There are many reasons that a dog may start to walk differently over time. Being aware of the warning signs will help you lend better aid. In order to understand how a dog’s gait may change they age, you should also learn how to treat it based on signs that things are changing and the causes for these changes.
Treating Mobility Issues in a Senior Dog
The acknowledgment of an abnormal gait in a dog will allow you to consider various treatment options. If the issue is due to muscle disease, corticosteroids or immune-suppressing and anti-inflammatory medications can be beneficial. Supportive therapies such as body cooling, fluid administration, and rest can also be beneficial.
In some cases, surgery is a necessary step to help with the improvement of joint and limb function. Walkin’ Pets supplies a variety of leg splints and dog hip support harnesses to help stabilize a dog’s gait before and after surgery. Taking pressure off the sensitive areas can be helpful in improving mobility and speeding up recovery.
Signs an Older Dog’s Gait Has Changed
There are many signs that could indicate your dog is experiencing trouble walking. A change in their walking gait should be fairly noticeable. However, there are several symptoms that could help identify issues or upcoming problems. A few indicators include:
- Difficulty walking (staggering, swaying, changing head and neck positioning, shuffling, scuffing, stumbling)
- An inability to coordinate limb movements
- A lack of balance
- Clear pain when walking
- Shifting of weight
- Loss of bodily control
- Limb paralysis.
Causes of Senior Dog Mobility Problems
There are many different ailments that come with aging that can cause these mobility issues. Knowing how a dog’s gait may change as they age and remaining cognizant of these possible causes will allow you to seek the proper treatment and supportive equipment to help them. Included in these causes is obvious pain, an orthopedic or neurological condition, degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, cancers, growths, past physical trauma, and more.
As a dog grows older, some things you may have had under control earlier in their life will start to take over. Issues that come with age and affect a walking gait may differ between breeds. Often, large dog breeds tend to experience these issues sooner, which influences their shorter life spans. The more vigilant you can be in determining the cause of a walking gait problem, the earlier you can provide your dog with relief.