Not only are there definite signs of old age, but there are also certain problems that an old dog may have to face.
As the dog ages, his hearing becomes poor, and may ultimately lead to deafness. Disregarding your commands may be due to hearing loss. If his sight is still good, hand signals can become a substitute – a deaf dog is often found to be looking instead of listening for commands. One sure sign of a hearing problem is when your dog does not greet you at the door when you come home and ring the bell. If you suspect a hearing problem, take the dog to your veterinarian to see if he can help in any way. A deaf dog should never be let off the lead unless he is in a safely fenced area. A deaf dog can feel vibrations, and you should tap the ground when you wish to draw his attention. Even stamping by foot can be a recall signal.
Kidney and Liver Disorders
These are other problems with older dogs. An old dog may not eat properly. Sometimes there is the retention of urine and/or the presence of calculi in the urinary tract. The dog may drink an excessive amount of water and urinate frequently. A visit to the veterinarian is a must for these disorders; he may advise medication and changes in the diet.
Any symptoms of coughing, breathing difficulties, and fatigue could be due to heart problems. These are not uncommon among older dogs. We should not view these symptoms as minor respiratory diseases in such dogs, but take veterinary advice at the earliest. X-ray and diagnostics tests may also be required.
As a dog becomes older, his eyesight suffers, often not necessarily due to local irritations but due to manifestations of developments elsewhere in the body. Many older dogs begin to develop opacity in the lens of one or both eyes called cataracts. Sometimes diabetes may cause eyesight problems. Before an old dog becomes completely blind, he cannot see objects clearly, but this may remain unnoticed in the house on account of his familiarity with things in the house. If the arrangement of furniture in the house is changed, we may find such a dog stumbling. As long as a blind dog can smell, hear and feel the members of the family, he gets around by memory. Only a veterinarian can diagnose the exact problem. The owner can, however, help the blind dog by not taking him off the leash outside the house and by avoiding any major rearrangement of furniture in the house, including his food and water bowls.
This is a common problem in older dogs and may be due to many factors like degenerative processes, nutritional factors, or lack of exercise. The onset is generally gradual and the owner notices the dog facing increased difficulty in getting up, walking, and moving about in general. Consultation with the veterinarian is of course essential. In the meantime, care should be taken to keep the dog inside the house where the temperature is neither too high nor too low and there is no direct draft and dampness. Leaving the dog outside during the cold winter months can aggravate the problem. Moderate and regularly done exercise through walking is helpful.
Another common problem with older dogs is incontinence or the inability to control the movement of the bowels and bladder. A dog suffering from incontinence should be walked more frequently and be confined to a particular place, where cleaning is comparatively more convenient. If the problem of dribbling his urine around the house becomes a daily occurrence despite veterinary advice and treatment, the humane alternative is to partially paper-train him as in the case of pups. Do not punish him for these mistakes. A change in diet and medication by the veterinarian may help.
Tumors are a common problem that afflicts aging dogs. Initially, growth may be very small, but may gradually begin to increase. Tumors may be found on almost any part of the body, but tumors of the breast or testicles are more common. No growth should be disregarded, whatever be the age of the dog. if neglected for any length of time, it may spread not only in size at that spot, but may even become malignant and spread to other organs of the body. About half of the mammary tumors are harmless. Tumors in the breast or testicles often develop among dogs in old age if they have not been spayed or castrated. It is best to get these tumors surgically removed in their earliest stages by the veterinarian.
Another common problem with old dogs is obesity, which is more common among females than males. Overweight dogs experience somewhat similar health risks that overweight humans do. Such dogs get tired and experience shortness of breath very soon. Overweight dogs are more liable to die young. They are more likely to develop heart and lung diseases, arthritis, diabetes, and liver disease. Performing surgery, especially that which involves general anesthesia, on a fat dog, is sometimes risky. Such dogs also suffer from reduced resistance to infections and impaired reproductive efficiency.
About the Author:
Taylor is a happy parent of the 2 cutest corgis and the laziest cat (yet, she’s the cute one too). Also, he is an experienced author, majoring in transport and economy. Currently works as a content writer at essay writing service Writemyessay.nyc.