Senior dogs tend to suffer from many of the same heath issues as we do. It is well known that a dog ages more quickly than humans. People tend to equate one year of a dog’s life to seven human years. Over a dog’s entire lifespan this is the average. However, a one-year-old pup is physiologically equal to about a 30-year-old human. The average 12-year lifespan of a dog corresponds to the average life expectancy of humans, 70 years, but a dog matures and ages differently than us.
As much as you may want to deny that your pup is getting older, it’s important to keep an eye out for senior dog health conditions. In order to help improve your pet’s quality of life, you should educate yourself on the most common health issues for senior dogs. Keep reading to learn about these common health problems in senior dogs that may now or one day affect your pet.
On average, at age seven, a dog is considered a senior. This will differ with size and breed of dog. While a German Shepard would be considered a senior by age six, a Chihuahua may not reach old timer status until eight or nine years of age. Other factors, such as genetics and environmental conditions, will also affect how rapidly a dog ages. Once your pet starts showing signs of age-related health issues, he can be considered a senior dog regardless of his age.
Here are common health issues found in senior dogs:
Older pets tend to be prone to getting lumps and bumps under their skin. And, luckily, not all of them are cancerous. However, age increases the risk of cancer in dogs. It is a good idea to get any strange lumps checked out by your vet. Regular checkups and cancer screenings can help find tumors that aren’t easily noticeable or felt.
Symptoms of cancer in dogs may include:
- Sores that do not heal
- Abnormal discharges from any part of the body
- Bad breath
- Rapid weight loss
- Sudden lameness
- Black, tarry stools
- Decrease or loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating
- Having your dog spayed or neutered at an early age can reduce their chance of getting certain types of cancer.
- Breast cancer can be avoided almost entirely by having your dog spayed before her first heat cycle.
- A neutered male dog has zero chance of developing testicular cancer.
- Feeding your pet a well-balanced diet of reputable pet food will also help to avoid cancer.
Diabetes in dogs is a complex disease. The cause is usually either a lack of the hormone insulin or an inadequate response to insulin. After a dog eats, the digestive system breaks food into various components. One component is glucose, which is carried into the cells by insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilize it normally, blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, which, if left untreated, can cause many complicated health problems.
Diabetes Symptoms in Dogs:
- Change in appetite
- Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
- Weight loss
- Increased and frequent urination
- Unusually sweet-smelling breath
- Urinary tract infections
- Cataract formation, blindness
- Chronic skin infections
Type I diabetes, the type found in dogs less than a year of age is inherited. However, the more common Type II that tends to develop later in life, a proper diet, and regular exercise can go far to avoid the development of diabetes. Aside from other negative effects, obesity is known to contribute to insulin resistance.
Heart Problems in Senior Dogs
Heart disease can also develop as dogs age. One common form of heart disease in dogs is congestive heart failure. This condition occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently and fluid backs up in the heart, lungs and chest.
Symptoms of Heart Disease:
- Difficulty breathing
- Exercise intolerance
- Loss of consciousness
- Unexplained vomiting
If you suspect your dog may be suffering from possible heart disease he should be checked out by a vet right away. Time is of the essence with this disease.
Your dog’s weight has a significant impact on his health. Especially because as your pet ages, he becomes less active. Senior dogs carrying excess weight are more prone to illnesses, such as joint problems. Obesity can contribute to and complicate the treatment of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer, according to the American Kennel Club. In addition to providing as much exercise as your senior pet can safely tolerate, it’s important to feed your dog age-appropriate meals. This is to make sure your dog gets the right balance of nutrition, as well as the correct amount of daily calories.
Joint Problems and Arthritis
Arthritis is the most common cause of joint pain and stiffness in senior dogs. It is a progressive degenerative disease that causes loss of joint lubrication and the wearing away of cartilage in the joints. While there is no cure, there are a number of treatments that can reduce pain and slow the progression of this disease. Nutrition is important in reducing joint problems in dogs. Adding a daily joint supplement can also greatly relieve and also prevent joint health issues.
Flexpet Joint Supplements for Senior Dogs
Flexpet is a highly effective supplement that supports joint health, fights inflammation, and boosts the immune system. There are powerful all-natural ingredients in Flexpet. Flexpet supplements are made in the USA with human-grade ingredients. They also contain a digestive enzyme to help your pet process the anti-inflammatory ingredients without side effects.
At Flexpet, we care about you and your pets. We want to help you keep them as healthy as possible. We have a fantastic and knowledgeable customer care team available to answer any of your questions about our joint supplement products and how they may help your dog or cat. If your dog has joint pain issues, we invite you to try Flexpet today and start your dog on the journey to playing like a pup again. Flexpet is so confident it is the best joint supplement for dogs and cats it comes with a 90-day satisfaction guarantee. Our Flexpet joint care supplements have excellent reviews on social media. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, email, or by phone at 1-800-505-0575.