As dogs get older, they begin to slow down a bit and they don’t move around quite like they did in their younger years. Your dog probably won’t seem as spry and chipper as he used to.
At the same time, an aging dog’s working parts get a little rusty and they simply don’t function the same as they did before.
Large breed dogs are considered a senior at 6 or 7 years of age, whereas small breeds aren’t considered a senior until their teen years. Source
Here’s a dog age calculator to determine how old your dog really is.
Generally speaking, senior dogs need to be cared for differently.
If your adult dog is approaching his senior years, you will start to notice these signs…
Signs Of Aging In Elderly Dogs
Some typical signs of dog aging to watch for:
- Your dog’s teeth will become pretty bad if they were not taken care of earlier in their life. Elderly dogs can get periodontal disease — which is very painful. Here’s what to do If your dog loses most (or all of his teeth.
- Your dog’s hearing will begin to diminish. Signs that your dog can’t hear as well include: startling easily when you approach him from behind, your dog not focusing on you as much as before, and not coming when you call him.
- Your dog may seem aloof or forgetful at times. This is commonly associated with doggy alzheimers.
50% of dogs over the age of 10 are going to die of cancer. That’s from the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association). Other common problems are renal and kidney disease, heart failure, diabetes. Look for increased or decreased thirst. Changes in their bathroom habits. A lot of time you’ll see pain of movement, or lack of movement. Source
- Your elderly dog will need to go outside to use the bathroom more often. As they age, they are unable to hold it as long as they could when they were younger.
TIP: If your elderly dog has an accident don’t get mad at him. Just start taking him out more often.
- Your dog’s fur will start to turn gray, especially around the face and muzzle area.
- Your dog’s legs may seem stiff and/or sore — especially as he gets up from lying down, goes into a sit position, or tries to lie down. This is typically a sign of arthritis or joint pain. Just like humans, dogs’ joints become stiffer and less flexible as they age. Fortunately, there are medications and supplements to help relieve some of the pain.
- Your dog’s coat will become thinner and his nails will become more brittle as he ages.
- Your dog’s eyes may get cloudy or bluish. This is a normal sign of aging and does not affect the dog’s vision. However, a white cloud over the pupil may be cataracts — which do affect a dog’s vision.
- Your dog’s eating habits may change. He might become more picky about the type of food he eats, or he just might eat less. Older dogs require less food than younger dogs, so don’t keep feeding your senior dog the same amount you always did. Otherwise, he’ll just become a fat old dog!
Here are some elderly dog care tips & things you should do early — before your dog gets too old.
Here’s how to monitor your elderly dog for signs of disease.
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I've always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what's 'normal' and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I'm not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've written over 500 articles for dog owners on this site!