Just like humans, dogs will eventually age and their overall health will start to deteriorate. Similar to us, along with old age come problems with mental, emotional and physical health. This is the crucial time when our dogs need us more than ever as they try to adapt to their declining sensory and cognitive functioning, as well as weaker physical capabilities. To be the best pet owners possible, we need to be aware of the issues we can expect, and how to respond to them.Restlessness
As dogs get older, their sleep cycles can reverse themselves. This may result in an inability to sleep at night, and lethargic, exhausted days. Your dog probably won’t understand why he can’t fall asleep, and just like how we get agitated when dealing with insomnia, this can lead to restlessness, anxiety and an increased dependency on us you as his owner. Establish a strict sleeping routine for your dog to help his mind and body adapt to a new rhythm, and take him out for more frequent walks to tire him out in the day so that hopefully, he’ll be ready for bed come night time.Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is common in many pets, however can peak, as dogs get older. A dog can get irritable around new pets and people, and respond negatively to loud noises as they age. This is most likely to occur when their owner is out of sight or out of the house, and dogs respond to the anxiety in a number of ways, such as soiling the house, pacing when they know their owner is leaving, destroying furniture or refusing to eat when left alone. Consult with a veterinarian to check that your dog is not signalling a more serious health issue, and once the prognosis is verified, take the necessary steps to aid your dog in dealing with his anxiety. Before you leave the house, play with your pet, distract him, and offer him a toy to play with so that he stays entertained while you are out.Memory Loss
We all risk memory loss when getting older, and one sign that your dog is suffering from it too would be when he forgets cues or commands that he is normally familiar with, such as being house-trained. Another sign would be when he fails to recognise the faces of his family. While there is no cure, keep your dog’s mind engaged and help him by re-training him and constantly reminding him of commands and cues. Exercise a lot of patience when dealing with your ageing dog, because he would be suffering as much as you and would need you more than ever.Aggression
As previously mentioned, senior dogs can get overwhelmed, irritated and aggressive when new pets are added into the family. They can also act out if they suffer from hearing or vision loss due to their old age. There are many complications that can ail an aging dog, and aggression is one way that they show they are in pain. Be quick to pick up on signs that your dog is in pain, and immediately consult a vets in singapore for a checkup. Ease him into new situations and slowly introduce him to the new pets in the family by letting him first sniff the pet’s blanket or toy before they meet.Phobias
With deteriorating vision and hearing comes more paranoia and new phobias, such as fear of thunderstorms, or even of stepping out of the house. Find out what triggers your dog and remove the object that causes him discomfort if you can but most importantly, be there to support your dog. Once he senses that you are frustrated with him, he will only develop a stronger sense of anxiety and fear.Conclusion
The twilight years of a dog’s life need not be filled with fear, anxiety and sadness. While some problems may persist as they age, it is only one part of their life and they still desire love, companionship and plenty of support from their owners. Tune your ears and eyes to your dog so that you can be quick to come to his aid, however also tune your heart to him as you both walk through years of graceful ageing together.