After having given you a lifetime of love, loyalty and companionship, a senior dog needs a reason to live in its older days. Even though it remains debatable whether dogs experience emotions like humans or not, they definitely deserve the same compassion as any other senior member of your family.
With advanced age, senior dogs become more vulnerable to the same dog skin problems that they had to face while young. The skin is the first line of defense against the attacks of external pathogens. Senior dogs are prone to have dry skin and lose some of the shine of their coats as oil secreting glands slow down. Graying hair and dry skin are the key indicators of advancing age.
Here are some skin and coat care tips to keep you senior dog comfortable:
- An itchy skin is common in all dogs, but it occurs more frequently in senior dogs. As senior dogs are more vulnerable to environmental irritants, external parasites, fleas and ticks, an itchy skin in seniors require immediate attention for fear that they cause secondary infections.
- Senior dogs should be given medicated baths to keep their skin in good shape. Also use a very mild shampoo and only those that have been specially formulated for dogs.
- The aging skin of the dog is more inclined to react to allergens and dryness. A blow drier at this age can prove to be harsh on the dry skin. Use thick absorbent towels instead.
- Lumps under the skin are more prevalent in senior dogs. Look for any unusual growth while grooming. This could be a tumor that might be difficult to cure at this age if early treatment is not provided.
- Cut the nails more frequently than before to avoid damage to the skin when itching or scratching as drier skin is likely to be brittle. Dogs usually run down their nails while walking, but senior dogs are less active, which makes their nails grow faster.
- You need to be more regular in grooming and even more observant so as to locate any abnormalities on the skin. Even harmless-looking flea bites can potentially cause a major infection or an allergic reaction at this age. Your flea control program also needs to be more focused.
Whether it is a senior dog or a cat, older skin cannot take care of itself. In senior cats, even mild conditions like feline hair loss, cat dandruff and feline acne require more than normal attention. Grooming at an advanced age is not only meant to spruce up the looks but also to protect the first line of defense of the body against external factors.