Many of the senior dog behaviour changes veterinarians see in older dogs can be due to medical conditions. If your dog’s behaviour is changing, have your dog examined by a veterinarian. Your senior dog is more easily stressed.  You can reduce stress by making any necessary changes in routine gradual, and decrease the exposure of your dog to stressors.

Senior dog behaviour

Senior dog behaviour. Photo: Connor Baker/Unsplash

Certain changes will occur in an animal’s body as the animal ages. These changes may not be the same in each animal species. In some animals, for example, toy breeds of dogs, changes in the heart are common, whereas the kidneys may be one of the first organs to show signs of ageing in cats.

In many cases, it is not that older doggies do not understand your house ‘rules,’ it’s that they may be unable to follow them.

With patience, understanding, and treatments recommended by your veterinarian, you can help make your dog’s older years a quality time for you and him.

Senior dog behaviour changes include:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Aggression
  • House toileting
  • Noise phobias
  • Increased vocalisation
  • Nocturnal restlessness
  • Cognitive dysfunction

Senior dog behaviour tips

We can help our senior dogs to adapt to these changes:

  1. Visit your veterinarian for diagnosing problems early
  2. Use of appropriate medications and supplements
  3. Modifying the dog’s environment such as ensuring food and water bowls are easily accessible.
  4. If your pet’s vision is deteriorating do not move your furniture and furnishings.
  5. Make sure senior dogs have the opportunity to toilet regularly which may involve helping them to stand up and to get outside
  6. Changing the way in which we interact with our older canine companions.

For more tips on caring for senior pets to keep them happy and healthy.