A few years ago, when you went home with your buddy for the first time, it seems like his energy wouldnt run out! Everything on the floor has teeth marks on it and is wet with drool! Can you still remember how funny it was to see your pooch chase his own tail? Those were restless days! But as your dog grows, like humans, they become slightly less playful over time. What is considered a senior dog?
How can you say if your buddy is already a senior dog? With a large number of different dog breeds and sizes, it can be a little difficult to tell if your dog already is. There are some factors that determine if your dog has already entered his senior years. Let’s find out how to tell the difference between full-grown adult dogs and senior dogs.
Years and Breed
According to petMD, on average, one human year is equivalent to seven dog years. That means having a two-year-old dog is like having a teenaged dog. However, the size and breed of your dog play an important role in determining their seniority.
Large breeds tend to live longer compared to the smaller ones. Statistically, a dog weighing between 20-40 pounds closely follows the 1:7 human year vs. dog years ratio. However, this is just a guideline, and this may not always be the case. Its not unusual to see a 15-year-old Chihuahua walking around the park in perfect health.
In the end, aging can be subjective to the size, breed, and genetic make-up of your dog.
How to Tell if Your Dog Is Aging
We know you are here to find out what is considered a senior dog. Even the same breeds of dog may develop and age at different rates. The food you feed them may also be a factor. Here are some notable things you can observe on your aging dog.
- Slower Reflex
One of the first signs you may see in your aging dog is slower reflexes. Aging and senior dogs may seem to be less active than most adult dogs.
- Changes in Coat
The earliest signs of aging you may see on your dog is a change in his coat color. As your pooch ages, the color of his coat may start to fade, which usually begins around the eyes and the muzzleit can be difficult to be seen on a white dog though. Moreover, smaller breeds tend to show this sign earlier than large dogs. The quality of your dogs coat will also start to get thinner and lose its shine.
- Thick Foot Pads
If humans are not wearing shoes, foot calluses gauge our seniority! Likewise, if you take a closer inspection and compare an adult dog with a puppy, you can see the notable difference in the thickness of their paw pads. That is because as your dog grows older, their paw pads will eventually become thicker.
- Elbow Calluses
Larger dog breeds and those that are quite overweight, are more prone to elbow calluses. Meanwhile, smaller breeds and dogs with thicker coats may present elbow calluses late in their senior years.
- Thinner Skin
Eventually, as your dog grows older, some skin issues may arise. The most common issue you can observe is thinning skin.
- Brittle Nails
You can also notice that your buddys nails become more brittle every year. If you dont cut your dogs claw regularly, you may see irregularly broken nail edges which are indicative of brittle nails.
Yes, your dog can get arthritis! Have you noticed that your dog is taking time and obvious effort to get up? Well, you can easily spot that one, right? Also, if you try feeling their joints, it may be a little tender, and your pet may whine a bit or exhibit a protective behavior.
- Dental Issues
Another sing that is easy to spot on an aging dog is the health of their teeth. You can see a noticeable difference from when they were young. Their teeth may start to turn yellow, and you may see some chipped teeth.
- Poor Eyesight
When your dog is about to enter his senior years, you may notice that he may be getting a little clumsy and bumping with stuff in the house. Sometimes, you may even see that he may be exhibiting poor eye contact.
- Urinary Incontinence
This symptom may frequently be seen in housebroken dogs. They may not be able to hold up their bladder well and may spill it on non-designated areas.
- Prostate Enlargement
This is a common condition seen in senior male dogs. If you see your dog having trouble peeing or if you notice that he is discharging intermittent stream of urine, chances are, he has an enlarged prostate. On the other hand, the likelihood of developing enlarged prostate is highly reduced if your male dog is neutered.
What Is Considered a Senior Dog
If your dog is exhibiting three or more symptoms mentioned above, its highly likely that your dog has entered his senior years. This is a signal that your buddy needs frequent visits to the veterinary clinic for health maintenance. Also, its time to change the composition of his dog food. Senior dogs have different needs, and even some of the activities you used to do may need to be tweaked.
Taking Care of a Senior Dog
If you have what is considered a senior dog, we guess that you had him since your childhood. As your dog enters his senior years, many other health problems may arise, so, you need to be more sensitive and extra careful about how you take care of your buddy.
Follow the veterinarian’s schedule of clinic visit and choose the right type of food that would give the right nourishment for older dogs. By this time, your dog may also need to be groomed more frequently. By doing this, you will improve your poochs level of health even in his golden age.