Animatch Blog

What changes as a dog gets older

written by Kent Foster -

As your dog gets older his body and behavior will undergo numerous changes – often subtle and gradual – that you need be aware of it you want to provide your pooch with the best care possible during his final years. Read on as we take a look at what changes as your dog starts to get older.

Your dog's activity levels

As your dog gets older, his energy levels will naturally decline – gradually in most cases, though with some pooches there will be a rapid and pronounced step down in their energy levels. Your dog may still be capable at times of roaming around like he did as a puppy, but it will generally be in shorter, less sustained bursts. You will notice that he also takes a lot more breaks and naps throughout the day. To adapt to your dog's changed levels of stamina and energy, adjust his daily exercise regimen. For example, when taking your canine friend for his daily walk, change the route to make the walk shorter, or break up the walk into pieces by giving him one or more breaks. About this you can also read more on PupsBest!

Your dog's weight

As your dog gets older he may lose weight due to decrease appetite, dental disease or other health problems – or he may gain weight due to his more sedentary lifestyle and decreased activity levels. The added kilos can lead to numerous health problems including diabetes, joint disease, cardiovascular and respiratory disease – so be sure to give your aging dog enough exercise to keep his weight within healthy bounds. Choose an appropriate diet for your pooch as well!

Your dog's eyes

As your dog gets older you may start to notice that his eyes become clouded over – a result of the lens becoming denser (an age related condition known as lenticular sclerosis). Older dogs can develop cataracts as well, which is where a milky film grows over the top of the lens, causing vision problems sometimes resulting in complete blindness. Luckily, it caught early cataracts can be treated with surgery. So pay close attention to the appearance of your pet's eyes, and take note of any changes – and if your dog seems to be having problems seeing his way around

Your dog's nails and fur

As he gets older your dog's fur will grey and turn white about the muzzle, his fur as well as nails will also become drier and more coarse. To delay this process, try supplementing his meals with coconut oil and natural flax seed – both of these help provide your dog with the essential fatty acids he needs to maintain a healthy coat and nails.

Your dog's behavior

Aging will also bring about certain alterations in how your dog behaves. Your loved one may start to act more confused – often the result of underlying medical conditions like hypothyroidism, which again can be treated with medication if caught earlier. So again, pay close attention to any changes in your dog's behavior, no matter how subtle.

Surprisingly, your pooch may also become more aggressive as he ages – a result of frustration at his declining capacities. As usual, prevention is better than cure here, so do whatever you can to keep your dog as healthy and productive  - and therefore happy – as possible during his twilight years.

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