Pet Education Dogs
Pet Education Dogs Pet Education Dogs Pet Education Dogs

Pet Pharmacy & Pet Meds
Free Shipping on orders over $49
Video Center
Register your shelter with Paws for a Cause at DrsFosterSmith.com
Monitoring Your Senior Dog for Signs of Disease
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Senior Dog Care
Print Article | Email Article
Bookmark and Share
Click here for a pdf version of this article.  See related products at DrsFosterSmith.com Pet Supplies

As your dog ages, the likelihood he will develop various changes in the function of his body systems increases. Some of these will be normal changes due to the aging process, others may be indicative of disease. To be more easily alerted to possible signs of disease early in the disease process:

  • Older dog eating from bowlMonitor food consumption: how much is being eaten?, what type of food is being eaten (e.g.; does your dog leave the hard kibble and only eat the canned)?, any difficulty eating or swallowing?, any vomiting?

  • Monitor water consumption: drinking more or less than usual?

  • Monitor urination and defecation: color, amount, consistency and frequency of stool; color and amount of urine; any signs of pain while urinating or defecating?, any urinating or defecating in the house?

  • Woman standing on scaleWoman standing on scale holding dogMeasure weight every 2 months: for small dogs use an infant or mail scale, or use the scale in your veterinarian's office; for medium-size dogs, weigh yourself holding the dog, then weigh yourself and subtract to find the difference; for larger dogs, you may need to use your veterinarian's scale.

  • Groom, check and clip nails, look for any lumps, bumps, or non-healing sores; any abnormal odors?, any change in size of abdomen?, increased hair loss?

  • Monitor behavior: sleep patterns, obeying commands, tendency to be around people; any house soiling?, easily startled?, anxious when left alone?

  • Senior Cocker Spaniel playing with ballMonitor activity and mobility: difficulty with stairs?, inability to exercise without tiring quickly?, bumping into things?, sudden collapses?, seizures?, any loss of balance?, any lameness or change in gait?

  • Look for any changes in respiration: coughing?, panting?, sneezing?

  • Provide home dental care: brush your dog's teeth, regularly examine the inside of his mouth; any excesive drooling?, any sores?, bad breath?, are the gums swollen, yellow, light pink, or purplish?

  • Monitor environmental temperature and the temperature at which your dog seems most comfortable.

  • Schedule regular appointments with your veterinarian.

Some of the more common signs indicative of diseases are shown in the table below. Remember, just because your dog has a sign of a disease does not necessarily mean he has the disease. What it does mean, is that your dog should be examined by your veterinarian so a proper diagnosis can be made.


Signs and Symptoms
of Common Diseases
in Older Dogs
Associated Diseases
Behavior Changes Pain associated with arthritis
Loss of sight or hearing
Cognitive dysfunction
Hypothyroidism
Liver disease
Kidney disease
Weakness or excercise intolerance Mitral insufficiency/Heart disease
Anemia
Obesity
Diabetes mellitus
Cancer
Hypothyroidism
Change in activity level Hypothyroidism
Arthritis
Pain
Obesity
Anemia
Mitral Insufficiency/Heart disease
Kidney disease
Cancer
Weight gain Hypothyroidism
Cushing's disease
Obesity
Arthritis
Weight loss Cancer
Kidney disease
Liver disease
Gastrointestinal disease
Decreased food consumption
Oral or dental disease
Mitral Insufficiency/Heart disease
Diabetes mellitus
Inflammatory bowel disease
Abnormally colored mucous membranes (gums) Anemia
Mitral Insufficiency/Heart disease
Liver disease
Coughing Mitral Insufficiency/Heart disease
Respiratory disease
Heartworm disease
Cancer
Increased thirst and urination Cushing's disease
Pyometra (uterine infection)
Diabetes mellitus
Liver disease
Kidney disease
Vomiting Kidney disease
Liver disease
Gastrointestinal disease
Inflammatory bowel disease
Cancer
Diabetes mellitus
Diarrhea Gastrointestinal disease
Sudden changes in diet
Inflammatory bowel disease
Kidney disease
Liver disease
Seizures Epilepsy
Cancer
Kidney disease
Liver disease
Mitral Insufficiency/Heart disease
Haircoat changes Hypothyroidism
Cushing's disease
Obesity
Bad breath Dental disease
Oral cancer
Kidney disease
Lameness, difficulty rising Arthritis
Nervous system disease
Obesity
Urinary incontinence Kidney disease
Pain from arthritis
Hormone responsive incontinence
Bladder stones
Cancer
Prostate disease
Lumps, bumps Cancer
Benign tumors
Appetite changes Diabetes mellitus
Cancer
Liver disease
Kidney disease
Gastrointestinal disease
Stress
Pain
Reaction to medication(s)
Oral or dental disease
Cushing's disease
Cloudy eye Nuclear sclerosis
Cataract
Glaucoma
 
References and Further Reading

Becker, M. Caring for older pets and their families. Firstline; August/September 1998; 28-30.

Epstein, M; Kuehn, NF; Landsberg, G; et al. AAHA Senior care guidelines for dogs and cats. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 2005; 41(2):81-91.

Fortney, WD (ed). Veterinary Clinics of North America Small Animal Practice: Geriatrics. W.B Saunders Co, Philadelphia, PA; 2005.

Hoskins, JD. Geriatrics and Gerontology of the Dog and Cat, Second Edition. W.B Saunders Co, Philadelphia, PA; 2004.

Hoskins, JD; McCurnin, DM. Implementing a successful geriatric medicine program. Supplement to Veterinary Medicine; 1997.

Ogilvie, GK; Moore, AS. Critical Issues in Senior Pets: Disease Prevention, health and wellness. Veterinary Forum 2006 (Dec):40-46.

Thompson, S (moderator). Roundtable on pediatric, adult, senior, and geriatric wellness at every stage of life. Veterinary Forum; 1999 (January): 60-67.

Click here for a pdf version of this article.  See related products at DrsFosterSmith.com Pet Supplies  
Print Article | Email Article
 
 
Drs. Foster & Smith Joint Care 3 - with Glucosamine
Drs. Foster & Smith Joint Care 3 - with Glucosamine
As low as $19.99
 
Drs. Foster & Smith Joint Care 2 with MSM
Drs. Foster & Smith Joint Care 2 with MSM
As low as $19.99
 
Drs. Foster & Smith Joint Care 1 Plus Tablets or Chews
Drs. Foster & Smith Joint Care 1 Plus Tablets or Chews
As low as $18.99
 
Drs. Foster & Smith Lifestage Select® Premium Senior Dog Plus Vitamins
Drs. Foster & Smith Lifestage Select® Premium Senior Dog Plus Vitamins
As low as $17.99
 

Facebook YouTube Blog Connect with us

Subscribe to email newsletters:
featuring helpful articles, tips and online only product specials from Drs. Foster & Smith. Learn more here !

About Us Article Reprints Awards & Memberships Request a FREE Catalog Tell a Friend
Meet Our Staff Terms & Use Site Map Free Newsletters Links to Us
Visit our other websites: Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Supplies LiveAquaria.com - Quality Aquatic Life Direct to Your Door
For product information, call 1-800-826-7206

Copyright © 1997-2013, Foster and Smith, Inc. - 2253 Air Park Road, P.O. Box 100, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, 54501. All rights reserved.