When Is A Dog Considered A Senior? – Dogs Running
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HEALTH

When Is A Dog Considered A Senior?

Cow had her very first dental visit. I was just returning from the vet after dropping Cow at his office. As the technician took the leash off Cow and led her back to the car, she said, “Let’s take a stroll!” I was overcome with emotion.

She’s fine. No extractions are expected, only a cleaning of Grade 2. Since she was about one year old, the last time that she’s been anesthetized is when her spay surgery took place. But they’re first going to take blood, so there is no need to be concerned.

It’s hard not to think of our final, permanent vet appointment. It’s probably the most peaceful way for them to die – in someone else’s arms, sleeping in peace.

I’m sorry. I’m so dramatic.

Matilda is seven and Cow, who was born in April or May are both almost eight.

When Matilda went to the dentist last year, I was shocked when her bill said that she also had “senior panel” blood work, not only regular bloodwork.

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Although I do not know whether my dogs are senior yet, I have taken early steps to prepare myself for the day when they will be truly old.

When does a dog become a senior dog?

Small dogs can become senior around the age of 10, while larger dogs are considered senior even as early as 5. The larger the dog is, the quicker they age.

Matilda’s and Cow’s experience is different. Matilda began to grey at four, around her muzzle, and she is a Chihuahua/Chihuahua mixture, which means that most people wouldn’t call her an older dog, even though many of her hairs are now white.

Cow is still a young girl, but her coloring may not change for a while. She’s also gaining weight, and at 30 pounds she could be showing signs of ageing.

When Should You Feed Senior Dogs Food?

It is high in protein, which helps to prevent muscle loss as dogs age. Low in fat, it helps manage weight. It may also contain ingredients that help slow down the aging process, such as glucosamine and MSM. These amino acids are found in your dog’s joints. These nutrients have been linked to slowing down the progress of arthritis in dogs, something that will happen at some stage for most.

Omega-3 fatty acid may also be present in the food, and these can help to reduce inflammation of joints, improve cognitive function (yes, dogs get dementia! The food might also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help with joint inflammation and cognitive health (dogs can get dementia too!)

All of these ingredients are good for all dogs. Joint supplements may help dogs who are athletic or prone to injury heal quicker.

Cows can suffer from severe diarrhea if their food is higher than 12 percent fat. We feed senior weight-management kibble, and top it with fresh, lean options such as chicken, eggs or sardines. She has a delicate gastric system, so if I do not drain all the fat out of homemade boiled breast chicken, it will cause a flare up. Fresh food is hard to find right now.

Matilda will need months to finish her bag of dog food, so she receives the same on days when it’s busy, but fresher options like Honest Kitchen or home-cooked protein, and sometimes even a piece of raw chicken neck.

Shortly, it shouldn’t cause any problems to start a senior diet too soon. However, you can ask your veterinarian if this is okay. You can start senior joint supplements early. Do not wait for your dog to start showing signs of slowing.

How long does a dog’s senior phase last?

If they’re lucky, I hope my dogs live long enough to celebrate their quinceanera, a celebration marking a girl’s 15th birthday. And if not, then we will throw them a Sweet 16 as well.

Sometimes, even the dogs that are not well-cared for can live into their old age. I’ve seen dogs that are ridden with parasites and have never been to a veterinarian, yet they still live for thirty years.

Even the most well-cared dogs don’t have all of their luck.

Let’s imagine that Matilda is 20 years old. She’ll be a senior in 13 years if she is a senior.

Humans can live to be 90 years old. You’ll spend only 1/3 of your time as a “old person” in this case.

What should I think? The time is running out. This is true for all of us.

Don’t forget today to kiss and hug everyone that you care about, including your four-legged friends.

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