Although your dog will always be a puppy in your eyes, your dog is getting older. As your dog reaches his senior years, caring for him can sometimes be more challenging. You might have to navigate through a maze of health-related complications and may be required to make end-of-life decisions. Having an understanding of common issues senior dogs face can help you to recognize them earlier and get the treatment to make your dog’s golden years comfortable and happy. Three of the most common afflictions for senior dogs are arthritis, cancer, and dementia. Understanding the signs and treatment of each can be a great benefit for your senior dog, and if you suspect your dog is suffering from one of these issues, contact your veterinarian.
Not many pet owners know this, but arthritis is one of the most common illnesses affecting pet dogs. Nearly one in four dogs in the United States suffer from some kind of arthritis with the most common being osteoarthritis. While age is a common factor, there are several causes that contribute to the illness. For example, autoimmune disorders could wear away the cartilage, bones, and joints, causing pain. An injury to the ligaments could also lead to arthritis.
Some of the symptoms are easy to notice. If your dog may have difficulty standing or walking, it may be a sign they have developed arthritis. They may limp for no reason or experience pain when being picked up. Dogs with osteoarthritis also have difficulty urinating and defecating.
Nutrition plays a huge role in managing arthritic pain. Besides pain medication, the vet may suggest a dietary supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and calcium. To help ease the pain, some vets might recommend CBD dog treats. Researchers have found hemp-based CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and might help manage your pet’s stress and pain.
Cancer affects nearly 6 million dogs every year and is the leading cause of death in dogs, according to The Veterinary Cancer Society. There are more than 100 types of cancers that affect dogs, but lymphoma and cancer of the mammary glands are the most common. Age is one of the most common reasons, and some breeds are prone to cancer than others.
Although cancer in dogs is difficult to diagnose, there are a few signs to look out for. An abnormal swelling that continues to grow or sores that don’t heal quickly are a sign to call for an immediate biopsy. Pay attention to your pet’s diet and weight. Urinating, defecating, and even breathing becomes difficult when a dog has cancer. Veterinarians are not always keen on curative treatment as they can make the dog even sicker and cause acute pain. But treatment is largely dependent on the type of cancer. Common treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. And to manage pain during the treatment, supplements such as CBD oil for dogs could help.
Like humans, dogs lose cognitive functions with age. Researchers at the University of California have found that around 28% of dogs between the ages of 11 to 12 and around 68% of dogs between the ages of 15-16 show signs of dementia.
Some of the common signs of dementia include increased accidents in house-trained dogs or sleep for unusually long hours. Some dogs will become aggressive, and many dogs lose interest in playing and activities they once enjoyed.
There’s not much you can do to treat dementia, but your vet may recommend dementia-specific medications to help manage the symptoms. To manage the stress from memory loss and confusion, your vet may recommend CBD dog treats.
Your dog is your best friend, and you want what’s best for your pooch even in their senior years. Looking out for possible signs of age-related issues with senior dogs can help them get treatment faster and more effectively, making the last stage of their life enjoyable and full of love.