Monitoring For Signs Of Aging In Dogs
Our dear companions have a much shorter life span than most of us. The larger breeds fare especially poorly,
living an average of only about ten to twelve years.
This, in human years, would be between fifty-six and sixty-four years old. Since they age faster, the aging
process is more concentrated in time and we should be on the lookout for the signs beginning perhaps as early as
their sixth birthday.
What Are The Signs Of Aging In Our Dogs?
There are number of different signs we can observe. Not every dog will have all the signs at the same time, but
they will have some. One of the earliest signs, when monitoring for signs of aging in dogs is a slowing down of
Movements are more measured and they just aren't interested in chasing that ball anymore as they once were. Even
if they were still eager to play, their bodies just couldn't function at that level any more.
Another sign is perhaps a cough that has developed and is here to stay. Rapid breathing, an increased pulse rate
and maybe a little higher temperature can be noticed. A veterinarian should be consulted in either instance.
An often overlooked area of your dog's health may be the mouth. Checking for loose teeth and gum disease is even
more important as they grow old. Pale gums could indicate anemia which could be due to a disease that needs
attention. Angry looking red gums are usually caused by periodontal disease, which also needs treatment.
Mental Slow Down
As they grow older, dogs become more irritable, especially when disturbed from a deep slumber. They just don't
want to be bothered and are easily crabby. Their mind is slowing also, although they are by no means senile.
It's just a general loss of interest and curiosity that would have been impossible to imagine five or six years
earlier. Their hearing diminishes but that is a very slow, ongoing problem. It is so gradual that it isn't easily
noticed until much, much later.
Other Signs Of Aging
Older dogs often get lumps and bumps all over their body. Some of them are benign but something more sinister
cannot be ruled out until lab tests are performed.
What Can We Do For Them?
The kindest thing we can do for our aging friends is to give them the best quality of life possible for the
remainder of their days. That means we have to consider their ability to accompany us on long walks. We may just
forego the long ones but take them on short little jaunts. Exercise is still an important fact in their well-being,
but it has to be at a diminished level and pace.
We can also get them the best diet we can afford, whether that is food the vet sells or homemade dinners of
known ingredients that will not add to possible stomach sensitivities. Vitamins and minerals added to their diet
may keep their joint moving less painfully.
Lastly, when we are monitoring for signs of aging in dogs, and
notice the increased gray around the muzzle, we may just want to have a quiet, undisturbed place to sleep for them
and love them as they deserve it.