Every dog owner hates it when his/her pooch is getting into its “golden age stage.” It is sad to see how their health deteriorates. They are not as active anymore and are limited in a lot of things they used to do easily when they were younger.
Getting old is especially difficult for breeds who are prone to various ailments from the start. For example, Pugs. This breed is known for having breathing, heart, and joint issues, as they are considered brachycephalic, or flat-faced.
They are born with this condition and sometimes only surgery can help open air pathways for normal oxygen flow. So, if it’s bad when a Pug pup is still young and full of energy, can you imagine how it might feel for a senior Pug? Let’s talk about an older Pug and health problems’ symptoms you may notice as it ages.
A Pug’s Medical Problems
Here are some of the most common medical problems an old Pug dog is prone to getting as it ages.
1. Breathing Issues:
The most common occurrence among all flat-faced creatures. We already briefly mentioned that all Pugs are brachycephalic and develop abnormal breathing patterns because of that. Since their snouts are so tiny, they obstruct normal O2 flow.
This, in turn, causes very pronounced sounds pancake-faced are known for. Snuffling and snoring may be adorable at first. However, this is not a good health indicator and should be closely monitored for worsening symptoms.
But the most alarming of all sounds are these: if you hear your 13-year-old Pug coughing, choking, or gagging, this could indicate either Pneumonia, Kennel Cough, or the Distemper virus. All of those are highly contagious and spread easily amongst canine members who spend time together in packs. Some of those environments may include doggy daycares, parks, boarding facilities, etc.
Hence, if your oldie Pug friend still comes to daycare, you have to make sure it is properly vaccinated. While pups recover pretty swiftly after the outbreak, senior pooches might have a much harder time coming back to their normal selves. All because their immune system is not as strong anymore.
2. Eye Infections:
Those big eyes are unfortunately susceptible to various vision issues. Especially as your Pooch gets older. If you see space disorientation, constant eye-scratching, rubbing, sometimes accompanied by green or yellow discharge, this could be a major warning sign.
This might mean that your pal is developing cataracts, glaucoma, or some other serious eye ailment. Monitor any weird behavior like bumping into walls or pooch missing its food bowl while eating. These are signs that your fur baby’s sight starts to seriously deteriorate and it needs to be examined by the veterinary professional as soon as possible.
A Pug’s skin is very sensitive and might be prone to allergies. Be sure to scan your pal’s coat and skin for any dryness, irritation, or rash. Parasites like mites, fleas as well as ticks are “first in line” to be the cause of major skin irritation that wouldn’t go away for months if not properly treated.
Also, Pugs could be easily developing food allergies like any other canine fella. Be sure to introduce new food items slowly to see if any adverse reaction is going to follow.
4. Cardiovascular Problems:
These are directly related to a Pug’s breathing issues. Since flat muzzles affect the way Pugs inhale and exhale, their hearts have to work twice as hard to pump oxygenated blood and deliver it to the organs. This makes the heart very weak after a while, and a pooch’s lifespan consecutively decreases. A weakened heart leads to strokes, heart attacks, dilated cardiomyopathy, and congestive heart failure.
5. Joint Problems:
Even though Pugs are very compact and sturdy dogs, they do tend to develop a few joint issues. This is due to the fact that their legs are short, but are forced to support a heavy-set skeleton, leading to fractures, and various bone injuries. It is especially so if pooches play actively with the other canine companions or with their two-legged young siblings. Pugs should take it easy with physical activities, and avoid high-jumping as well as excessive running.
A Pug owner may be wondering what signs in his/her older Pug and health problems’ symptoms surfacing might require a doctor’s immediate attention.
Older Pug and Health Problems’ Symptoms
If you notice any of the following symptoms, schedule a vet appointment without delay.
- Wheezing, Coughing, or Choking: these could be indicators of a serious illness like Bordatella, Distemper, or a developing heart condition. Bring your flat-faced pooch to the vet for a check-up and he/she will be able to determine exactly what this might be. Yearly vaccinations might be a great preventative measure to avoid the mentioned health issues.
- Wall-bumping, Disorientation, Eye-scratching: it could either be a simple eye infection like conjunctivitis or something more serious like cataracts. If the latter, a Pug pooch has to be given treatment right away to avoid potential vision loss.
- Limping, Paw-Licking: a potential injury or even a broken bone. If you see that your Pug pal is leaning on one side or cannot even step on one of its paws and wining non-stop, it is an alarming sign. There might be x-rays that need to be performed to find out the exact reason for the limping behavior. Sometimes a wobbly walk can be an indicator of arthritis, a very common senior Pug condition. As a pooch ages, its bones and joints slowly become worn out. It is very similar in symptoms to two-legged arthritis, actually. After all, we are all animals, no matter if two- or four-legged.
- Excessive Body Scratching, or Rubbing: those are usually allergic symptoms, either pollen, dust mites, parasite infestation, or a reaction to a certain type of food. The first logical thing to do is to inspect your pal for any clear, visual signs of what might be causing the discomfort. If you see ticks, fleas, or mites, just buy special tick-eliminating shampoo and give your wrinkle-faced pal a nice bath. Try to use some preventative treatments like Seresto or Frontline to nib the parasite problem in the bud.
Curl – Up
Getting old is just a routine part of life. While it is not fun for humans, it is certainly not fun for their canine companions. They start getting various ailments like joint issues, heart diseases, seizures, and many other disorders. An older Pug and health problems’ symptoms always go hand-in-hand, but a few things can be done to make its life healthier and extend its lifespan.
These include preventative measures like vaccinations, pest-eliminating medications, and of course, yearly vet visits. It is crucial to closely monitor your mutt for any troublesome signs like the ones we’ve talked about in this article.