by Andrew Garcia
Nov 24, 2022
2 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What Is the Age a Dog Becomes a Senior?
- Check the Blood Work of Your Dog
- Age-appropriate Diet
- Track the Activity Levels of Your Pup
- Dental Care Is Important
- Pay More Attention to Your Senior Dog
Dog’s mobility drops as they become older. Their sight and hearing also decline, and their immune system become weaker, making them more susceptible to different diseases. However, your dog getting old doesn’t spell doom. You can still make their golden years enjoyable for them and you.
There is no definite age range where dogs enter the senior stage of their life. Instead, it is often determined by size and breed. That is why pet parents must take note of vital signs of aging and adjust as necessary to ensure their pets get the best senior dog care possible.
What Is the Age a Dog Becomes a Senior?
A cat that has lived for ten years is considered a “senior.” However, this is different with dogs. Dogs do not have a standard seniority age because they vary considerably in size and breed. The larger breed dogs do not live as long as the smaller breed. Due to this and a few other reasons, experts have made a consensus to consider a dog “senior” only when it reaches the last 25% of the estimated lifespan for that breed.
Based on this premise, we can identify the following age groups using data from the American Kennel Club;
- Dogs that weigh less than 20 pounds or small/toy breeds are considered seniors when they are 8-11 years old.
- Dogs that weigh 20 to 50 pounds or medium-sized breeds are considered seniors when they are 8-10 years old.
- Dogs that weigh 50 to 90 pounds or large breeds are considered seniors when they are 8-9 years old.
- Dogs that weigh over 90 pounds or giant breeds are considered seniors when they are 6-7 years old.
Check the Blood Work of Your Dog
It becomes imperative to visit your vet more frequently as your dog ages. In addition to the biannual or annual check-ups, you should get yearly blood work done for your senior dogs. The blood work gives you concise and updated information about your dog’s white and red blood cells and their kidney and liver functions. That way, you can be sure they are healthy and, if not, detect the presence of any disease.
Another way to maintain your dog’s health as they grow older is to feed them properly. Older dogs are more likely to become obese because they are less active than before. However, providing them with a balanced diet can prevent this. Note that there are specific dog foods designed to avoid weight gain in senior dogs. Such foods contain low fat and fewer calories, thus complementing the nutritional requirements of your old furry friend.
Track the Activity Levels of Your Pup
While it is not necessary to stop your senior dog from playing and taking walks, you may need to encourage them to keep up with these activities. You will most likely notice a drop in activities. When this happens, ensure you do not force them to do more than they can. Consider new activities that are physically less demanding, such as swimming. Swimming keeps a dog’s joints active and helps with weight management.
Dental Care Is Important
Your dog’s oral care will need more attention as they grow older. The older a dog gets, the higher the risk of developing cracked teeth and gum diseases. This can be painful and require immediate vet attention to resolve.
It is also advisable to brush your dog’s teeth regularly using dog-friendly toothpaste and a finger brush. If you notice oral bleeding, swelling, or any other indication of pain, consult your vet immediately.
Click to learn more about How to Care for Your Dog’s Teeth at Home.
Pay More Attention to Your Senior Dog
Leaving your younger dogs to play indoors and outdoors is the right thing to do. But you cannot extend this freedom to your older dogs. The older a dog gets, the more attention you need to pay when outdoors. The key to having happy senior pets is making the environment more conducive. Provide the proper support and prevent them from getting into situations that may harm them or others.
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