Osteoarthritis in senior dogs
Osteoarthritis is a common cause of limping in older dogs, caused by the gradual deterioration of cartilage which covers their joints. There's unfortunately no cure for this condition, due to the slow regeneration of cells in aging dogs, but treatment helps to alleviate pain and slow the progression of the illness.
Aching joints or difficulty moving are sometimes seen as simply a sign of your dog getting older; however, if you notice them finding it particularly difficult to move, you should visit your vet as they may be able to help ease some of your dog's suffering. Overweight dogs are more likely to suffer osteoarthritis due to the extra pressure on their joints, so keeping your dog at their ideal weight is a good preventative measure. You can also make sure their food includes specific nutrients which support joint health, such as anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, or customized nutrients complex with clinical efficacy (for example curcumin, collagen, and green tea polyphenols), glucosamine, and chondroitin.
Senior dogs and cognitive dysfunction
As your dog gets older, you may notice that their behavior changes. Although some of this can be attributed to aging, it may also be cognitive dysfunction, which manifests itself in dogs in similar ways to Alzheimer's in humans.
Your dog's blood vessels deteriorate as they age, reducing the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This affects their behavior, causing disorientation, lack of recognition, forgetfulness, disrupted sleep and even agitation or hostility.
This condition can be very distressing for your dog, but it can be alleviated. Exercise your dog with short, regular walks, and reinstate the commands you taught it when it was a puppy. Reduce stress by maintaining their daily routine and consider giving it a food which is rich in antioxidants, as these can protect cells against damaging free radicals.
Your senior dog doesn't have to suffer unnecessarily with these common ailments. Make an appointment to see your vet if you spot these symptoms so you can make sure you're giving them the best care possible.