The Changing Behavior of an Older Pet: How to Reduce Anxiety in a Pet’s Golden Years

oold dog with toy to reduce anxietypantine may be a sign of anxiety or stress in an uncertain situation.Changing Behavior in the Aging Pet

As our pets grow older there are many things about them that begin to change. Some slow down and aren’t able to get around a well as they used to. We may notice that their hair is getting grey and their body shape may be a little more round in the belly and skinny in the legs. It can be difficult when we finally realize that the dog who used to go on every car trip with you or play for hours at the beach has reached an age where they are happy to just get out of bed and making it around the block for a walk with the family. Slowing down with age most people expect, but what about the increase in anxiety that many geriatric pets experience as they get older?

As Some Senses Dull, Pet Confidence can Decline

Time and again we hear owners discuss their concerns about a pet’s increased anxiety or stress in situations that were not a big deal and sometimes actually considered enjoyable in the past. Car rides, visiting new places, thunderstorms, or a change in the daily routine can all become scary and fearful events leaving our geriatric dogs a trembling, shaking mess. As their senses dull and perhaps go away altogether (with vision or hearing loss) some dogs seem to lose their confidence or ability to adapt to new situations. A dark hall or shadows from a doorway suddenly become things to be feared. A touch, even gentle, can be a scary thing if the dog is sleeping and did not hear you approaching. Senior pets can also develop cognitive disorders that produce dementia type symptoms. They simply lose the ability to understand what is going on around them. If an owner leaves the room, out of their sight, a senior dog may become anxious because the pet fears that the owner is gone forever and not coming back again. Continue…