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Senior dog: what is old age associated with in a dog [health recommendations, diet

Senior dog

Senior dog, that is, let's devote a moment of attention veterinary geriatrics in practical terms.

Every living organism, from its natural beginning or birth, is subject to the same biological processes leading inexorably to death.

And although we do not think about it every day, focusing rather on the prose of life, unfortunately we are getting older every day.

We are not able to stop the passage of time yet, although some try to hide the signs of the arriving years.

It is difficult to accept the fact that we will not be forever beautiful and young and someday whether we like it or not we will have to face old age.

We are also afraid of it because of all the inconveniences that occur in the so-called. "Autumn of life " and thus:

  • loss of vitality,
  • deterioration of health,
  • pain ailments,
  • diseases,
  • broadly understood senile dementia.

In addition, the modern world focuses on young, fit, beautiful and successful people in their professional field.

Those older, less efficient, worse-looking and therefore requiring more care and care are probably pushed to the background, often not being noticed in the public space

We forget, however, that modern societies in highly developed European countries are largely composed of seniors.

People live longer and longer thanks to technological progress, appropriate prophylaxis, diagnostics and treatment.

Today, the ninety-year-old man is not a "phenomenon" rare, but is becoming the norm.

The tendency to extend the natural life is clearly noticeable also in veterinary medicine, when it comes to our companion animals.

We owe it to the universal change in mental approach to dogs, which in many homes are treated as family members.

Obviously, this is followed by not only a balanced one with a specific composition senior dog food, but also much greater care for the health of animals manifested in appropriate veterinary care.

Thus, the number of animals surviving to old age is increasing, which has forced the practice of treating such animals to develop the field of knowledge known as veterinary geriatrics.

And this is the topic I would like to introduce to you in the following article.

  • What is veterinary geriatrics?
  • How much does the dog live?
    • Senior dog for how many years?
  • How to count a dog's age [table?
  • What is old age associated with in a dog?
    • Changes in the body of a senior dog
  • How fast a dog ages?
  • How to care for a senior dog?
  • Health recommendations for a senior dog
    • Diagnostics
    • Physical activity
  • Senior dog food
  • Supplements and vitamins for the senior dog
    • Supplements for your dog's muscles and joints
    • Skin supplements for a senior dog
    • The fight against tartar
    • Dog digestive supplements
    • Support for the urinary system
    • Supplements for the immunity of an older dog
    • Supplements for the dog on the heart
    • Supporting the functioning of the nervous system
    • Supplements for the dog's eyesight, hearing and appetite
  • What are the signs that the dog is dying?
    • Dog agony, symptoms

What is veterinary geriatrics?

  • Veterinary Geriatrics is a field of medical knowledge dealing with all problems specific to animals in old age, with a particular focus on seniors.
  • It is a comprehensive science that treats the elderly organism as a whole, which suffers from a greater number of diseases and ailments related to age.
  • Historically, it comes from the wide field of medicine as it is interna but also uses other areas of detailed medical knowledge, such as:
    • neurology,
    • ophthalmology,
    • dermatology,
    • orthopedics,
    • endocrinology.
Veterinary Geriatrics

It is a very broad field of knowledge that tries to understand the aging processes and the health problems resulting from them in order to provide its patients with the best possible quality of life.

Some refer to it as the "opposite pole" paediatrics, which, as we know well, focuses on the young.

Veterinary Geriatrics comprehensively focusing on an older dog requires an individual approach.

It is an interdisciplinary field that requires thorough education.

Everything should be aimed not only at preventing or treating dog diseases, but also at ensuring the best possible quality of life in its last phase.

Delicate estimates say that the animals are older in Poland, and therefore aged over 7 years, we have above 40% of the total population well almost 2.5 times more than the young.

So we can see how a huge number of individuals is affected by geriatrics and how it is an enormously extensive knowledge.

Since it concerns older animals, let's answer the basic question:

what individuals we include in this group, i.e. what dog is the senior, and let's consider how many canines actually live?

How much does the dog live?

How much does the dog live?

The above question very often arises during visits with the pooch at the veterinary office and requires some systematization at the very beginning.

In the case of canines, there is no such uniformity as in the case of humans, and the dog is uneven.

What I mean exactly?

Basically, dogs can be classified into one of three groups:

  1. The first is small breed dogs, miniature, usually not exceeding 10 kg body weight.
  2. We belong to the second group dogs of medium weight, that is, target adult weight up to about 25 kg.
  3. Finally, the third group are large and gigantic dogs important in adulthood 30 kg and much more.

So we can clearly see how a huge and diverse group of dogs are, although all of them are the same species.

And since so many breeds belong to one species, it is not surprising that the life expectancy of individual dogs will not be the same, which complicates the answer to the question asked.

Generalizing, however, dogs of small, miniature and medium breeds end their growth around 1 year, while large and giant dogs grow slower, reaching maturity on average at the age of 2.

The spread seems enormous hence and the life expectancy of the individual races will vary.

In many clinics we can also find a table showing the approximate age of a dog compared to a human:

how old would I be if I were a human?

Using a very large simplification, we can assume that the year of a dog's life, when it ends its growth, corresponds to 18 years of human life (in the case of small breed dogs).

It is true that large and giant dogs age much faster than smaller and miniature dogs, which will undoubtedly translate into life expectancy.

This is perfectly reflected in the statistical life expectancy of individual breeds.

And so, for example, the representative dog Molossian breeds e.g. St. Bernard approx 10 years is really old dog, while, for example, small Pekingese at a similar age, he often behaves like a young pooch and is in his prime showing no signs of aging.

To quote data from the Canine Journal, the breeds with the longest life expectancy include, for example:

  • chihuahua,
  • yorkshire terrier,
  • boston terrier,
  • havanese,
  • shih tzu,
  • australian shepherd dog,
  • Basenji,
  • Irish setter,
  • lhasa apso,
  • poodle,
  • dachshund,
  • Maltese.
Chihuahua is one of the longest-lived breeds

So these are small and medium-sized dogs: they live for an average of 12-16 or even 20 years.

The breeds with the shortest life expectancy include, but are not limited to:

  • a dog from Bordeaux,
  • great dane,
  • Bernese Mountain Dog,
  • Irish wolfhound,
  • Neapolitan Mastiff.

Dogs of these breeds live much shorter, ending their lives only at the age of 5-9 years. So, as we can see, these are animals of large, molossic breeds, often weighing 50 kg and more.

Of course, these are statistical data, averaged and there may be a Bernese who lives 12 years old, like e.g. dachshund dying of a serious illness at the age of only 7, so in his prime.

Senior dog for how many years?

Senior dog for how many years

Now that we know approximately how many dogs live, let's define roughly when old age begins.

If we were to adopt an indicative limit above which we can consider a dog a senior, according to most sources, it would be age 6-7 years, of which the lower limit usually applies to dogs of large and giant breeds.

Other sources stand out as well a geriatric dog by which we mean a very old individual who is in the last phase of his life (1/4 final predictable life expectancy) when the incidence of many diseases increases significantly.

How to count a dog's age [table?

The table below explains how to count dog's age to human's age:

[table id = 31 /

Dog and human age

A man, when considering the choice of a given breed of dog, is guided not only by his appearance, temperament, character, food requirements or the required living conditions, but also would like to know how long his pet will live.

A good source of knowledge on this subject seems to be information describing a given breed, giving also the average, approximate life expectancy.

The record-holder in life expectancy is Max, who is a hybrid of beagle, terrier and dachshund, and therefore an ordinary mongrel, considered to be the longest-living dog in the world, which has reached the age of 29 years and 282 days.

Our pupils will probably never reach this age, but they will certainly not over a dozen years (10-13) they will accompany us, because this is the average life expectancy of a domestic dog.

Of course, everything he writes about is rather a generalization because the speed of the aging process and thus the life expectancy depends on many factors. Which ones, you can read later in the article.

What is associated with old age in a dog?

What is old age associated with in a dog?

The natural aging process of the body has aroused great interest of scientists for many years, which resulted in numerous theories trying to explain it.

For example, the "free radical theory of aging" assumes the participation of free oxygen radicals, i.e. extremely reactive particles, adversely affecting cell membranes, thus leading to the destruction and early death of cells.

There was also created one common concept that embraces all the others, which, in a way, unifies the aging process.

According to her, the biological development of each organism is strictly genetically determined, or in other words, programmed already at the time of fertilization.

This process continues at different speeds throughout the dog's life, and the speed at which it progresses depends on environmental influences and all hereditary processes.

And although it all sounds rather vague and maybe complicated, it seems to be a reasonable attempt to explain processes that are little known.

In the colloquial sense, the aging process is understood as progressive and, unfortunately, irreversible changes leading inevitably to the natural end, which is the death of the dog.

Of course, this process can be accelerated by a number of factors:

  • environmental,
  • genetic,
  • existing diseases,
  • stressful situations,
  • obesity in a dog,
  • improper nutrition.

Older animals usually suffer from several diseases at the same time, hence their problems are usually multi-organ.

So we cannot use the terms that the animal suffers from "old age " or "advanced age " but we should always specify the reasons for discomfort and worse well-being.

With age, significant metabolic changes occur in the body, which will of course result in numerous clinical effects.

Changes in the body of a senior dog

  • It declines with age metabolic rate which translates into a reduced caloric demand on average by 30-40%.
  • The current one is also decreasing physical activity which, in conjunction with the slowdown in metabolism, may result in an increasingly common condition obesity, which we know itself significantly shortens life, predisposing to various diseases.
  • It's getting smaller immune system activity, processes phagocytosis and chemotaxis which will work greater susceptibility to infections or diseases, which the immune system is dealing with less and less efficiently.
  • As if that were not enough, they appear more often autoantibodies and caused by them autoimmune diseases thus self-destruction of the organism. Individual organs and organs begin to function less efficiently, which will be evidenced by their progressive failure.

All this results in very serious clinical consequences, such as:

  • increase in body weight per fat,
  • thickening of the skin, decrease in its elasticity or excessive pigmentation,
  • brittle claws,
  • osteoarthritis,
  • the formation of tartar that damages teeth and gums,
  • atrophy of the gastric mucosa and its fibrosis, and therefore worse digestion.

Occurring frequently liver fibrosis inevitably leads to a decrease in the number of liver cells (hepatocytes) which translates into the failure of this organ and impairment of the metabolic processes taking place there.

The lungs also undergo degenerative processes which leads to decreased lung function of your dog (the mucus becomes more sticky, the cough reflex decreases).

Clearly the weight of the kidneys decreases and active nephrons which will result in reduction of glomerular filtration or even urinary incontinence .

Dog incontinence

The prostate gland becomes enlarged, and testicles reduced, in females, they appear in the mammary glands cysts and neoplastic changes.

Heart rate drops, cardiac output, valves fibrillate, and cardiomyopathies or even valvular insufficiency develop.

In the bone marrow which produces blood cells due to steatosis and hypoplasia production of red blood cells decreases and it develops non-regenerative anemia.

In the nervous system, the number of cells is significantly reduced, which will be manifested by them changes in the behavior of the animal and loss of innate behavior.

Bones and joints undergo degenerative processes leading to occurrence chronic pain and difficulty moving.

The sense organs lose their ability to efficiently detect the stimuli reaching them (e.g. cataracts in a dog), the reaction to external stimuli is reduced, memory is impaired, visual acuity is reduced, hearing and sense of smell are impaired.

Cataracts in a dog

With age, the sexual cycle disappears in bitches and spermatogenesis in males.

The entire endocrine system functions worse and less efficiently, which is manifested by hypothyroidism, pancreatic insufficiency, or hyperplasia of the pituitary or adrenal glands, which often occurs in older animals.

Older animals move less, spend more time sleeping, avoid cold places and long walks, especially in autumn and winter, which results from impaired thermoregulation processes.

Generally speaking, the senior dog often shows a number of clinical symptoms, with which we should go to the nearest veterinary clinic for accurate diagnosis.

Remember that many of these symptoms may indicate serious systemic problems that significantly shorten life (e.g. vomiting for chronic renal failure), which is often associated with long-term, if not lifelong therapy.

Clinical changes related to the aging process affect all organs and organs and must be treated in this way, and their expression will be the image of an old, lying, less mobile, gray dog.

Anyway, most laymen will easily recognize the senior dog by its characteristic appearance and even the gray hair on its face.

You can see what an older dog looks like on a walk in the video below

Old Dog Walking
Watch this video on YouTube

How fast a dog ages?

How fast a dog ages?

According to the aforementioned theory of biological aging, this process is genetically determined, so it is our material stored in nucleic acids that determines the speed with which we will age.

And there is probably a lot of truth in this, as exemplified by dogs of the same breed, of similar age but coming from different families:

they often show significant differences in appearance and external structure.

Genes therefore appear to be crucial in the process of longevity.

The breed of dogs, as I have already written about, certainly determines life expectancy.

Dogs of large and giant breeds (e.g. Rottweiler, Bernardine, Great Dane, German Shepherd) live shorter lives and begin to show signs of aging faster compared to breeds with lower body weight (e.g. beagle or pinscher).

How to care for a senior dog?

How to care for an older dog?

In that case, is everything predetermined and determined?

Whether environmental factors have any effect on life expectancy?

Well, they have a big one, which seems to be a considerable consolation for dog keepers who want to provide the best living conditions for their pupils, thus extending the dog's life.

Proper, balanced nutrition, allowing you to maintain an optimal body weight and, at the same time, appropriate physical activity will undoubtedly translate into a longer life of the animal.

Another issue of considerable importance is adequate physical activity, preventing obesity, osteoarticular diseases or delaying degenerative processes in the joints.

Therefore, systematic, daily effort of a moderate degree is recommended, affecting the efficient functioning of all organs and organs.

The dog's physiological condition is also of great importance.

For example, sterilized bitches, deprived of reproductive organs or castrated males live longer.

This is due to, for example, the elimination of potentially dangerous diseases related to this system, which the animal will not get sick with (pyomyositis, mammary gland tumors, prostate problems).

Regular health prophylaxis and periodic examinations allow not only to determine the state of health, but also to detect the disease at an early stage and often implement effective treatment that extends life.

The living and living environment of animals, although not everyone is aware of it, has a huge impact on the progressive aging process.

The quality of the inhaled air and the toxic substances it contains smog it undoubtedly affects the overall immunity of the body, or the occurrence of certain life-shortening diseases.

The same applies to exposure to other environmental factors (intense ultraviolet radiation, consumption of contaminated, contaminated water) that can significantly reduce life expectancy.

It is impossible to list all the factors that affect the length of a dog's life.

Each time, they should be considered individually and knowing the dangers of avoiding dangerous ones in the context of individual diseases.

It is also worth relying a bit on our intuition and making a little generalization assumption that what is harmful to us humans will also be the same for our animals, after all, we live in the same environmental conditions and being mammals we are not much different from each other.

Health recommendations for a senior dog

Senior dog: health recommendations

And here is an obvious question:

what to do and how to care for your dog to ensure the best quality and life expectancy?

The progressive aging process of the body is a very serious challenge for both owners and veterinarians.

The developed system of care for them should take into account the specific needs of a given breed of dog and a given individual.

We should create, for our own needs, an extensive health program based on the two most important premises.

  1. First of all, we need to know the specific diseases, behavioral traits and nutritional requirements of seniors for a given breed, comparing them with the specificity of young animals.
  2. Secondly, we should implement the most important preventive measures leading to the detection of a potential health problem at an early stage, which will undoubtedly translate into later treatment.

The implementation of these tasks is not possible without the close cooperation of the owner with the attending physician older pooch.

It is also important to carefully observe our ward, which will often allow us to spot disturbing disease symptoms early, even when they are subtle.


An older animal, usually over 7 years old, should be regularly undergoing diagnostics.

Its scope depends, of course, on the patient's health condition.

If an older but healthy dog ​​comes to us, we recommend him:

  • general blood test,
  • urine test,
  • abdominal ultrasound,
  • possibly an ECG or a cardiological examination.

It all really depends on the problem reported by the owner.

Such general research should be repeated on an annual basis provided that the state of health does not change.

A good practice in many countries around the world is to carry out such tests during a visit to vaccinate a dog.

The situation is different when there is a specific disease, when the animal is treated and constantly receives specific medications.

Then we have to carry out tests more often, even at several weekly or monthly intervals.

It all depends on the problem our patient is struggling with.

The scope of the diagnostic tests carried out also depends on it, individually tailored to the detection of the disease, effectiveness or side effects of treatment.

Therefore, I suggest that you strictly follow the recommendations of the attending physician each time, who will know best what and at what intervals to order and perform.

We can successfully do many preventive measures performed at home.

Physical activity

Exercise in older dogs

Predatory canines require a constant, systematic, race-appropriate portion of daily exercise.

Regular walks not only keep the joints and muscles in good condition, but also prevent obesity leading to many health disorders, and improve the work of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Physical activity, however, must always be adapted to the condition of the animal and possible diseases.

For example, a dog with advanced osteoarthritis requires much less exercise than a healthy but older Siberian husky or a running Malamute.

Here again we should rely a little on our intuition and knowledge of the behavior and preferences of our dog from the time when he was young, strong and fit.

Senior dog food

Senior dog food

And finally, changing the diet and the use of any dietary supplements for the dog to improve life in its last stage:

a huge field of practical knowledge to be used by owners of older dogs.

Nutrition of dogs taking into account their age and physiological condition is a relatively recently introduced concept of pet food companies.

Despite the huge popularity of senior dog food, you should know that dietitians do not agree on the specific nutritional requirements of older animals.

The problem here is the lack of a clearly defined nutritional requirement of elderly dogs, which is so liked by many nutritional tables, in which we could check everything.

So let us focus on certain and thoroughly known knowledge:

Well, one of the most important changes that occurs with the aging process is decrease in metabolic rate.

Simultaneously muscle mass is lowered, the percentage of water in the body decreases and the amount of adipose tissue increases.

This leads to reducing the dog's water reserves.

The risk of dehydration also increases especially in the case of insufficient water intake by older dogs, which happens relatively often.

Being aware of the risk, the owner should provide the dog with constant access to fresh, unlimited amounts of water and at the same time control its daily consumption.

Stimulating and encouraging the consumption of water by a senior, although underestimated by many, is really a key issue that should not be forgotten.

Household food for older animals contains easily accessible, highly digestible protein and a lowered level phosphorus.

Often the level is also limited in them calcium, in order to maintain the correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus and lowers the salt concentration.

Of course, we are talking about a situation where the maintenance food is used in an older animal, but without a specific health problem, and therefore in good general condition.

In the event of a specific disease (e.g. kidney or liver failure), the diet should be absolutely adjusted to it, taking into account the specific condition of our client.

Supplements and vitamins for the senior dog

There is a multitude dietary supplements and vitamins for the dog improving the functioning of the older system.

Their administration to animals is certainly right and brings beneficial effects.

Supplements for your dog's muscles and joints

In older dogs, one of the most serious and common problems is loss of muscle mass and osteoarthritis.

In a situation of loss of muscle mass, it is a good approach to treat such dogs as intensively training competitive athletes.

Diet supplementation so it should go in the direction of supporting the synthesis of muscle proteins based on feeding branched chain amino acids (e.g. leucine, isoleucine if valine) and, at the same time, protection against their degradation (HMB acid, glutamine, arginine).

We can get appropriate dietary supplements in stores without any major problems.

We can also find a very wide offer in the case of osteoarthritis.

Preparations containing glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid are widely available virtually anywhere.

It is worth supporting the diseased joints with anti-inflammatory additives (e.g. n-3 fatty acids, unsaponifiable fractions of avocado and soybeans, or extracts from New Zealand mussels).

To meet the problems of osteoarthritis, many commercial foods supplemented their maintenance foods with ingredients supporting the functioning of sick joints.

Skin supplements for a senior dog

Owners of older dogs have to deal with a huge problem loss of skin elasticity associated with calcification of the skin, baldness or loss of hair follicles.

In such cases, it may be helpful to supplement the diet with n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids found in:

  • evening primrose oil,
  • borage oil,
  • linseed oil.

These acids reduce the evaporation of water from the skin, which translates into an improvement in its elasticity.

You can also supplement zinc protecting against hyperkeratosis or biotin.

The fight against tartar

Tartar in a dog

The frequent occurrence is also a big challenge for dog owners tartar and diseases of the teeth and gums caused by it.

Sometimes it will be necessary to change the consistency of food from dry to wet to allow food intake (eating dry, hard food can cause soreness).

Various kinds can also be helpful teethers anti-limescale mechanically or supplements with phosphorus compounds binding calcium present in the mouth.

The ability to inhibit the formation of tartar is also credited zinc compounds also replacing calcium ions.

They can protect against unpleasant odors from the mouth sea ​​algae extracts.

All these substances are more and more commonly available in preparations such as "oral care" if toothpaste for dogs.

Dog digestive supplements

Older animals are also more likely to suffer from gastric problems.

When we are dealing with a digestive and absorption disorder, we should use a highly digestible, classic intestinal diet.

In the event of motor and microflora composition disorders, the symptoms of which will be diarrhea or constipation, it is worth increasing the volume of the food by higher fiber content and introduce preparations containing probiotics and prebiotics.

They modify the composition of the gastrointestinal microflora (Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium) containing live probiotic bacteria.

Support for the urinary system

Recurring dogs are also a problem in older dogs inflammation of the urinary tract, in which solutions containing proanthocyanidins cranberry extracts.

It is also a very common disease in our seniors chronic renal failure.

The dietary recommendations then speak of limiting the amount of protein to 14-18% and phosphorus.

It's worth it in addition to applying kidney diet enter additionally phosphorus hides containing compounds calcium, aluminum, chitosan if lanthanum, which, by binding phosphorus in the digestive tract, hinder its absorption.

Supplements for the immunity of an older dog

Aging causes a progressive decline in immunity, which in turn requires us to take steps to improve it.

A recommendable way to increase immunity is the use of preparations containing beta-glucan.

It stimulates all immune pathways, thus producing a strong stimulating effect.

Dietary supplements containing immunostimulants should be administered for several weeks and then a break should be taken, because constant, continuous stimulation may lead to the opposite phenomenon, i.e. the exhaustion of immunity and related diseases.

The well-known substances with antioxidant activity, which are scavengers of free oxygen radicals, and are represented, for example, by:

  • vitamins E, C and A,
  • selenium,
  • copper,
  • iron,
  • manganese.

Supplements for the dog on the heart

Seniors are also more likely to suffer from diseases of the cardiovascular system.

In this situation, skillfully implemented supplementation, complementing traditional pharmacotherapy, may turn out to be extremely helpful and advisable.

So we are lowering the quantity sodium chloride that is, the popular salt, we add L- carnitine, taurine, vitamin E, selenium if coenzyme Q10 which improves the energy processes in the heart.

Supporting the functioning of the nervous system

With age, behavioral changes also appear, most often the consequence of degenerative degenerative changes in the central nervous system.

Dogs change their habits and behave differently and can become nervous or aggressive at the same time.

You may find it helpful here:

  • tryptophan,
  • valerian extracts,
  • green tea extract,
  • alpha casosepine.

Supplements for the dog's eyesight, hearing and appetite

Our older pupils also deteriorate:

  • smell,
  • sight,
  • hearing,
  • appetite.

Antioxidants and coffees from the n-3 family ( EPA and DHA).

Summing up, many of the substances mentioned have already been used in specific dietary supplements or are added to household foods for older animals.

They are widely available in clinics or pet stores and it is worth using them, of course, choosing individually for each specific dog.

Before introducing some dietary supplement for the dog it is always worth consulting this fact with the attending veterinarian, who will best advise us what to choose.

What if we are no longer able to help the elderly dog?

What are the signs that the dog is dying?

What are the signs that the dog is dying?

By providing even the best care for the animal, optimally feeding it and regularly examining it, we must, sooner or later, take into account the moment when we will no longer be able to help a sick, incapacitated and suffering dog.

Our possibilities as people are limited and although we would like our beloved pet to live as long as possible, it is currently not feasible.

Even a relatively healthy older dog will have to leave us and die one day.

It is also certain, unfortunately, that the life expectancy of a dog will always be much shorter than that of its owner.

When the older animal is "years old", it is obvious that the health, quality of life and physical fitness will deteriorate significantly.

Frequently occurring symptoms cause pain in the dog existence in constant suffering.

To put it simply, the animal lives "today" and without looking into the future it is not able to understand why it is suffering.

He also cannot explain his situation to himself like people, e.g. for religious reasons and in the discomfort felt, to see a deeper goal.

That is why, unfortunately, the dog's guardian should consciously decide when to humanely shorten the animal's duration of permanent suffering and decide on euthanasia.

Therefore, we must realize what is the true condition of our ward and whether we are able to provide him with an adequate quality of life in its last stage.

If not, we should make a difficult decision which is euthanasia, which is according to the definition of "good, mild death ".

Euthanasia, according to most of the current recommendations, should be reserved for hopeless cases, when our methods of relieving pain and suffering and treating the disease do not bring the expected results or when persistent therapy is only used to extend life for a short time in the case of an incurable disease.

Therefore, we must always answer the basic question about the quality of a senior's life, also known as well-being.

It is a state of mental and physical health achieved in the conditions of full harmony of the system in its natural environment or, more simply, by defining the state of no suffering.

For this to happen, the following conditions must be met:

  • the animal shows normal appetite and takes up water,
  • does not experience physical and mental discomfort,
  • the animal does not suffer from chronic, persistent pain caused by incurable disease or disability,
  • does not live in a state of constant stress that causes irritation.

When the above conditions are met, the animal, although older and not even fully functional, can enjoy life with its master in a relatively well-being.

Remember that in the end it is always the dog owner who has the last word in this matter, and the doctor can only suggest and recommend a course of action that will reduce the suffering.

So when you make the final decision and don't let your dog suffer any longer?

The easiest way to say is when we see that our animal suffers a lot, and the medical action we take and the prescribed medications do not bring the expected therapeutic effect.

When we are dealing with an incurable disease and we observe signs of worsening failure of organs and organs as well as symptoms of pain.

Symptoms of agony in the dog

The most common signs of pain in a dog are common not very specific, and they include:

  • the dog behaves in a subtle way different than usual,
  • shows apathy and avoids people,
  • it still relies,
  • avoids play and exercise,
  • he narrows his eyes,
  • shows pain when touched,
  • licks sick places,
  • tachycardia or heart tachycardia appears,
  • nozzles strongly,
  • drooling may occur,
  • urinates and defecates out of fear,
  • he lowers his ears,
  • may show tremors or freeze when motionless,
  • may have dilated pupils.
Dog agony, symptoms

The general appearance of the suffering dog immediately shows signs that "something is wrong " and the handler intuitively feels that the dog needs help.

If the animal does not consume water on its own, it is unable to eat for a long time, when it is breathing hard, showing symptoms of respiratory failure or shortness of breath, it lies down a lot or sleeps constantly, has impaired consciousness and does not respond to contact with the owner, vomits or shows intense diarrhea in In the event of an incurable disease, it is easier to make the final decision.

Visible suffering of the dog manifested even if only excessive vocalization, barking if howl, adopting a relaxed attitude can also help you make decisions.

Likewise, when the animal fails to urinate which causes progressive uremia and the treatment taken does not start diuresis, which causes a gradual deterioration of health.

The animal may also be suffering agressive which may pose a direct threat to his guardian.

Large dogs that have lost the ability to move and feel in the pelvic limbs are not able to properly excrete feces and urine, which requires a lot of commitment on the part of the owner who unfortunately has to manually empty the urinary bladder.

I omit here the aesthetic issues and related unpleasant smells.

There are many symptoms related to the upcoming end, and it is impossible to list them all, but the owner who knows his dog best can see perfectly well when his natural end approaches.

Then, after consulting a veterinarian and using his capabilities, it is worth reducing the suffering without waiting for the dog to end its life.

Because what effect will we get by allowing the dog to live a few or several hours longer in great suffering??

Always, without being sure, it is worth consulting a dog's attending physician, who will define the general condition of the dog in detail and help to make the right, only right decision.

Remember that unfortunately it is not always possible to help the dog and sometimes it is simply necessary to let him go with dignity, which undoubtedly manifests itself in great love and our humanity.


Old age is undoubtedly the stage of life that most are afraid of and try not to think about it at all costs.

It is associated clearly with numerous nuisances, pain, worse physical fitness, disturbances in the functions of the nervous system and more frequent diseases of various organs and organs.

It also requires greater financial outlays in the case of pet owners, which is also of practical importance.

And it inevitably leads to the natural end that is death.

It also creates great opportunities to help our seniors who would not be a sin.

Because although we cannot stop the aging processes, we certainly have real possibilities of eliminating and combating the negative, unpleasant symptoms associated with them.

The basis, of course, is the earlier diagnosis of existing diseases and ailments, and therefore possibly accurate and accurate diagnosis.

Animals, like humans, live longer and longer, which is undoubtedly pleasing, although it also gives rise to some, not yet occurring problems.

Fortunately, we are helped by a wide range of diets and dietary supplements for seniors, which, although they will not cure many diseases definitively, will certainly bring great relief from suffering, definitely improving the quality of life.

So let us use skillfully and prudently with everything that modern science and its practical fruits offer us.

I am aware that the subject of geriatrics has not been fully exhausted in this article.

At the same time, I hope that in the event of an illness in an older animal, you will go to a veterinarian who knows the dog, who will best help and provide professional advice, which will result in a longer life of your beloved dog.

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