Senior Dog Problems

Elderly canines have lower immunity and also develop a number of dog problems that are specific to old age. Behavioral changes may also occur. Being aware of these changes and the possible health problems will help you understand and prevent some of these conditions, when possible.


Arthritis is a condition affecting the joints and bones of dogs. This condition is developed in time and may be due to the continuous pressure that burdens the joints. Arthritis disables the dog to jump or perform normal activities.

Arthritis is not a treatable condition, but pain medication is available.

Arthritis can be delayed if your keep your pet in a good shape; overweight dogs will develop arthritis earlier and the condition can be more severe.

Heart Problems

Elderly dogs may develop heart conditions. However, this may greatly depend on the dog’s diet and his lifestyle.

Obese dogs are more exposed to heart strokes.

Dogs that have worked out on a regular basis have a stronger heart and are less likely to develop a heart condition.

Oral Health Problems

Elderly dogs may have decayed teeth or periodontal disease. This can be due to a poor dental hygiene or the lack of dry food or dry treats in your dog’s diet.

Kibble food or dry treats can remove the plaque off the dog’s teeth and keep his teeth and gums healthy.

Daily brushing is also recommended to remove bacteria and plaque.

A decayed tooth can cause a lot of pain and if the caries affect the nerve, the tooth should be extracted. Periodontal disease may cause loss of teeth, which may result in your pet’s refusal to eat and weight loss.


Diabetes has a higher incidence in elderly dogs. Diabetes is caused by a high glucose level and the incapacity of the pancreas to produce enough insulin to assimilate all the glucose.

Diabetes may be prevented by reducing the amount of carbohydrates from your dog’s diet and watching his weight.

Inappropriate Elimination

Elderly dogs may have vision or kidney problems which can result in inappropriate elimination.

Kidney or prostate problems as well as diabetes may cause more frequent urination.

More frequent urination may also be due to enterocolitis, IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), hormonal imbalance or stress.

Vision and Hearing Loss

Vision and hearing loss are not uncommon in dogs as they become older. Certain medical conditions may contribute to hearing or vision loss: ear mites, diabetes or eye infections.


Dogs may be more stressed as they get older. This may be due to different changes, including a change in diet or to a medical condition.


Elderly dogs can become suddenly aggressive. The aggressiveness may be due to pain, but typically older dogs are more irritable.

Different Activity Patterns

Your dog may keep you up during the night as he may change his activity patterns. You may hear him bark or growl, which may indicate a medical problem or simply boredom.

Your dog will also be less interested in activities and games. You need to keep your dog active, as this will maintain his health for longer and will give him a good night sleep.