We love our pets so it is understandable that we are also concerned about their health. Some pets, such as mammals, can seem so human sometimes that we attribute most of their actuation with some possible counterpart of our own behavior. Dogs who wag their tails are likened to their masters jumping for joy and excitement while the smooth and calculated movements of cats are equated with that being calm and collected.
Aside from the actions of these pets, we also look at our pet’s health to ensure that they are optimal and that they are living their life to the fullest. So for those who own female dogs, one question lingering might be, “Do female dogs go through menopause?”.In this article, we look at whether or not female dogs go through menopause. Read on and find out more!
Menopause and Dogs: Do their Paths Cross?
Menopause is defined as the stoppage of the menstrual cycle. However, unlike human beings, dogs have no menopause since, in the first place, dogs do not get menstrual periods. Instead, dogs go into the heat cycle also referred to as estrus semi-annually or every six months. This cycle of reproduction will vary depending on a number of factors such as unique dog biological functions, breed, and age.
As the dog gets older, the estrus cycles which occur every six months can turn irregular but the female dog will still be fertile. This means that the dog can still get pregnant with some health risks for the dog that is already aged.
Dogs that are not yet spayed (removal of the ovaries is referred to as oophorectomy, while the removal of both the ovaries and uterus is referred to as ovariohysterectomy) are considered high risk in terms of their reproductive health.
Possible Health Risks for Dogs that Are Already Old
Listed below are some of the health risks of older dogs which include:
1. Being pregnant is risky
For senior dogs or dogs that are aged, being pregnant is considered a health risk compared to dogs that are younger. This is due to conditions or diseases that are subclinical or known that may already be present in the system.
2. False pregnancy
False pregnancy is also known as pseudocyesis or pseudopregnancy and can happen at any age regardless of the female dog was able to mate or not. When false pregnancy happens, the temporary structure of the ovary that is responsible for the secretion of progesterone after releasing the egg and is required for ensuring that pregnancy is maintained also referred to as the corpus luteum does not revert to its original position as it normally would.
Increased levels of progesterone can lead the brain and the body to provide a response as if the dog is indeed pregnant. This can then result in late pregnancy symptoms such as milk production, development of the mammary gland, behavior that is mothering (toy collecting), being territorial, and behavior that is considered nesting.
Mild cases of false pregnancy can go away on its own within two to three weeks. Treatment that is symptomatic may be required to have the discomfort of the mammary glands addressed and to reduce the possible problems with behavior addressed (possible anxiety). As such, if the dog will not be used for purposes of breeding, then having the female dog spayed might be the ideal option.
The accumulation of pus in the cavity of the urinary tract is known as pyometra. It is the result of elevated progesterone hormones. As part of the condition known as false pregnancy and the normal occurrence of the estrus cycle, there can be a rise in the levels of progesterone which can lead to the lining of the uterine becoming lush and thick, mimicking a condition that makes the uterus seem like it is ready for getting pregnant. In uterus that is not pregnant, bacteria can gain access and lead to the uterus becoming pus-filled. The cervix can either be closed or open which can lead to the vulva experiencing some drainage. Pyometra can be a critical and deadly illness if left untreated. For the prevention and treatment of the said health condition, the best option is spaying.
4. Mammary cancer
Just like humans, cancer of the breasts or mammary cancer can also occur in dogs that are still unspayed. This kind of cancer can occur in any of the eight (8) mammae or it can come as cancers that are numerous in the lymph nodes or in the mammary glands themselves.
Health Of Older Dogs: Tips and Recommendations
To better handle dog menopause, there are a number of different things that people can do to ensure that their dogs are healthy. Listed below are some of these things to consider:
- Give your pet dog a diet that is high quality: One good indication that a dog is being fed a diet that is high quality is that their coats are full and shiny along with eyes and skin that are healthy. Aside from these, a good and high-quality diet can enhance the immune system of the pet. It also improves the health of the digestive system and helps improve the dog’s mental functions. The bottom line- a good quality diet can lead to better overall pet health.
- Maintain a weight that is healthy – overweight or obese pets are more at risk for developing certain health conditions. Obesity can, in fact, lead to a reduced lifespan in cats and dogs in the amount of almost two (2) years. This is due to the fact that pets that are overweight may be more at risk for developing problems with joints, diabetes, and even heart disease.
- Have the pet taken to the veterinarian on a regular basis – Regardless of whether or not your pet is a cat or a dog, it is important that regular visits to the vet be conducted to ensure that the health of the pet is regularly monitored and checked for any issues.
- Have the dog vaccinated – Vaccinated dogs are protected from different deadly diseases such as rabies, panleukopenia, parvo, and distemper.
- Introduce new and fun activities – Dogs that have managed weight also fare better in terms of conducting physical activities and fighting off diseases. This will also help your dog’s mental ability to interact more.
- Ensure that the dog can get enough exercise – Walking your dog and letting it run around the park or the porch can help improve mobility, joint health, and also help in weight maintenance.
- Check your dog free from parasites – Regularly check for parasites and apply the recommended product to address the identified parasites if and when necessary.