Changes to expect in a senior dog

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Changes to expect in a senior dog

Seniorhood is a golden age in every dog’s life, and at this point in your dog’s life, you play a crucial role to promote his health & happiness. When a dog reaches his seniorhood then his body undergoes some physical changes that is why they require different care to maintain a good quality of life. From puppyhood to seniorhood, a dog’s body undergoes numerous changes from physical & mental to emotional, and to keep them healthy at every age, the dog owners need to set their diet & exercise routine accordingly.

When aging comes, a variety of physical changes in the body as a dog’s body doesn’t remain as active as it was a few years ago. Generally, a dog turns senior when he turns 10-12 years of age, and the signs of aging tend to become more apparent. The dog owners should be aware of all the changes that their dog can possibly go when they enter seniorhood. Large breed dogs tend to reach senior hood a couple of years earlier than the small breed dogs so the age of seniorhood is not the same in every dog. Aging is inevitable in both the human & canine world so every dog owner should consider bringing changes in his dog’s care & environment to keep his health intact. The care and love you will shower on your furry companion in his golden years will promote longevity & good health. Depending on the breed of your dog, you need to start bringing change in your dog’s lifestyle when he enters the golden age of his life. On realizing that your dog is slowing down, you need to bring changes in his diet as well as mental & physical exercises.

Dog owners should understand that by giving proper care to his dog during the golden period, they can add more years to their life. You need to make sure that your dog is getting a proper diet and exercise to maintain proper mental & physical health.

In this article, we will discuss all the possible physical & behavioral changes that one can expect in a dog on reaching seniorhood.

Physical changes:

Stiff joints

As the age of a dog increases, his joints tend to become stiff, achy and weak. All the dog owners need to pay extra attention to their furry companion’s joints as with the right care, you can help them to move around easily. Senior dogs tend to slow down with age as their joints aren’t flexible or strong enough to follow the everyday routine. The things that they used to like before like long walks or climbing the stairs are no longer seem enjoyable to them as their joints aren’t flexible enough. The dog owner needs to reconsider his senior dog’s exercise routine as long walks or aggressive physical activities can sore up your dog’s joints resulting in extreme pain.

Dry & flaky skin

As a dog age, his skin tends to become dry and flaky. Some parts of your dog’s body can become drier than the other such as his elbows & nose so every dog owner should keep their dog’s skin moisturized by applying coconut oil in his diet. Scaly skin can easily become itchy and irritated which can make your dog uncomfortable so on noticing your dog’s skin getting drier, make sure to start adding coconut oil in his diet.

Failing eye-sight

Poor vision is also an issue that comes with growing age. Juke like humans, dogs can also have to fail eye-sight on entering the golden period of their life. You need to be aware of your dog’s failing eyesight so that you can give him needed assistance to make his life better.

Dental issues

Dental issues like infected gums, bad breath, and swollen gums are common in senior dogs. Dental issues can cause extreme discomfort to your senior dog which can further result in decreasing his appetite. On noticing any dental issue in your dog, you need to get it fixed by a veterinarian before it causes any severe damage to your dog’s dental health. Taking good care of your dog’s dental health will help in keeping him healthy & away from infections.

Weight gain/loss

Another physical change that comes with aging in dogs is the fluctuation of body weight. On reaching adulthood, some dogs tend to gain weight excessively & some start losing it. If your dog starting taking less calorie then he can lose weight whereas if his portion remains the same but lacks regular exercise then he can become over-weight. On noticing any difference in your dog’s weight, make sure to take him to a veterinarian for managing his weight.

Behavioral changes:

Just like physical changes, behavioral changes can also occur when a dog reaches his adulthood. Here’re some of the common behavioral changes in an aging dog.


One of the most common behavioral issues in an aging dog is anxiety. There can be numerous reasons for your senior dog’s anxiety.  Sometimes, pain, loud noises and being around kids can trigger anxiety in senior dogs. On noticing your dog getting anxious, you need to take him to a veterinarian to reduce his anxiety.

Excessive barking or growling

Another common behavioral change that you can notice in a senior dog is excessive barking or growling. Such behavioral issues can occur due to cognitive dysfunction syndrome or stress. You need to ensure that your dog’s routine doesn’t get affected otherwise it will result in excessive barking problems.

Increased confusion

After hitting seniorhood, some dogs can show signs of confusion. The confusion in dogs is a sign of dementia which can result in making your dog wander aimlessly around the house or feel scared of people. If you notice any of these signs in your furry companion then you should take him to a veterinarian for proper treatment.

Change in sleeping patterns

One of the most common behavior changes in a senior dog is a change in sleeping patterns. Senior dogs tend to sleep most of the time which results in making their sleeping patterns messed up. On noticing your dog having troubled sleeping patterns, you need to give him hormonal supplements which will help in resetting his internal clock.


Aggression is another common behavioral issue that comes with growing age. Senior dogs can easily become aggressive due to a number of reasons such as pain or fear. The dog owner should consider keeping his furry companion away from any situation that develops his aggression.

House soiling

We spend years house training our puppies but all training goes down a drain when a dog reaches his seniorhood. Some dogs can face a tough time eliminating outside which can result in increased accidents. Sometimes, changes in eating habits can also result in accidents. On noticing any sign of house soiling, make sure to eliminate all the things that are contributing to the issue.

Final Thoughts

When a dog hits his seniorhood then he requires good care to keep his physical and mental health intact. It is a dog owner’s responsibility to watch for any change in his dog’s appetite, weight, skin, etc. By giving proper care to your dog, you can add more years to his life.

October 23, 2019|Dog Care

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