Most people barely have a clue when their pets have turned seniors. The American Veterinary Medical Association indicates that different pets and breeds reach this stage at different times. Knowing when your pet is considered a senior can help you modify the level of pet care that you provide. If you are wondering when your pet will become a senior, here are the details that you must consider.
In dogs, being a senior does not have a fixed age. Entering the senior years depends on your dog’s size and breed. Some people consider a canine to be a senior upon reaching seven years. In reality, a dog may be a senior between five and 12 years old.
Most dog breeds are still puppies until they reach six months to a year old. The adult stage can last five or six years. Some of them may experience the start of old age at age 12. Senior life is the final quarter of a dog’s life span.
For small dogs (less than 20 pounds), adulthood comes sooner than for large canines because they achieve their full size by six months. After this, their aging process slows down. Small dogs tend to live longer than large breeds—they can live up to an average of 16 years. This means that a healthy small dog may not become a senior until age 12.
Large dogs experience aging sooner than small dogs. An average large breed like a Labrador retriever can live up to 12 years. They reach their senior life by eight or nine years old. Giant breeds like Great Danes can live up to seven or eight years. They become seniors by age five.
Most people consider cats to be seniors by age seven. But cats are living much longer now than about two decades ago. This is because of better home care, nutrition, and veterinary care. Recently, feline life stages and ages have been reassessed. Cats are now categorized as elderly by age 11. They become seniors by 11 to 14 years old. By 15 years old and above, they are classified as super-seniors.
Aging affects a cat’s behavior, immunity, and body function. Their ability to smell and taste food weakens. Their hearing and stress tolerance decrease as well. Your cat’s behavior will change because of the physical changes happening. But most people do not notice these signs of aging unless they look for them.
Many signs of an aging pet are much like those of an aging person. As a doting pet parent, you may notice some physical and behavioral changes. Talking to your vet about them can help improve the level of care that you provide. Here are the signs that your pet is already a senior:
You will need to give more care and attention when your pet reaches senior years. At Country Veterinary Clinic, we encourage our pet parents to bring in their senior pets more often so we can keep an eye on their health.
Feel free to visit our clinic in Live Oak, California, for a one-on-one consultation. Call 530-491-4500 to schedule an appointment or inquire about our senior pet care packages.