Just like people, your dog will grow old. Maybe are you sensing it happening right now. Dogs slowly lose their ability to fight illnesses and need extra care as they age. You probably do your best to take good care of your furry canine friend and take the needed precautions when you feel that something is physically or mentally wrong. You visit the vet when in doubt and do everything you possibly can to add years of health to your lovely dog’s life.
But you may ask, what health problems can affect older dogs? Older dogs can develop various health problems seen in older people such as joint and bone disease, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, kidney disease and more. You will find below a list of the 5 most common health concerns for senior dogs along with some possible treatments to help your dog stay happy and healthy for as long as possible.
1. Gum Disease
Gingivitis (gum inflammation) that has advanced to periodontitis (gum disease) can be harmful for your dog’s health. If your dog has bad breath, it may be a sign of gum disease. But that is not the only sign of gum disease in your dog. Look for inflamed and bleeding gums, plaque and tartar build-up on his teeth, infection or loose teeth. All of these signs are symptoms that tell you that your dog has gum disease. It’s important to take this disease seriously since gum disease can sometimes spread to other tissues; even the heart. It has been proven that there is a link between gum disease and heart disease.
Vet treatment: Whether your dog has early stage of gum disease or severe periodontitis, a first good step in getting your dog’s gum disease treated is giving your dog a professional dental cleaning. Maintaining a good oral hygiene by brushing your dog’s teeth regularly and giving him daily dental dog treats will reinforce his dental health, therefore his overall health on the long term.
Natural treatment: If you prefer going the more natural way, brush your dog’s teeth regularly with a natural canine toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste since it contains foaming agents that are not meant to be swallowed. To reduce the inflammation and bleeding of the gums and to prevent gum disease, you can use a homeopathic remedy to treat gingivitis. To help dissolve tartar or to prevent it tartar build-up, you can use a remedy for tartar, specifically made for this purpose. It will help maintain healthy gums.
Like humans, cancer in dogs increases with age. This is a serious problem to take into account since it is the cause of half the deaths of dogs. It is important to take time to see if there are any bumps or lumps on your pet’s body, any unusual bleeding (mouth, nose or ears) or loss of appetite because blood samples will not always reveal a cancer at an early stage. And you know that the chances of a successful cancer treatment are a lot higher when the cancer is caught early.
Vet treatment: In general, when your dog has cancer, the vet will recommend one or more than one treatment options. The treatment options consist of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
Natural treatment: A natural and effective way to help treat cancer is with piptoporus. Piptoporus is a medical mushroom that contains anti-cancer properties. It can treat many types of cancer and it is safe to use along with other treatments.
Arthritis is a common illness in older dogs. It is pain and inflammation in one or more joints. If your dog is starting to avoid the stairs, if he has trouble jumping on the couch or if he looks stiff when he stands up, these are probably signs of arthritis. Check with your veterinarian to see if it’s arthritis. Also, if your dog is overweight, this creates additional stress on his joints, which will speed up the progression of arthritis. This is one good reason to keep your dog active and fit throughout his life.
Vet treatment: Your vet will determine what medication is right for your dog to help ease the pain and discomfort caused by arthritis.
Natural treatment: Some changes in your dog’s diet and exercise can help, but it will not be enough. An all natural remedy for arthritis containing the remedies arnica and apis will really help relieve joint pain and inflammation and support your dog’s cartilage.
Diabetes in dogs usually occurs at an older age. It can be caused by genetics, an autoimmune disease, obesity and more. Female dogs and obese dogs are more prone to having diabetes. Symptoms of diabetes include change in appetite, weight loss, lethargy, chronic skin infections, cataract formation, blindness and urination tract infections.
Vet treatment: The treatment will depend on how severe the diabetes is. Treatment must be customized to the individual dog since each dog will respond differently to it. Possible treatments can include spaying your female dog, insulin injections, oral injections or intensive hospital care for a few days to balance sugar levels.
Natural treatment: Diet is very important. A high-fiber and low fat diet will help normalize glucose levels. Homeopathy is also a great alternative to treat diabetes naturally. Since diabetes is so unique to each dog, a homeopathic custom remedy is indicated to treat your furry friend’s diabetes.
5. Kidney Disease
The chance that your dog will develop kidney disease increase after the age of 7. Kidneys are essential to remove waste in the body and maintain health. The signs that your dog has kidney disease will certainly include increased thirst and urination but also weight loss, decreased appetite, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea, lack of energy and depression.
Vet treatment: Since kidney failure is a progressive disease (will get worse with time), the vet will try to gain time to use what’s left of the kidneys and make them as efficient as possible. He will do this through medications, diet and fluid injections if needed.
Natural treatment: A natural remedy for kidney disease will help ease pain and discomfort from the disease, reduce inflammation of the kidneys and maintain optimal kidney function. It will help slow down the deterioration of chronic kidney failure.
Now that you’ve read about what are the most common health problems in older dogs, what else can you do to help him feel more comfortable in his older years?
To help your pet feel at his best at home, make sure he stays in a calm and relaxed environment away from loud noises. Go easy on all physical activities. Having fun and playing around is still important, but go at a slower pace. Provide a healthy diet and a comfortable bed.
What do you do to take good care of your dog in his older years?