How to spot the 7 visible signs of ageing
We don’t like to think that our dog is getting older but it is important to recognise the signs and remember that some signs of ageing are not always visible. Many of the following can be seen simply as ‘old age’ however many of these problems are treatable and your dog can still live an enjoyable life:
Stiffness and joint pain
Does your dog:
• Appear reluctant to walk, jump, or play?
• Lag behind on walks?
• Have difficulty rising from a resting position?
• Yelp when touched?
• Sleep more?
If you answered YES to any of the above signs your dog could be suffering from joint stiffness and pain. This can occur as your dog gets older, a long walk may have strained their muscles or joints or, as in humans, joints can deteriorate over time (osteoarthritis).
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Change in coat colour and appearance
As a dog gets older more white hair will appear in their coat especially around the muzzle. The body also finds it harder to produce the natural oils needed to keep their coat healthy. Ask your vet or vet nurse to suggest an Omega 3 & 6 supplement to help your dog’s skin and coat restore its natural beauty.
Change in toilet frequency
Muscles in older dogs can weaken causing them to need the toilet more often. Let them out more frequently to prevent any accidents in the house.
Loss of sight or hearing
Older dogs can begin to lose their sight, you may notice they bump into things that have moved in the home. Try not to make any big changes in room layouts as this can be stressful for them. Dogs losing their hearing can often be mistaken for being old and stubborn so we shout instead. Why not try to retrain them with hand signals – old dogs CAN learn new tricks!
Losing or gaining weight
Older dogs have different nutritional needs to younger dogs. You may notice that your dog has started to gain or lose weight. Feed them a diet tailored to their needs, and take your dog in to see your vet nurse for regular weight checks to monitor any changes in weight and catch any problems early on.
Plaque build-up & eating less
You may notice that the smell of your dog’s breath has changed. If caught early enough, dental problems may be able to be managed at home with a dental diet or tooth cleaning so it is better to catch the problem sooner rather than later to prolong the need for full dental treatment.
An increase in thirst can be due to many conditions. It is best to discuss with your vet, or vet nurse if you have noticed your dog drinking more, as to what the cause could be.
It is still very important to go for regular checks at your vet practice during your dog's senior life to spot any underlying problems and keep them at them at their best.
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