The 5 Most Common Senior Dog Health Problems

Senior dog health problems can occur after the age of 8 to 10, and may be accompanied by behavioral changes. The most common health issues in senior dogs include arthritis, heart and dental diseases. Being aware of these problems will help you understand your pet, and you can even take some preventive measures to delay the occurrence of these aging problems.

1. Arthritis

Arthritis is a joint disease and can be very painful for dogs. The joints are inflamed and the dog will be incapable of performing regular tasks such as jumping, running or even walking. You might often see your pet limping or having difficulties standing up. Overweight dogs are more susceptible to developing arthritis earlier in life, due to the additional weight that presses on the joints on a daily basis. Due to the pain, the dog will be highly irritable and even aggressive.

Pain medication is prescribed and in some cases surgery is recommended. The only way you could possibly prevent arthritis is by managing the dog’s weight, making sure he never gets overweight.

2. Heart Condition

Elderly dogs are susceptible to heart disease. Heart problems are more frequent in overweight dogs. The dog’s diet and fitness level also contribute to his heart condition. A dog with a lean diet (low in carbs and fats) and a healthy exercise program is less likely to develop a heart condition.

3. Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Dogs after the age of 3 or 4 may develop dental problems. This is mainly due to an improper dental hygiene and the lack of kibble food or dry treats in the dog’s diet.

Plaque deposits can easily turn into tartar, which cannot be removed by brushing. Tartar or calculus is just the beginning of gum and periodontal disease. A dog with periodontal disease may develop other internal problems, as bacteria may enter the dog’s system through the receding gums. Tooth and gum problems are painful, so the dog will be very irritable. In some cases, tooth extraction will be needed.

Brush your dog’s teeth every day. Offer him chew toys with an abrasive action, and opt for kibble food. Purchase some chew treats that will also remove plaque deposits and keep your dog’s breath fresh. Elderly dogs often have halitosis or bad breath.

4. Inappropriate Elimination

Some older dogs will have no control over their bladder and will urinate in the house.

The inappropriate elimination may also signal a urinary infection or some other medical conditions, including:

  • Colitis or enteritis
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Kidney problems
  • Stress

Inappropriate elimination may also be due to vision problems.

5. Diabetes

Senior dogs are more exposed to developing diabetes, especially obese dogs. Diabetes is caused by an increased level of glucose in the blood that cannot be properly assimilated. Insulin shots are needed to manage the condition.

A senior dog can have hearing or vision problems. He may also suffer from insomnia, which can be due to pain or the need to urinate.