Six Telltale Signs of an Aging Dog

old boxer

As soon as you arrive home, you expect to be greeted by a boisterous bundle of fur rampaging throughout the living room just to practice the usual ritual of licking your face. However, those days are long gone. Your dog, who we’ll call Fido, is a 13 year old black Labrador whose days are now spent in lounging on the couch and playing the occasional game of fetch.

Fido calmly approaches, wagging his tail. You bend over and scratch his ears, and he gives you an obligatory welcome lick on the cheek. After changing, you presume that he’s waiting down stairs, holding his leash on his mouth. Instead, you find him blissfully asleep in front of the TV.

Dogs do not remain as puppies for the rest of their lives. Aging brings a ton of changes in dogs, especially in appearance, demeanor, and overall health. Let’s take a look at some of which:

Grayer and Duller Fur

Like in human beings, older dogs’ fur will start graying or whitening. This is usually prominent in areas around the eyes and the muzzle. This is extremely visible in dogs with darker fur, like black Labradors, Doberman Pinschers, and Rottweilers . As for dogs with different-colored fur, their coats will become duller and lose their luster.

Nuclear Sclerosis

This usually appears on the eyes when dogs are six years old, and will become more pronounced as they age. It is a bluish haze, and is oftentimes mistaken for cataracts. It is harmless, and barely affects vision. There is no way to treat this condition, though it’s not something to be alarmed about despite its rather morbid-sounding name.

Living a Sedentary Lifestyle

Though this can be attributed to lower energy levels, the primary causes for aging dogs being sedentary are arthritis and other orthopedic problems. Osteoarthritis, or the degeneration of the joint cartilage, can be extremely painful. In dogs, it usually affects their hips, which in turn makes walking difficult.

If you think your dog is experiencing arthritis, talk to your local veterinarian. He might recommend joint supplements and painkillers to help life become more bearable to your pet.

Obesity or Weight Loss

Since Fido is living a sedentary lifestyle, he could have gained some weight. Considering that he barely exercises and moves around anymore, this is no surprise. In cases like these, a dietary change must be implemented given that they burn fewer calories and energy.

However, the opposite may happen. Fido might be losing some weight, and this can be attributed to dental problems, especially if they eat dry food. Teeth-related problems may be extremely painful, and it could render them to refuse meals.

They Sleep More

Aging dogs will spend most of their time snuggling in the arms of Hypnos, and they’ll be harder to wake up. However, you’ll need to play the devil and wake them up often: they still need a bit of activity to maintain their muscles and shed some weight.

Waste Accidents

Don’t be shocked if you see your aging dog accidentally peeing on the carpet. An aging dog may involuntarily leak urine, especially if it’s a female. Certain “accidents” and house soiling may start to occur, so prepare beforehand and talk to your veterinarian about this matter.

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