Doggy Health Tips for a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
It’s a fact of life that we all get older. And, sadly, so do our four-legged friends.
As a dog gets older, signs of potentially serious health problems are often overlooked by owners as "normal for an old dog." Of course, some changes are to be expected with old age but some are not. Here are a few things to watch out for and some advice on when you should take your poorly pooch to see the vet.
Arthritis is quite common in older dogs and can be quite painful. Look out for limping, difficulty moving, a changed posture such as hunching, tiredness, irritability and licking or biting the affected area. There are many medicines available to help ease the pain and discomfort of arthritis, so see your vet as soon as possible to see which one is right for your dog.
Bad breath and bleeding gums
Good dental health is not only important for your dog’s teeth and mouth, but also for his overall general health. As a dog ages, tartar, gum disease and tooth loss are all potential problems so good dental practices are a must. Other causes of bad breath may be more serious though and can include oral cancers, infections and metabolic diseases such as kidney disease. No one likes dog breath, so see your vet if you’re concerned.
Sudden blindness, hearing loss, tilted head or staggering
If you notice any of these symptoms, see your vet as soon as possible. The cause could be infection, poisoning, cataracts or even cancer, so you need to establish what’s wrong and organise treatment promptly. Some dogs can develop cataracts in just a few days, with sudden onset diabetes, so get to the vets sharpish!
Change in weight or appetite
Weight loss or weight gain should be monitored closely, as well as any changes in diet or eating habits. Dogs should be fed a diet appropriate for their age and general health and some dogs may require special or prescription diets, so check with your vet.
Changes in urination and thirst
Dogs should not drink more water simply because they are old, it’s hot outside or the house is too warm in the winter. The most common causes of increased water intake are diabetes and kidney problems. Having little ‘accidents’ can also signal problems, either with infection, loss of sphincter control, or other underlying diseases so, again, get him checked out as soon as possible.
This list is by no means exhaustive, so if your dog is not himself, then get him down to the vets pronto. Always better to be safe than sorry.
Here’s wishing your doggy pal a long, happy and healthy life!