Maybe you’ve known a neighborhood dog for years, and it’s always been friendly to you. However, it suddenly became aggressive and bit you.
It’s not uncommon for dogs to become aggressive and even to snap and bite as they age. It’s not just that they’re becoming grumpy old men or women, as people sometimes like to say about their senior pets. Senior dogs can start to bite for a number of reasons.
They’re in pain
Dogs often don’t like to let on that they’re in pain. It’s often instinctual for animals to refrain from showing weakness or pain because it could put them at risk of attack by other animals. However, older dogs can suffer from painful arthritis, dental issues and other conditions that make them especially prickly when someone approaches them – particularly if that person is touching an area of their body that’s in pain.
Pet owners should always be on the lookout for signs that their pet is in pain or not feeling well. However, as much as we may try, we can’t always alleviate all of our pet’s pain.
They don’t see or hear well
Most people know to be careful about waking a sleeping dog. However, sometimes even a dog that’s wide awake can be startled into biting by a touch from someone they may not see or hear. Cataracts and hearing loss are common in older dogs.
They’re suffering from dementia
Just like people, dogs experience cognitive changes as they get older. However, some dogs suffer from what’s called canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), which is more dramatic and not unlike Alzheimer’s disease in humans.
Dogs with CCD may seemingly get lost in their own homes and not recognize even those closest to them at times. They may forget some of their training. It’s not unusual for their confusion to lead them to bite or become aggressive, especially with those who aren’t aware of their condition.
Owners have a responsibility to help keep their senior dogs from biting
People who have senior dogs need to be careful to warn people to be careful around their senior dog if they’re easily startled or confused. If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a senior dog, it’s wise to find out what your options are for getting the compensation you need for medical care and other expenses and damages.