Dog Health & Care

Old Dog Health Problems-5 Common Problems That Need Attention Right Away

Developing common old dog health problems is when the pet begins to require a tremendous amount of attention and medical care from its owner. It is the time when abnormal changes in mood and behaviors of the dog are clearly seen. As dogs become older, their health problems begin to emerge. These canine health problems commonly include arthritis, cancer, hearing, and vision loss, etc.

That is why it becomes necessary to watch for the signs of illness in old dogs. Even though it is difficult to cure canine health issues, one can treat some of the signs and symptoms that are recognized for various health problems for the older dog. The number one priority is to always make sure that the dog is healthy and happy as can be expected…the earlier the disease is recognized, the better the outcome will be.

Elderly woman outside holding her black Scottie dog
Portrait of an old woman holding her black dog.

Developing common old dog health problems

It is easy to think that changes in eating habits and sleep are normal things, but these are actually the signs of beginning health issues and must be taken care of as the dog gets older. It is necessary to become cautious as negligence can lead to the development of bad health in dogs. Below are five of the more common health problems of older dogs that dog owners should look out for.

1. Arthritis

This is the most common and painful of health problems for the older dogs that they suffer from. This degenerative joint-related disease occurs in the majority of elderly dogs at some point in their lives, typically starting from five to seven years of age. It is believed that smaller-sized dogs are less prone to this issue as compared to the larger-sized dogs but this is not printed in stone. As a general rule of thumb, arthritis can occur in dogs of any size and any age. This is why it becomes very important to check and recognize the signs of arthritis in dogs as it develops in its early stages.

If the dog is having difficulty in running or going up and down the stairs, then it could be more than their old age. Also, the dog will become lazier because of all the agony in the joints making it unable to move freely. It is also true that if your dog is a bit overweight then the dog becomes more prone to arthritis as it ages. Usually, acupuncture works really well and can improve the health of the dog.

It is always recommended to consult your veterinarian as soon as you see the signs of arthritis in your dog. A vet can provide the old dogs health problems with the right medicines and treatments that can help in decreasing the symptoms of most diseases.

2. Cancer

This might sound bizarre, but on a global basis cases of cancer in senior dogs have rapidly increased over the past few years. Cancer is one of the most deadly diseases which can lead the being to a stage where death is certain. But there’s no need to worry if the cancer is detected in the early stages. At the early stages, cancer can be successfully treated. That is why it becomes necessary to see the signs early.

Some of the signs of cancer can include

  • Excess coughing
  • Panting
  • Bleeding from mouth or nose
  • Fluctuation of weigh
  • Random lumps on the body
  • Restless
  • Constipation and/or diarrhea

Make sure that your dog does not show any of these symptoms and if it does then make sure that you take it immediately to a vet. It can become difficult for dogs to eat and breath during cancer. That’s why it becomes important to provide dogs with treatment as soon as possible. Cancer is one of those old dog health problems that affect a larger population of dogs every year. It is vital to take care of it before it’s too late.

old scrubby terrier sitting pretty to be petted
Scrubby old terrier happily looking up while sitting pretty.

3. Kidney Diseases

The function of the kidneys is to maintain the balance of the body by removing the excess waste. But sometimes, the kidneys do not work that way. They lose the ability to continue the process. This can result in the build-up of toxins and waste in the body of a dog or any other living creature which can cause a lot of trouble. The stones in kidneys start to develop. These kidney stones then block the urinary tract. Apart from that, they also damage the bladder and the kidney itself.

In severe cases, the diseased kidney will end up dead. Recognizing this prevents many old dog health problems. The symptoms of kidney diseases generally include:

  • Excess of urination
  • Increased thirst for water
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Bad odor in the dog’s mouth
  • Severe restlessness due to pain

If you see that your dog is showing any of these signs, take him or her to the vet for treatment. Kidney diseases are deadly. The kidneys are one of the most important organs in a body, so any problems related to them should be taken seriously and certain medical measures must be taken in order to treat it successfully.

4. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), commonly known as dementia, is a medical condition amongst humans and animals. It is a growing disease in old dog health problems. CDS generally leads to personality disorders, memory loss, etc. It generally occurs out of nowhere just like Alzheimer’s disease. Plainly stated, CDS affect dogs who are old. The nerves inside the brain of a dog become damaged by a build-up of protein, which creates plaque and makes it moist and waxy. The same thing happens during Alzheimer’s. The nerves of elderly people become damaged, making them lose full memories or part of their memories.  

It is important for the owners to take extra care of their dog if the dog is suffering from CDS. The dog’s behavior can change,  which can contribute to changing of eating habits. Sometimes, the dog can even forget the house or the owner. The dog suffering from CDS can show repetitive behavior like walking in circles or asking for food again and again. Also, the dog can be seen staring at blank spaces for long periods of time. So, make sure that you check these symptoms in the dog and provide the required amount of care and treatment.

5. Vision Loss

This is another medical condition that is common in dogs that are getting older. Old dog health problems include partial or full blindness as they age. This can be easily detected by the behavior of the dog. If the dog prefers to stay in one spot or hesitates in moving around at night, it can be a sign of vision loss. The blindness can occur due to anything from cataracts to nuclear sclerosis. These conditions worsen with time if not treated in time.

One can easily detect if the dog is suffering from vision loss by looking into the eyes of the dog. If the pupil of the dog looks white and cloudy, then it can be a sign of a cataract. If the eyes of the dog look excessively red or the pupil has a bluish haze, then these can be considered as symptoms of blindness. There are other signs too, such as continuous discharge coming out of the eyes or eye infection. The initial stages of blindness can be treated with medicines, but if the problem becomes severe, surgery is something that veterinarians recommend. Health problems for the older dog require knowledge of the diseases to treat it successfully.

So, make sure that you look after your dog and recognize symptoms of old dog health problems. Elderly dogs need your attention more than you can ever imagine.  This is their time. If any circumstance arrives that you don’t know how to tackle, never shy away from your loyal dog who has committed to you over the years. Call a veterinarian and develop a care plan. They can help you figure out which of the old dog health problems your dog has,  and how to deal with it. 

Author Bio:

Willie Mays is a housewife, good wife and mother, pet lover and blogger. Auxier is her dog and Mimo is the name of her cat. She loves them both very much. She has an aim to help other pet owners and that’s why she wrote about apoquel alternatives on her blog.


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