Three Common Health Problems That Affect Senior Dogs

If you've got a senior dog in your household, you probably want to do everything in your power to help make your canine companion's golden years are as comfortable and happy as possible. Following are four health issues often experienced by older dogs and what you can do about them. 

Congestive Heart Failure

Heart issues happen to dogs as well as humans, and the symptoms of congestive heart failure are surprisingly similar. Signs that your pet may be experiencing heart disease include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, tiring easily, and, in more advanced cases, unexplained weight loss and fainting. Fortunately, even though congestive heart failure cannot be cured, medication is available that can slow its progression and help the dog retain a good quality of life. The sooner you take your furry friend to a veterinarian after you notice possible symptoms of congestive heart failure, the better your dog's chances of living a relatively normal life. In advanced cases, the vet may prescribe humane euthanasia. 


If your senior dog suddenly develops a noticeable limp, exhibits reluctance to climb stairs, shows signs of pain when picked up, or seems to have difficulty walking or standing, the culprit might be arthritis. Other signs include chewing or licking affected joints, uncharacteristic aggression, and obvious displays of irritability. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication that can help ease the symptoms as well as provide advice on exercise and diet strategies designed to help ease the suffering of dogs that are afflicted with arthritis. 


Dogs can get diabetes just like their human counterparts, and like with certain other ailments, the symptoms are similar. If your furry friend exhibits excessive thirst, frequent urination, uncharacteristic fatigue, unexplained bruises, and general irritability, be sure to communicate this to your vet so that he or she can perform tests for diabetes. When caught early enough, this condition can be easily managed by medication and modifications in diet and exercise. 

Kidney Disease

Signs of kidney failure in dogs include a marked loss of appetite, an increase in urination, unexplained household accidents, vomiting, weight loss, and brown discoloration on the tongue. Kidney failure can sometimes be successfully treated when it's diagnosed early enough. Surgery may be necessary if your dog has kidney stones -- but the good news is that the surgery is usually successful.

Please contact your local veterinarian for more info on age-related health conditions and how you can help your senior dog enjoy its golden years.