Do you feel that your dog is not in the same mood as before? Does he seem to not hear you and his senses are not as sharp? You must prepare, because they are signs that he is getting old. You will have to be with him in this new stage, with its changes and its difficulties. In this article we will tell you what are the signs that your dog is aging, and how to help him deal with them. Let’s get started! …
My dog is getting old
If your dog is over 6 years old, you should know that he is starting to get older. You may think that it is a long time before he is old, but in reality, your dog is already an adult from the first year of life. After 6 or 7 years, they have entered the age of old age.
These calculations depend on race and size. Giant breeds age faster, with a life expectancy of 8 years. In contrast, small or dwarf breeds, such as the Chihuahua, can live up to 18 years.
All this will obviously depend on the quality of life they have had. But you should know that just as we have to have a different lifestyle when we are older, your dog will have the same changes in his daily life. These will demand more care from us and to be very observant.
But if we enjoyed him when he was a puppy and when he was young, we also have to know how to find the good things at this age. And give back all the love that he will continue giving us until the last day of his life.
We are going to analyze some of the main changes that we will notice in this transition and how we can help him go through them in a more pleasant way.
Your dog will not have the same spirit
Do you call your dog and he no longer comes running, but walking? Does he have trouble getting up and spends a lot of time lying down? It is normal when your dog is older. If you compare it to humans, the same thing happens to us. We lose a bit of vitality, and our movements become slower and calmer.
We need to be understanding and not demand the same activity, so as not to stress him. This does not mean that you stop doing physical activity. They will still need it, but in its proper measure. Your dog will not stop playing, it will do otherwise, calmer. And he will continue to enjoy going for a walk.
If your dog is already a grandpa, you should help him with his feeding. You will see that he cannot eat the balanced food that you offer him as easily. And this is because he does not have the same strength in the bite or the same teeth.
You will have to check their teeth regularly, because at this age problems appear in the gums and teeth. Remember that at this age you will have to take it more regularly to your vet.
What you can do is soften the food a little with water or milk, so that it is easier to ingest it. The time may come when you also have to give it to him with a syringe because he won’t be able to move his neck or jaw (this would be a very severe case).
Changes in skin and hair
You will see that your dogs begins to gray and lose hair. This is normal, because cell growth slows down and does not regenerate as quickly. In turn, the pigmentation of the hair slows down, and then gray hair begins to appear. You have an old man in the family!
The skin also undergoes modifications. Stains, scabs can appear, become drier and brittle like nails. In our visit to the vet, we must show him the changes we are seeing and our vet will indicate if they are normal or not.
It is important that we brush them regularly, and take advantage of that moment to inspect their skin. In this way we will quickly notice the changes in their body that may attract attention.
Your dog will have a decrease in his sensory abilities. And this is very normal, as it happens with us. Vision will decrease, and they may even have cataracts. Likewise, their smell and hearing will not be the same. You will have to help him at this stage to deal with the loss of his senses.
For some dogs this makes them nervous, and they may bark more than they should. It is normal, because they cannot perceive the world as they did before. Try to avoid shifting his things and help him orient himself when you talk to him or receive a stimulus.
Depending on the breed and physical activity they are used to, your dog will most likely gain weight.
You must provide foods with fewer calories and more fiber, to facilitate their digestion. And physical activity, although it should not be intense, it does have to be consistent. This will help him digest better and maintain muscle tone. Weight gain can become a problem if we let it lead to heart disease and loss of mobility.
Development of degenerative diseases and tumors.
Over time, it is very likely that your dog can generate tumors in different parts of the body. So it is important that you check him regularly and take him to the vet more often than before.
At this age, diseases such as osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis, dysplasias and even a loss of cognitive capacity, very similar to Alzheimer’s, can appear. This leads to seeing your dog sad, sore, upset or troubled to recognize the situation around him.
You will have to be very patient and, together with your vet, give him the appropriate treatment. But the essential thing is that your dog feels the affection you have for him. So that the day he leaves you can rest assured that you gave him the best and that he lived his last moments surrounded by what he loves most in the world.