Hi, my name is Kevin and this website is dedicated to my senior pitbull, Ruby. I rescued her when she was 8 years old.
One of the reasons for this site is due to the misconception about adopting/rescuing senior dogs. You’ll also find some great information about health topics related to seniors as well.
It’s been a blast learning everything I have the past 2 years since getting Ruby and I am planning on sharing a lot of that too.
Overall here, you will find a wealth of information about caring for and loving your senior dog so that you can ensure your dog’s senior years are happy and comfortable.
- Caring for Health Issues in Senior Dogs
- Nutrition Tips for Senior Pitbulls
- Should You Give Your Senior Dog Supplements?
Below you will find an article I wrote about questions I hear a lot mostly the basic question “What is a senior dog?”. Simple question but doesn’t really have a simple answer. I hope this helps you out!
What is a Senior Dog?
Defining when a dog becomes a senior is challenging. It has been said that every year of a dog’s life is equivalent to 7 years of a human’s life; however, this isn’t really valid. Why? – Because that rule is largely dependent on the extent to which that rule applies.
Five-years-old for a larger dog is much different than it is for a smaller dog. For example, it’s not uncommon for a Mastiff to show signs of being ‘geriatric’ at the age of 5, while a Yorkie may still be young and spunky at the same age. For that reason, dogs can be considered senior as young as 5 to as old as 10.
Some dog breeds live longer than others. For instance, a Toy Poodle can very likely live past his 14th birthday, and still have plenty of good, active years left; however, a Great Dane may not live far beyond the age of 7. Though extensive research has been done to determine how and why breeding impacts a dog’s lifespan, nobody knows exactly what it affects how long a dog lives; however, what scientists do know is that dogs age much faster than humans.
Generally speaking, the larger the breed or size of the dog, the shorter his life span will be. For instance, a study on dog’s life spans found that only 13% of giant dog breeds (Great Danes, Mastiff’s, etc) lived to be over the age of 10, while 38% of small dog breeds lived well past their 10th birthdays.
For all dogs, no matter the breed or the size, they are considered to be senior in the last 25% of their lives.
Signs a Dog has Reached his Senior Years
There are several factors that can help a pet owner determine if his dog has reached his senior years.
- Changes in nutritional needs and weight changes. As dogs grow older, their metabolism slows and the amount of calories they need to consume decreases.
- Changes in the skin and hair. Just like people, older dogs can develop gray hair as they age. Also, their hair may become thinner and lackluster. The skin of senior dogs may also become thinner, and thus make them more susceptible to injury. They may develop benign and/or cancerous tumors, and their skin can become dry and itchy.
- Calluses can also develop on their elbows. As dogs age, they become less active and they spend more time lying down.
- Decreased mobility and arthritis is another sign that a dog has reached his senior years. Large breeds and breeds that have a tendency to develop intervertebral disc disease (Dachshunds and Basset Hounds, for example) are particularly prone to developing arthritis.
- Dental issues can also develop. Gum disease is very prevalent in older dogs. This can lead to foul breath and tooth loss.
- The development of diseases. As dog’s age, their immune systems do not function as effectively as they did when they were puppies, which makes them prone to developing infectious diseases.
No matter what type of dog you have, knowing the signs that he is reached his senior years can help you provide him with the proper care and support that he needs to maintain a happy and healthy life in his golden years.