Once they turn 7 years old, dogs are considered seniors and at this age they require a little more care than their younger counterparts. You may notice your senior dog ‘slowing down’ as well as some changes in their behaviour. This is completely normal for older pets but in some cases, it can also indicate a health problem.

Vets on Balwyn recommend bringing your senior dog in for a check-up once every six months, as older dogs are prone to developing illnesses and age related health conditions, which can deteriorate quickly if left untreated. On this page, we describe some of the most common health conditions affecting senior dogs.

Dental disease

The dental health of dogs tends to deteriorate as they grow older. Owners often assume that if their dog is still eating, their teeth must be fine. However, what usually happens is that the dog learns how to eat in a way that doesn’t hurt their teeth or simply bears the pain.

Chronic health conditions

There are a number of age related ‘silent killer’ diseases including diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease and tumours which are often asymptomatic until they are in their advanced stages. Annual blood tests for dogs over 7 years are a fast, simple and accurate way to screen for these conditions and diagnose them early.

Arthritis

Just like senior humans, senior dogs can suffer from joint pains. Arthritis is a painful and debilitating disease but it can be well-managed through medication and a few lifestyle changes. Signs that your senior dog may be arthritic include a slowed walking pace, stiffness when getting up and lowered activity levels.

Lumps and bumps

Most senior dogs develop a few lumps and bumps as they get older and most of these will be benign. However, we still recommend getting skin tumours checked by your vet to ensure they are not cancerous. Cancerous lumps can grow very quickly and can have a significant impact on your dog’s quality of life.

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