9 Common Health Issues in Senior Dogs

old dog laying on porch

Senior dogs can be happy and healthy. We will, however, observe certain health changes in our canine companions as they get older. Owners report a general "slowing down," decreased endurance when exercising, diminished agility and mobility, and occasionally personality changes. Toys, activities, and food become less appealing to some dogs. Dogs may look bewildered, confused, or less attentive than they were when they were younger. They may even pee or urinate inside the house. These symptoms aren't always the effect of aging; they might be signals of a variety of health problems. Now is the time to learn about age-related illnesses and disorders so you can properly care for your senior dog. The following health issues are frequently seen in senior dogs:

  • 01 of 09

    Man and his dog

    Many dogs, like people, develop arthritis as they become older. Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, is the most frequent form of arthritis observed in elderly dogs. This disorder mostly affects weight-bearing joints (hips, knees, elbows, and shoulders), resulting in lubricating fluid loss, cartilage degradation, and aberrant bone formation. Pain, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion are all symptoms of these joint abnormalities. Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that worsens with time. Although there is no cure, there are therapies that can help to halt the growth of the disease and alleviate the discomfort.

  • 02 of 09

    Kidney Disease


    Kidney disease is frequent in older dogs due to the effects of aging on the kidneys. Chronic kidney disease (renal disease) is often a progressive condition that starts with insufficiency and develops to complete failure. Although there is no cure for this condition, there are several treatments that can help to improve the quality and quantity of life. The earlier kidney disease is detected, the more treatment options are available to limit its development. Urinalysis tests can detect early kidney abnormalities. Increased thirst and urination, as well as loss of appetite, nausea, and fatigue, are all symptoms of disease. A prescription diet for dogs can be highly beneficial.

  • 03 of 09


    It is usual for senior dogs to progressively lose their hearing. Hearing loss in elderly dogs is usually caused by nerve degeneration. There is little that can be done to prevent the deafness, but there is a lot that can be done to assist the dog in adapting. Many owners mistake hearing loss for dementia because dogs can show similar signs of bewilderment. Fortunately, canine deafness is rather simple to treat. It allows you time to adapt because it doesn't happen overnight. Use particular techniques, such as hand signals. Soon, you'll notice that your dog's hearing loss has little impact on his daily existence.

  • 04 of 09



    Many senior dogs have a progressive loss of eyesight, similar to deafness. This is most commonly caused by degenerative changes in the eye, although it can also be caused by an eye condition such as cataracts. If you suspect your dog is going blind, make an appointment with your veterinarian. There is nothing that can be done to reverse blindness caused by old age. Fortunately, dogs have additional senses that help them cope with their blindness. Just remember to go easy with your dog, keep him on a leash at all times if you're outside, and avoid moving your furniture about. Once your dog understands the arrangement, he will most likely navigate using his other senses. Sudden blindness is a medical emergency.

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  • 05 of 09


    As dogs get older, they might suffer developmental abnormalities that are comparable to dementia and Alzheimer's disease in people. The symptoms are mild at first, but they can quickly escalate, resulting in a reduced quality of life. Disorientation, confusion, pacing/wandering, standing in corners as if lost, going to the wrong side of an opening door, vocalization, withdrawal/not interacting with family as much, urinary/fecal accidents, change in sleeping patterns, restlessness, and other symptoms are all signs of dementia in dogs. Many of them might be signs of other ailments, so see your veterinarian. Dementia and cognitive impairment have no cures, however there are drugs and nutrients that can aid in some circumstances.

  • 06 of 09


    Cancer is unfortunately all too frequent in pets. Although cancer can affect younger pets, it is considerably more common in the elderly. Because various malignancies have distinct symptoms, it's tempting to overlook certain signals as normal aging. This is why regular wellness exams with your veterinarian are so vital. An checkup, lab testing, or diagnostic imaging can detect anything that is not visible to the human eye. Treatment options for cancer differ based on the kind and stage of the disease. The sooner it's captured, the higher chance it has of surviving.

  • 07 of 09

    Growths and Tumors


    Older dogs frequently develop lumps and bumps. A veterinarian should examine these to rule out malignancy. Many growths are benign warts, moles, or fatty tumors, which is fortunate. Unless they are irritating the dog, they will not need to be medically removed.

  • 08 of 09



    Changes in your dog's organs, muscles, and nerves as he ages might make it more difficult for him to "hold it" as he used to. Because incontinence can be a symptom of a variety of disorders, it's essential to consult your veterinarian to rule out any possibilities. If no additional health issues are discovered, you will need to adapt your schedule to provide your dog more "potty breaks."

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  • 09 of 09



    A dog can become overweight at any age, although weight gain is more prevalent in seniors due to the consequences of aging. Obesity can exacerbate or cause health issues such as arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Reduce the amount of food your dog eats as he gets older to avoid obesity. Also, be sure you exercise regularly. If endurance is a concern, take several short walks throughout the day rather than one or two big excursions.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.


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