As your dog gets older, you may observe changes in its behavior or mood. These can be indications that something is physically wrong. Just like people, as dogs grow older their ability to fend off illnesses declines. Even the most loving and attentive owner can miss signs by assuming that deviations in the dog’s sleep or eating habits are normal, merely due to age. If you notice abnormal behavior, bring your dog to Normandale Veterinary Hospital for a physical examination. We can diagnose the behavior and inform you if there are conditions that need medical attention.


1. Arthritis

Cartilage between joints acts as a buffer to protect the bones from damage. When that cartilage gets older and wears down, it can inflame the joint. Arthritis can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain. You may notice your dog limping, reluctance to get up, not wanting to climb the stairs or difficulty walking. A dog may lick or chew at the aching joint and can show irritability or aggression. We can provide treatment for your dog including drugs and changes in diet and exercise.


2. Gum Disease

Gums are inflamed when mouth bacteria turns into the plaque on the teeth. Saliva hardens plaque and creates tartar. Bacteria-laden plaque and tartar on the teeth can spread under the gum line and cause swelling. If not treated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, which is when the gums pull away from the teeth. That creates pockets which can become infected and cause bone loss. Symptoms are gums that bleed or are tender, red and swollen. Our vets can treat gum disease so that it does not spread to an infection to the bloodstream and cause damage to other organs in the body.


3. Diabetes

Diabetes most commonly occurs in dogs at the age of 8 or 9 years old. Diabetes can be hereditary and is more common in females. Symptoms of diabetes include frequent thirst and increased urination, weight loss, fatigue, irritability, recurring infections, blurred vision, and slow-healing cuts or bruises. If you notice any of these signs on a regular basis, bring your dog to our clinic for help. With ongoing treatment, we can help your dog live a longer life.


4. Blindness

Blindness usually occurs over time and is the naturally occurring process in many dogs. The earlier we can catch it, the better we can treat it. One of the early signs can be cataracts. Cataracts make the eye appear to be covered by a white coating. Other symptoms of vision loss include bumping into things, falling, dilated pupils and red or irritated eyes.


5. Kidney Disease

When kidneys lose their ability to perform, waste and toxins can build up in the body and wreak havoc. There are many causes of kidney failure. For instance, a kidney stone blocks the urinary tract or ruptures. Symptoms of kidney stones in dogs can include drinking more water, urinating more, and having accidents in the house. You may see apathy, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, and brown discoloration on the tongue and the dog may develop an ammonia smell to their breath.


Normandale Veterinary Hospital Can Treat Your Canine

Normandale Veterinary Hospital offers general and surgical care for your pet. We also provide vaccines, spay and neuter procedures, heartworm treatment and grooming. Your pet will be in good hands with our board-certified doctors. To schedule a visit, (952) 831-8272, or you can message us on our contact page. We provide medical care for pets in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.