I’m writing about this subject because I have 2 dogs that are getting on years and I love them. I also had to have my Chihuahua euthanized recently. If I had known some of these things it might have gone differently. We had always had mixed breeds from the pound. It’s a lot different when you have full bred small dogs.
As dogs age they will sleep more often and restrict their activity. They become less tolerant to the heat and cold. Forgetfulness can be an issue. My Papillion thinks the leg of the coffee table is a tree when he didn’t before. They can become cranky and irritable when they weren’t before.
Some of this can be explained by physical ailments. Hearing, smell, arthritis, muscle weakness and cataracts. I noticed recently a slight bluish film over my Papillion’s eyes. It doesn’t bother him, but sometimes he misses the couch when he goes to jump on it.
It’s proven that older dogs do not do well with hospitalization or being boarded for any amount of time. If possible care for them at home under a vet’s guidance.
Skin tumors and coat problems are common with elderly dogs. Their skin can become dry and scaly because their oil glands don’t work like they used to. My father used to put Olive Oil in one of our dogs food. She was a Black Lab Husky mix and lived to be 20.
Here are what they call Geriatric Danger Signs
-Loss of appetite or weight
-Cough or labored breathing
-Increased thirst and or urination
-Change in bowel movements
-Increase in temp., pulse, or breathing rate
-A growth or lump anywhere on their body
These are signs of PAIN
-Not willing to move
-Growling or whining
-Loss of appetite
-Reaction to being touched in an unusual way
-Licking or scratching a particular body part repeatedly (front paws)
Periodontal Disease leading to gum disease is the biggest reason pets are brought to the vet and so many don’t come home. Specifically in small breeds you can’t see the gum disease until you see a tooth come out or notice their breath. If it smells like feces don’t assume the animal has been eating feces. This could be a sign of something serious.
A tip for dogs with Epilepsy
Have a freezer bag of ice on hand. When your dog goes into a seizure grab the bag and place it firmly on the upper middle of the dog’s back. Don’t move it around. When my Pomeranian has severe seizures I place one on top of her head too. BRIEFLY! Something about bringing the body temp down that stops them.
Colloidal Silver is good to try for teeth and gums. It can go in their water or food.