Not only are there obvious external signs of old age in dogs, but there are also some internal issues that older dogs may have to deal with.
As a dog ages, its hearing will worsen and over time this can lead to deafness. Ignoring your commands may be because of hearing loss. If you have a pet insurance in place consult your vet on the following steps. You could reimburse the checkup charges later, so don’t worry. If their eyesight is still good, hand gestures can be a substitute. A clear sign of hearing problems is that when you go home and ring the doorbell your dog does not greet you at the door.
As soon as you suspect hearing problems, please take the dog to your veterinarian to see if there is an underlying cause that can be treated. Also, read the dog insurance policy to check what conditions are covered. A deaf dog should not be left off the leash unless it is in a safe fenced area.
There are other problems with elderly dogs. For example, an old dog may not eat normally due to stomach obstruction. Sometimes there is urinary retention and stones in the urinary tract. Dogs can drink excessive amounts of water and urinate frequently, or be constipated. For these conditions, consult a veterinarian to get a recommendation on medications and diet changes.
Coughing, shortness of breath, and fatigue can be symptoms of heart problems. These are not uncommon in older dogs. We should not treat these symptoms as minor respiratory illnesses in these dogs, but consult a vet as soon as possible. X-rays and diagnostic tests may also be required.
As the dog ages, its vision deteriorates. Many elderly dogs appear cloudy in the lens of one or both eyes, called a cataract. Sometimes diabetes can cause vision problems too – know that this condition is also manageable through diet and medication.
Old age blindness is a common problem in dogs and can be due to many factors, such as degenerative processes, nutritional factors or lack of exercise. The onset is usually gradual, and the owner notices it when it becomes difficult for the dog to get up, walk, and move around.
As long as a blind dog can smell, hear and feel family members, it will find its way by using these senses and its heart. Regardless, the owner can help the blind dog by keeping it on a leash when going outside the house and avoiding any significant rearrangement of the furniture in the house, including its feeder and drinking fountain.
Of course, consulting a veterinarian is essential whenever your dog has a health condition. And as they age you should keep the dog indoors when the temperature is neither too high nor too low. Leaving dogs outside in the cold winter can exacerbate various health problems. Regular, moderate exercise is helpful.
Another common problem in elderly dogs is incontinence or inability to control bowel and bladder movements. Dogs with urinary or fecal incontinence should walk more frequently and be restricted to specific places where cleaning is relatively more convenient.
If the bodily leaks in the house occur every day despite the advice and veterinarian treatment, such as changes in diet and medications, then the humane choice is to treat it like a puppy. Don’t punish it for these mistakes.
Taking care of an elderly dog will require a lot of vet visits and expenses. Pet insurance can come in handy as it’ll significantly offset the total cost of your elderly pet’s medical expenses. Similar to human health insurance, dog insurance specifically covers veterinary and other pet health expenses. There may be an out-of-pocket excess payment before the plan pays a certain percentage of the bill, and cost and coverage vary based on many factors.
Either way, being reimbursed for a lot of your pet’s medical expenses will help you take good care of them as they age.