7 Things That Change as Senior Dogs Get Older
While the average lifespan of a healthy dog is 10-13 years, some can live much longer. As senior dogs age, they begin to show signs of age-related decline, similar to humans. While several changes occur in a senior dog, the most common include:
They Take Longer to Respond to Training Cues
This is because they are slower to learn and remember new things. Owners who used to succeed with their dogs may find themselves frustrated when their older pet fails at learning something new or responding quickly enough in a particular situation.
Decreased Energy Levels
The dog might need more naps in the middle of the day and sleep more than usual. He might also have trouble getting up from a lying position or walking without assistance. You'll also notice the dog putting more effort into activities that were previously easy to manage, such as running, jumping, or even moving around.
Higher Susceptibility to Diseases and Injury
Senior dogs are at risk of contracting different diseases because of their immune system changes. It's common to see a senior dog have joint pain and stiffness due to Osteoarthritis. Other senior dog diseases include cancer, dental issues, reduced kidney and lung functions, and heart disease. Further, senior dogs can take fairly long to recover from these diseases.
Senior dogs undergo certain physical changes as they get older. While each dog differs, the most common include:
- Cloudy eyes
- Horrible breath
- Changes in weight
- Urine incontinence or 'challenges when going.
- Skin bumps and lumps
- Greying and thinning fur
- Dense footpads and fragile nails
- Changes in their nutritional needs
- Reduced cognitive functions
While some of these physical changes are natural, ensure you talk to your vet about how to navigate through them.
Fading Sense of Smell, Eyesight, and Hearing
Senior dogs can lose their sense of smell, making detecting scents, even food, difficult. They may need help in basic tasks like navigating around the house or outside. Additionally, they may not be able to hear commands from you as well as before; this could lead them to do something unexpected.
General Reduced Physical Activity
A combination of several factors, including age, level of fitness, and changes in the effectiveness of the dog's joints, and overall health, can cause the senior dog's reduced physical activity. The dog may have trouble running as fast or jumping as high. You may notice that they're not as interested in socializing, walking, or playing with humans and other dogs.
Sensitivity to Loud Noises and Bright Lights
Senior dogs may be more sensitive to loud noises and bright lights, making them feel even more uncomfortable. For instance, lights and sounds from fireworks or thunderstorms become unappealing to them. Due to this sensitivity, senior dogs might be willing to stay indoors and enjoy the quiet rather than go outside.
How to Love and Care for a Senior Dog in Tempe
Adapting to the changes your furry buddy is going through can be challenging. However, there are steps you can take to care for and love them, making them feel younger:
- Prepare a well-balanced and digestible meal and enough fluids
- Regular exercise
- Games and puzzles to stimulate their cognitive functions
- Regular consultation with a vet. There are several around Arcadia, Chandler, and Laveen and throughout Arizona
- Improve your home to make it more senior dog friendly
- Maintain a consistent daily routine
- Don't skip on grooming and cleanliness to reduce the risk of infections
- Take out a pet insurance cover to help in case of illnesses and accidents
Fill Your Senior Dog's Life in Sun Lakes With Love and Beauty
Aging is normal in dogs, just like in humans. Be patient with your senior dog; love them and pet them more. Their remaining days should be full of love, beauty, and wonder from you.
At Senior Helpers, we offer specialized in-home senior to persons over the age of 65 and their loved ones in Arcadia, Chandler, and Laveen and throughout Arizona. Contact us today to learn more about services.