Our senior sweethearts can live happy and healthy lives. Due to improved veterinary care and dietary habits, pets are living longer now than they ever have before. However, they often face a number of common health problems related to their advancing age. And while you can’t necessarily prevent these problems, you can work with your veterinarian to help ensure your pooches are as healthy, comfortable and happy as possible as he ages.
This painful, degenerative joint disease is very common in older dogs. Signs include limping, difficulty getting up, whining and reluctance to exercise. Your vet can prescribe drugs that can help ease the pain and he may also recommend other management strategies, like weight loss (if your dog is overweight), acupuncture or massage.
Nerve degeneration in older dogs typically results in a gradual hearing loss. Nothing can be done to stop the deafness, but much can be done to help the dog adapt. Teach him the hand signal, and consider stomping your foot so he feels the vibrations and knows you’re still nearby. Soon, you will find that the hearing loss hardly affects your dog's day-to-day life.
Like deafness, many older dogs experience a gradual loss of vision. This is usually due to degenerative changes in the eye. Cataracts, dry eye, and nuclear sclerosis are some of the eye conditions that can affect older dogs.If you think your dog is going blind, be sure to visit your vet. If the blindness is simply due to old age, nothing can be done to reverse it. With a gradual loss of sight, your dog will adapt quickly becoming more reliant on his other senses to get around.
Dental problems are also very common in older dogs. Bad breath, bleeding gums, loose teeth, recessed gums and reluctance to chew are all signs. Schedule an exam with your vet, who may recommend cleaning and may prescribe medication for pain or infection. And be sure to follow at-home care to help slow down future tartar buildup.