We love dogs. We love them for their loyalty, for the happiness they bring us, because they love us unconditionally. Sure there are times where they do dog things like tearing up a favorite pair of shoes or having an accident on that rug you just cleaned. All in all, though, there’s a reason dogs are called man’s best friend.
Our furry friends provide a sense of companionship and affection for us that can’t be matched in many cases. To see the smile of your dog when you come home from a particularly bad day of work can lift your spirits. That’s why we do our best to take care of our dogs as they get older, showing them as much compassion as humanly possible. We treat them to the very best of nutrient-rich food from sources like pet supplies direct sales and take them on long drives around the neighborhood. We hope all pets stay happy and healthy, which is why it’s necessary to consider investing in dog insurance such as Bivvy that can help pay for the expense. As our pets get older though, it’s best to keep an eye out on common health problems which they experience. Below are just a few of those health problems.
Hearing and Vision Loss
Just like elderly people, dogs can experience hearing and vision loss as they get older. For dogs who have finely tuned senses, this can be a huge challenge. For example, dogs can hear nearly twice as many frequencies as humans. They can also hear sounds four times further away. What human ears can hear from 20 feet away, dogs can hear from 80 feet away.
As far as vision, a dog’s field of vision is wider than humans. They have a 20/75 vision. This means that they must be 20 feet from an object, to see it as well as a human standing 75 feet away. Another added caveat to this is that certain breeds have better visual acuity. For example, Labradors, are commonly used as seeing-eye dogs. They are bred for better eyesight and may have a vision that is closer to 20/20.
Senior dogs are unfortunately prone to developing cataracts, which is seen as a cloudy layer of film that forms over the lens of the eye that can cause partial or total blindness. With hearing loss, this sometimes becomes permanent as a dog ages. To slow the process of hearing loss its good to consistently clean their ears as they age.
Dogs can suffer from dementia, losing cognitive function as they age. Dementia is defined as loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking abilities. This loss is severe enough to interfere with daily life. We usually use dementia to describe symptoms of senility and Alzheimer’s in humans, but these can also be experienced by a dog.
In cases of dementia in dogs, some signs of this include confusion, disorientation, whining or barking for no apparent reason, getting lost in familiar settings, and bathroom accidents. Such symptoms can indicate other conditions, so it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian to find out what else might be going on with your pet. Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for dementia. There are certain medications and pet products which can help your dog get through such difficult periods. Some vets recommend CBD for pets, which can relieve the anxiety that comes with feeling disoriented. CBD hemp oil can be added to a pets food, or CBD oil can be taken orally on its own. If your dog is suffering from cognitive decline, consult with your vet about pet relief CBD or other pet products that can help your furry friend.
Joint problems are another issue that can affect senior dogs. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of joint pain and stiffness in dogs. This disorder is a progressive degenerative disease that causes loss of lubrication and the wearing away of cartilage in the shoulders, hips, and leg joints. It seems that this disease can affect many breeds of dogs, particularly larger breeds, which have higher bodyweights. Purebreds are at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. This is potentially linked to the inherited defects related to the conformation of certain breeds.
As with dementia, there is, unfortunately, no cure for such an ailment. There are treatments that can help with reducing the pain and help to slow the progression of the disease. If you provide your dog with a nutrition-rich dog food diet, this can go a long way in helping them to combat osteoarthritis in the long run. CBD is also said to help with pain relief in some cases. So say when you’re visiting your local veterinary services in Cleveland, OH ask your vet what is the best food to help with your dog’s osteoarthritis and provide them with the best care.
As dogs age, heart disease can develop with them. According to one study, slightly more than 10 percent of the animals (including dogs) examined by a veterinarian in the United States have some form of cardiovascular disease. Senior dogs more commonly suffer from a heart condition known as congestive heart failure. This disease occurs when the heart can’t pump blood efficiently, and fluid backs up the heart, lungs, and chest cavity.
Symptoms of this include coughing, difficulty breathing, exercise intolerance, loss of consciousness, and unexplained vomiting. When these signs present themselves, it’s best to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Not taking care of such a disease can ultimately hurt their overall health and wellbeing.
Your dog having a little extra girth is not necessarily a bad thing. This might suggest that you’ve put a bit too much food in their bowl from time to time, that they aren’t getting enough exercise, or maybe they’ve one too many doggie snacks. When your dog’s weight gets to the obesity level, there is a cause for concern, especially for elderly dogs. Your dog’s weight can have a major impact on their health.
Older dogs who carry excessive weight are prone to diseases like diabetes. This extra weight can also contribute to and complicate the treatment of heart disease, joint problems, and certain forms of cancer. To offset this weight loss, a pet owner can try to provide their dog with as much exercise as is allowed for a dog their age. You can also provide your dog with nutrition supplements, age-appropriate meals, and make sure that the food is nutritionally balanced for an animal their age. There are a wide variety of pet care products that can help you with this so don’t worry. Your goal is to make sure they are getting the right amount of nutrients, and the right amount of calories to live a high-quality healthy life.
Gastrointestinal Issues and Incontinence
As dogs age, they sometimes succumb to gastrointestinal issues (GI) and incontinence. Gastrointestinal diseases refer to diseases involving the gastrointestinal tract. These are namely the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and the accessory organs of digestion, the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Incontinence is the loss of bladder control.
Gastrointestinal Issues aren’t always serious but can be an indicator of other diseases in your senior dog, such as kidney disease. If signs like vomiting or diarrhea (which indicate GI) don’t clear up with your dog, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet. On the incontinence side of things, as dogs get older, they sometimes have accidents as the muscles which control their bladder weaken. Incontinence can also be an indicator of a urinary tract infection and possible dementia. In both cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of veterinarians as soon as possible.
Older dogs have a tendency to get lumps and bumps. In most cases, they are not cancerous. As a dog gets older though, there is an increase in the possibility of them developing cancer. If you feel any strange lumps on your dog, it’s best to still get them checked out with regular checkups and cancer screenings with the best veterinary care.
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