1) Grey hair around the muzzle.
2) Skin and coat become drier.
3) Movement is slowed. It will take Fido longer to lie down or get up. He doesn't take steps two at a time anymore.
4) Movement can appear stiff, especially after lying down.
5) Hearing and eyesight deteriorate.
6) Teeth show signs of wear and tear.
7) More time is spent sleeping and less in play with you and other dogs.
8) Some dogs become incontinent and some older dogs develop bad smells.
Not a pretty picture but not much unlike our own ageing patterns!
Usually, however, you're aging along with your dog. While Fido may no longer want to go hiking with you, you may
welcome a quieter dog who just wants to watch TV with you.
It's still important to take your dog to the vet at least once a year. Some of the symptoms above can be mitigated
by medication or special diets.
Some of the symptoms above are exaggerated by physical conditions such as arthritis that can be treated. There are a
range of prescription and alternative treatments available to dogs today. There are special diets, there is
acupuncture, there are chiropractic treatments, aromatherapy. Just about any treatment for humans now has a canine
The other good news is that contrary to the old wives tale, you can teach an old dog new tricks. You use the same
techniques that have worked on your dog in the past.
Sometimes older dogs are perceived as being harder to train because their behavior patters are more ingrained. It
may take longer to teach Fido a new trick but your patience will be rewarded.
One other thing - don't let your pet insurance lapse as your dog ages. Most insurance companies have an age cut-off
beyond which they will not accept new policy holders. The most frequent cut-off point is 8-years-old age for small
breed dogs. If you have a decent policy, hangon to it.