Our Sweet Heart Seniors Series concludes today with a discussion on Staying in Tune with Your Dog. Dogs are very good at hiding pain or discomfort, so as good pet parents, we need to become pseudo detectives. Subtle signs or changes in behavior can give us insight to what may be a larger issue. Here are some changes in behavior and what they might mean:
Decrease in appetite – If your dog has always been first in line at dinner time, seeing a change in this behavior should raise some flags. It might mean an onset of kidney or heart disease. It could also mean tooth or gum discomfort. Seeing the change and taking action are extremely important.
Decrease in desire for exercise – This change may come on gradually and can also be expected. As joints age, they become less tolerant of prolonged periods of activity. Recently, a gentleman that works at the market where I shop for ingredients told me a story about his dog. He has a 10 year old lab that was always hungry (like a normal lab) but would also go crazy at the work “Walk”. They used other words in their house so the dog wouldn’t go bonkers. Well, after noticing a decrease in appetite during the evening and following morning, they brought over his best doggy pal to go for a “Walk”. Well, he just laid there and didn’t care. Needless to say, they were very alarmed and they brought him immediately to the vet. Turns out he had a large mass on his spleen that was cancer. He’s now undergoing chemo and is doing extremely well. Seeing that change in his behavior saved their dog’s life.
Difficulty breathing or coughing – This can be troubling. Both of these symptoms can be the onset of heart disease. This may also be accompanied by a decrease in urination.
Hair loss – This means larger patches of hair falling out. An onset of hair loss can be a sign of kidney disease. It can also be a change in your dog’s body and certain foods may be causing the hair loss. Just as our bodies change as we age, so do our dogs. Things that used to be fine may now cause sensitivities.
Regular visits to your vet are a must with your senior dog.
We hope you have enjoyed Part 5 of our Sweet Heart Seniors series and would love your feedback. Stay tuned for future series. If you’d like us to make meals for your dog of any age, please start here. Thanks!