Can you answer this riddle: what is something that always goes up, but never goes down?
If you guessed that it’s the age that goes up, but never goes down, then you’re right!.
How to Care for an Elderly and Aging Yorkie
Growing older is inevitable and it is a fact of life that we have to face. We can see ourselves being limited, sometimes unable to go places or move in a way as we do before. This is also true for our best fur friends, and in particular, the senior Yorkie.
Age a Yorkshire Terrier Becomes a Senior
Unlike in humans, it is difficult to tell whether a dog is already senior or not since its size is not the main indicator of its age. This is the case with senior Yorkies. Although they are small breeds and they don’t appear old as usual, older Yorkies can already show health problems
There is no definite age a Yorkie becomes one. Also, we cannot declare one is already a senior Yorkie because of its size. To confirm whether a Yorkie has already crossed the category of being a senior, a veterinarian has to assess his or her health, activity level, and check whether the general signs of aging such as slowing down, hesitating to jump down from the bed, etc.
However, some sources say it is safe to consider an 8-year-old Yorkie as an adult and a 10-year-old is already a senior Yorkie. Even though they are already considered as seniors at this young age, smaller dogs like Yorkies tend to live longer; thus, it is very important to attend to their health issues especially for older Yorkie health problems.
Here’s a Yorkie article you might enjoy: Common Yorkie Health Problems
Common Health Problems Facing Older Yorkies
Regardless of their size, breed, activities, and maintenance level, there are health concerns that are common to all older dogs such as in senior Yorkies. These include the following:
Difficulty in sight and hearing
Older dogs like senior Yorkies may develop cataracts which can cause them to have difficulty seeing. It is easier to detect cataracts since it makes the eyes appear cloudy. Senior Yorkies may also develop glaucoma, an increased level of eye pressure, which can trigger more critical health issues.
Joint and bone problems
Like older people, senior dogs tend to have more issues moving their bones and muscles. Developing arthritis is part of Yorkie old age problems and this can be best observed when a senior Yorkie starts to take each stair one at a time. The inflammation of joints causes them discomfort and pain so it is no surprise that they would have to slow down.
Liver and kidney dysfunctions
Senior dogs’ internal organs function less efficiently and their immune system also weakens. This makes them more prone to bacteria and viruses.
Old Dog Cognitive Dysfunction
Senior Yorkies may also develop depression and cognitive dysfunction which can make them confused and disoriented. This is another serious health issue to watch out for since their mental state can cause them either to be moody and accident-prone. Having these changes may also cause senior Yorkies to be less excited to play with you or uninterested.
Other Yorkie old age health problems include:
- An overall reduction in their metabolism
- Thin and dry skin
- Blotched and spotty coat
- Problems with teeth and gums
It is a must to always observe and consult your veterinarian to check and be informed if there are any health issues happening to your senior Yorkie. Letting these health problems untreated may gradually lead to more serious issues and we won’t definitely want that to happen.
Hypoglycemia is a condition where blood sugar, otherwise known as glucose, is lower than normal, and it so happens that glucose if your Yorkie’s main energy source (much as it is for humans). It is possible to get drugs to treat this condition (speak with your vet).
Here’s a Yorkie article you might enjoy: What is Yorkie Hypoglycemia
Helping Your Older Yorkie Overcome Health Problems
Being there and caring for your dogs as they go through old age health problems is the first and best thing you must do as an owner. Though they cannot avoid these as part of aging, it is still possible for us to alleviate the symptom and help them feel comfortable as much as possible.
It is important to look after your senior Yorkie as he gets older and you can start by being very observant of the changes happening to his/ her body and monitoring his progress.
Clean and brush the hair of your Yorkie on a regular basis and ask the vet if there are special shampoos available for them to help with her skin and coat. Take some time to rub your hands on his/her coat and feel if there are some bumps or lesions. Always brush his/her teeth and you may also consider bringing them to the vet shop for professional cleaning.
Exercise together with your senior Yorkies but observe some adjustments needed for them as they age. This includes being patient when they need extra time to walk or jump into the car.
Diet is also a major concern for senior Yorkies. Since their digestion and circulation is not as efficient as before, they might require formulated foods instead to meet their intake needs. Avoid purchasing greasy scraps but prioritize the quality and healthier ones.
Giving your senior Yorkie a comfy and appropriate bed is also a priority as they age. Sleep is very important for recharging and having a comfy bed, preferably an orthopedic mattress, can alleviate the body pain they experience due to aging.
Here’s a Yorkie article you might enjoy: Yorkie Age Equivalent To Humans and Other Dogs, and Maturity Rate
Caring for a Senior Yorkshire Terrier
Aside from alleviating their health problems, there are plenty of ways to show care for our senior Yorkies. These holistic activities are indeed beneficial to keep them in better shape as they overcome old age health problems:
Vet Visits – Priority #1 For Older Yorkie Care
Visiting and consulting your veterinarian regularly for your senior Yorkie is the most important act on the list. Though there are best practices we may have found out as we attend to our senior Yorkie, it is still a must to back it up with scientific advice from their respective vets.
Find a veterinarian you can really trust and get your senior Yorkie scheduled for regular check-ups. Have your dog screened at least twice a year for common health issues with aging dogs. These are also known as ‘geriatric check-ups’. Holding these appointments is vital because medical conditions can grow rapidly at the age of 8 and up; running tests only once a year is just not enough.
Aside from the geriatric check-ups, typical weigh-ins, and physical ones, tests like urinalysis, chemistry panel, and complete blood count have to be conducted as well
Move and Groove
Another way to view aging is the increase in age but a decrease in energy. Like any other older human, senior Yorkies’ energy levels change as they age. The older they are, the less energy they have to go out, jump and run unlike when they are younger. Perhaps, they enjoy more time strolling with you under the sun, taking a long, relaxing nap, or watching movies with you.
It is important to remember that senior Yorkies must not be pressured with the level and phasing of their exercise. Do not expect your little, senior buddy to run at the same speed as you do, especially when you jog. Pay attention to their little moves and actions since dogs cannot communicate the way we do. If you observe that they suddenly walk slowly or want to be held at some point, it would be best to heed to that.
Be extra understanding as they suddenly become less interested in the same things as they used to be before or they do not run towards you as you go home from work the same way as before. These acts are vital indicators of physiological changes and these have to be addressed as well
Just think how you manage to respond to your older relatives when they frequently mention their body pains or they bail to jog along with your younger cousins. Though they are cute and adorable, your little Yorkie is already a senior too, and s/he would appreciate that support and understanding especially from you.
Here’s a Yorkie article you might enjoy: Determining the Right Weight for a Yorkshire Terrier
Having that stylish, funky hairstyle is one of typical but distinctive Yorkshire things. Various hairstyles, lengths, thickness, and colors fit each breed and add volume to their unique, classy looks. Having good, healthy hair is one of the indicators that your senior Yorkie is still in his/her best shape.
Patches of thin hair in Yorkies may be a warning for a serious health problem. Be aware of this and keep an eye on their exposed skin. It is not normal for senior Yorkies to be bald so this must really tell something. You may consider consulting the vet for some treatment or bringing your senior Yorkie to the parlor for some TLC.
To keep your senior Yorkies hairstyle trademark, brushing the hair to keep the tangles away is a must. Moreover, it is a no-no to compromise when it comes to his/her skin and hair needs. Purchasing quality shampoos and conditioners can also nurture their hair and keep their coat healthier and glowing. If you are not already doing so, you would still want to make sure to use a leave-in spritz. This would provide the coat with more protection from wind, hot sun, arid winter weather, static problems and problems with touch friction (when the coat rubs against the carpet, furniture, bedding, etc.)
Here’s a Yorkie article you might enjoy: Adorable Yorkie Haircut Styles, Looks, and Fashion – What’s In and What’s Out?
Just like any one of us, our dear pets such as our Yorkies also go through life’s ups and downs. They also need support and understanding along the way, and nothing makes the challenges more manageable when they know that we are with them whenever and whatever they are going through.