5 Most Common Health Problems In Senior Dogs

As our canine companions age, they become more susceptible to various health issues. Understanding the most common health problems in senior dogs is crucial for providing them with the best possible care during their golden years.

With the proper care, senior dogs can live happy and healthy lives – isn’t that right, boy? 


5 Most Common Health Problems In Senior Dogs

Dog owners will generally notice an overall “slowing down”, whereby they experience a decrease in mobility and agility, lower endurance, and even personality changes.

In fact, some dogs will even become less enthusiastic about games, toys, and even food – all very shocking, we know, after years of seeing our dogs so happy to eat and play. 

Contrary to their youth, your dog may appear less responsive, confused, or disorientated. They may even start defecating or urinating in the home, too. 

These signs aren’t always the result of ageing itself; they can signal more serious, underlying health problems. 

With this in mind, this guide will explore everything you need to know about properly caring for your ageing dog, including the 5 most common health problems in senior dogs.

Key Points

We all know that dogs are man’s best friends. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that your canine companion remains happy and healthy – even during the later stages of their life. 

Like humans, as dogs age, they become more susceptible to developing illnesses. However, with proper care and feeding, and, of course, love, your senior dog can live a happy life – even in their later years. 

The most common health problems in senior dogs include hearing and vision loss and cancer. 

When Is A Dog Considered Senior?

On average, once your dog reaches seven years of age, they are considered a senior dog – you hear that pooch, you’re going to be a grandpa soon!


That said, this generally depends on the size and breed of your dog. For instance, large breeds tend to age more rapidly when compared to smaller dogs. 

“Woof! Since I’m a Labrador, what does this mean for me?”

Labradors are considered medium-sized dogs. Therefore, they will reach this stage at the age of six or seven. 

Moreover, Great Danes could be considered senior at the age of six. However, a tiny Chihuahua may not reach this maturity until they are eight or nine years old. 

Other factors that can influence how your dog ages include environmental and genetic conditions. 

That said, once your dog begins to show signs of age-related health conditions, they are considered senior regardless of age. 

Most Common Health Problems in Senior Dogs

1. Hearing And Vision Loss

Hearing And Vision Loss

As part of the most common health problems in senior dogs, vision and hearing loss can occur gradually.

Tissue degeneration can occur in both the eyes and ears, creating varying levels of blindness and deafness in older dogs. These health symptoms can present like confusion and Dementia in senior dogs, which can be very stressful for both dog and owner. 

If you think that your dog is experiencing mental deterioration, they might actually be experiencing changes to their vision and hearing. 

Likewise, older dogs are also prone to cataracts. 

“Woof woof, what does that mean?!” 

Cataracts are defined as a cloudy layer that can form in the eyes – causing partial or total blindness. 

However, don’t worry too much, pooch; thanks to your excellent hearing and a good sense of smell, you can still manage to get around well without having to undergo cataract surgery! 

Furthermore, there are various issues – ranging from chronic ear infections and genetics – that can influence deafness and hearing loss. 

That said, despite being unable to hear you talk, dogs can still feel the floor’s vibrations when you approach them.

You can introduce hand signals with commands to help a dog who is losing their hearing. This gives you both another way to communicate with each other, preventing your dog from feeling isolated. 

With senior dogs, you’ll want to take precautions outdoors if they can’t see or hear well – you don’t want them to get into trouble and wander off! So keeping them on a lead is a good idea for older dogs.

2. Arthritis


Did you know that humans and dogs are more alike than you think? 


Yes, like humans, dogs can develop arthritis due to age, too. 

One of the most common health problems in senior dogs is arthritis, a degenerative condition that affects the joints.

The most common type of arthritis in senior dogs is called Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease. 

This usually affects the weight-bearing joints – including the knees, shoulders, hips, and elbows), causing abnormal bone growth, loss of lubricating fluids, and wearing of cartilage. 

Unfortunately, this results in a decreased range of motion, pain, and stiffness. Since this illness is progressive, it will likely get worse over time. 

While there isn’t any cure, there are treatments to ease the pain and slow the progression. 

3. Kidney Issues

Kidney Issues

Senior dogs are also more prone to kidney and liver disease, which are among the most common health problems in senior dogs.

As your dog gets older, they begin to lose the function of its kidneys. Even though chronic kidney disease is incurable, it can be managed with proper treatment – improving your senior dog’s quality of life

As your dog is approaching senior life, it is important to get routine blood work to check for early signs of kidney diseases – improving your dog’s chances of receiving treatment early. 

When it comes to maintaining healthy kidneys, proper nutrition is essential. Therefore, consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s diet. 

4. Obesity


Obesity is one of the most common health problems in senior dogs and can exacerbate other health conditions like arthritis and heart disease.  

Weight and health are directly linked. Therefore, when your dog ages and becomes less active, they are prone to becoming overweight. 

Senior dogs carrying extra weight are more prone to illnesses, including diabetes. 

Therefore, you should ensure that you provide your dog with as much exercise as it can tolerate and a well-balanced diet, ensuring they get all the nutrients they need. 

5. Cancer


Unfortunately, cancer is one of the most common health problems in senior dogs. While younger dogs can get cancer, it is more frequent in older dogs. 

Different types of cancers have different symptoms – making it easier to dismiss specific signals as simply the result of age. 

That’s why routine check-ups are important, pooch! Here, they can perform lab work, exams, or diagnostic tests to pick up symptoms invisible to the eye. 

Depending on the type of cancer and its stage, there are various treatment options. The sooner you detect it, the higher your dog’s chances of survival! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Avoid Senior Dog Dental Problems?

Proper dental care is crucial when addressing the most common health problems in senior dogs.

With the help of dental care dog food, as well as dental care treats, you can help maintain your dog’s oral hygiene. 

In addition, you should also brush your dog’s teeth. If you have any concerns, make an appointment with the veterinarian to check your dog’s overall dental health. 

Dental issues are a common occurrence for senior dogs. Losing teeth and tooth pain when eating can lead to your dog losing its appetite and weight loss. 

If you think your dog is in pain due to their teeth, consider opting for a softer diet. You can offer softer foods by adding water to their kibble or swapping them to a wet diet.

Do Senior Dogs Need Tick, Flea, And Worming Treatment?

Yes! Your dog won’t stop needing these treatments once they reach old age. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that your senior dog receives regular worming, flea, and tick treatments. 

If your dog isn’t comfortable with tablets or chews, you can also consider sprays or spot-on treatments. 

When Should You Take Your Senior Dog To The Vet?

Generally speaking, senior dogs require more care from the veterinarian. This is because, as they age, senior dogs are more susceptible to injury and illnesses. 

Therefore, it is recommended to take your senior dog to the veterinarian at least twice a year instead of once. 

Final Thoughts

Early detection and proper management of these conditions can help ensure your senior dog enjoys a happy, comfortable, and fulfilling golden age. Remember, the most common health problems in senior dogs should be at the forefront of your mind when caring for your aging pet.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top