What behavioral changes can occur in a senior dog

Dogs, like all living beings, go through different processes throughout their lives. Dogs experience physical and behavioral changes as they age. These changes can vary depending on the breed and individual health of the dog, but in general there are common behaviors in a senior dog.

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On the other hand, it is important to know that dogs are considered senior between seven and ten years of age. This will depend on the breed and the characteristics of each animal. Experts agree that some species age earlier than others.

Behavioral changes in a senior dog

Some of the common behavioral changes in elderly dogs include:

  • Decreased energy: Elderly dogs often become less active and energetic. They may sleep more during the day and show less interest in play or vigorous exercise.
  • Appetite changes: Some older dogs may experience a decrease in appetite, while others may become picky eaters. It is important to adapt their diet to their specific needs and consult a veterinarian if there are feeding problems.
  • Increased sleep time: A senior dog may tend to sleep more. You may also prefer comfortable and cozy places to rest.
  • Changes in socialization: Some older dogs may become more dependent and seek more companionship from their owners, while others may become more independent. They may be less tolerant of other dogs or animals.
  • Changes in stress response: Older dogs may become more sensitive to stress or changes in their environment. They may overreact to situations that did not bother them before.
  • Mobility difficulties: Joint problems, such as arthritis, are common in elderly dogs and can cause changes in the way they walk or move. They may be less active due to pain.
  • Changes in cognition: Some elderly dogs may experience cognitive decline, similar to dementia in humans. They may forget basic commands, become disoriented in their familiar environment, or have changes in sleep patterns.
  • Incontinence: Urinary or fecal incontinence can become a problem in elderly dogs due to loss of control over the bladder or bowel.

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Signs or symptoms

It is important to note that these changes can be normal in a dog’s aging process, but they can also be signs of underlying diseases or medical conditions. If you notice significant changes in your elderly dog’s behavior, especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, mobility problems or changes in general health, it is important to take him to the veterinarian. Early diagnosis and proper treatment can improve your elderly dog’s quality of life.

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