It is a sad fact of life that our pets have significantly shorter life spans than we do as humans. Ultimately we would like them to live out our lives with us as they become such an important part of our families.
Dog's life spans are far too short, though smaller breeds do tend to live longer than larger breeds. Because various sizes and breeds have varying life spans, the old adage of one dog year equaling seven human years isn't quite true. Your dog will most likely be considered a senior however, regardless of its breed after around the age of 7. You can help your dog grow old if you learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of old age. Some things to watch for are:
Gray hair - Sounds familiar doesn't it? Just like humans dogs tend to go gray or white around the muzzle as they head into the senior phase of their lives.
A noticeable loss of hearing - It will most likely come on gradually and you will be wondering for a while if your dog is just ignoring you but hearing loss is a very real sign of old age in your pooch.
A loss of energy - Once your dog is into its golden years, you will notice his or her energy level is declining. Dogs sleep a lot of the time at any age, but a senior dog will sleep longer, deeper and more frequently. Though there will be the occasional burst of energy, only you will know when your dog has officially gone from one phase to the next.
A change in habits - You may find your dog suddenly changes his or her eating, drinking and even playing preferences. It is nothing to be alarmed about unless they stop drinking and eating altogether but you may find they are off their food and it might be time to talk to your veterinarian about making a switch to a senior formula.
Sore muscles - Dogs get aches and pains in their old age just as we do, and you may notice your pet has trouble rising from a lying or sitting position. It is often the hind legs that suffer and be sure to see your vet if it gets to be too much for your dog.
Unfortunately dogs grow old and slow down but it is our job as their owners to help your dog grow old as easily and painlessly as possible.
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