Common Aging Dog Symptoms

An aging dog will present a wide range of symptoms that will indicate you need to pay more attention to his health and offer more care. The dog will display physical changes starting from coat color to behavioral changes.

Coat Color Changes

Older dogs will start having a paler coat; light colored dogs will become almost white, while black coated dogs will display grey or white hairs.

Tooth Decay

Dogs may start having teeth problems by the age of 3 or 4; however, older dogs have several teeth problems. Tooth decay and gum issues are the most frequent problems in senior dogs. Dental and gum problems are accompanied by bad breath, swollen gums or puss.

You may prevent tooth decay with proper dental hygiene, daily tooth brushing and chew treats or chew toys that will remove plaque.


In time, due to the continual stress on the joints, these may get swollen and painful. Arthritis can cause the dog to have difficulties in walking, getting up or performing his normal activities.

Overweight dogs are likely to develop joint problems earlier in life, due to the excess weight that will have a negative effect on the joints.

Frequent Diarrhea

As the dog gets older, the intestines lose their original tone and the dog may experience frequent diarrhea.

To solve this problem, administer some mineral oil supplements.

Kidney Problems

Senior dogs often experience kidney problems and this will result in urinary incontinence. Elimination problems occur when the dog has bladder or prostate problems as well.

The treatment of kidney problems may be difficult and depends on the underlying cause.

Decreased Activity

Even if you feed your dog the same amounts of food, your dog will become less active as he gets older. He will engage in fewer activities, show less interest in playing and will be happy just to sit or sleep.

You need to stimulate your dog to prevent obesity and the health issues related to this condition. Decrease the amount of food or get a senior dog prescription food and initiate activities that are likely to captivate your pet’s attention. Opt for low impact activities to avoid joint problems.


Some elderly dogs may suffer from deafness, which may be related to numerous ear infections. You may notice that your dog does not respond when you call him and does not react to noise or other stimuli.

In some cases, the dog is simply disinterested due to the decreased level of activity.

Changes in Behavior

Behavioral changes may occur in aging dogs. They may become less obedient and stubborn.

Some dogs can become easily irritable or aggressive.

Sight Problems

Older dogs, especially dogs with diabetes are susceptible to sight problems or blindness.

Your pet may bump into furniture or doors; however if he is familiar with the environment he may manage to avoid accidents due to blindness.


Dogs may suffer from insomnia as they get older. The insomnia may be due to pain caused by different medical conditions or by the constant need to urinate, caused by kidney and bladder problems.