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Behavior Changes in Aging Dogs

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Posted on 02-12-2018

Behavior Changes in Aging Dogs with Your Glen Allen Veterinarian

Againg dog behavior

Senior dogs are known for generally acting slower than their puppy counterparts. As your dog ages, the changes in its body will naturally cause changes in its behavior. Just as people's movements and reactions take a little longer as they get older, dogs have a similar set of circumstances. At Short Pump Animal Hospital our senior canine patients all experience a decline in function and ability, although each dog progresses at a different rate. 

The Results of Aging

Aging itself isn't a disease, although the symptoms it causes may make it seem like it is. The deterioration that comes from aging is a natural process for any dog. Each pet will begin to exhibit different behaviors as it gets older. Some of the more common changes we see in our patients are:

  • Deterioration in sight and hearing
  • Loss of inability to learn new things or remember
  • Disturbances or changes in sleep habits
  • Increased activity such as wandering around or vocalizing
  • Forgetting learned behaviors like house training or voice commands
  • Aggressiveness
  • Clingy, dependent behavior

Not all symptoms you see are the result of your dog just getting old, and many of them aren't inevitable. It's important that you keep a list of all behavioral changes and report them to our veterinarian when you bring your dog in for its annual wellness examination.

Cognitive Dysfunction in Dogs

Mental changes can be among the most upsetting in familiar furry family members. Your old pet may begin to act differently, giving up familiar old habits and taking on new ones. It's common for some dogs to suffer from spatial confusion, going to the wrong side of the door or getting stuck and not being able to go around an object. It may even get lost in familiar areas such as the backyard or the local dog park.

Changes in activity can result from your pet fixating on objects. Your pet may stare at something for a long time, wander around aimlessly, constantly lick you or an object, or begin to moan or howl for no apparent reason.

Ruling Out Other Causes

Much of your aging pet's behavior may be tied to causes other than aging. If your dog is reluctant to go upstairs or join you on the couch, it could be because of arthritis, not a change in social skills. Changes in eating habits can be caused by the pain of dental disease, and breaking house training can happen because of urinary tract disease. We'll give your dog a comprehensive wellness exam in our office to rule out any physical causes for behavioral changes, and consult with you on ways to help.

Looking for a Veterinarian in Glen Allen VA?

Great veterinary care is the key to helping your senior dog live a long and happy life. Our experienced team is dedicated to giving pets the absolute best in veterinary care. Give our office a call today at (804) 360-0100 and we'll schedule an appointment that fits in with your busy lifestyle.

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