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Koda just turned 6 and that's made me start thinking about aging dogs. Koda is my first dog that is strictly mine. Therefore I'm trying to learn as much as I can about senior dogs before we get to that point.

How would you define what a senior dog is?
At what age would you consider a dog a senior?
 

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For me it depends on the breed and the expected life span for that breed. Then it would be when they reach 2/3's of the expected life span. So a breed expected to live 12 years, I would consider age 8 and beyond to be a senior. Just my way of thinking.
 

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7-8 is when I notice them transitioning. They often start to sleep more--wanting to sleep in instead of being chipper at the crack of dawn is something I've often seen. They may have metabolism slowing (and need less food to avoid weight gain). I have one now that we guess is at least 7, since we rescued him (but he could even be 9). He just transitioned to the life-phase where he's sleeping a lot more than he used to, and there's a lot more gray on his face.

The big change in vet care that ought to occur with seniors is getting wellness bloodwork twice yearly, not just annually.
 

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I would say 9. None of my 4 slowed down until then. The one thing I would caution you about a dog becoming a senior is pay attention to keeping their teeth as healthy as you can. Once they get over 10 - some will have problems with tooth disease and it's very sad because dental care requires anesthesia and that's risky on an older dog - some vets won't do it and your dog suffers.
 

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dental care requires anesthesia and that's risky on an older dog - some vets won't do it and your dog suffers.
My strong recommendation is to leverage any need for anesthesia for other reasons (e.g., xrays, minor surgeries or biopsies) to add-on a dental cleaning. It only cost me $65 to add the dental onto one of these kinds of procedures. It limits the number of times the dog needs to go under, and saves a lot of money. Vets don't always offer it, so be sure to ask!
 
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