Q: My seven-year-old Maltipoo is getting really lazy and is constantly stretching. She doesn’t spring up off the bed or couch anymore and takes a really long time getting up. Is this normal as dog’s age or could she be suffering from something more severe?

A: While most dogs do slow down a bit as they age, this is typically observed by their caretakers as a subtle and gradual process. Also, seven years old is not particularly old for a small breed dog like your Maltipoo. If you are seeing these changes just recently, it may be a good idea to have her examined, perhaps comparing important features of her physical exam to previous exam findings. The signs you described might describe a great number of minor and more serious issues ranging from arthritis, fever and infection to thyroid deficiency to heart issues, just to name a few. The exam would certainly narrow this list down and provide insight into the need for and urgency of treatment or testing.

Hope to see you soon!