Having a dog in his senior years can be sad to deal with on a daily basis. Elderly dogs start losing their sight, sense of hearing and smell. They can suffer from tooth loss, arthritis and need to make more visits to the vet. As the owner and friend of your dog, you naturally want the best for him.
I experienced it first hand with my beloved dog, Lucy. She came into my life at the age of 4 weeks, an early age due to her mom had been shot by a bb gun and the owner of the mother dog, was anxious to get the puppies to good homes.
Lucy was poodle-terrier mix, basically a mutt. She was a great companion and fit immediately into our family. Going on car rides, and other activities we enjoyed as a family. Lucy lived a long life, but by the age of 14 she developed cataracts eventually causing her to go blind, though she could still maneuver around the house by walking against furniture and walls for guidance. Other than the blindness and some arthritis in her back legs, the vet stated she was healthy. Lucy lived to the age of 17 years. To this day I still miss my Lucy dog.
Generally the age that determines your dog to be considered a senior dog depends on the size of your dog. Large breeds are considered to be in their senior years around 8 to 9 years of age. Small to medium size breeds usually reach their senior years in their early to mid teens.
Things to expect from a senior dog:
Cloudy Eyes – Dogs in their senior years tend to get a light blue/gray haze over the pupil of their eyes. This does not have much of an effect on the dog’s sight, unless cataracts are involved. At that point it is best that you consult your vet.
Gray Hair – Dogs begin to gray around the muzzle, face and neck.
Hearing – Your dog can have a problem hearing every now and then or completely lose his hearing. You will want to consult your vet to be sure that the problem iscaused by age and not due to other health problems.
Muscle Atrophy – As dogs get older, it is common for them to suffer loss of muscle mass, especially around their hind legs.
Slowing Down – Not as active and subtle changes will appear, such as being slow when your dog gets up from laying down or when he tries to climb stairs.
The Comfort of Your Senior Dog is very important. With older dogs, you want to keep a close eye on them, their health, appearance, and overall movement. You will want to consult your veterinarian if you notice any sudden changes.
Tulsa is a dog-loving town and is fortunate to have such great veterinarians, check out this list.
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