Your golden retriever Rusty has always been a model pooch. Your ten-year-old dog’s easygoing nature simply captivates everyone he meets. During his regular walks and dog park visits, he shows a furiously wagging tail and a happy grin. After an exhausting day of playtime, he sacks out on his bed for some well-deserved sleep.
Recently, however, your senior companion has displayed several out-of-character actions. You’d like your veterinarian to determine if an emerging medical problem is to blame. In the meantime, learn how dogs’ behaviors can change as they age.
Suddenly Sleepless Nights
Rusty has always been a sound sleeper, and you’ve even seen him snoozing during a booming thunderstorm. However, perhaps he has recently experienced some restless nights. Several times, he awakened you for a potty break; and twice he unexpectedly left a puddle or deposit on the floor. To reduce the chances of this happening again, withhold food and water for a couple of hours prior to bedtime (with your vet’s approval).
If you think your devoted companion misses your company at night, invite him to sleep on your bed. If routine night-time noises suddenly seem to bother him, increase the likelihood that he’ll sleep soundly. Give him more vet-approved daily playtime, and ask the vet if before-bedtime exercise might help.
Undesirable Destructive Antics
Your well-behaved canine housemate has always left your home’s furnishings alone. However, maybe he has recently been gnawing on your living room furniture, carpet, or curtains — or all of them. Perhaps he actually consumes inedible objects such as magazines or silk flowers.
He might seem to delight in knocking your collectible glass or houseplants onto the floor. First, get all potential targets out of his reach. Next, ask your vet to determine the cause of his strange destructive behavior.
Abnormal Aggressive Behavior
Maybe your senior pooch’s vision, hearing, and/or smell aren’t as sharp as they used to be. As a result, Rusty’s slower to detect people entering his personal space. When he realizes someone’s there, he frequently becomes startled; and you’ve even seen him growl on occasion.
Ask the vet about potential treatment and/or behavioral modification options that will help Rusty adapt. After your veterinarian determines the cause of Rusty’s out-of-character antics, he’ll create an appropriate treatment plan. If your dog has been displaying unusual behaviors, contact us for expert assistance.