Yeah, I'm struggling a bit with this, my girl is 10, but I can't really say she's slowed down much if at all. I have some ambitious hiking plans this year and want her there, but I'm not sure I'm pushing my luck. We stay active through the winter locally and she looks great, still runs circles around my 2 year old male.
For me, it’s based purely on age. 9 is usually when I start calling my dogs seniors. I don’t restrict activities because of age, but I noticed my golden retriever slowed down immensely, and I let her. If she doesn’t want to go for a walk that day? Fine. She needs to walk more slowly? Okay. I let her decide what she wants to do.
If your girl is still peppy and active, I wouldn’t force her to slow down. That could make her act more her age, not less, imo.
I'm pretty convinced that I killed Sabi when I retired her. She had started stumbling, I looked at her age and retired her. Logically she had DM and was riddled with cancer, emotionally In her mind I gave up on her. I went to work without her.
I will never, ever make that mistake again. Age is just a number. Let her decide when she wants to slow down.
And one of the greatest joys in life is sitting on the porch with an old dog, sipping a coffee and smelling that sun warm dog smell. It's one of those things any dog can do but only an old dog can make special.
Bud was still hurtling fences at 10. Still smashing gates. Still getting outrun by jackbunnies.
It is based on age because of typical changes in diet and exercise requirements, the probability of age related diseases or conditions. Vets usually want a yearly senior blood panel, which is always expensive.
Your dogs should let you know when exercise is too much for them. You might change the type or the amount. Mine don’t need a lot, but that has nothing to do with age. One is 4, one is a senior, but they still need some. My older dog gets more than the younger because she wants to. His exercise period is shorter but more intense. She is a trotter, he is a sprinter. He prefers to run all out for a shorter time, Then he flops down and he’s done. She can trot around all day.