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When is a dog considered a senior?

When is a dog considered a senior?

When does a dog become a351ave addressed these concerns in our latest blog post.

How old is a senior dog?

You may be aware of the common belief that a human year is equivalent to seven dog years. However, determining a dog's age is not as straightforward as that. Different dog breeds tend to age at varying rates.

Typically, smaller dogs age slower than larger breeds. Here's a rough guideline:

Small breeds are considered senior dogs when they turn 10 to 12 years old. 

Medium breeds are considered senior dogs when they hit 8 to 9 years old. 

Large and giant breeds are considered senior dogs at around 6 to 7 years old. 

Signs That Your Dog is Getting Old

As your dog ages, they will experience various mental and physical changes. Although some of these changes, like grey hair around their muzzle, are part of the natural aging process and don't require veterinary care, others may need your vet's attention to ensure your furry friend's health and comfort are maintained.

Keep an eye out for the following signs that indicate your dog is getting older:

  • Gum disease or tooth loss 
  • Arthritis or joint issues
  • Reduced heart, kidney and liver function
  • White hairs on the face and muzzle 
  • Vision and/or hearing loss 
  • Weight gain or loss 
  • Reduction of mental acuity
  • Sleeping or more difficulty sleeping 
  • Loss of muscle tone 

Your Senior Dog's Care Requirements 

There are several things you can do to help your pup maintain their comfort and well-being as they get older.

Vet Care

The first step to caring for a senior pup is to prioritize regular vet visits. By taking your senior dog for routine wellness exams, you're allowing your vet to screen for any emerging geriatric conditions and begin treatment as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will assess your senior dog's nutrition levels and mobility and provide recommendations for any adjustments that would benefit your dog such as exercise or diet changes.


Proper nutrition not only benefits your dog's physical health, but it can also help maintain their cognitive function as they age. Like humans, dogs can develop dementia or Alzheimer's-like conditions, but a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids combined with regular exercise may help keep their mental alertness intact.

Moreover, there are several prescription diets and supplements available for senior dogs catering to the various health conditions they may experience. It's best to consult your vet to determine the most suitable diet or supplement for your furry friend.

As your dog ages, their nutritional needs may change, especially since senior dogs tend to slow down and exercise less, becoming more prone to weight gain. Excess weight gain can lead to joint pain and cardiovascular conditions. Therefore, it's essential to discuss adjusting your dog's daily calorie intake or switching to a food specifically formulated for weight loss with your vet.

Exercise - Physical & Mental

It's essential to provide mental stimulation for senior dogs in addition to regular physical exercise. Even at an older age, dogs can learn new tricks or engage in problem-solving activities like puzzle chew toys, which encourage them to exercise their minds for a treat.

Maintaining a regular physical activity schedule is important for your aging dog's health. It helps them maintain a healthy weight and keeps their joints healthy.

However, as your dog gets older, you may need to adjust the type of exercise they receive. For instance, if your dog is having trouble with long walks, try taking them for shorter, more frequent walks instead.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate dia

Is it time for your senior dog's wellness exam? Contact our Pittsboro vets to book an appointment today.

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Our vets at Hope Crossing Animal Hospital are now accepting new patients! Our talented veterinary team is passionate about caring for the pets of Pittsboro. Contact us today to book your first appointment. 

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