Old dog: changes in the body. How can I help an old friend?
Old dogs are experiencing changes in the body that complicate their lives. What happens to older dogs and how can we help them cope with age-related ailments?
Signs of Dog Aging
The first sign of aging is a decrease in activity, that is, increased sleep time, it becomes deeper and less sensitive.
The second sign of dog aging is the quality of the coat. The hair of an old dog becomes dull and turns gray. Gray hair appears in the area of the muzzle, nose and lower jaw, above the eyebrows. Sometimes the hair around the eyes falls out. However, discoloration of the coat is not always a sign of aging.
Also, in an old dog, appetite often decreases or needs change. They eat poorly, because their digestion slows down, they consume more fluid. Drinking plenty of water may indicate kidney disease or other illnesses.
Be sure to adjust the diet for the dog to take into account all the current needs of the body. You need to switch to lightweight feeds that are easier to digest and contain a little less protein to reduce the burden on the kidneys.
Diseases of old dogs
Often, the digestive tract suffers in older dogs. This can be expressed in upset stool in any of the parties: it can be both diarrhea and constipation. Vomiting of food or bile may also occur.The main thing is to correctly diagnose to exclude a viral infection. Heavy dogs are more likely to experience gastritis.
In older dogs, the musculoskeletal system often suffers. They suffer from arthritis and osteoarthritis, they often have arthrosis. The first symptom of these diseases is stiffness - slower movements. The dog moves as if it is constrained by something, there is no plasticity, the movements are tight. When a dog diverges, its condition may improve.
Often, old dogs pull up their hind legs.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should not postpone the visit to the veterinarian.
One of the common diseases of older dogs is a worsening of bladder function. They cannot tolerate, possibly involuntary urination or more frequent urination.
If you notice such symptoms, the main thing is to exclude inflammatory diseases of the urinary system. If there are no inflammatory diseases, you should pay attention to the frequency of walking. Walk your dog as often as possible. Remember that in one sitting the dog cannot completely empty the bladder, for this they need several visits.
Also, older dogs are often prone to hearing and vision loss.
In the early stages, these diseases are often impossible to identify.
Symptoms of deafness: changes in the dog’s voice (it usually gets higher), the dog often barks for no apparent reason and can ignore your call.
With loss of vision in the early stages, the dog begins to react worse to bright sunlight or darkness, may stumble on furniture and walls, and there is cataract or damage to the cornea.In this case, you should contact your veterinarian, because many of these processes can be slowed down.
How to help an old dog?
For the comfort of the dog, you need to maintain the familiar conditions in the house, not to deal with rearrangements of furniture, try to walk in the familiar environment, not to choose new routes. If, however, new routes are chosen, then the dog should be walked on a leash.