Senior Dogs 101: Common Health Issues to Look Out For

As we age, we become more vulnerable and at risk for certain diseases and conditions. Dogs are just the same. It is important to be aware of the common health issues that your senior dog may encounter so that you can be prepared to address any potential problems quickly. Let’s take a look at some of the most common health issues faced by aging dogs, and the symptoms you should watch out for.


Arthritis is one of the most common conditions among older pets, especially large-breed dogs. It is caused by inflammation in the joints, which makes walking difficult and painful for your pet. Symptoms include limping, difficulty getting up from a lying position, walking up stairs, and jumping on furniture. If you notice these signs, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for a check-up. Treatment options include supplements, physical therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes such as providing softer beds and avoiding slippery surfaces.

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS)

This condition commonly referred to as “doggie dementia” is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans, but less severe in terms of progressiveness. Symptoms include confusion, disorientation in familiar places, forgetfulness (such as not recognizing family members), changes in sleep habits (sleeping more during the day or waking up at night), restlessness or pacing, anxiety or nervousness when left alone, loss of appetite or change in eating habits, excessive vocalization such as barking or whining more than usual, and changes in behavior such as being more aggressive than usual towards other pets or people.

If you notice these signs with your pet, it is important to take them to the vet right away, so they can be diagnosed and treated accordingly. Treatment may include medication or lifestyle changes, such as providing more stimulation through interactive toys and exercise routines tailored for senior dogs.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease occurs when kidneys fail to function properly due to damage from infection or age-related wear and tear on them over time. Symptoms include decreased appetite and weight loss, increased thirst, urination frequency/volume, dehydration, weakness due to loss of electrolytes like sodium chloride (salt) from urine excretion; bad breath/halitosis due to accumulation of toxins; vomiting/diarrhea; urinary tract infections; increased susceptibility towards other illnesses like heart disease, etc.

If your pet shows any of these signs it is important that they see their veterinarian right away so that tests can be performed and treatment started if necessary. Treatment may involve diet modification with low protein foods containing high levels of omega 3 fatty acids along with supplements like vitamin B complex which help support healthy kidney function and reduce inflammation associated with kidney disease.


Unfortunately, cancer is another health issue that commonly affects senior dogs. Cancer can cause a wide variety of symptoms depending on the type and location of the tumor(s). Common signs include loss of appetite, weight loss, irregular bumps or lumps on their skin or body, lethargy and fatigue, difficulty breathing or coughing, bleeding from any part of their body (nosebleeds), and changes in behavior. If you notice any unusual lumps or bumps on your pet’s body, it is crucial to have them checked by your veterinarian right away, as early detection can increase their odds of successful treatment.

Knowing what health problems are common among senior dogs will help you stay informed about how to best care for them during their golden years. Catching any symptoms early on can go a long way toward ensuring your pet’s well-being. If you have any concerns about your pet's health, speak with the staff at Ridgeline Veterinary Clinic as soon as possible so your pet can get checked and receive proper treatment if necessary. Your furry friend deserves all the love and care they need. Getting proper medical pet care from Ridgeline Veterinary Clinic in Cathedral City, CA will promptly help you ensure your beloved pet lives a long, happy life by your side.