Dear Dr. Dog:
My eight-year-old Pointer Louise has various minor ailments, not too surprising at her time of life. I dread the day when she becomes seriously ill and of course intend to do everything possible to help her when that time comes. I have heard that medical care for senior canines is improving and would like to know more.
— Stephanie in El Sobrante
“Old age is not a disease.”
This well-known quotation by Maggie Kuhn, an elder rights activist, challenged previous myths about aging and the way society views the elderly. We often relay this sentiment to pet owners in the exam room to help them make treatment decisions for their dogs not solely based on age.
What Is Old for Dogs?
The classic “one human year equals seven dog years” makes for an easy calculation but is not entirely accurate. Giant dogs, e.g., Great Danes or St. Bernards, tend to have a shorter life expectancy, so, in a sense, they age faster. These dogs are considered “senior” at 6 or 7 years of age, whereas smallerbreed dogs, such as Chihuahuas, may not be considered elderly until they are at least 10 years. Evaluating the entire dog population, the average dog life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.
Read the full article: Advances in the Treatment of Older Dogs (Bay Woof)