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Elder care

09/19/2013

photo of Roper - a corgy mix This week’s Klip Joint Dog of the Week is Roper. Roper is a Corgy mix and was adopted by the Klip Joint several months ago when his owners were no longer able to take care of him. Roper is an older dog and requires a little more attention and supervision than our younger dog. He has to have assistance getting up and down the steps to go outside because his back legs don’t work as well as they used to and he will take a tumble down the steps if no one is watching.

Here are a few things to watch out for as your dog ages:

  • Slowing down – You may notice that you dog slows down some with aging. This isn’t always the case, but look for subtle changes in how s/he gets up, lays down, and uses stairs. Is there any hesitation or stiffness? Does a change in the weather (rainy, cold) make it worse? Arthritis is common in dogs as they age, particularly large breeds. Arthritis can occur in any joint, most commonly the legs, neck and back (spine). There are many different medications available to help ease the discomfort of arthritis — see your vet if you notice any signs of slowing down in your dog. Another potential cause of slowing down is hypothyroidism, an endocrine disorder common in dogs. This condition is easily diagnosed and treated with proper veterinary care.
  • Graying around the face, muzzle – most dogs commonly show a bit of gray starting at middle age (5-6 years).
  • Reduced hearing – Is your dog hard to wake up after sleeping or does s/he become startled easily if you approach from behind? Hearing loss or deafness may be a reason for this. If your dog does experience hearing loss, take care to protect him/her from hazards, such as cars and kids that s/he may not hear (or see).
  • Cloudy or “bluish” eyes – As they age, dog’s eyes often show a bluish transparent “haze” in the pupil area. This is a normal effect of aging, and the medical term for this is lenticular sclerosis. Vision does not appear to be affected. This is NOT the same as cataracts. Cataracts are white and opaque. Vision can be affected by cataracts, and your vet should be consulted.
  • Muscle atrophy – Mild loss of muscle mass, especially the hind legs, may be seen with old age. Some muscle atrophy, notably on the head and the belly muscles, can signify diseases such as masticatory myositis and Cushing’s Disease. Be sure to have your vet check this out if any muscle loss is noted.
Roper with head under his bed

Roper likes to hide under his bed when he needs quiet time.

We have also noticed that Roper doesn’t like a lot of excitement and will hide under his bed if he is tired or stressed out. We have made sure he has a quiet place to rest away from traffic areas.

Be sure to tell us if your dog has special needs when you bring him in for grooming so we can take the best care of him during his stay at the Klip Joint.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 09/19/2013 9:35 pm

    that was helpful, thank you

  2. 09/20/2013 7:06 am

    From this article we can be reassured and know how and when to take action as our dog ages..

  3. 09/21/2013 9:01 am

    My dog is an old girl. She is experiencing all of the symptoms you have described. We recently moved across country and drove! We set up a platform in the middle seat by putting luggage where the feet would normally go and placing a foundation of cardboard, a rug and a dog bed. She made it all five days without a hitch!

  4. 10/08/2013 12:46 pm

    Amazing how well dogs just cope with aging — not like us humans!

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