Senior Dog Health: When Is It Time to See the Vet?

There are lots of great reasons to adopt a senior dog. When you bring an older pup into your life, you’re giving them a chance to live out their golden years in comfort and luxury. Senior dogs are often less high-maintenance than puppies or young adult dogs, as they tend to be more calm and relaxed. But all this doesn’t mean that senior dog care is any easier than other stages of the doggy life cycle.

How to tell when your senior dog is in pain

The best way to tell if your senior dog is in pain is by observing his behavior. For example, if your dog stops eating or sleeping and starts spending a lot of time lying on the floor or trying to hide, then it could be that he’s having trouble getting comfortable. Or maybe he won’t let you pet him anymore and acts aggressive when you try to touch him or brush him while grooming.

How to prevent senior dog pain

  • Check with your veterinarian to see if senior dogs can benefit from prescription medications that help control pain and inflammation. These medications may include NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), COX-2 inhibitors, and glucosamine/chondroitin supplements.
  • Eliminate all sources of pain in both physical activities and training sessions:
  • Do not let your older dog jump up on furniture, especially if he has arthritis or joint pain in his front legs;
  • Avoid walks on concrete sidewalks, as it can be painful for arthritic or hip-dysplasia patients; instead, walk on grassy surfaces whenever possible;
  • Use stairs instead of ramps when going up or down higher elevations; use ramps only if absolutely necessary for the safety of your dog;
  • Keep an eye out for warning signs of arthritis—such as limping, difficulty getting up from lying down position—and adjust your walking/running routine accordingly until they subside again

Dog arthritis symptoms

Arthritis is a common condition that affects older dogs. It’s caused by wear and tear to the joints, which can be exacerbated by obesity, trauma or previous joint injuries.

The most common symptom of arthritis is lameness. A dog with arthritis will limp when they stand up and move around, especially if you try to play with them or walk them on a leash. Other symptoms include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Less energy than usual (a sign of pain)
  • Difficulty chewing food (due to discomfort)
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Dog geriatric vestibular syndrome symptoms

Symptoms of vestibular disease in dogs include the following:

  • Head tilts to one side when petted.
  • Head tilts to one side when talked to.
  • Head tilts up and down when petted.
  • Head tilts up and down when talked to.
  • Head tilts back and forth when petted or talked to, which can be painful for your dog if it has the disorder.

Dog geriatric cognitive dysfunction symptoms

  • Your dog might not be able to remember where the food bowl is, which can make mealtime stressful for all of you.
  • He may not be able to find his way home, which is dangerous for both him and you.
  • He may have trouble remembering what he is supposed to do next—for example, sitting and staying when asked or turning off lights when he gets in the car.
  • House training can become a struggle as your dog ages because he may forget that it’s time for him to go outside again after being let out (even if this only happens once a day).
  • Stairs can be difficult for dogs who are no longer as agile on their feet; they may stumble or fail their jumping attempts at getting up or down stairs.

Dog pain aliments

Pain is a sign of aging. As dogs get older, their joints stiffen and the cartilage between bones breaks down, causing pain.

Pain is a sign of disease. Many diseases cause chronic or acute pain in your dog, including cancer, kidney disease and arthritis to name just a few. These conditions can be treated with medication or surgery to alleviate the symptoms but if left untreated will eventually shorten the life span of your pet by several years (or sometimes even more if they are very young).

Pain is a sign of injury. Dogs have cartilage between their bones that acts like shock absorbers during movement but it wears out over time making it easier for bones to rub together producing what we would call “arthritic” joints; this process cannot be reversed so make sure you don’t wait too long before seeking treatment for an injured joint!

Pain is also caused by neglecting certain responsibilities such as grooming your dog regularly enough so that his/her fur doesn’t build up into mats which could also lead him/her being unable to move normally without causing further injuries elsewhere on his body like back legs where mats might bunch up underneath them forcing him/her off balance while walking around outside which could lead into falling over when trying balance himself inside too…

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Dog teeth plaque and tartar symptoms

Dog plaque and tartar are the first things to look for when it comes to your dog’s oral health. They can lead to other problems, including tooth loss and gum disease, so it’s important to take them seriously.

When you’re brushing your dog’s teeth, pay close attention to the surface of their teeth. It should be smooth with no bumps or indentations. If you see any irregularity in their mouth, this could be an early sign of plaque buildup or tartar build-up (also known as calculus), which could lead to a number of other issues if left untreated over time.

If you notice either one of these symptoms on your senior dog’s mouth but aren’t sure where else to go from there—you’re not alone!

Caring for a senior dog’s teeth

  • Brushing your dog’s teeth.
  • Feeding your dog a special diet.
  • Giving them chew toys.
  • Giving them a daily walk, which can be as simple as taking them out to the backyard so they can do their business, or on a long hike through the woods if that’s what they enjoy most! Just make sure you’re in good physical condition before heading out on an extended hike with your pooch because that can be quite tiring for both of you!
  • Making sure they have plenty of space to exercise in the house—a large fenced-in yard would be ideal—and are given lots of toys to play with on those rainy days when it’s not safe for outdoor activity just yet (although we recommend never leaving any pet unattended outside).

When to take your senior dog to the vet – warning signs

By recognizing the signs of pain and discomfort, you may be able to catch an illness or injury before it becomes severe. Signs of infection or disease may include:

  • Limping or a change in gait (walking style)
  • Increased panting, especially when at rest or during exercise
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Increased drinking and urination (especially at night)

If your senior dog is having trouble breathing, this could indicate heart problems. Signs of heart problems might include:

  • Rapid breathing and/or panting
  • Excessive coughing with or without phlegm production
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Caring for a senior dog is different than caring for younger dogs, but it isn’t difficult.

There are many differences between caring for a senior dog and caring for a younger dog, but they’re not difficult. The main thing you need to know is that while older dogs may be mellower than they once were, they still need the same amount of exercise (at least one long walk each day). They also still need mental stimulation—this doesn’t have to be as complex as it was when your pup was a puppy! It can just be playtime or training time with you.

You’ll also want to pay special attention to your senior dog’s teeth and gums; aging teeth tend not to decay like human teeth do, but they will become less white over time because their enamel wears down. This helps bacteria build up inside the tooth socket and cause gum disease. You’ll want to brush them at least twice per week if possible; some people use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs’ dental health (but do not use human toothpaste!). If brushing isn’t an option due to dental discomfort or other issues, ask your vet about other options such as dental chews or treats that clean teeth automatically during eating/chewing motions.

You should also give them plenty of sleep throughout the day since older dogs tend not wake up early like puppies might! If possible try getting some extra rest yourself so that everyone gets enough good quality sleep throughout the night – otherwise this could lead into more problems later on down stream where both parties start noticing symptoms of lethargy during daily activities which will lead me onto my next point: nutrition!


It’s important to know the warning signs of these diseases so you can take your senior dog to the vet in time. The earlier you spot a problem, the sooner you can get your dog feeling better. Remember that caring for an older pet is different than being responsible for a younger pet, but it doesn’t have to be more difficult or less fun. As long as you know what to watch for and how best to care for your beloved pup, he or she will enjoy their golden years just as much as any other dog would!