How old is a senior dog

How old is a senior dog? Basic knowledge of nursing care

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Dogs age faster than humans. Older dogs (senior dogs) require different care and support than when they were younger. What kind of care should I give to my old dog?

In this article, we will explain the basic knowledge of nursing care necessary for living with an old dog. Let’s keep track of the changes that can be seen in the senior period and what the owner can do.

How old do have to be a senior dog?

Generally, after the age of 7-8 years old, they become senior dogs.

Small and medium-sized dogs reach maturity at the age of 1 (about 20 years in humans), and after that they grow 4 years of human years each year. Large dogs reach maturity at 2 years of age, and after that grow faster than small and medium-sized dogs, with one year equivalent to seven human years.

Of course, even as they get older and enter the senior period, some children are still in good spirits. The pace of aging differs depending on the size of the body, the breed of the dog, and the breeding environment.

Changes in becoming a senior

Dogs don’t suddenly become seniors, they get older little by little. If your dog shows any of the following signs, it’s a sign that he’s entering the senior stage.

Sleeping more often

Seniors often spend most of their day sleeping. As you lose strength, your activity level will decrease.

Also, when I was younger, I might have woken up immediately in response to a noise or voice. In the case of older dogs, even if the owner calls out to wake them up, they may not respond easily.

Since they are inactive during the day and sleep, the day and night are reversed, and they often cry at night.

walking slows down

A slower pace of walks is also a symptom for seniors. As you age and your body begins to weaken, you will no longer be able to walk or run as vigorously as you did when you were young.

In addition, muscle strength declines, making it difficult to go up and down stairs. Even a small step puts a heavy burden on the legs and lower back of an old dog.

eating less

As you become less active, you will eat less. Appetite is also reduced, and it is not uncommon to see uneven eating, such as eating or not eating.

If you don’t want to eat, there are cases where you have problems with your teeth or mouth. Check your dog’s mouth and see a veterinarian if you notice anything unusual.

bad breath worsens

As you get older, bad breath can get worse. This is because saliva production decreases with age. If the cause of bad breath is periodontal disease or stomatitis, treatment is necessary.

hair becomes worse

It is also a common feature in the senior period that the hair gets worse. Due to the gradual deterioration of skin metabolism, dandruff increases and the skin loses its elasticity.

Your dog is more likely to have skin problems, and you may also see changes in your dog’s skin such as warts.

Eyes look white and cloudy

The whitish appearance of the centre of the eye is also a change seen in seniors and is one of the aging phenomena known as nuclear sclerosis. Older dogs are at an increased risk of developing eye diseases such as cataracts.

Meal care when becoming a senior

When your dog become a senior, you need proper dietary care for your dog.

raise the food bowl

Keeping your dog’s head down while eating puts strain on the neck, so it is effective to raise the position of the food bowl.

Also, when your dog becomes a senior, the hood may get stuck in the trachea or throat, so be careful. Placing the food bowl higher naturally raises the head position, making it easier to swallow food. Please adjust the height according to your dog, such as placing a table under a high food bowl or plate. Try to make eating as comfortable as possible.

Give soft and digestible food

Older dogs should be given soft, easily digestible food, as their digestive function and chewing power decline.

Dry food is easier to eat and digest when soaked in lukewarm water. Heating the food makes it more fragrant, which increases appetite, and even children who do not eat dry food may eat it.

Since the sense of taste and smell is weakened, it is also recommended to try mixing with highly palatable rice, such as adding boiled chicken breast. You can also use commercially available wet food or canned food.


Older dogs become less sensitive to thirst, so owners should actively replenish water.

Some children find it difficult to go to the water fountain. Encourage them to drink plenty of water along with their meals so that the food they eat flows into their stomachs.

Soup, milk, hypotonic drink for dogs and cats (oral rehydration solution adjusted to osmotic pressure and ingredients with high absorption rate) may be used.

What owners should take care of

When your dog becomes an old dog, the points you are conscious of will change from the care you took when your dog were young. Let’s respond to the senior period.

make oral care a habit

In the senior period, it is also important to make oral care a habit. Keeping your dog’s mouth healthy is also connected to overall health.

When there is pain and inflammation due to periodontal disease, the amount of food may decrease. Dogs need to be careful because the speed at which plaque turns into tartar is fast and they are prone to oral problems.

In order to prevent periodontal disease, make use of toothpastes and snacks that have a toothbrushing effect and make a habit of brushing your dog’s teeth.

I’ll give you skinship

Even as a senior, physical contact with the owner is essential. Even if your dog don’t play around naughty or play around with your whole body, you can still enjoy gentle petting, brushing, and relaxing physical contact. By taking physical contact with your dog, you will be more likely to notice changes in your dog’s body and body shape.

Avoid touching abruptly from behind when interacting with an older dog with impaired eyesight and hearing. If you gently call out and touch it, your dog will feel safe and entrusted to you.

review the living environment

As dogs age, their eyesight gradually deteriorates, making it difficult for them to see their surroundings.

Put cushion guards on the corners of the furniture in the space where your dog lives to prevent them from getting hurt by bumping into them. From joint pain and muscle weakness in the legs and lower back, the difference in sofas and beds can be a burden. In order to reduce the burden, please attach stairs or slopes with small steps.

regular health checkups

In the senior period, it is easy to get sick and get sick easily. Get a health checkup every six months.

The frequency of once every six months corresponds to the pace of once every two years in humans. The content varies depending on the animal hospital, so please consult with us about a plan that suits your dog’s age and health condition.

Symptoms at the end of an old dog’s life

As the body ages and weakens, terminal symptoms appear. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be nearing the end of your dog’s life.

lose appetite

One of the terminal symptoms is the inability to accept food and water. Eating is an important act to live. If a senior dog’s appetite is severely reduced, his physical condition will deteriorate significantly, and it will be difficult for him to survive.

severe vomiting and diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea worsen when the condition of the digestive tract deteriorates due to deterioration of physical condition, infection, aging, etc. When such symptoms appear when there is almost no physical strength left, death may result due to rapid physical decline.

body temperature drops

When your dog becomes a senior, body temperature cannot be regulated properly. Body temperature is a barometer of energy metabolism. Older dogs are more prone to hypothermia due to lack of exercise, reduced muscle mass and slowed metabolism. Towards the end of the disease, the body temperature drops even further.

have a seizure

As death approaches, seizures such as convulsions, tremors, collapse, fainting, and incontinence may occur. It is due to arrhythmia due to heart disease due to old age, uremia due to decreased renal function, infectious heart disease such as sepsis, etc., and is in a state of extremely low physical strength.


Depending on the size, breed, and breeding environment, dogs enter the senior stage after 7 to 8 years old.
Older dogs often show changes in their sleep, walking, eating, bad breath, coat, etc.

In the senior period, digestive function and sense of smell decline, so the amount of food decreases. Dietary care is important because what your dog eat affects physical health.

Owners should also pay attention to oral care habits, physical contact, environmental review, and regular health checkups.

Your dog is a member of your family, and you want them to live happily ever after. Let’s have the correct knowledge about dog aging and make life more fulfilling for both older dogs and owners.

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