What Are Physical Signs a Dog Is Getting Old?

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While determining a dog's approximate age may not be instantly successful, close inspections usually yield telling hints that can assist in forming educated guesses. Aging dogs appear differently than younger ones in various ways, including fur texture, coloration and weight. Do not hesitate to take your dog to the veterinarian to ensure his changes are normal, however.

Weight Gain

  • Human beings often moan and groan about age-related weight gain, which is something that also often affects aging canines -- possibly due to slowing metabolisms or increasingly sedentary lifestyles, according to the ASPCA. If a dog is getting up there in age, he may just seem a lot paunchier than during his younger years, even if his diet isn't different. Apart from weight gain, older dogs often experience reduced muscle tone, as well.

Foggy Eyes

  • A quick glance into a dog's eyes may also say something about his age bracket. If a dog's eyes seem foggy or have a grayish-blue tinge to them, he may just be a sweet senior pooch -- usually no cause for alarm. Look out for whitish-tinged eyes in canines, however, as those are possible cataract indications. Cataracts require veterinary care, so do not hesitate to make an appointment for your pet.

Fur Changes

  • Aging doggie fur sometimes loses its former glossiness and thickness. If a dog's hair seems fine and thin in texture, aging just may be the cause. Some aging dogs also develop gray furs -- especially by the eyebrow, mouth and nose areas.

Skin Changes

  • Elderly dogs often have lumps on their skin, called lipomas. These fatty lumps are often totally innocuous, but if your dog has them, you may want to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to be 100 percent certain. With aging, dogs often lose some suppleness of their skin, too.

Nails

  • Aging canine nails often take on duller appearances, and also are usually more susceptible to breakage. If your dog's nails seem on the weaker side, it may be age-related. Despite that, regular nail trimming may be able to keep them looking strong and healthy.

References

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