Ask an owner of one of the
oldest living Boxer dogs at what age they noticed their Boxer slowing down, and it's hard to pinpoint an exact time. It's tricky like that; your Boxer was a hyper, active adult and now he's clearly showing his age... but when did that happen?
It creeps up slowly and in many cases, an issue was present but not noticed until it became impossible to ignore.
For the comfort and happiness of a senior Boxer, it's good to know what sort of changes to expect and how to deal with them:
1. Hearing loss.
This is very common for older dogs. It often begins around the age of 9 year; after this age many senior Boxer have moderate to severe hearing loss. In most cases, this is a natural part of aging and there is no cure. Signs of this include not responding to his name being called, not listening to commands or seeming to be startled when someone pets him.
What to do: When giving commands, start to work in hand signals. When entering a room, flip the light switch on and off to alert him. Ask anyone who approaches your senior Boxer to do so after the light signal and from the side so that he can see them in advance. Reward good behavior with treats and pats, since the Boxer may not hear words of praise.
2. Decreased vision.
While this is common for senior dogs, it is important to keep with those wellness checks to rule out vision issues that can be corrected. The eyes of an older Boxer may have a bluish transparent "haze" in the pupil area. In some cases, it will be an issue of lenticular sclerosis which does not affect vision.
In other cases, it may be due to cataracts. Some dogs can live with mild cataracts (under 30 % opacity).
Those that are due to diabetes or that are over 60% opacity should be treated with surgery.
It will be important to have any eye clouding to be checked by the veterinarian since cataracts are a progressive disorder that may lead to blindness.
With or without haze in the eyes, senior dogs often cannot see as far, as well in the dark and/or even close up.
What to do: At this stage, it is important to refrain from making changes to the layout of the house. Food, water, toys, sleeping area, furniture, etc. should not be moved. Even dogs with very limited vision can do great when they know where everything is.