ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dog Care - Health Issues in Senior Dogs

Updated on January 7, 2015

Senior dogs are truly special. I love everything about them - the slowly wagging tails, the gentle eyes, the greying muzzles, the way they snore and twitch in their sleep. As our dogs age, though, there can be some health issues that may require us to put in a little extra dog care to make sure our faithful friends remain healthy as long as possible.

  • Dog joint problems. Many older dogs have arthritis, sometimes mild, sometimes more extreme. One thing we can do to help alleviate pressure on their joints is to keep them at a lean and healthy weight. Extra weight puts additional stress on the joints which can make mobility problems worse.
  • Loss of sight. One of my dogs, while still perky and active, has had a slight loss of vision. Occasionally he'll spot a clump of grass and think it's another dog, and he'll go bouncing over to say hello! If you notice that your dog may be losing his sight, it may be best to keep him leashed and close to you so that he doesn't accidentally bump into something or get lost. Just like with people, vision loss often affects night vision first: you might notice that your dog can't see as well as night as he does during the day time. To make it easier for your dog to see while on his nightly bathroom breaks, turn on the lights for him or install some solar garden lights to help him find his way.
  • Hearing loss. My friend always jokes that her dog has "selective hearing" since he can hear food being prepared 500 feet away, but he can't hear her calling him for his bath when she's 10 feet away. However, as dogs age they may not be able to hear as well as they used to (he isn't just being contrary, or trying to test your patience!). You might find you have to give you dog a tap to get his attention, or just call him a little louder. If your dog starts to show signs of hearing loss, you will also have to re-consider whether or not to let him run off-leash (where allowed) -- it can potentially be dangerous if he can't hear you call him back.
  • Skin problems. Lots of older dogs develop lumps and bumps under the skin. As you brush your dog or pet him, gently feel for any changes in his skin. Lumps should be promptly checked out by your vet, especially those that have changed in color or size. Don't panic - many lumps are completely benign!
  • Heart murmurs. As dogs age their heart valves may weaken and cause abnormal blood flow. Vets can diagnose heart murmurs initially by listening to your dog's heart with a stethoscope, and may follow up with a variety of tests to determine the cause of the murmur. Some of the symptoms to watch for include exercise intolerance and coughing (particularly when the dog is sleeping).
  • Changes in behaviour. Maybe you've noticed that your previously rock-solid, housetrained dog is now having accidents in the house. Or perhaps your dog has developed a reluctance to take the stairs. Behavior changes sometimes have a medical reason, such as canine diabetes, Cushings disease, thyroid issues, or other health problems that can become more common as dogs age. Consult with your vet - medical tests can help to rule out certain diseases or conditions.
  • Lesser need for exercise. You might find that your older pup no longer craves those long runs or endless sessions of fetch. Instead, adjust your dog's exercise as needed. Perhaps a couple of shorter walks every day or every other day may be more appropriate than one long session. Do not stop exercising your dog completely unless advised to do so by your vet - fresh air and exercise is still good for senior dogs and helps to keep them healthy and active.

Visit your veterinarian to discuss the changes you see in your senior dog. If he or she prescribes medications, make sure you do some research into the medication and ask questions. Although medications can improve the life of your dog they often have side effects as well. You can also consider alternative treatments like acupuncture that have helped improve the quality of life for many dogs, without the need for drugs.

With a little extra care and adjustments, you can help your furry pal enjoy his or her retirement years to the fullest.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)