No one lives forever, including your beloved dog. What makes this realization even sadder is realizing that your dog doesn’t stand a chance of living nearly as long as you, which means that much of your life will be spent without your beloved canine companion. What this means is simply that you must find the time to spend with your dog now so that you can enjoy him as long as he is here to enjoy, and there is nothing wrong with that. Like humans, dogs change as they get older. Some changes are for the best (no longer chewing on your shoes) and some changes are not for the best (age related health issues). As our dogs age, it becomes our responsibility to notice these changes and how they are affecting the way that our dogs are able to live their lives. Some changes are just fine, but it’s a good idea to keep our eye out for changes that are not so that we can help our dogs ease their way into their own golden years without incident. Here are just a few of the things that you should look for in your dog as he or she ages.
Changes in activity
Sometimes a dog might experience a change in his or her activity level. This might have to do with age; everyone slows down just a bit as they get older. But it might also have to do with something that’s health related. That’s why it’s important to take note. If a dog’s activity level decreases a bit with age, it’s fine. If his or her activity level decreases significantly all of a sudden with no warning, chances are good it’s a health issue.
Changes in sleep
Your dog might begin to sleep a bit more over the years, and that is perfectly fine. We’d all love an additional nap throughout the day or even a little bit longer in bed in the morning or evenings, especially as we get older. But if your dog is sleeping all the time, it might be an issue.
Changes in eating habits
Dogs tend to eat a bit differently as they get older. But your dog’s eating habits shouldn’t change drastically. For example, your dog should not stop eating all together or start eating so much that he or she is gaining weight. It means that your dog has other, underlying issues that a vet might want to check out.
Changes in weight
Vets are very adamant about the fact that dogs that put on a significant amount of weight could be at risk for diabetes and other health-related issues. While some dogs change their weight over the years thanks to a decreased desire to be active as they get older, your dog might need to see the vet if you notice sudden, very different changes in his or her weight.
Changes in behavior
Is your dog suddenly less friendly, more likely to want to sit down with you than do anything else or does he or she do something completely different all of a sudden? If so, your dog could be getting older. But your dog should be just fine. You might even notice that as your dog ages, he or she is more inclined to have overnight accidents. It’s a sign of age more than anything else, but you should keep your eye on this kind of behavior.
Changes in the eyes
If your dogs eyes begin to change drastically, it could mean something. There may be a bit of a cloudy look to his or her eyes, and that’s fine. It does happen with age and does not provide any real issue to your dog’s health. You might notice that the biggest difference as this change in color begins to occur is that your dog is more sensitive to bright lights. It’s perfectly fine.
Changes in the nails
Over the years, your dog’s body changes much like your own. This means you might notice that your dog has some differences in his or her nails. This could indicate that your dog is just getting older as his nails change. But if you notice very significant changes, it never hurts to contact your vet and ask to make an appointment to have this checked out.
Changes in the fur
Your dog is much like a human in that his or her fur will change over the years. It’s hard to see a bit of white appearing at your own temples, but it can add a bit of character. The same goes for your dog. If you notice that his or her fur is changing to a tone that’s white or grey, it can indicate nothing more than old age. Don’t worry about it. It’s happening to you, too, and you’re not that upset, are you?
Changes in mood
Dogs do tend to change their mood as they get older. It happens to the best of us. We become more patient, less patient, friendlier, less friendly; it all really just depends and there is nothing wrong with that. What we do appreciate, however, is that our dogs are still here with us. As long as your dog’s mood isn’t dangerous or detrimental to anyone or anything in his life, you have no real reason to worry. He’s just getting older. It happens.
Difficulties in any aspect of life
Your dog might begin to face some difficulties in life as he or she gets older. We all do. But that doesn’t mean more than that in many instances. Your dog might face some trouble walking later in life thanks to decreased abilities, but it might also mean that your dog has some health issues. Your best bet is to keep up with frequent checkups with your vet so that you can ensure you are always on top of your dog’s health. It will make you feel better, and it will help increase your dog’s chances of living a longer and more fulfilling life.
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