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Recognizing and Understanding Behavior Changes in Your Senior Dog

November is Senior Dog Month, and we here at MYOS Pet are marking it by posting valuable information to help you take the best care of your canine companion.

 

Recognizing and Understanding Behavior Changes in Your Senior Dog

 

As adult dogs age into their senior years, they begin to exhibit behavior that you hadn’t seen before. What follows are examples of and reasons for the behavior changes, and steps you can take to help your senior dog have a good quality of life.

 

Sleeping More and Decreased Energy

One of most common signs of advanced age in dogs is excessive tiredness. This results in your dog sleeping more than average, lagging on walks, or losing interest in activities that they used to enjoy, like fetch or tug.

 

Several medical conditions seen in older pets, including hypothyroidism and heart disease, can cause a dog to be more tired than usual. Osteoarthritis can also affect their energy level, causing your dog to slow down and play less because it hurts too much.


Muscle and Weight Loss
As a dog ages, it can be harder for that dog to maintain lean muscle mass. In humans, muscle mass starts decreasing after age 30, and the same happens in our aging dogs. They can also lose weight due to any number of medical conditions commonly seen in older dogs, including cancer, kidney or liver disease, or diabetes.


Sudden Personality Changes
Dogs may get grouchier as they age. Pain is a common reason for increased agitation in older dogs, and they may not want to be touched because it just hurts. Dementia can also cause dogs to be more irritable and anxious, exhibiting behaviors such as staring or barking at walls, excessive panting, whining, and pacing around at night because they are disoriented.


Trouble Getting Around
If you notice your dog lagging on walks, having difficulty or being reluctant to climb stairs or jump into a car, or showing a decreased interest in play, these could be signs of osteoarthritis, which is common in older dogs. Approximately 20 percent of dogs over the age of 1 in North America have arthritis, and the incidence is much higher in older and bigger dogs.

 

Loss of Bladder/ Bowel Control
Another behavior changes that signifies aging is when a previously potty-trained dog starts urinating or defecating indoors. Just like humans, dogs can lose tone in the muscles that control urination and defecation as they age. Or they can be confused from dementia and not realize they’re relieving themselves around the house.

 

A medical condition like kidney disease can also cause dogs to have to go more often, leading to household accidents.

 

How to Help Your Dog Age Better

There are many ways to help your dog age better and potentially even avoid disease. Here are easy-to-follow guidelines for helping your dog age gracefully:

Maintain a Healthy Diet
One of the most important things you can do is make sure your dog is supported with high-quality nutrition. If you feed your dog the right amount of healthy food and keep them at an ideal body weight, you can help avoid many diseases.

Explore Supplements

It’s impossible to get every macro and micronutrient that a dog needs in their kibble. Furthermore, older dogs may have decreased digestive capabilities, and may not be absorbing everything they need from their food. Giving your older dog a good-quality nutritional supplement is a great idea to ensure complete nutrition.

 

If your dog is slowing down and/or showing signs of muscle loss, using Myos Canine Muscle Formula® has been clinically proven to build muscle and reduce muscle loss.

 

Keep Your Dog Busy
Keep your dog active, both mentally and physically. Play with them and exercise them every day. Give them food puzzles to solve and train your dog in new behaviors. This will benefit your dog’s cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, hormones, cognition, mental health, and more.

 

Consider An Orthopedic Bed
Older dogs often have achy joints and bodies that need extra rest. Providing your dog with a high-quality orthopedic dog bed has been shown to improve the lives of older dogs and support their overall health and wellness.

 

While aging is a foregone conclusion, decreased vitality and wellness in your dog’s advanced years is not. With proper attention and care, your canine companion can live well into their golden years.

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