July 11, 2019

Did you know that there is a scientific name for aging in dogs? Yes, it’s known as Canis lupus familiaris. Even though most humans believe a year for humans equals to 7 years in a dog, it is not necessarily the case at all. Aging in your dog varies from breed to breed and as he ages, his health, his life expectancy, and his physical abilities will all be affected.


How is dog years to human years calculated?

Often, the aging profile of a dog will vary according to his full size as an adult. This is often determined by the breed. Smaller dogs generally live to around 15-16 years whereas bigger dogs can live to be around 10-13 years. Huge dogs like the mastiff might only live to be around 7-9 years. 

  • The first year of a dog's life is equal to fifteen human years.
  • The second year of a dog’s life equals about nine human years.
  • After that, each year for a dog is about 5 human years.

Wait, what about the 7-year rule?

Family Of White Cairn Terriers at a cabin

There has always been the popular myth that believes that dog years to human years is equal to 7 years. There are no formulas for the conversion of dog years to human years that are really scientifically agreed on, but they all have fairly close limits and similarities. But it turns out that dogs mature quicker than humans do, at first. So in actual fact, as mentioned above, the first year of a dog’s life is actually equal to about 15 human years! A huge puppy might age slower at first but already be nearing middle age by the time he is 5. The tiny toy breeds become ‘seniors’ a little later, at say around 10, whilst the medium size doggies are somewhere in the middle.


When a dog is considered a senior pet

Generally speaking, a dog is considered to be a senior pet at around 7 years old. Veterinarian Jeremy Grossbard says that this is a good guideline for approaching a dog‘s age. He advises to actually be cautious against the stigma of associating years with being senior, which does not mean geriatric. And it certainly does not mean your pet is ‘at his last’. Dr. Grossbard compares 7-years old in a dog to be around 50-55 years old in human years; when the body starts to change and ache. The most important reason for recognizing this life transition is so you can ensure regular and thorough health examinations for your pet; giving you something to compare to into the future.


Tips For a long healthy life

Two pugs laying on the ground at a park

If you want your beloved companion to live a long and healthy life with you, then spending time with your dog is very important. That’s why you got him, right? And even if the older dogs are living a kind of more sedentary lifestyle, that doesn’t mean cutting back on love and attention. That’s tip number one. Here are other top points you need to be constantly checking to ensure your dog has a long healthy life:

Pain

That means from puppyhood right till the end of his life, ensuring that you adequately control pain and that includes his breathing ability.

Hunger

Is he getting the right food, nutritious food, and when ill or old, have you considered that he might need hand feeding or additional supplements?

Hydration

Is he getting in plenty of hydration and electrolytes?

Hygiene

Beagle puppy sitting in a grass field at sunset

Your pet needs brushing, and cleaning, nail cuts, and teeth checked. When he gets older and “incapable”, he might even need you to clean him after eliminations.

Happiness

You need to have a happy pet, full of joy and interest. You need to be concerned and considerate when he acts bored, anxious, and afraid.

Mobility

Dogs need plenty of exercises appropriate for their age and health, period.


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You might think your dog doesn’t need such a bed; that these are just for old dogs. The fact is that all dogs will benefit from a memory foam dog bed, particularly the older dog. Good ones relieve aching joints in a dog; they improve the dog’s mobility and provide much comfort for an ill or pain-ridden young pup. These beds offer the best support possible for all dogs and they are durable and resilient.

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Regular walks

Dogs are high-maintenance – they require a lot of time, patience, attention, and effort. They can’t be left alone for long and neither can they go without regular walks. Even though it might seem annoying for you to do, it is a pretty important daily commitment to make. If you can’t do it daily, you should at least commit to doing it at least a few times in the week.

Dental care

Feeding your dog high-quality food, avoiding feeding him table scraps and making use of treats which are specially formulated to keep teeth healthy are necessary steps which support good dental health. In some cases, your veterinarian might recommend a special dental health diet. The amount of dental maintenance required to keep a pet healthy varies among dogs, as well as the breed of dog. Your dog’s mouth is unique, so ask your veterinarian for guidance on the specific needs of your dog.

Proper nutrition

There are six basic nutrients for both humans and dogs. These are water, fats, proteins, minerals, carbohydrates, and vitamins. These are all essential nutrients that should be included in your dog’s regular diet. All of them are involved in taking proper care of the functioning of his body.


How to care for an elderly dog

Two old chihuahuas sitting in a grass patch looking at the camera

As with people, dogs slow down with age. They may want to take less exercise and start to put on weight. Some dogs become friendlier as they age, wanting to spend more time with their owners – others might become grumpier. Some might even become anxious and nervous because they are battling to see and hear and they startle at sounds and are slower at trying to escape. When you are in doubt about pain and illness in your dog, you need to get him to a vet soon and if your dog is losing weight because he has digestion problems or illness, that is also time to see a vet. You will notice his skin might have become less elastic and his coat losing some of its lusters. Sleep patterns might change, too, with restlessness occurring in the older pet. His bones and muscles will probably become weaker and his immune system will become weaker with age. It’s sad and sometimes sounds like the end of the world for adoring pet owners. Fortunately, there have been great improvements in conventional as well as natural medicines andadvice to help your dog ease into old age.


Calculating dog years to human years may not be what you thought but many dogs will forever be a puppy to their owners. Dogs are nature’s remedy for when you feel unloved and for the other ailments of life – shouldn’t you protect their ailments too?

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