Mobility loss affects your pet physically, but did you know that it can affect your pet in other ways too? There is a direct correlation between your dog’s physical health and their mental health. There are many changes that occur in aging pets, here are a few unexpected changes that you may see:
1. Pain Can Affect Your Dog’s Mood
Degenerative conditions and joint disease can make moving painful or impossible for your beloved pet. Causing your dog to slow down, which means less time playing and enjoying life. Overtime the lessening of physical activity can take a toll on your dog. Your dog may appear more tired, nap more often or even change their behavior. A dog who can’t move or struggles to move may become depressed and unhappy. Some changes are subtle and happen gradually. If there is a sudden change in your dog’s behavior, speak with your Vet to make sure there isn’t a greater underlying issue.
2. Sudden Aggression
Aching joints can lead to irritability. Your pet may not want you to touch areas that are painful, and your pet may lash out to avoid being hurt. Be aware of your dog’s behavioral cues and what they’re telling you. To avoid pain, your dog may lash out when touched or if they’re being asked to move faster or in a way that is uncomfortable for them. This can be especially hard for children to understand, if you have young kids in the house make sure they know how to tell your dog has had enough.
3. Grooming Needs Change
A pet who is less active will need their nails clipped more frequently. A healthy dog runs and plays which wears down their nails naturally. A dog who is more sedentary will require their nails to be clipped more often. Aging pets tire easily and find themselves laying down more often, this can lead to matted fur and will require additional brushing.
Arthritic pets may struggle to stand and maintain the posture needed to easily relieve themselves. Provide additional support with a rear support leash or harness to make quick bathroom trips outside and check to see if they need additional grooming for better hygiene.
4. Bathroom Needs Change
Having accidents in the house become more common as dogs age. Your dog may have difficulty getting outside fast enough or even forget to ask to go out when it’s time. Loss of bladder control in aging dogs is common, a dog dealing with urinary incontinence may benefit from an elevated bed like the SleePee Time bed or even diapers to avoid a mess.
5. Mobility Loss Can Lead to Changes in Routine
Changes in behavior are common as your pet ages, some may be very subtle such as your pet shows less interest in playtime or quickly tires on long walks. Many aging pets deal with painful arthritis, which can affect how they move. Joint pain can make it difficult for your pet to follow you up the stairs and may make getting up off the ground to greet you a struggle. Loss of strength and muscle tone are common in older pets, help your pet stay as active as possible. A dog wheelchair will reduce the weight your dog is putting on their joints while also providing the support your dog needs to maintain their independence, keep them smiling and enjoying family time.
The best way to help your aging dog is to be aware of the changes they’re going through. If you notice your dog struggling to stand or to move give them the help the need to stay as active as they can. Improving their physical health will positively impact both their mental and emotional health.