The dogs aging is more accelerated than in people and they live well less unfortunately. For a long time it was believed in the proportion of seven human years for each dog year. That way, a five-year-old dog would have about thirty-five years old at the canine age.
However, contrary to what many believe, a year in a dog's life does not equal seven human years. In one year, a dog has already become a young adult, while we are still kids at seven years old. One-year-old puppies are already able to breed. If the proportion were true, humans would be able to reproduce at the age of seven and live to one hundred and fifty.
It is not known where the myth came from, but scientific studies show that dogs age faster in the first year of life. Depending on the breed may reach up to twenty-seven years of age comparing to human age. Scientists have concluded that dog size (small, medium, large and giant) is determinant. As well, weight and breed may greatly interfere in the animals aging. Thus, it is possible to say that the larger the dog, the more their body is able to wear out in less time.
It is estimated that a quarter of a dog's life corresponds to the senior phase, also known as old age. This tends to increase more and more because science advances allows the animals to live more.
Despite these advances, our animal will not live forever. At around six years, the dog's body begins to show the first signs of old age. However, owners should not attribute the discomforts to old age. It is necessary to seek responsible professional’s assistance to provide a better life quality to the animal.
To prevent and detect early-stage disease, it is recommended to take the elderly dog to the vet every six months. You should be alert for signs of time, so we have separated some of the most common problems in older dogs. Check below ways to prevent them, or at least minimize their effects on the dog's life.
- Periodontal disease: It is the most common complication in elderly dogs and can lead to serious infections, teeth loss, bone changes in the jaw and difficulty feeding. The latter can cause weakness, weight loss and lowered immunity. Daily tooth brushing and periodic cleaning by the vet help to prevent these problems.
- Obesity: The animals’ metabolism, as in humans, slow down with time. Besides, we often make the mistake of decreasing dog’s physical activity with fewer games, and at the same time increase snacks supply. Maintaining healthy eating is essential to avoid weight gain. In addition, there are low impact exercises that may help elderly animals such as swimming and even strolling with the dog. Thus, you take care of your own body along with your friend.
- Arthritis: Over time, wear along with decreased lubrication in joints can cause discomfort and pain when moving. The use of joint protectors, maintenance optimal weight for the breed, physiotherapy and medications are methods to decrease discomfort and improve the animal's life quality.
- Hypothyroidism: Overweight, decreased activity and skin lesions may be signs of hypothyroidism. If not correctly diagnosed and treated properly, the disease greatly compromises the animal’s life. Owners often associate these symptoms with old age and do not seek veterinary assistance. You should inform your vet about any changes in animal’s behavior and routine for a correct diagnosis and treatment.
- Cancer: As happens with people, increasing life expectancy increases the chance of developing cancer. There are treatments to minimize the symptoms for most tumors, whether benign or malignant.
We want our pets to live healthy for many years. We want also this short lifetime be enjoyed the most, with much comfort and well-being. Therefore, knowing the most common old age complications and how to minimize them is the best weapon you have in order to make the most of your dog’s presence in this world.