Older dogs have special needs just like puppies. And like me, you care for your senior dog, therefore, we need to pay attention to these visible signs of possible health challenges. Being alert helps us discover what may be happening inside their body in time to make a difference.
Vision Loss Happens In Older Dogs
Are you noticing your dog bumping into things, falling unexpectedly, or displaying signs of eye discomfort (rubbing his eyes, unexplained redness, or partial cloudiness in one or both eyes)? He may be suffering from deteriorating eyesight. This is the normal process of change in aging dogs.
There are, however, a few things you can do to help your dog handle these changes. Seek out your vet for tips on caring for dogs with vision loss, and to rule out possible eye issues such as cataracts, dry eye syndrome, or conjunctivitis, which are all treatable.
Hearing Loss May Seem Like Disobedience
Hearing loss in older dogs may appear as acts of disobedience, such as ignoring your commands. A dog with acute hearing loss will not readily respond if you snap your fingers next to its ears. Another sign could be when a loud noise occurs that normally demands a reaction. Healthy dog ears tend to move around as they respond to sounds around them. If your dog’s ears remain still for prolonged periods of time, it is possible they may be going deaf.
Decreased Mobility Can Be Helped
If your once active dog seems content to just lay around the house, it could be he is experiencing pain when he gets up. This difficulty with mobility may be signs of joint issues such as arthritis and or hip dysplasia. Common in older dogs, these issues can be treated with dietary changes by adding antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Check with your vet to see if they apply in your dog’s case.
When dogs age and slow down physically, the transition of food through their digestive tracts slows as well. This slowing down, along with decreased water consumption, may result in a hardening of the stool. As a result, your dog will have difficulty going to the bathroom.
Difficulty in expelling feces is also common in dogs experiencing pain while having a bowel movement such as those with hip dysplasia or anal gland disease. It is a good idea to have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian if he or she suffers from this. Your vet may prescribe a diet higher in fiber, daily exercise, albeit slow and easy, and consistent water intake.
Sometimes, caring for your older dog means making them as comfortable as possible. I hope these tips help.
In addition to caring for senior dogs, check out these 15 life hacks for raising all dogs.