Why Does My Senior Dog Groan A Lot?

My 13 year old Golden is a groaner…

You may have noticed your dog groaning a lot more than they used to, this can be especially frightening if they didn’t before.

While it is certainly normal for some dog breeds to be a little more talkative than others, it is noticeable when your less vocal dog starts doing it more. Sudden and continuous dog groaning can be extremely alarming when you don’t know the reason why.

Even if you’ve always had quite a talkative dog, they may not be speaking the way they used to or maybe normal tasks are leaving them tired, dog groaning is always something to listen out for. Because dogs can’t speak and let us know what’s wrong with them, we have to pay attention to the way they act.

It’s important to pay attention to your animals so that if something is wrong, you’ll be able to notice and help them as soon as possible. Sometimes dog groaning can be happy sounds or sleepy noises, but it may also be a sign that your senior dogs are in distress. There are a lot of noises dogs make, and a lot of reasons why they make them, so we’re going to take you through a list of what might be making your senior dogs groan.

Five reasons that your senior dog is groaning

We are going to cover some of the many reasons your senior dogs may be groaning, while all may not be extremely common, they are possible.

It would be great to root out the problem by paying attention to when your dog groans the most, but that’s not always a possibility when dogs are in pain or if you own talkative dog breeds anyway. Some of the most common reasons for dog groaning in senior dogs can be found below:

[1] Dog breeds:

As already stated, some dog breeds are more vocal than others, some may even develop these habits later. Aside from the obvious, it’s also important to note that some dog breeds are expected to have multiple medical needs exposed as they age.

Pugs and French Bulldogs have been bred for years to acquire their cute, scrunched noses, but these sweet faces are usually accompanied by major health conditions. Some issues you can expect to arise from a pug are nerve degeneration, elongated palate, stenotic nares, or canine hip dysplasia.

It’s important to remember all dog breeds are different, so some may have additional pains persisting passed what our list will entail. Learn more about your dog and the problems that could be causing them to moan and groan. 

[2] Behavior: 

While behavior issues certainly take time to make and break, it can be sped up for a variety of reasons. You may think that it is less common for senior dogs to be groaning from behavior issues, that’s not true at all.

As dog’s age, their functioning abilities begin to decline, making it harder for them to remember, see or hear, this can take a strain on the poor, old pup, and lead to extreme anxiety or aggression.

They may become overly attached or clingy amid their confusion, making them more vocal for your attention. Sight loss could also make them more vocal in calling out for help.

Many other behavioral issues may affect them too, such as the introduction of a new animal into the household. Attachment anxiety and food aggression could also be the reason for your dog groaning. 

[3] Panosteitis:

While Panosteitis is more so common among younger, growing dogs, it can affect senior dogs too. Panosteitis is referred to as the growing pains of dogs, but it should be viewed as a very painful bone growing condition in dogs.

It may mostly affect youthful dogs, but it can certainly impact senior dogs too, and arguably worse. This rapid bone growth condition is very painful and requires animals to do minimum exercise and take pain pills to relieve it.

While it does prove to be more dominant in growing pups, the cause for Panosteitis is still up for debate. An initial diagnosis can be taken for a limp limb but can be further proven by a high white blood cell count, high fevers, and groaning.

Some bigger dog breeds can be more expected to experience Panosteitis, with recurrences, such as great danes, germans shepherds, and more. 

[4] Ascites:

Buildup of fluid may be making your senior dog groan. Ascites is the buildup of fluid in the abdominal area, causing bloating and discomfort. While Ascites is certainly painful, it is a secondary symptom of an underlying issue.

It’s hard to say what the underlying issues may be, but the signs of Ascites are Abdominal distension fever, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, loss of appetite and abdominal pain to name a few. Ascites is not nice at all, but it is an indication that other issues are becoming prevalent.

While Ascites is treatable, it may reoccur numerous times if the root of the problem is not addressed. Ascites is a common secondary symptom of bacterial infections, hookworm, heart failure, renal diseases, malnutrition, cirrhosis, hepatic diseases, or liver failure.

[5] Osteoarthritis:

Osteoarthritis refers to a degenerative condition found mostly in senior dogs, but it may be rooted in underlying issues such as hip dysplasia. Osteoarthritis involves the breaking down of bone cartilage or joints, this is fairly common in senior dogs as wear and tear after many years starts to catch up.

Chunky or active dogs can fall victim to Osteoarthritis as they continue to age and strain their bodies. While there is no quick fix cure for this condition, the pain can certainly be managed.

Diet and exercise can definitely help your pet find some pain relief, as lesser weight dogs do not put as much pressure on their joints. Hydrotherapy is a great way of helping your pet, it soothes their pain and allows them to regain muscle and cartilage through development.

Supplements and pain pills can also assist your pet in adjusting. 

When to visit your vet 

If you’ve always had a talkative dog, it may be hard for you to distinguish playful from painful thus extending the time in between first worry and when they get better.

While many dogs are overly expressive with their voices, there are many other ways you can identify potential problems in your pets everyday life. While groaning may seem like an obvious one, it becomes harder to distinguish between general old age groans and groans of pain.

Some of the things to look out for that may help you identify an issue are the other sounds they make. Whimpering, wheezing and yelping are not common for any other reasons than a response to discomfort.

It’s also important to note when they groan or make noises the most, if it’s as you get home then they may just have missed you. If your dog groans every time they lay down or run, they may be in pain.

If you notice a limp or that they’re laying in a weird position, this could be another sign. If you notice your pet groaning when you pet them or when they’re trying to get up from a nap, they may be in some hidden pain.

If they lick or snuff at a certain part of the body as they groan, this could be a direct indication of where the problem may be.

There are lots of ways to distinguish that your pet may be in pain by the way they act, this can be especially true if you have noticed your pet has become bloated, lethargic, less hungry, more thirsty and has started having diarrhea or constipation.

It is harder to identify issues in senior dogs as they may already be struggling with a few of the above, but even if just a slight change in sleeping position or appetite, it won’t hurt to get them tested. You know you pet best. 

Dog groaning in senior dogs 

Aging is not for the faint hearted they always say, this is especially true for pets. Depending on the dog breeds, you can expect more problems to start arising as your dog ages, while most are not of immediate concern, it’s important to keep an eye on them.

As their bones become more fragile and their barks softer, it becomes harder to tell what may be wrong. They may just be confused from loss of vision, or just want to be petted from you.

There is no saying that dog groaning is an immediate issue, but it is something that should be closely monitored if sudden and excessive. All of the above issues and conditions can be treated and lessened, but it’s about your ability in identifying that the dog groaning is an issue in itself.

It is recommended to take your pet to the vet sooner rather than later, this gives your pet a better chance of survival and lesser symptoms later on. We hope this article was useful in helping you identify why your senior dogs may be groaning.