Dogs can have a few changes with their eyes as they age. A common change that occurs with the eyes are the lens often become cloudy. Some cloudiness is a normal aging change called nucleur sclerosis. Cataracts can develop which is caused by an excessive build-up of fiber in the lens. This often can lead to blindness. Another change that needs to be monitored is redness around the whites of the eyes. This change could indicate glaucoma or dry eye.
If your dog is already on a well-balanced diet then this probably need not change. But as dogs get older they can definitely become more sensitive to fatty and rich diets. Also since older dogs metabolism slows down as well as their activity, the amount of food may need to be adjusted to avoid obesity.
So what can we do to help our aging friends?
There are several ways to help our aging pets. In regards orthopedic changes, you should consider getting your dog on long–term joint supplements to help with joint mobility. Common joint supplements contain glucosamine and MSM as active ingredients. You may need to consult with your veterinarian to see if they need any additional medication for pain management such as an anti-inflammatory.
Once your dog becomes a senior, your dog may need dental exams by your veterinarian to see if a cleaning is needed. In fact, it is recommended that older dogs get cleaning every year to maintain healthy teeth.
You should get into the habit of frequently feeling around your dog for any lumps or bumps that may come up. If you feel anything unusual, make sure you have your veterinarian check it out and possible test it to rule out cancer.
Regarding changes to the eyes, nucleur sclerosis or mild cloudiness can be normal in older dogs. Where there should be a concern if you are noting any redness, discharge, or compromise in vision. These changes would indicate a need to visit a veterinarian.
As dogs get older just as they need to adjust to changes that come with age, we need to adjust our care for them as well. In most breeds, a dog is considered geriatric when they are 7 years or older. At this age it is recommended that they get regular physical exams at least twice yearly. Yearly bloodwork is also recommended at this age as well to help with early detection of diseases. We are the best advocates for our older pets so the more we can do for them the better their quality of life will be.