Pets are living longer than they ever have before, likely a result of improved veterinary care and dietary habits. Today, 50% of the approximately 80 million dogs in this country are over the age of 7, which amounts to over 40 million senior or geriatric dogs living in the United States. Our aging dogs are faced with a whole new set of age-related conditions including muscle loss, arthritis and orthopedic issues/injuries.
Our Senior Dogs: Three Signs that Your Dog is Physically Aging
Dogs are family, and just like any other family member, they inevitably age. However, one key difference between the various ways your dog and your great-aunt age is that your dog does so much faster. In fact, as a rule of thumb, many people equate one dog year to seven human years. (That’s right! Your dog may actually be older than you…by a lot.)
Unfortunately, since dogs age much faster than humans, age-related health concerns and complications may creep up on them way faster than you might think. It’s sad to sit back and watch your dog go through body changes and complications no matter what his age may be. That’s why it’s important to know when your dog is physically aging (and possibly suffering) and what you can do about it.
Here are three signs that your dog’s physically declining with age, along with a hopeful solution.
One sign of an aging dog is a decline in mobility. It’s common to see this in dogs who’ve reached 6 or 7 years of age. With decreased mobility, dogs will slowly lose the ability to move like they could in their younger years. This can be disheartening for dog parents who enjoy spending quality time with dogs, whether that means playing catch, hiking, swimming, or going for long walks.
What do we see here? Dogs with reduced mobility will tend to walk much slower, sometimes even with a limp. It also may be hard for them to sit, stand, jump, and climb. They might slip while trying to get up, and they may appear to be stiff and achy. It’s important to notice when this shift happens to make sure you can take the proper steps to support your dog, as you may be able to greatly reduce any pain or struggle he is facing, as well as stop the issue in its tracks; more on that come.
Decreased Energy Level
An aging dog may also show decreased energy levels. Knowing that your dog is lacking the same “zest” or “pep” that he used to maybe be obvious, but if you’re not sure, there’s a few things you can look for. First, take note of whether or not your dog still has the strength and stamina to go on long walks. Similarly, is your dog playing for as long as he used to, or is he only retrieving for a few tosses and then lacking interest?
I’d also suggest to track how sedentary your dog is. If he’s laying in the same spot for longer periods of time than usual or seems less inclined to follow you around the house, a lack of energy could be to blame. Patients often report that their dogs are not able to jump onto their beds anymore, which is an indicator of decreased energy, as well. This information should also be shared with your veterinarian who will be a valuable resource to help determine the cause and to provide helpful treatments and solutions. Lastly, you may see fat gain on the abdomen along with muscle mass loss in the legs. This brings us to our next sign… muscle loss.
The last sign of an aging dog is muscle atrophy. It’s a type of muscle loss where the muscles start to waste away. It often goes hand-in-hand with signs mentioned above—subdued mobility or low energy. Think about it: if a dog is more sedentary as a result of subdued mobility or low energy, he’s using his muscles far less that he used to, leading to muscle wasting. Although it is actually quite common in animals (and humans, for that matter!), it is still very important that this issue does not go ignored.
Age-related muscle loss can also result from shifting hormones, a decreased metabolic rate, and a change in digestive processes (meaning you’ll have to readjust your dog’s diet).
Weakness in the limbs when walking or hiking can be a sign of this issue. Your dog may also be resistant to long walks, jumping or playing, or going up and down stairs. Muscle mass will decrease with atrophy, too. Since it can be hard to detect in the early stages, be sure to feel your dog’s legs to assess it. You will know that there’s loss if the major muscle groups are thinning, or if they’ve become flabby or soft.
You may also notice postural changes and see him walking with a slower and possibly stiffer gait. Since muscles work in conjunction with bones to help the body stay upright, atrophy will make it much more difficult for your dog to hold itself up. By working with your veterinarian, you can have weekly weigh-ins as well as evaluations to better understand the cause of the weight loss.
A Vet-Approved Solution
As a pet owner, it’s extremely difficult to see your dog suffer. So, when your dog’s mobility, energy, and muscles begin to decline, be sure to quickly get your furry best friend the help he needs.
Adding MYOS Canine Muscle Formula® to your dog’s regimen can help to support him as he ages. It specifically improves muscle health, which then leads to numerous benefits, such as enhanced energy, strength, and mobility. We’re sure you will conclude that this means it’s a great supplement to help combat aging. Many dog owners report that their dogs act like puppies again upon taking the supplement—what more could one ask for?
MYOS Canine Muscle Formula is fueled by Fortetropin®, a revolutionary ingredient made through a patented process that preserves the powerful and vital nutrients present in fertilized egg yolks. It has been clinically proven to increase muscle mass and size while simultaneously reducing muscle loss. Countless positive testimonials as well as scientific research from a major U.S. veterinary university show that Myos Canine Muscle Formula works, especially in minimizing muscle atrophy.
We all want more time with our dogs and for that time to be the best quality for them, free of pain or suffering. Be aware of the signs of aging, and make the smart, simple changes that you can to support your dog’s transition; it could make all the difference in his energy, mobility, and muscle health.
Dr. Albert Ahn, DVM
Thank you to Dr. Albert Ahn, DVM for providing this guest post.
Dr. Ahn works as a respected veterinary advisor in the animal health industry. And he is spokesperson for MYOS RENS, the creators of Fortetropin®. It is a proprietary bioactive composition made from fertilized egg yolks that has been clinically proven to help build lean muscle.