Aging and your dog
'If it should be that I
grow weak and pain should keep me from my sleep.
Then you must do what must be done, for the last
battle can't be won. You will be sad - I understand,
don't let this grief stay in your hand. For this
day, more then all the rest, your love for me must
stand the test. We've had so many happy times, what
has to come can hold no fears. You'd not want me
to suffer, so the time has come, please let me go.
Take me where my needs they'll tend, and please
stay with me to the end. Hold me firm and speak
with me, until my eyes no longer see. I know that
in time you will see the kindness that you did for
me. Although my tail its last has waved, from pain
and suffering I've been saved. Please do not grieve.
It must be you who has this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years, don't
let your heart hold back its tears.'
Exactly how old is my dog? How can I figure out
my dog's age in human years? This graph will
help you figure out your companion's dog years.
small dogs to be senior citizens at about 12 years
of age, while large dogs reach the senior stage
at 6 to 8 years of age.
What are the signs of aging
and what should you do about them? One of the
first signs of aging is slowing down. It will take
your dog longer to get up and get started from a
lying position, longer to climb stairs. Some of
these changes are natural, but it is important not
to overlook changes that may be symptoms of a condition
Never assume that a change
in behavior or habits is simply due to old age;
it may be due to a treatable condition
Some vets advise semi-annual
visits once your dog becomes a senior. An annual
visit is an absolute minimum (remember, a year in
your dog's life is akin to about five of your own
years). In between visits to the vet and annual
geriatric screenings, you can stay alert to behavioral
changes and other signs of aging.
Here are some things to
watch for and action to take:
Sudden loss of weight;
Serious loss of appetite;
Increase in appetite without increase in weight;
Diarrhea or vomiting;
Increased thirst without a change in activity level;
Being excessively out of breath after minimal exercise;
Coughing and excessive panting;
Difficulty in getting up from a lying position;
Problems with vision and hearing;
Behavioral changes that
you may see in your older dog include:
Sensitivity to noise;
If your dog is exhibiting any
of the symptoms talk to your vet.
To help keeping your aging
- keep his weight down using
good nutrition and regular exercise
- keep his teeth clean
- visit the vet for regular check-ups
- be vigilant about sudden changes in habits or
behavior which may indicate an underlying