Like humans, ageing is inevitable for our adorable critters. While the thought of them growing old and frail and eventually passing away before us may be too heartbreaking to keep in mind, it is still necessary for us to know when exactly they are considered an elderly dog so that we can give them the proper care required.
In general, most dogs over 8 years of age are considered to be ageing dogs, but the speed at which a canine ages also depends on various factors, such as the breed and illnesses. Rather than playing the guessing game, here are 4 signs that you can look out for to know if your dog is entering the final stage of his or her life.
One of the most obvious signs that your dog is ageing is the greying of his or her fur. Once luxurious, shiny, and vibrant, the fur will take on a duller, more muted sheen, and the areas around the eyes and mouth will be the first to turn grey. Other signs like itching, hot spots, flakiness, hair loss and, dryness of the skin are also all indicators of old-age.
However, if your dog is not in their declining years (aged 7 and younger), it may be evidence of a medical issue or nutritional deficiency. In that case, we recommend taking your furkid to an experienced vet in Singapore (add title tag to hyperlink “Vet in Singapore, Singapore Vet”) for a detailed health checkup (add title tag to hyperlink – “ When & Why: Trip To The Animal Doctor”).
Is your furkid becoming less playful? Are they taking longer and more frequent naps? Or is there a change in their pace whilst running?
This could be a sign that your dog, who seemed to be a puppy just yesterday, is approaching old age. They’ll even start to have difficulty in doing things that are part of their daily routine – think lying down, jumping, and getting up after sitting for a long period of time. Make sure you pay closer attention to them as they might need your help more often!
Due to the decrease in exercise, your pet’s calorie intake will be stored as body fat instead. If you see your dog getting pudgy when you’ve been feeding and taking him or her out for walks as per usual, it might be a sign of a slowing metabolism and a less active nature.
On the flip side, weight loss may occur in some ageing dogs instead. Reasons can include a drop in appetite, increased difficulty in chewing and swallowing, loss of muscle mass, and poor absorption or digestion of food.
If you see a weight loss or gain in your elderly dog, do consult a vet and adjust his or her diet accordingly!
As a dog ages, a slew of health problems may start to arise. These include joint pains, worsening vision, decreased heart function, lessened lung capacity, poor liver function, and so on. While joint pains are the easiest to spot – you may see your pooch struggling and hesitant to lie down, sit up, run, or jump – some of these other afflictions cannot be seen with the naked eye.
The most you can do is to read up widely on the visible symptoms of common illnesses that come with old age, and send your dog for health checkups regularly!
Remember, each dog ages differently, so if you’re ever confused about whether your dog is simply ageing or suffering from something more, do not hesitate to give your vet a call or make a trip down to the animal clinic. For a list of 24-hour vets in Singapore, click here.