Growing up I was always told that if I wanted to know how old my dog was in people years, just take their age and X 7. My dog Shasta died four days before her 17th birthday. That would have made her just shy of 119 years old. A doggie centenarian!
But now, the calculations are much more scientific, being based not only on years, but size and weight. Shasta’s age would now be calculated to 92 years old – still pretty darn old.
The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests the following general guideline:
•15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life.
•Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human.
•Each year thereafter would be approximately five years for a dog.
Since dogs have shorter life spans than humans, they age much more rapidly.
Typically, a small dog reaches middle age at approximately seven years old. A large dog, like a German Shepherd, Great Dane or Rottweiler reaches old age at five years old. Many large breeds have short life spans of 7-10 years.
Use these two charts
You can see by these two charts that for the first four years, all dogs tend to age equally across the board, regardless of their size. Right at five years old is where significant changes in the chart begins
Recognizing the Signs of Aging
When you see your doggy start to slow down, you know that age is taking its toll on him. If it is difficult for him to get up when he is lying down, or if he can no longer leap into the car for a drive, or if it takes time for him to climb the stairs, he may need some help.
Like humans, dogs are susceptible to arthritis, diabetes, heart ailments, liver or kidney conditions and cancer. They also could develop hearing and vision problems along with behavior problems such as confusion, separation anxiety and excessive barking.
One sure sign of aging is when his face starts to turn gray. And like humans, geriatric dogs may also suffer from incontinence. They cannot help accidents in the house any more than a feeble senior citizen can help wetting the bed. Never, ever scold your senior dog for making an accident in the house.
A dog’s aging brain is known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS. The most recognizable symptoms are:
- Increased total amount of sleep during a 24-hour period
- Decreased attention to surroundings, disinterest, apathy
- Decreased purposeful activity
- Loss of formerly acquired knowledge, which includes housebreaking
- Intermittent anxiety expressed through apprehension, panting, moaning, shivering
Watch this video to see how you could be the very best doggy parent possible: http://content.jwplatform.com/previews/QK2gujpv-F8rrYT0c
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