Dogs, same as humans, wants to be loved and cared for, but each stage of a dog‘s growth requires different care. A newborn puppy requires a lot of attention because he can‘t take care of himself as the dog grows up – he becomes more independent, but what to do when the dog becomes senior? How to take care of an old Australian Shepherd?
Aging is individual for each animal and depends on genes, health, it can also be influenced by lifestyle. The average life expectancy of an Australian Shepherd is 12 to 14 years. Therefore you need to be especially careful when your Australian Shepherd reaches the so-called „middle age“, which is about 7 years old for a dog of approximately this size.
Sometimes it is easy to make a mistake of not noticing a serious illness by supporting it as a consequence of old age. Symptoms of a serious illness may include weight loss, loss of appetite, increased thirst, frequent urination, difficulty breathing, limping, exhaustion, chronic diarrhea or vomiting, bad breath or gingivitis. Also, due to lost weight, they might have more protruding spine and ribs.
Often dogs are older than we think, because we remember them as still small, constantly jumping, full of energy. Predicting a dog‘s age is difficult, because the traits of different breeds of aging animals are often very different. In addition to the breed, specific lifestyle features determine how long a dog will live. Feeding, exercise and general health play a special role in the life expectancy of dogs.
Signs Of Aging Australian Shepherd
To make sure your dog is aging, monitor his behavior and appearance. Simply evaluate how your pet looks, feels, or behaves.
The main signs of an aging dog are:
- Your Australian Shepherd has less energy.
- Weakness in the joints, it becomes difficult to get up after lying down, as well as after a long walk.
- The skin becomes thicker and less elastic. The coat is roughened, bald spots and gray bristles appear.
- Deafness – you‘ll notice it right away if your Australian Shepherd doesn‘t respond to commands or by being called by name.
- The condition of the teeth and gums – food falls from the nostrils, salivation may become more active. Also, swollen eyes can be a sign of tooth root disease, so it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.
- Growths, large bumps or even tumors can occur. Ask your veterinarian to check for such derivatives, as early diagnosis can save your dog‘s life.
- Excessive thirst and copious or uncontrolled urination.
- Failure or inability to recognize his own environment.
- Decreased appetite.
- Depression, disobedience, often even aggressive behavior.
- A fairy, bluish film on the eyes is usually common and does not interfere with vision. But a whitish and white derivative can be a prophet of blindness. Your veterinarian can help you determine this.
- The desire to sleep more during the day and less at night. Some dogs wander around the house at night for sore joints, old age, or loneliness.
- Weight gain is a very common problem in old dogs.
There will come a day when the signs of old age become apparent, but that doesn‘t mean you have to wrap the dog in a blanket and start worrying. You simply need to change its agenda and take a few precautions.
Australian Shepherds in Old Age – What Changes Are Occurring?
There are many small signs that your Australian Shepherd is getting old. Most of the time, activity and energy decrease, similar as to humans. less activity and changes in metabolism usually lead to weight gain with constant feeding. But also a lack of appetite and weight loss are not uncommon. Here, however, you should. Elderly dogs are more likely to be diagnosed with dental problems, heart and kidney disease, as well as joint problems such as osteoarthritis.
Life With an Old Australian Shepherd
After a certain age, various processes in your Australian Shepherd‘s body changes. Metabolism and digestion become slower. Also, the sensitivity slows down: the dog sees worse, sometimes it is not enough to say something once for him to hear.
In addition, loss of taste may occur. Basically, each dog has different age traits. Either way, you need to adapt your daily habits to the changing needs of the senior. For example, dogs with joint problems can no longer climb stairs. It is then useful to install a special animal protection fence to protect the dog. Even jumping in and out the car for an old dog can be painful or simply impossible. A dog ramp is the right solution to this problem.
The old dog deserves respect and attention. Adjust the environment and always make sure it is comfortable for him. This creates the best conditions for your dog to live as long and happily as possible.
Older Dogs Need a Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition is the foundation of a healthy dog‘s life. As a dog ages, its energy needs decrease by up to 20 percent. However, it would be wrong to just feed less to avoid weight gain. Because it also reduces the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are especially important for old dogs because they also strengthen the immune system and help fight off disease. In addition, old dogs need many minerals to supply their ageing joints.
Keeping an Australian Shepherd Happy and Healthy in Old Age
Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Make sure that the amount of food is appropriate for the size, age and level of activity of your senior.
- Choose tasks that suit your Australian Shepherd according to his health condition, help him to succeed and feel happy.
- Make sure to pay attention to your Aussie‘s limits. You will notice when your senior reaches his limits – and it is your job to give him the necessary rest.
- Aging dogs find it difficult to make changes in their everyday lives. It is therefore important not to change routine suddenly. If necessary, change the routine slowly and gently.
- Hygiene – it is even more important in old age. Brushing, combing, regular checking of teeth, eyes and ears is even more necessary for an older dog.
- Regular visits to the vet are very important for old dogs.
With dogs, much like with humans – at some point they age and weaken. When your Australian Shepherd reaches old age depends on a variety of factors. For example, whether he has been neutered, is overweight, and from various living conditions in general. Sooner or later you will face some changes, but remember that an elderly dog has more needs and attention.