Dealing With An Aging Dog|
Older dogs although appearing normal to the naked eye, will have, and will exhibit teltail signs of age that only the experienced dog owner will be familiar with. Adding to this fact, that dogs will mask symptoms of certain ailments, makes it all the more important to know what to look for as your dog ages, so you can get a head start on treatment options if necessary.
As a dog ages, it will generally begin to slow down. I say generally, because there are of course exceptions to every rule, this one, no exception. You might not even realize the level of your dog"s activity has decreased. It will happen over such small increments, that by the time you realize it, a significant change in activity level will have taken place.
It is key to remember that just because your dog"s activity level is not what it once was, does not mean he/she is less willing to bound around due to a painful joint or joints. Dogs tend to simply become more prone to wanting to ly by the fire or cuddle with you on the couch as they age. They tend to seek affection, something that they would tend not to do as younger dogs. Night time walks will consist of them remaining close to you instead of forging ahead and waiting for you to catch up. They will attempt to spend as much time with you as possible, still independent, just appearing more devoted and loyal.
Something you can do to prepare yourself for living with your aging dog, is to research your dog breed as many will display similar aging symptoms but knowing what to look for can be very helpful.
Find out through friends, other dog owners, your vet, books, or the internet, what to expect to see as your dog ages. Remember changes that take place, are not always visible, or physical for that matter. In the above example, the dog did not slow down due to painful joints, but was simply more inclined not to be as hyper.
This does not mean to ignore a change in your dog"s behavior. If your dog does exhibit behavior that you may think is health related, then by all means make an appointment with your veterinarian. There are diseases that a dog becomes more prone to as they age, but if properly diagnosed, and caught at an early stage, your dog can be treated leading to the dog living happily.
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