As dogs grow older, this is often associated with ailments and diseases. In order for older dogs to remain healthy as they age, close attention should be paid to possible symptoms. These tips will help.
With dogs, this is a bit like human relations: when choosing a dog, you also decide to go through all the difficulties with it.
Your dog is especially dependent on you when old or sick. It cannot tell you in words if he is suffering and what is wrong with him. It is all the more important that you, as a host or hostess, recognize and understand the signs.
We recommend that you regularly examine older dogs. Look in your mouth, ears, and under the tail to make sure everything is in order. Also carefully examine the fur for changes that you might not notice at first glance. The paws should also be examined carefully.
Most importantly, take symptoms seriously — the mere accusation of “strange behavior” in old age can be fatal.
These Symptoms are Warning Signs – Regardless of the Dog’s Age
If you observe certain behavior of your dog or notice changes in its body, you should definitely examine it. This applies to older dogs, but also dogs of all ages. You should definitely watch out for these symptoms:
- Behavior: lack of energy, very sleepy, depressed, withdrawn, disinterested, whimpering, gasping, biting, aggressive, confused, disoriented.
- General: bloating, muscle wasting, sudden weight loss or gain, wasting, obesity, dehydration (test: does the skin no longer bounce when pinched?). Noticeably more concentrated urine.
- Fur: Brittle, greasy, coarse, smelly, overly hairy, scaly, dull, mottled.
- Skin: reddened, rough, injured, inflamed, scabby, parasitic such as fleas or ticks, itching.
- Skeleton: stiffness, trouble standing up, walking, or leaving, limping, limited mobility, improper alignment or position of the limbs, abnormal wear on the claws.
- Eyes: narrowed, cloudy, blurry, watery, dry, itchy, red, swollen, discolored, third eyelid constantly visible, poor vision.
- Ears: head shaking, head tilt/head tilt, itching, foul odor, redness, crusting, discharge, bruising, hearing loss.
- Nose: discharge, scabs, cracks, crusts, constipation.
- Mouth: bad breath, plaque, redness, discolored or constricting gums, broken or teeth, profuse drooling, trouble chewing or swallowing.
- Breathing: wheezing, forced breathing, irregular, shallow or rapid breathing, coughing, choking, open-mouth breathing.
- Digestion: loss of appetite, diarrhea, loose, bloody or black stools, constipation, vomiting.
- Anus / Genitals: redness, discharge, swelling, unusual odor, excessive licking, chewing, irritation.
This Will Make Life Easier for Older Dogs
To make it easier for your dog to cope with daily life as it gets older, there are some tips dog owners can follow. For example, it is helpful for older people to raise their bowls and drink while eating and drinking. Keep walking and playing with your dog. Movement and activity are good for the body.
Help keep your dog warm in winter and cool in summer. Heated pillows, dog jackets, or paddling pools and shady areas for privacy will help you here.
Make sure you have non-slip floors in your house to prevent your dog from slipping or getting hurt. Your dog should recover from joint pain in a soft, comfortable resting area. He can also retire there if he needs rest – and you must respect that need.
Despite the health limitations, living with an older dog can be completely enriched.
When All Else Fails: It’s Time to Say Goodbye
Some conditions are simply not curable. The dog only suffers and loses all the quality of life. Even if it is difficult: in such situations, it is better to save your beloved four-legged friend from their torment.
Talk to a veterinarian who knows your dog well. Together, you can discuss whether and how to euthanize your dog.