Is Your Dog Getting Older? Information about Senior Dog Health

Is Your Dog Getting Older? Information about Senior Dog Health

Is Your Dog Getting Older? Information about Senior Dog Health

Contemplating senior dog health? We hate to see our dogs starting to lose the spring in their step they had when they were younger, but no matter how much we would love to, we can''t postpone the effects of getting older indefinitely.

Unfortunately, aging is inevitable. Older dogs are subject to certain health problems that are not often seen in younger dogs.

That''s why we decided to create this particular page of our web site - to give you, our readers, some information regarding what to expect as your dog gets up there in years.

Senior Dog Health Issues

But just what age are we talking about when we''re discussing senior dog health issues?

You''ve probably heard the old saying that "One human year is equal to seven dog years." You may have even used that rough formula to calculate your dog''s approximate age in "human years."

It''s easy to make this calculation and it can help you relate better to your dog''s age, but the 1:7 ratio in the old saying isn''t terribly accurate.

The definition of a "senior dog" differs according to his size and breed, because different sized dogs age at different rates. For example, Great Danes and other giant breed dogs are widely considered to be senior dogs at only six or seven years old.

Much smaller dogs, such as Chihuahuas or Toy Poodles, aren''t thought of as senior dogs until they''re at least twelve or thirteen. Dogs between those two extremes age at a rate that''s also in between.

So, as you can see, one human year doesn''t necessarily equal seven dog years. It all depends on your dog''s size and breed.

Signs of Aging

As your dog begins to get older, you may start noticing certain signs that indicate that he is, indeed, becoming a senior dog.

As he ages, he will become increasingly prone to suffering one or more senior dog health conditions. Look for these signs of aging:

  • Is your dog "slowing down" or becoming less active overall? Try to determine if he runs and plays less or if there have been any subtle changes in the way your dog lays downs, gets up (especially in the morning after sleeping overnight) or goes up and down steps. Do you see any reluctance to jump up or down from your couch or bed? Does your dog walk a bit stiffly or favor one leg or side? Does cold or rainy weather seem to make it worse?

If so, your dog might be suffering from degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) or some other joint issue, all of which can be significant senior dog health problems.

Arthritis is common in older dogs, especially large, heavy breeds. It can develop in essentially any joint, but is most common seen in the legs, neck or spine.

If you suspect your dog has arthritis or some other joint issue, take him to the vet for a diagnosis. A variety of medications are available to help relieve his pain and discomfort.

  • If you have a dog with a dark-colored face, can you see graying around his muzzle, cheeks or eyes? Dogs get gray hairs as they age the same way people do.
  • Does it seem like your dog''s hearing isn''t as acute as it used to be? Does your previously-obedient dog fail to respond to verbal commands? If so, he might have some hearing loss. Try to protect him when he''s in potentially dangerous situations, such as being near a moving car he might not hear or see. Fortunately, dogs adapt to hearing loss quite well and can easily learn hand signals that instruct them to sit, stay, come and so forth.
  • Are your dog''s eyes cloudy or do they have a grayish or bluish cast? Aging dogs often develop a transparent gray or bluish haze in their pupils. Known as lenticular or nuclear sclerosis, this is a hardening and thickening of the lenses in your dog''s eyes. It is a normal result of aging and fortunately, it does not seem to impair a dog''s sight. Cataracts, where the lenses actually become opaque and white, are another possibility in an aging dog. This condition can and often does affect the dog''s vision.

These are a few of the senior dog health conditions that can occur as your dog ages.

Keep a watchful eye on your dog as he grows older, and take him to the vet if you notice any of these older dog health signs.

From Senior Dog Health to the Dog Health home page