Hello everyone, CEO Olivia reporting. Today I’m barking about when is a dog a senior. Depending on the size of dog, we actually age at different speeds with smaller dogs generally having longer life spans than bigger breeds. This is unusual to dogs, in nature the general rule is the larger the animal, the longer the life.
The later third of life is usually what we mean as a senior dog. For a large dog that could be as early as age four, while a chihuahua isn’t a senior until age 8 to 10 years. Trying to compare human years to dog years isn’t as easy as what some humans assume, that being one dog year is about seven human years. That one size fits all approach is inaccurate.
The reason why big dogs have short lives isn’t clearly understood. One theory speculates that larger dogs have a higher level of a growth hormone called IGF-1 which is associated in humans with increased risk of death from age-related diseases such as cancer or heart disease. But at the moment all we really know is big dogs simply age much faster than smaller dogs.
Veterinarians recommend starting geriatric checkups for small dogs around age 11, for medium-sized dogs at around age 9, & for large dogs around age 5.
As dogs enter the senior years, regular checkups become more impawtant to confront any concerns as early as possible. Mobility & cognitive abilities will decline as we age, but regular exams can determine what is normal aging & what may an underlying, treatable health issue.
Also as we age, we’ll need more support in the way of adding supplements & adjusting our lifestyle & diets. Both can help maintain & pawmote quality of life. We will come back to this in another blog.
Next week I’ll explain some of the tests recommended for senior dogs & why they are important as your good dog grows old.
Love & celebrate senior dogs everywhere,
CEO Olivia 💜