Choosing the Right Vet for Your Pet

Common Senior Dog Problem Or Something More? When To Take Your Older Dog To The Vet

When you are the owner of a senior dog, you may find yourself constantly wondering if your dog's behaviors or health issues are simply a sign of their old age or if they are something worthy of a trip to the veterinary clinic. Telling the difference can be difficult when your dog seems to suddenly become a senior without warning. Get to know a few of the common symptoms of aging in dogs and variations of those symptoms that could require a trip to the veterinarian for treatment and testing. Then, you can be sure that you are providing your senior dog with the best possible care.

Occasional Urinary Incontinence or Accidents

Just like people, as dogs age, they have less control over their bladders and need to urinate more frequently. As such, if your senior dog has occasional moments where they have a small amount of bladder leakage or accidents in the house when you are not home (or not quick enough to take them outside), this is a normal, albeit frustrating occurrence.

You can remedy the issue of occasional accidents or incontinence by using the training pads designed for house training a puppy in your home. Place one or two by the doors you usually use to take your dog outside so that if they do have an accident when you are not around, cleanup will be easy. Diapers for dogs are also available for incontinence issues.

However, if your dog has accidents very frequently or needs to urinate more than once every few hours or they will have an accident in the house, you may want to pay your veterinary clinic a visit. This could be a sign of kidney damage or malfunction and require treatment. Bladder leakage while they sleep would also be a sign of such issues and require veterinary clinic care.

Difficulty with Stairs, Jumping, or Slick Surfaces

As your senior dog ages, they may start to have mobility issues that they never had before. Common struggles for senior dogs can include navigating stairs, jumping on or off of furniture, or walking or running on slick surfaces (like tile or hardwood floors). These are all typical issues that occur due to stiff joints, vision loss, and balance issues that can occur with old age.

However, there are some cases when mobility issues are caused by something more serious. If you notice that your dog is leaning to one side or seems to be perpetually tilted in one direction or the other, they may have a nerve condition or injury that needs to be addressed. Additionally, wobbling legs or legs that give out frequently could be due to an ACL or other injury that could require surgery to remedy. Oftentimes, even in older dogs, after surgery, the dog's mobility is almost completely restored.

Now that you know a few of the common symptoms of old age in dogs and the signs that they could need to see a veterinarian for similar issues, you can be sure that you are providing your dog with the best care in their senior years.