At Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert, we understand that our senior dogs are some of the best companions around. By the time your pup has grown into a senior adult dog, she is often a calm and loving companion who brings a sense of warmth and peace to your home. It is important for pet parents to be aware of the common health issues that can arise in senior dogs, so that we can spot symptoms early and support our older dogs in living their best lives through their golden years. Read on to learn about 6 common health problems in senior dogs.


1. Obesity

As your dog ages, you will likely notice a decrease in her physical activity. When she is physically active, she may make slower movements. Because of this, weight gain leading to obesity is common in older dogs. The danger in obesity is that it can lead to other serious issues—like heart disease, diabetes, and joint problems. To curb weight gain in your dog’s senior years, make sure to decrease her food intake and keep her moving in shorter increments with multiple brief walks each day.


2. Heart Disease

The process of aging, coupled with disease or parasites, can lead to degenerative canine heart disease. A large percentage of senior dogs develop some form of heart disease. Smaller dogs are at an even greater risk. If left untreated, these heart issues can lead to congestive heart failure. Here are symptoms to watch for:

  • Coughing
  • Heavy panting
  • Disinterest/refusal to exercise 
  • Lethargy


3. Cancer

Cancer is the number one cause of death in senior dogs, and it shows up in many forms with a variety of possible symptoms. Your vet will scan for signs of cancer at each check-up. Here are some symptoms of cancer in dogs:

  • Lumps on the body
  • Blood and mucus in stool
  • Changes in weight
  • Difficulty eating
  • Heavy panting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling

4. Vision & Hearing Issues

As your dog ages, so do her eyes. Aging eyes often mean degenerative changes, leading to vision loss. There is nothing a vet can do to reverse vision changes, but there are things you can do to help your dog maintain a good quality of life, despite vision loss. Continuing to take your dog on walks, while keeping her on a leash for her safety is a great activity for dogs with vision issues. 

Another tip is to re-arrange furniture in your house for her safety and comfort. Hearing loss is another common sensory issue in senior dogs. This happens due to degeneration of the nerves in the ear. As with vision loss, there is nothing a vet can do to reverse hearing issues. What we can do is help dogs adapt by training ourselves and our dogs to use hand signals for communication.


5. Arthritis

Arthritis—or inflammation of the joints—is a very common issue in senior dogs. The most common forms of arthritis in senior dogs are osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease. Diet, exercise, and veterinary treatments can alleviate arthritis and keep your furry friend moving. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your furry friend, ask your vet about arthritis or other joint issues:

  • Swelling of joints
  • Difficulty walking, standing up, or laying down
  • Stiff movements
  • Limping
  • Change of gait
  • Pain when you pick her up
  • Avoidance of stairs 
  • Avoidance of movement

6. Kidney Disease

Kidney conditions like renal disease and kidney stones are common problems faced by senior dogs. Renal disease causes the kidneys to stop functioning properly, which leads to a build up of toxins. While there is no cure for kidney disease, you and your vet can support your dog’s quality of life through treatments. Here are signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Insatiable thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Lethargy

Contact Us Today!

Let’s help give our senior dogs the best of their golden years. With regular check-ups and awareness of the signs and symptoms of health problems in senior dogs, we can keep our senior dogs happy and healthy. Keep your eye out for health conditions common in older dogs and give us a call immediately if you notice any signs or symptoms. The faster we can treat these issues, the more we can ensure your furry friend is living her best life. Contact Anasazi Animal Clinic in Gilbert today!

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