Why Is My Old Dog Avoiding Me? (14 Possible Reasons)

Why is my old dog avoiding me?

Dogs will develop behaviors to cope with changes in their environment that can alter their relationship with you.

Here are the possible causes and actions to take to improve your dog’s behavior.

14 Possible Reasons Why  Your Old Dog Is Avoiding You?

1. Your dog is experiencing a type of canine dementia :
Dementia is a general term for progressive deterioration of mental ability that affects an animal’s ability to function.

While dementia can be caused by many things, in the case of dogs, it usually occurs after or at the age of eight years old.

It is quite common for dogs to experience a type of canine dementia, since they age at such a slow rate.

Alzheimer’s disease can also affect dogs and can be diagnosed using blood tests and an X-ray that shows brain abnormalities.

Dogs will usually show the first symptoms of canine dementia by forgetting how to do something they once knew how to do, like using the bathroom outside the house or barking.

It is also common for dogs to have trouble walking or jumping up on things, because they will lose their balance and also drop things from their mouths.

Dogs may also have trouble remembering their owners’ names, and might even start acting aggressively without knowing why.

If a dog starts having problems with its memory, then it is possible that it has developed dementia.

A dog’s early signs of dementia usually occur at the age of eight years old; however, the most severe cases will start to appear after that age.

Such cases are later classified as canine atrophy syndrome, and it is recommended that dogs should be given a checkup by their veterinarian at least once a year for such conditions.

2. Your old companion may not recognize you anymore :
There are many possible reasons why your dog may not recognize you anymore, and some are quite common for this happening.

The first is that your dog might not recognize you because he got used to your scent, and as a result, he will now only smell his own scent.

This may occur when you move to a new place or house so that you can’t even be close to your dog anymore.

3. The aging dog might be afraid and may have change its routine, such as sleeping in a different place or not sleeping as much :
Your old companion might be afraid of something or someone since dogs become very suspicious of things that they normally would not even notice.

If your old mutt has changed his sleeping habits and is now spending all his time in one room, then there must be a reason for it.

Most dogs spend a lot of time sleeping, but an aging dog will rarely sleep more than twelve hours per day and may just start to spend the whole day lying down, even if he is really energetic.

Dogs will not have many friends left after spending so much time alone.

If your aging dog sleeps all day, then it is possible that he has some pain in his bones and it is just too painful for him to move around.

Your dog might also be afraid of something, like a stranger who he might consider to be a threat.

It is also possible that your old friend is afraid of the dark and may keep on sleeping during the night, since he doesn’t want to wake up from his slumber.

4. Your dog may have lost its sight and may not be used to the new environment, like a move to another house or neighborhood:
Your dog may not be used to the new environment that has been brought to him.

If he has never been in a new place before, then he might not know where to go or what to do in a new area.

Your old companion might also have trouble judging distances, especially if he cannot see well since it is difficult for him to gauge where his house is located.

5. Your dog may have developed some kind of medical condition, such as a heart condition :
Dogs can suffer from many heart conditions, and if your dog has had a past history of having problems with his heart, then it is likely that he may have developed one now as well.

6. Your old pup might just be feeling down and tired; however, it is also advisable to check with your veterinarian :
Your old dog might be suffering from just a feeling of being tired and down.

A lot of dogs will show such symptoms when they feel sad or nervous, but some dogs suffer from depression as well.

If your dog is visibly depressed, then he may be close to death, since it is common for animals to die while in a state of depression.

If you are still unsure if your dog is experiencing canine dementia or not, then you can always visit your veterinarian for an examination.

Your vet will be able to tell you more about the state of mind of your old companion and will also give you advice on how to help him.

7. Dog geriatric depression can also occur for no apparent reason:
This is a relatively new condition for dogs, which have only been seen in the last few decades.

Dog geriatric depression is defined as a type of depression that has been observed in dogs, usually when they have reached the age of ten years or older.

It has been observed that such dogs will stop eating, drinking and even showing signs of aggression.

It is also common for such dogs to show some signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, such as memory loss and problems with their sight.

The dogs that are taken to a new environment such as a new home or even just a different house will show some signs of depression.

The smell of the area that they have been taken to will be different and this can cause them some unease.

Some dogs may not be very used to the new environment and may even move their beds or other belongings that they can’t stand and will definitely cause them some discomfort.

8. Your dog might have developed anxiety due to some change in its routine, like being left alone for a longer period of time, change in the feedings schedule, etc:

It is quite common that a domesticated dog will become used to being allowed out of the house for a certain period every day, usually around the same time every day.

If you suddenly leave your dog alone in the house for a while, it might become anxious and try to avoid any situations where it would be left alone, like going out or even going to the bathroom (commonly called “holding it” or “limping”).

In addition, some dogs are used to eating at a certain time of the day and might suddenly try to avoid their favorite meal or snack.

“Holding it” is a common behavior that has nothing to do with anxiety or fear, just as your dog won’t be afraid of going outside if you leave it alone for a while.

9. Your old dog may be suffering from terminal illnesses such as cancer, kidney failure, liver failure and other fatal diseases:

As mentioned previously, many of these diseases might be terminal illnesses and might be causing your dog to avoid you.

It is important that you do not take this behavior personally, as most dogs will make every effort to resist their fate and will go to great lengths to survive.

Some forms of cancer are incurable and your dog will not necessarily be suffering for a long period of time (even if it seems like it), but some forms of cancer are very painful and expensive to treat.
10. Your old dog may also be showing signs of depression due to a change in its family or not being taken care of properly:

You might have divorced or separated from your old companion’s lifelong partner, or maybe you are not taking enough time to spend with your older dog.

Dogs are social animals and if they aren’t getting enough attention, they could become depressed and develop the behavior of avoiding you.

11. There might be something wrong in your home that is bothering your old pooch, such as an air conditioner that is too cold or too hot for your old companion:

It is important to fix whatever it is that bothers your dog.

If there are any changes in temperature in the house and your old dog starts avoiding you, you probably should try and fix whatever it is.

Perhaps the air conditioner is too cold or too hot, or perhaps there is a bug in the house that is bothering your dog.

On the other hand, it might also be possible that you just need to stop taking your dog out as much and change its diet to something different.

12. Your old dog may have had trouble with the vaccination or other medical treatment and is now scared of any injection given to it:

Dogs are not very fond of getting vaccines or being treated with antibiotics.

If your dog suddenly starts avoiding you, you need to take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible and find out what is wrong.

13. You might not be taking your old dog for a walk as frequently as before, or when you do take it for a walk, you might have been too busy talking on the phone, not paying attention to your dog:

Just like humans, dogs have their own routines. If there is any change in your old dog’s schedule (such as watering the flowers in the back yard instead of taking it for a walk), it might start avoiding you.

14. Be careful, because there might be something wrong with the food you are feeding your dog and causing it to avoid you:

Although it is possible that a dog might start avoiding you if he doesn’t like the food you are feeding him or if he has an allergy to it, this is very unlikely.

Final Thoughts

The moral of the story is, you need to find out exactly what has happened to your old dog in order to make it stop avoiding you.

You might not have realized it before, but the best way to make a dog stop avoiding you is to take it to the veterinarian and find out exactly what the problem is.

Never take a dog’s behavior to heart, and try to make sure that your old dog is not suffering for any reasons.

If it is, you need to take care of the problem as soon as possible.

Resources

ASPCA

Pets.webmd

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