Dogs age pretty much the same way people do. We all grow older, suffer from forgetfulness, and often find it harder to get things done. But for dogs, the aging process is a little different. Unlike people, who generally peak in their middle years, dogs typically continue to age throughout their lives. The good news is that many ways to ease the transition for your aging dog.
An understanding of how old dog ages and the factors that influence its appearance can help you care for your favorite companion throughout his or her retirement years with grace and dignity. If you’ve been following along so far, you’re probably wondering what an aging dog looks like and whether you should be concerned about its health or behavior changes. Keep reading to find out more! Read on to learn what an aging dog looks like and whether you need to take special precautions.
What does aging look like?
Fortunately, there is a lot of knowledge about aging in both people and animals. This means we know what to look for and how to deal with it. We’re just not always as aware of it in our pets. It’s important to remember that aging is a natural process that varies from breed to breed and may even be more evident in some breeds than others. While certain breeds are typically more vocal and self-explanation-inclined than others, for the most part, dogs age as humans do; their appearance changes as the years pass.
How old is too old for a dog?
Many people wonder about the “right age” to retire their dog. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends that any dog over the age of seven should be retired. While this seems like a pretty clear-cut age, many owners wonder if they should get their dog a special treat or gift at that age or whether they should keep breeding after they’ve retired their dog.
There is no set age when a dog should be bred, but many pet organizations recommend that owners not get their dogs “neutered” before they are 11. Some studies believe neutering may lead to a higher incidence of cancer in dogs, including bone cancer. Aging dog breeds more susceptible to developing bone cancer include dalmatians, corgis, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, rottweilers, and Shar-Pei.
Drying out: Signs and symptoms
As our canine friends grow older, they often experience a decline in water quality. This decline may result in a build-up of toxins in the blood and tissue, which can cause problems for the dog’s health and the environment he or she lives in. Signs of watery eyes, nose, and mouth are common during aging. Other common symptoms include increased hunger, thirst, and the desire to go outside.
Dry skin is another common sign that aging dogs experience. Your dog’s skin naturally turns darker as it ages, so check out his paws and face as you go about your day. Make sure they get enough water and brush hard every day.
Dry skin is a common sign that aging dogs experience, but it’s not the only one. Your dog may experience paw edema (swelling of the feet), increased appetite, increased activity, leg cramps, and general sadness or depression.
Exercise and rest
Just like people, dogs grow old with us. As we get older, our physical and mental abilities begin to suffer. As a result, it’s important to ensure that our dogs get enough exercise and rest. Exercise should be slow and moderate in both body and mind. It’s a good idea to walk your dog on a leash when you can’t go out because you’re too busy, exhausted, or busy with other activities.
This is especially important if your dog is old or disabled. Upskilling your aging dog is another way to ensure that he or she gets enough exercise. Try to upskill by doing something your aging dog loves to do, like playing a game of fetch or exploring a new place with a dog park.
Confidence and shyness
As we grow older, we become shyer and confidence-less. This means that we are less likely to act on our impulses. Age also affects confidence, leading to overconfidence, aloofness, or even snobbishness. This can be expected in an aging dog and should be managed with care. It’s important to remember that your aging dog is not only you – he or she is part of the community, and you want to make sure that they feel included.
Be sure to take your dog out for walks whenever you can. Invited. Here are a few ways to show your aging dog that you are there for them: Pick up the phone and call your dog whenever you can. Ask them how they are doing, and let them know you are thinking of them.
Send them a gift via snail mail, or give them a gift card so they can buy something for themselves. Ask them how they like their meals, and try to be accurate about it. Let them know you love them and let them know you’re thinking of them.
As we grow older, our bodies produce less saliva, which causes excess drooling. This is actually a good thing, as excess saliva helps with digestion and improves the quality of your dog’s breath. Excessive drooling is a common sign that aging dogs experience, but it should be taken seriously. You can try giving your old dog some extra water every day, but be sure to drink it yourself to avoid wasting it.
As we age, our bodies begin to protect themselves against illness by producing more antibodies. While this is good, it can lead to extra-abdominal spasms and digestive issues. Be patient with your aging dog as it works through these issues.
Dogs go through major life changes when they reach a certain age. It’s important to be sure that you’re looking out for your aging dog and that they are getting the proper care. With a little effort, you can ease the transition for your aging dog and help them enjoy its retirement years with a bit of grace and dignity.