veterinary Hospital about the best health for your pet!