There is a good reason why taking in a dog as a pet is always something that should be given heavy consideration. These furry companions have an average lifespan of between 10 and 13 years, and some breeds live much longer than that. Plus, as Fido starts to get some years under his collar, there will be some health concerns that naturally start to show up, just as they would if you were caring for an aging human. As the owner of a dog, it is a good idea to get yourself prepared for some of the ailments that can come along with having a dog who is getting older. Here are a few of the most common health concerns you could be facing with an elderly pooch.
Urinary Incontinence - This is perhaps one of the most common problems older dogs face, and if you keep your pup in the house, it can be incredibly frustrating. Older dogs are prone to kidney issues and urinary-tract problems that make it difficult for them to hold back when they need to go. Fido may start to leak urine randomly while sleeping or even still be dribbling after coming in from his walk outside and not even realize it. While there are supplements and treatments which can help with urinary incontinence in dogs, in most cases, this is a normal sign of aging you will have to deal with. Some owners invest in actual doggy diapers or allow their pooch to spend more time outdoors. It is also a good idea to invest in washable covers for furniture where your dog usually sleeps.
Vision and Hearing Loss - Vision problems and hearing problems are a natural part of aging in general, but many pet owners are surprised when these symptoms start to show up with their dog. You may notice that Fido doesn't react as quickly to noises as he used to or may sometimes seem disoriented or confused when walking. Progressive blindness and hearing loss should be expected with your aging dog, but if this problem develops rapidly, make sure you have a chat with your veterinarian.
Aching Joints and Stiff Muscles - Dogs, just like humans, will have issues with things like arthritis and stiff muscles as they age. To ward off these issues for as long as possible, do what you can to provide a healthy diet and make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. However, the inevitable bouts of aches and soreness will occur with an aging pooch, so be prepared with baby aspirin that is safe to give to your dog. Consult your veterinarian for proper dosage instructions.