With old age comes new health issues. In most cases, senior dog health issues are caused by aging, so it’s natural. However, in other cases, there might be underlying issues going on. Keep reading to learn more about your senior dog’s health.

When Is A Dog Considered A Senior?

A dog’s lifespan is tied to how big or small there are. It’s unknown why smaller dog breeds tend to live longer than large dog breeds. This means that different-sized dog breeds are considered seniors at different life stages.

For instance, toy and small dog breeds who weigh two to 20 pounds are considered seniors at seven years old. Medium dog breeds, 21 to 50 pounds, are also considered senior dogs at age seven.

Large dog breeds, who grow to be about 51 to 90 pounds, and giant dog breeds, who grow to weigh over 90 pounds, become seniors at age five.

Common Senior Dog Health Issues

As with humans, dogs will have health problems as they get older. Unfortunately, some issues are inevitable even if they were relatively healthy most of their life. So, let’s discuss some common health conditions you may see in your senior dog.

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Hearing Loss And Vision Loss

As a dog ages, tissue degeneration may occur in its eyes and ears. For the ears, this may cause chronic ear infections. Thus, your dog will lose hearing or go completely deaf over time. They may also develop cataracts which can cause partial or complete blindness. 

Joint Problems

Joint issues, such as arthritis and osteoarthritis, are also common. This causes joint pain and stiffness. In addition, it’s a progressive degenerative disease, causing lubrication loss and removing the cartilage in the joints.

There’s no cure, but arthritis can be delayed and supported. In addition, good nutrition, such as omega fatty acids, and some medication can help relieve joint pain.

Your dog might have stiff joints and pain if you notice the following:

  • Changes to gait or stance
  • Decreased activity
  • Lameness or favoring one leg
  • Reluctant to climb up or down stairs or jump on or off furniture
  • Stiffness (even after resting)
  • Unwillingness to play or exercise

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD)

Believe it or not, dogs are also prone to dementia, Alzheimer’s, and senility. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this. However, you can aid them with antioxidant-rich foods and medication to help keep the dysfunction at bay.

Call your vet if you notice your elder pup having the following symptoms.

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Bathroom accidents
  • Barking or whining for no reason
  • Confusion
  • Decreased interaction with humans or other pets
  • Disorientation
  • Getting lost in familiar settings
  • Increased sensitivity to sound
  • Irritability
  • Wandering (or pacing)
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Cancer can occur regardless of your dog’s age, especially if it’s genetic. However, older dogs are more at risk of getting cancer. So, if you feel any lumps or bumps on your dog, take them to the vet to get them removed and checked out. 

Other signs of cancer may include:

  • Bleeding from the mouth or nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty eating, swallowing, or breathing
  • Difficulty going to the bathroom
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lameness
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Heart Problems

If you notice your doggo coughing, difficulty breathing, intolerance to exercise, loss of consciousness, or unexplained vomiting, bring them to the vet. They may have congestive heart failure. 

This heart issue occurs when the heart can’t efficiently pump blood and fluid back to the heart, lungs, and chest cavity. 


With old age comes less activity. For example, your dog may be too stiff to go for long walks and be too tired for longer play sessions. Since they’re not as energetic as they used to be, gaining weight is easier. As a result, they could become obese, which may cause other issues, such as joint pain or diabetes.

12 Senior Dog Health Issues You Need To Be Aware Of | PetSimplified.com


Diabetes occurs when your dog can no longer produce insulin for the body. Signs of diabetes can include the following:

  • Cataracts
  • Increased hunger (but loses weight)
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Recurring infections (such as a UTI)
  • Weakness

Gastrointestinal (GI) Issues

GI upset is a digestive issue that can cause other problems. For instance, it may lead to kidney disease and other bladder infections. If you notice your dog vomiting or having diarrhea, then you’ll want to call your vet as soon as possible.

Kidney Disease

Unfortunately, as dogs get older, their kidneys will lose function. There is no cure for this, but proper dieting can prevent kidney disease for as long as possible. Also, it can be managed with treatments and medication.

Symptoms of kidney disease may be the following:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Poor fur condition (dull, shaggy)
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Urinary Tract Infection

Older dogs are also prone to getting a UTI. If your dog feels like they need to pee often but can’t, or you find blood in its urine, it may have a UTI. Call your vet right away because, if left untreated, UTIs can become severe.

12 Senior Dog Health Issues You Need To Be Aware Of | PetSimplified.com

Liver Disease

The liver is essential to the body as it aids in many functions. If your dog’s liver stops working or has difficulty, then your dog can become very sick. Symptoms of liver disease are the following:

  • Confusion
  • Dark Urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Disorientation
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Instability
  • Jaundice
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

Dental Disease

Periodontal disease is common in older dogs as their teeth and gums weaken. Also, if they didn’t have their teeth brushed regularly growing up, they’re more prone to dental disease.

Signs of dental disease include:

  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Excessive drooling (or bleeding from the gums)
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Unwillingness to eat
12 Senior Dog Health Issues You Need To Be Aware Of | PetSimplified.com

How To Keep Your Senior Dog Healthy

Sometimes genetics will get your dog in the end. That’s why it’s essential to know where your dog came from and their family tree history. Then, if you know, they will have specific issues growing up; you can take preventative actions with your vet.

You can also stave off some health problems with proper nutrition and a good exercise routine throughout your pup’s life.

Whether you have an older pup who is sick or not, you’ll want to make them as comfortable as possible. For instance, create a safe space for them in your home. Then, they can retreat to this spot whenever they need quiet time alone.

If your doggo is starting to have joint pain, you can upgrade their bed to one that caters to your dog’s joints.

Finally, remember to bring them to the vet for regular visits. Then, your vet will be able to keep track of their growth and catch any issues early enough as they arrive. 

Care For Your Senior Dog

Before getting a dog, research your breed. Check their family tree and health history, and bring them to the vet to catch issues early. Your doggo can live a long, happy, healthy life through dieting and exercise.

12 Senior Dog Health Issues You Need To Be Aware Of | PetSimplified.com
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