Old Age And Dogs
When does old age start for dogs? How do you know if your dog is becoming old?
What is the correlation between weight and aging?
Smaller dogs weighing about 20 pounds won't show signs of aging until they are 12 or 13 years old, whereas a dog of about 50 pounds will start to show more serious signs of aging at around 10 or so. Larger dogs weighing more than 50 pounds can start to show signs of aging as young as seven years old.
It is necessary to know the approximate age that your dog begins the geriatric period of its life. This is where the concept of dog years comes into play. Basically, it works like this: a dog of about six years is equivalent to a human of 45. A dog of 10 is approximately 65. If your dog were 12-years old, then it would be 75 in human years. There are guidelines to determine when your dog will be entering this new phase of its life, which are based primarily on weight. Dogs up to 15 years of age should be screened at nine to 10 years. Fifteen to 50 pound dogs should be screened at seven to eight years. Fifty to 80 pound dogs should be screened at six to seven years. Dogs over 80 pounds should be screened at four to six years of age. The dogs should be checked for common health conditions involved in aging (a physical examination, blood and stool tests, and sometimes an electrocardiogram) and specialized tests which will vary with the individual dog. These screenings should be followed by semi-annual checkups once the aging process has begun.
What are some signs of age-related conditions?
If your dog refuses to eat, it should be taken to the vet as soon as possible. Weight loss could be a symptom of a very serious health condition. An older dog can develop diabetes. One of the most obvious signs of diabetes is increased appetite without any weight gain. A lot of times, you may not be aware of changes in weight. It is a good idea to weigh your dog every other week or so. Other symptoms of illnesses in older dogs include vomiting and diarrhea, increased thirst, weakness or lethargy. Any abnormality in your dog should be reported to the vet.