Senior Dogs

When Does a dog Become Old?

September 3, 2022

It’s a question most pet owners, at some point in their pet’s life, will probably ask.  At what age do we start to consider our dog to be old?

When is a dog considered to be a senior?

Although it may seem pretty straight forward, it can actually be a difficult question to answer.  There is no magic number that, when your pet reaches that age, it causes him/her to suddenly become old.  Aging is a process, and how it effects your dog can depend on a lot of different factors.

In general, a pet can be considered to be a senior when he/she reaches an age that is at least 2/3rds of the total average life span for their breed.  Dog breed that are estimated to live an average of 15 years can generally be considered senior citizens when they reach the age of 10.

Those numbers, however, are just an approximation.

dog old

My Kitsune, who is currently 13.

Just like some people die young, while others live passed 100 – some animals outlive their expected lifespan, while others, unfortunately, pass away before ever reaching old age.  These types of variations in age can be influenced by many factors, such as health, diet, and even genetics.

With so many different variables involved, it’s easy to understand why it can be hard to say for sure at what age a pet should be considered old.

Age is just a number!

Rather than preoccupying ourselves with our pet’s age, why not just keep a close eye on your pet’s general health?  Age is just a number, after all!  It’s something most pet owners do already, and there are certain medical conditions that become much more common as animals age.  They can include…

  1. Arthritis
  2. Cancer
  3. Cognitive disorders
  4. Prostate disease
  5. Intestinal issues
  6. Deafness
  7. Vision problems
  8. Dental disease
  9. Diabetes
  10. Liver disease
  11. Kidney disease

Make sure your pets receive regular wellness exams from their veterinarian.  Even if your pet is still young, preventative care throughout an animal’s life can help to reduce the chances of them developing serious issues later in life.  Yearly wellness exams are most common.  But for senior dogs your vet may, at some point, recommend you bring your pet in every 6 months.

Most importantly, love your senior pet!

Just because an animal is old, doesn’t mean he/she can’t still enjoy life.  Sure, daily walks may need to be shorter, but exercise is just as important to senior pets as it is for their younger counterparts.  Many older animals enjoy remaining active, both physically and mentally, well into their senior years.  And even if your pet does start to slow down a bit, he/she will still enjoy spending quality time with beloved pack members.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a companion more loyal than a senior dog who’s grown old under your loving care!

dog old

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  • Reply Nanny McFur August 15, 2013 at 10:45 am

    You are right. Young pets can be sickly and older pets can be healthy. My old gal is doing fine in her senior years.

    • Reply Michelle August 15, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      I’m glad to hear it! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

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