Perhaps you have had your dog for a few years, but you are not really sure what age qualifies them as a senior dog. Here is the quick answer. Small dogs should be considered seniors when they reach 11 human years. Medium-sized dogs become seniors at 10, while larger dogs are considered a senior around 8 years old. However, here are several physical signs that may point to the reality that your dog has become a senior.
Examine Their Skin and Coat
As dogs age, it becomes more common for them to get fatty lipomas underneath their skin. However, they need to be checked by a veterinarian to make sure they don’t have a malignant tumor.
Having a dry, itchy coat with flakiness and hot spots is something that is commonly experienced by an older dog. These are all possible signs of potential medical problems your dog might have.
Watch Carefully for Hearing and Vision Changes
If you look into your dog’s eyes and they are beginning to look cloudy, this is a sign that your dog is aging and may have cataracts. Also, watch to see if your dog is bumping into furniture or is having trouble locating simple things. This could indicate that your dog is experiencing vision loss.
When you call out your dog’s name, does he hear you? If your dog has stopped coming when you call, he may be losing his hearing.
Be on the Lookout for Reduced Mobility
The main thing that you notice is that your dog has just slowed down, in general. An older dog may find it difficult to climb up the stairs, jump into your vehicle, or simply just get up after enjoying a nap. Weakness in the back legs is common in senior dogs. Your canine’s mobility issues might be due to arthritis. Your veterinarian will be able to direct you towards any medication or supplementation that may be helpful for your senior dog.
Adjustments in your senior dog’s exercise routine may be particularly necessary. Walks may need to be shorter and slower.
Look at the Scale
Pay attention to whether your older dog is losing or gaining weight. Either one should be taken seriously. Senior dogs more commonly gain weight than lose it, due to a lagging metabolism or thyroid issues. Adjusting your dog’s diet may be part of the solution.
However, if your senior dog is not eating well, or is losing weight, he or she might be ill as well. If a senior dog loses any more than 10 percent of its body weight, consult your veterinarian.
Be Aware of Pee Problems
If your dog is incontinent or appears to be straining when it is peeing, this is a common sign of old age in dogs. Perhaps for seemingly no reason at all, your dog has forgotten its housetraining. This may indicate that it has either a urinary tract infection or kidney disease. In some cases, your senior dog may require more bathroom breaks so that there won’t be accidents inside of the house.
Fix Bad Breath
Your older dog may have bad breath because it may have dental disease. If this sounds like your dog, taking care of the situation now is advisable. The longer that the situation goes unremedied, the worse it will be for your wallet.