5 Signs that Your Dog is Aging
Usually veterinarians consider a dog to be "old" when they read the age of seven.
As pets get older, they are more at risk for developing illnesses. Therefore, paying attention to signs of aging is fundamental for being able to provide your dog with preventative treatments and care. Continue reading to learn how to know if your dog is aging.
How to know if your dog is aging
Just like people, all dogs age differently. It depends on their size, breed, and many other variables. Veterinarians usually consider a dog to be transitioning from adulthood to old age when they reach the age of seven.
However, that’s still a generalization because there are many dogs that age, or even older, that are still far from becoming elderly. Although they may seem to be still youthful, it’s still necessary to get more frequent medical check-ups.
Usually, large dogs age faster than small ones. While it’s quite an achievement for a German Shepherd to live up to the age of 13, smaller dogs like Yorkshires often live to that age.
However, in order to know for sure whether your dog is aging, the best thing to do is to observe your dog. Below, you can find a few keys to understanding this stage of their lives. Nevertheless, the person who knows a dog best is the one who lives with him.
1. Their loss of energy
The first change you might notice in an aging dog is a shift of energy. They will no longer have any energy spurts and endless amounts of energy like a few years ago. Although dogs have always liked to sleep, now they take longer naps and prefer calmer activities.
Some even refuse to chase balls and don’t play games dogs that are faster than themselves and they become less physical. Just like what happens to many other animals as they age, dogs no longer like adrenaline and speed. Also, they begin to enjoy more relaxing games or shorter walks.
2. Mood swings
When your dog is aging, he will start getting mood swings. However, they can be very different depending on each case. Some dogs become much more patient. They become more tolerant of puppies and young children, and generally take things much more calmly than before.
However, other dogs become grumpier and no longer wants to put up with loud noises or stressful situations. This might also be a symptom of pain. If your dog gets mood swings this way, then you should get them checked by a vet to find out what’s happening to them.
3. Behavior of other dogs
When dogs age, they are not the only one who changes. Other dogs also change the way they behave around them. Dogs understand each other in a way that humans don’t. The other dogs around your dog understand that he’s getting older, and what he needs.
So, if his friends in the park change the way they play with him and are less insistent on interacting with him, or you notice that there is less chasing and more “cordial meetings”, it might be another sign that your dog is aging.
One exception is puppies. Younger dogs are usually attracted to older ones. Whenever your dog allows it, puppies will try to play with them, or observe them from a distance.
4. Gray hair and other changes in their fur
You can also see physical changes when a dog is aging. One of the most obvious change is their fur. It can go gray, become drier, and less shiny. Also, t can have a duller color than usual. In some cases, in certain areas the fur grows less, is rough, or even has alopecia.
It’s common for young dogs to have gray hair, especially on their backs or around the mouth. However, when they get older, these gray hairs also surround their eyes and ears. A few dogs end up becoming completely white.
5. Disease and ailments start to appear
Just like what occurs with people, when your dog ages, it’s more likely to develop many types of illnesses. The most frequent ones have to do with the eyes, joints, bones, and metabolism. In addition, your dog’s weight can change. They can start losing weight or become fatter, even though they stick to their usual diet.
You shouldn’t forget that there are many different diseases that can affect older dogs, and they aren’t all visible. Dogs can get disorientated, become deaf, have skin problems or allergies, digestive problems, etc. If your dog begins to accumulate prescriptions and veterinary visits, that’s one of the most unmistakable signs of aging.
The importance of medical care
It’s so important for dogs that are older than seven to get more frequent vet check-ups. Only qualified medical personnel can detect changes in a dog’s health, whether they’re old or young, and propose treatments to prevent or stop diseases before they affect a dog’s quality of life.