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Bark n Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk

Jun 3, 2016

You are listening to Bark & Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk and I am your host Polly ReQua

Today we are talking with Dr. Susan McMillan, owner of Vet to Pet Mobile Veterinary Service in Burlington, Vermont about the signs of an aging pet.

Welcome Susan….

11 Signs Of Aging Every Dog Owner Needs To Look For

Age creeps up on all of us, even our dogs. The signs can be subtle, easily missed while we go about our daily lives. However, being aware of and paying attention to the signs of aging in your dog could help you catch health issues early, which may make treatment easier and less expensive. Not to mention save your dog discomfort. If you notice any of these, it’s time for a vet visit.

#1 – Slowing Down

Do you have to encourage your dog to run up the hill when he used to beat you to the top? Slowing down can be a sign of early arthritis, thyroid issues, etc. 

#2 – Gaining Weight

As your dog gets older, you might notice her getting pudgy. This can be a sign of many things such as a slowing metabolism, thyroid issues, etc. It could be as simply as feeding your dog less or switching to a lower calorie diet, but definitely check with your vet first to rule out any real medical issues.

#3 –Not Responding To You

Has your dog stopped coming when you call? If you think your aging dog is just becoming “old and stubborn,” think again – he may be losing his hearing. Time to brush up on those hand signals!

#4 – Trouble Getting Up

You may notice your dog has trouble getting up after lying or sitting a long time, particularly on hard surfaces. She may also have issues staying on her feet. This can be another sign of joint pain and should definitely be checked out by a vet.

#5 – Cloudy Eyes

This can be hard to notice at first, especially if you have a dog that really avoids eye contact. However, it’s important to notice because while most dogs develop some cloudiness as they age (nuclear sclerosis), it can also be a sign of cataracts, which will need treatment. Definitely go to the vet if you notice any cloudiness.

#6 – More Bathroom Breaks

As your dog ages, he will also need to go to the bathroom more often. If he starts having accidents in the house, you may need to up your number of potty breaks throughout the day or leave pee pads out when you leave.

#7 – Continued Bathroom Accidents

On the same note, if your dog seems to be going randomly a lot even after you have upped your bathroom breaks, she may be having trouble holding “it.” Take her to the vet to make sure nothing is wrong medically.

#8 – Lumps

A dog owner’s worst fear – lumps. You should be feeling your dog from lumps frequently. On short hair dogs they will eventually be noticeable by sight, but it’s better if you detect them early – especially if they ended up being cancerous. On Long hair dogs, regular feeling is vital, since they won’t be visible even when they get large.

#9 – Deteriorating Coat Condition

Dry coat, itchy, flaky, hot spots, hair loss, etc. – these are all indications that something is going on with your aging dog. They can be indications of a lot of different medical issues. If you notice your dog’s hair isn’t as nice as it once was, it’s time to go to the vet. 

#10 – Slow To Do Something

Did you ask your dog to sit and he looks at you for several seconds? Maybe he refuses the first time and then the second time you ask he does it – but only after carefully positioning his body and moving very slowing? These are signs that his body is getting older and doing things like sitting, lying down, jumping, etc., are getting difficult. Same goes for repetitiveness. Maybe he sits the first two times but refuses the third. 

#11 – Bad Breath

This sign of aging will probably be the first you encounter. Dogs as young as three develop this and it’s usually a sign of dental disease. If your dog starts having bad breath, it’s definitely a “don’t wait” vet visit. The longer the teeth are allowed to decay the worse it will be for your dog and your pocketbook.