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Life stage

5 Signs Your Dog Can be Considered A Senior Dog

When is a dog considered senior?

Whether human or dog, getting older is a part of life. Along with cruises and Bingo, a person’s golden years are often marked by achy joints, more doctor’s appointments, and changes in dietary needs. It’s not so different for your canine pal; as dogs enter their senior years, owners must accommodate their pets’ evolving dietary and medical needs.

But when is a dog considered a senior? After all, dogs age differently, and your ten-year-old black Labrador might still be as spunky as ever. Just because your dog is aging doesn’t mean it is nearing the end of its lifespan, but making certain changes will certainly help elongate it. Review the following five signs to determine whether it’s time to make some changes.

1. Age

Ask yourself — “When is my dog considered a senior?” The first factor you’ll undoubtedly contemplate is age. A dog’s life is measured in three stages: puppy, adult, and senior. When an adult canine transitions into the senior phase varies depending on its breed. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs and aren’t seniors until around nine years, while medium-sized breeds become seniors at seven years of age. Larger breeds, such as Bernese mountain dogs and Great Danes, qualify as senior citizens as early as five to six years old.

2. Appetite

As dogs age, their appetite decreases. It can be alarming if Fido suddenly isn’t finishing his kibble bowl, as decreased appetite often foretells illness, but it’s perfectly normal for senior dogs to eat less. Senior dogs have slower metabolisms and burn less energy, so they won’t need to consume as much at mealtime. As a result of their dwindling appetites, dogs tend to lose some weight as they enter their senior phase.

3. Fatigue

As their metabolism slows, older dogs grow more fatigued. They’ll still be interested in playtime, but their endurance won’t match what it once was in their prime. Older dogs will also nap — a lot! Senior dogs might sleep from fifteen to twenty hours each day.

4. Balance

Just like people, the aging process for dogs leads to achy bones and the occasional imbalance. Older canines eat less and lose some muscle mass, so they aren’t as strong as they once were. Balance issues are pretty normal for an older dog. You may need to help your elderly pup into the car or keep an eye out while it goes down the stairs.

5. Memory

Your dog’s brain is aging along with its physical body, so it’s not uncommon for senior dogs to exhibit some memory loss. Your canine companion may occasionally seem disoriented or forgetful. You might also witness some behavioral changes as your dog ages, such as increased irritability (especially when engaging with puppies and high-energy dogs) or anxiety. However, dogs, no matter their age, can learn new things, despite the myth that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

If your dog is experiencing any of the above signs, remember that aging is a normal part of life. The most important thing dog owners can do is consult with their veterinarians and make certain small changes. Invest in an extra-comfortable bed for dogs experiencing joint pain. Practice patience if your furry friend doesn’t seem as playful or appears confused. Most importantly, begin purchasing food appropriate for your dog’s age.

Wellness brand pet food features specialty senior dog food designed to meet your dog’s needs. High-quality food for aging dogs should be lower in calories (to assist with their slowing metabolisms), high in fiber (to keep them regular), and full of healthy ingredients to keep their bodies (and brains) strong. There’s not much you can do to stop the aging process, but feeding your senior dog the right food can help contribute to a long, happy life. There are plenty of senior dog food options, including our CORE® Digestive Health Age Advantage Chicken & Brown Rice or CORE Senior. Take a moment to determine which one is best senior dog food for your furry pal.

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