Aging is a difficult process, and while it can be clear for humans, it may take a while for most dog owners to notice that their furry friend is becoming a senior. It is crucial that you are prepared from the start and that you know what to expect with a senior Boston Terrier.
What to Expect With a Senior Boston Terrier
Boston terriers start to be considered seniors from the age of 10-13 years. Around this age, you will see many changes, and you will have to make sure that your dog is well-adjusted to being a senior.
This is one of the very first changes that you are going to notice with your dog. Things like urinating or defecating in the house while you are gone, destruction of property, and even excessive whining when it knows you are about to leave. All this point to separation anxiety.
It may also become much more aggressive as it ages. This can be due to anger about not being able to do the things it had been doing before. Although Boston terriers are generally not aggressive, you will notice the change that has happened to your formally gentle dog.
The behavior change can also be due to the changes that are going on in their body, and the behavior is just an outward representation of it.
The metabolism of your dog changes as it grows older. It will be unable to burn as many calories as it did before, which will be noticed in the weight it will gain. This weight gain can become obesity which can be dangerous as it may result in other health issues such as arthritis and heart conditions.
Its teeth will also begin to turn yellow or brown because of the tartar and plaque build-up. To prevent this, you must brush your teeth much more than you did before. Ensure you use mild dog toothpaste and a toothbrush that is appropriate for it.
Its skin and hair will also undergo changes, such as follicle atrophy which leads to hair loss. You must brush its hair regularly to ensure it does not develop mats and tangle. Its skin will lose its elasticity because of the increased calcium in the body. Other physical changes that you will notice include the following:
- Production of white hair along the face and muzzle
- Scaly skin
- Dry and dull coat
Visual and Hearing Loss
Your dog will gradually lose its sense of sight and hearing. The process is slow, and you will most likely realize when the damage has already been done. This is why you must take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups, as this can be detected early, and maybe something can be done about it.
You may start to think that your dog is ignoring you; it may be a sign that its hearing has been impaired. Other signs to look for include the following:
- The dog no longer gets excited at sounds that excited it before
- Ignoring your cues and commands
- Sleeping soundly
When you know the signs to look for, it can be easier to detect the changes from the onset so that you do something for your dog to make the transition to old age easier. For deteriorating vision, you will see the following changes:
- Watery eyes
- Bluish haze
- Inability to locate its toys and bowls
- Unable to make eye contact
- Bumping into walls, furniture, and other things
Change in Dietary Requirements
Feeding a senior dog is widely spoken about; this makes it easier for false narratives to be spread, and if you are not careful, you can fall into this group. One of the things that are false is that you need to give senior dogs less protein. This is false, as senior dogs need protein to maintain their body muscle.
When it comes to feeding your senior dog, you must keep the following in mind:
- Fewer calories – The slow metabolism and less energy mean your dog’s diet needs to be adjusted to suit its age. Suitable calorie intake is vital as it ensures the dog does not become obese.
- Health condition – Your dog’s health determines the food it can eat or cannot eat. For example, if it has diabetes, you must give it a fiber-rich diet. For heart diseases, you should regulate the sodium and protein intake, and a diet rich in Omega-3 is good for arthritis.
- Consider supplements – Supplements can be beneficial to your dog, especially if it suffers from joint pain, back pain, itchy skin, or pain or inflammation. You should ask your vet to recommend the best supplement for your furry friend.
- Change in appetite – Your dog’s appetite may change now that it has become a senior. It may not like the food it used to like before or even start liking something it did not like before. Consider this when choosing the best diet for it.
Pair a good diet with regular exercise, and your dog will become healthier and fit in its old age. You can skip taking it on long walks or runs like before; however, you can ensure it gets a good amount of exercise.
Your dog will experience a decline in its cognitive functioning. You are likely to notice that it will get lost easily, forget things it was doing, and even become unable to navigate obstacles that it used to navigate easily. The cognitive decline will most likely accompany the loss of sight and hearing.
When this happens, consult your vet to know the best way to proceed. The vet might recommend getting the services of a certified trainer who will train it to obey commands given in sign language if it can still see. The vet can also prescribe medication and supplements you can give your furry friend.
Apart from losing sight and hearing, you should be prepared to handle various health conditions your Boston terrier may suffer from in its old age. These conditions include:
- Back and joint problems
- Heart disease
In some cases, they can be treated when discovered early.
Navigating your dog’s old age is a challenge. However, with the necessary information, you can make the process much easier for you and the dog. Remember that old age is inevitable, and no matter how much you do not want it to happen, it is still going to.