When a dog is considered "senior" takes into account more than just age. It's highly dependent on the breed and size of the dog. The smaller the dog, the longer their lifespan, so they're considered senior at a much later age than a large dog
For example, a Great Dane can be considered a senior by age 5, but a Chihuahua does not reach senior status until closer to age 11. The reason for the different ages is larger dogs age much faster than smaller dogs.
Researchers have found that when you compare the adult life of a large dog and a small dog, the bigger dog’s life seems to unfold in fast motion.
They are not sure exactly why this happens, but there is some evidence to suggest that it has something to do with a certain growth hormone. Smaller dogs have lower concentrations of this hormone in their blood than large dogs, and high levels of the hormone have been associated with an increased risk of age-related ailments.
In most cases, though, dogs can be considered senior between five and ten years of age.
The best way to tell when your dog is entering their senior years is through regular checkups with your vet. They will be able to monitor your dog’s health and develop a care plan that will help them make the most of their senior years. It’s not uncommon for senior dogs to be prescribed a change in diet, or even be prescribed medicine to help manage the effects of aging.
No matter when your dog enters its senior years, it is important to remember that “senior” doesn’t mean unhealthy. Dogs in their senior years may start to experience the signs of aging but they are still likely to be healthy, energetic, tail-wagging companions. Keep this in mind the next time you’re looking to add a new furry friend to your family; don’t overlook a senior dog, as they still have lots of life and love left in them to give!
If we had to bet, we’d guess that you’ve heard that one human year is 7 dog years. If humans are considered to be seniors at say, 60 years of age, does that mean we can use this math to predict when your dog is considered a senior? If only it were that easy.
Featured image via @sussiesseniordogs / Instagram
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