Does your dog, once so full of energy, seem to be slowing down? Like us, they can’t escape old age and all that entails! Even though they don’t all react in the same way, various physical and behavioural changes can be observed. Dog Chef takes a look at the signs of aging you need to keep an eye on, so that your furry friend can enjoy life as a senior under the best circumstances!
At what age does a dog become a senior?
– Dog Chef’s answer: “Go by its size!”
In fact, large dogs tend to age faster and have a shorter life expectancy than small dogs. That’s why large dogs are considered to be seniors from the age of 6-7 years old, whereas smaller pooches are only considered elderly as of 10.
But age is not the only factor! As your canine gets older, it will show signs of aging that can vary from one dog to another.
How do I know if my dog is getting old?
– Dog chef’s answer: “Watch it”
It is important to pay attention to any signs of aging in your dog and to get them checked so that you keep them healthy as long as possible.
Initially, you may notice the appearance of various physical changes:
- A general decrease in activity, lack of vitality, difficulty in exertion, shortness of breath;
- A decrease/increase in appetite;
- Weight gain/loss;
- Dental problems that cause difficulties eating, inflammation and infections leading to tooth loss;
- Digestive and intestinal problems, such as diarrhoea, vomiting or constipation;
- Your dog may drink more, which could be a symptom of illness, such as chronic renal failure, diabetes, liver problems, etc.
Behavioural problems (cognitive, emotional or mood) may also be observed:
- Deafness: misinterpreted information, lack of reaction;
- Drowsiness: waking up at night, restless nights, confusion between day and night;
- Forgetfulness: loss of learning, dirtiness;
- Irritability: growling, aggression, refusal to play;
- Disorientation: gets lost, immobility, loss of interest;
- Anxiety: fear of solitude, panic attacks, destruction of the home during your absence, excessive barking.
These behavioural problems can lead to a dog’s social isolation, resulting in chronic, age-related depression (aka involutional depression), which needs treating fast.
How can I remedy this?
– Dog chef’s answer: “Put it at the centre of your family”
Be sure to report all these abnormalities when you visit your vet. As a preventive measure, your dog can also have an annual check-up, from the age of 6 for large dogs and 10 for small ones.
Involutional depression can be treated both medically (under prescription from your vet) and behaviourally, by making sure your pet is at the centre of the family and can regain the feeling of attachment and the pleasure of play.
What are the best measures to take?
– Dog chef’s answer: “Be extra patient”
While it’s certainly not a disease, aging does, however, lead to a general weakening, which requires your careful attention. For this reason, we recommend you consult your vet, ideally every 6 months to check your dog’s health and prevent possible illness.
At home, make your pet as comfortable as possible so that it feels good throughout the day. Don’t punish it for forgetfulness or abnormal failure to understand. Keep an eye on the condition of its teeth to avoid dental problems causing bad breath or loss of appetite due to pain. Finally, give your dog a diet appropriate to its nutritional needs.
Did you know that Dog Chef is suitable for our senior friends as well?
In fact, we have developed AlphaMix Senior, a food supplement specially designed to meet the needs of older dogs. AlphaMix is lower in calcium and phosphorous, which ensures the metabolism can function properly. After all, there’s no age limit on being in top form!
With the right diet and regular care, most of our furry friends can live well beyond the age of 10. Long enough to be able to spend many happy moments by your side.
So, how is your senior dog doing?