Remember bringing home that wonderful fluffy fur ball with so much life and spunk and nothing but play and fun times on his mind.
It’s sometimes hard to recall when we stop and look at our now middle aged or senior dog.
Times goes by much too fast and we tend to forget that for our four legged companions life goes by even faster and, as with us humans, our pets also start to slow down and begin showing their years. At first you may not notice, but stop and take a closer look.
Your dog may not always run after the squirrel in the yard or chase the ball and return it as often or as quickly as he once did. If we are aware and pay attention to the signs of aging, we may be able to pinpoint health issues early which in turn can make any treatments easier, less expensive and, more importantly, could save your beloved pet a lot of discomfort.
One thing most owners may notice is their pet gaining weight and losing that nice trim figure. Weight gain can be a sign of many things such as a slower metabolism or thyroid problems, but it could also be as easy as choosing a lower calorie dog food, which is specifically intended for older or senior dogs. It may also mean cutting back on the amount of food given to your pet, depending on his level of exercise.
Do you notice that your pet may
have to go out for bathroom breaks more frequently than he used to, or is he starting to have the occasional accident in the house?
As with humans this is fairly common as we age, and in particular for female dogs who have had a few litters of pups. When this happens we need to start increasing your pet’s bathroom breaks or perhaps have a doggy door installed, and if your furry friend is really having trouble trying to hold it, take him to the vet to rule out any other medical issue.
Have you started to notice that your dog may not always respond when you call him to come? You may think that maybe he is just getting stubborn in his old age, but on the other hand he may be experiencing hearing loss. This is common in older dogs, and before it gets too bad now is the time to start brushing up on your hand signals.
Whether your dog is older or still young, it’s always a good rule of thumb to get in the habit of regularly checking your pet for any lumps on his body. With the short hair breeds, lumps are usually fairly easy to see, but if your pet has long fur or thick curly hair, it is imperative that you give him a good going over weekly and, if you happen to find any lumps, have them checked out by your vet right away. Lumps can just be fatty deposits which occur in older pets, but it could also be cancerous, and early detection is the best cure.
Another sign that your beloved pet is aging is bad breath. If you’re not in the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth and you start to notice that he has bad breath, or his breath is worse than normal, it’s definitely time to see the vet. Bad breath naturally occurs in older pets, and is one of the first signs of tooth or gum disease, but this can also develop in younger dogs. Remember that it’s never too early or too late to make sure your pet has a healthy mouth by brushing the teeth, and giving him a good dental chew bone on a regular basis.
So take a close look at your four legged friend, and when you notice him taking a little bit more time to sit or lie down comfortably, or is having difficulty getting up and moving as quickly or gracefully as he once did, it is probably those old aching bones.
So check with your vet to make sure he is otherwise healthy and slow your pace down to his level and enjoy a more relaxed level of walking and playing.