How old is old?
Generally dogs are considered geriatric at age 7. Larger dogs who don’t tend to live as long as small breeds typically are considered elder at age 6. According to the AVMA, although there is no exact age translation into human years here is the accepted breakdown:
Dog years Human years
7 years old 45 years old
10 years old 58 years old
15 years old 75 years old
20 years old 98 years old
What are common afflictions geriatric dogs commonly face?
- Heart disease
- Joint/bone disease
- Kidney/urinary disease
- Liver disease
How to I keep my aging pet healthy?
Consult with your vet on specific care changes and needs, and consider the following:
More frequent medical check ups; at least twice a year
Change in diet; anti-aging senior specific food to keep weight down
Change in exercise routine; regular exercise is vital for aging dogs for physical and mental health
Increase in stimulation; to avoid mental deterioration older dogs increase level of interaction and attention and use specialized bowls and toys to keep pet engaged and stimulated
How do I know when significant changes are taking place with my pet? The American Veterinary Medical Association notes:
- Increase in reactiveness
- Vocalizing more
- Off balance
- Less interaction w/humans
- More irritable
- Not responding normally to commands
- More aggressive/protective behavior
- Increase in-house accidents
- Less frequent grooming
- Repetitive behaviors
- Change in sleep patterns
How will I know if my pet has acquired a disease?
- Urination–blood in urine, more frequent accidents in the house, decrease or no urination, constipation
- Diet changes–loss of appetite, nausea, abnormally thirsty, vomiting
- Coat–increase in shedding
- Less active
Is cancer common?
Statistically, about 50% of pets over 10 are susceptible to getting cancer. Dogs tend to get cancer at a higher rate than cats. If spayed or neutered, pets are less likely to get testicular or breast cancer.