Just like humans, getting older affects our beloved pets too. It can sometimes be gradual and therefore go unnoticed by owners.
Possible symptoms can include:
Lethargic and exercise intolerance
Are they slowing down and sleeping more often? Less likely to climb the stairs or jump on the sofa? Not so keen for their daily walk?
Having accidents in the house? More grumpy than usual? Appear confused at times?
Changes in body condition Changes with their skin or nails? Matted fur or a dry coarse coat? Notice they have bad breath?
Changes in weight Increased in weight? Decreased in weight? Loss of muscle mass?
Caring for your older companion:
Household items Place their food and water bowl on the floor where they can access. Use a litter box with lower sides to make it easier for them to climb in and out of. Slippery floors can also be a challenge for older dogs to walk on, putting a rug or carpet down gives them something to grip on.
Warm, soft place to rest Place a warm comfortable bed somewhere quiet and away from draughts.
Remember may need to toilet more frequently.
Monitor how much your pet is eating and drinking. You can speak to your vet regarding supplements or change of diet.
Grooming often will help keep your pet's coat condition better, plus a chance to check for lumps.
Mental and regular exercise is still just as important with a senior dog. You may find little and often works best.
Hydrotherapy and Physiotherapy can help alleviate any pain and stiffness in joints.
It is always important you discuss any change you notice in your pet with your veterinary surgeon so they can advice and treat accordingly.