Ageing in dogs is a sensitive topic to discuss. Unfortunately, we know that they age fast and pass much sooner than humans, and leave us before we know it. Yet, we tend to neglect thinking about the aging process in dogs. Ever wondered how old is a senior dog? Gaining more knowledge about this will allow us to offer them the best quality of care for each stage of life. Now let’s know when is a dog considered a senior?, ageing signs and how to take care of it.
When is a Dog Considered a Senior?
Now come to think of how many dog years is one human year? Although it is a widely held belief, one year in a dog’s life is not equal to seven human years. Therefore, forget about doing the calculation to determine your dog’s aging. Dog growth is not similar for all breeds. The size and breed of each doggie influence its different stages of life. Therefore, it is impossible to give an exact date when a dog is considered old.
Ever wonder what age is considered elderly in dogs? Smaller canines usually take longer to age. Therefore, we might not call them elderly until about ten years. In contrast, larger giant breeds, unfortunately, age very soon. Such dogs are already considered of advanced age as soon as seven years. Therefore, rather than looking at average life expectancy of a dog and we must pay attention to the signs of aging.
The Life Cycle of a Dog
Before knowing about the different signs of aging, it is crucial to note stages in a life cycle of our lovely companion. As far as the aging process is concerned, some general and indicative phases are as follows-
- The Infant Phase includes the time from birth to weaning. It encompasses around two months, but breastfeeding could last a few more months.
- The Puppy Phase includes around two months to a year when the puppy feeds onto solids. Small dogs mature earlier than large ones. Larger breeds are puppies even when they cross the age of eighteen to twenty-four months.
- The Adult Phase generally includes the dogs from one to seven, eight years of age. This phase will last a few more years in the smaller breeds.
- The Elderly Phase usually begins around seven years of age, with the exceptions depending upon the different breeds.
Signs That Your Dog is Getting Old
Different signs indicate that a dog is using physical or mental capacity. For example, disorders such as cognitive dysfunction syndrome or joint problems are associated with the aging process. But, that doesn’t mean that these are non-treatable. In addition, good care and early detection of diseases help increase their life expectancy. Some of the common indicators of your aging dog symptoms include:
#1 Gray Hair
Just like humans, grey hair can also be visible in dogs, especially around the muscle and on the face. It may be the case that in some breeds, grey hair is naturally present on the coat. Therefore, it cannot suffice as a universal indicator of a doggie’s age.
#2 Reduced Eyesight
Over the years, dogs will experience an ocular degeneration called Nuclear Sclerosis. The eyes appear to be covered by a thin-bluish film but do not interfere with normal vision. A cataract is usually visible in older dogs.
Behavioral Changes such as a confused nature, change in sleeping pattern, urination within the home, hiding at unusual places, not responding to their names, etc., are noticeable indicators of your dog’s age.
#3 Gradual Reduction in Locomotive Abilities
As your pet starts getting older, you may notice a decline in their locomotive abilities that aggravates over time. Dogs begin to lose interest in engaging with you while doing physical activity. Thus, your dog may reduce a span of physical activity over the years.
#4 An Unusually Upset Digestive System
The digestive system that starts with the mouth showcases several changes. Teeth may begin to fall out, and there is a high risk of oral problems affecting your dog. Due to a loss of efficiency in the olfactory senses, old dogs lose their interest in food resulting in a drastic change in the food pattern.
#5 Several Degenerative Diseases
It can affect your dog because the immune system becomes fragile and inefficient in tackling diseases with aging. Therefore, the propensity to get sick increases in the dogs. It becomes crucial to take necessary measures to boost your pet’s immunity.
How Long Do Dogs Live? – The Average Life Expectancy
As our dear friends grow old, we know how the process ends. It is not possible to give a specific figure as to their life expectancy. Of course, it will be relatively higher in the smaller breeds. As a guideline, we can speak about their life expectancy to be around ten to twelve years in general. Exceptions are always there.
How to Take Care of a Senior Dog?
Dogs are the epitome of trust, loyalty, and friendship. They act as our one and only buddy throughout their lives. Therefore, it becomes essential that we take the best care of your lovely companions as they grow older. You can pamper and take care of your older champs by adopting the following measures:
#1 Frequent VET Visits
It is necessary to take your pet to the trusted VET at least once every two weeks when your dog has reached tender senior age. The VET will conduct frequent clinical examinations that will provide you with a clear picture of your dog’s health and wellbeing. Moreover, if your pet is facing any problem, you should follow the medications and advice given by the doctor.
#2 Alteration in the Diet
Since several changes take place in your dog’s digestive system, preparing a carefully thought-out diet becomes mandatory. You must include low fat dog food rich in essential nutrients with minimum fats. A senior dog cannot digest fats as efficiently as during the adult phase. You can also build a personalized feeding station like a perfect dog bowl for your pet to minimize the efforts to reach the food while eating.
#3 Focus on Grooming and Hygiene
You must put in frantic efforts to ensure that your doggie maintains good hygiene at all times. Moreover, it is your responsibility to take your pet to the groomer at least twice a month or depending upon the fur growth in the dog. Oral hygiene tends to deteriorate as your dog becomes old. Therefore, use good quality dog tooth brush and paste to regularly brush your pet’s teeth. You can also take assistance from the VET to perform this task more efficiently.
#4 Adequate Play Time
Make sure that the doggo is as comfortable as possible. As dogs enter the tender, senior years, they can become very uncomfortable. The different routine tasks can irritate them easily. Therefore, as a loving and caring owner, it becomes your responsibility to ensure that your friend is comfortable at home. Monitoring and regulating their time outside the house can help determine their comfort level.
It is evident that the relationship between humans and their pet dogs becomes deep and secure over time. Since these lovely creatures do whatever it takes to lift our moods whenever things go downhill, it is our moral responsibility to repay our share of love and affection to them. Therefore, you must do whatever it takes to make the senior years in your dog’s life the best years they ever lived. There is no point overthinking about the future. It is the present that counts.