But unfortunately for us, and the world at large, no matter how amazing, healthy, perfect, and beautiful your pooch is, someday they're going to have to leave us. Many owners wonder that day actually will come. How long can dogs really live? 5 years? 10 years? Maybe even 15? Dogs can actually live for a long time, depending on their breed, their upbringing, and how healthy they remain throughout their lives.
So while, dogs can't live forever, thankfully there's a ton we can do as owners to keep our dog happy, healthy, and around for years to come! And if you're the parent to an older pooch, there's signs we can look out for that show us that our doggo is slowing down, and things that we can do to make them comfortable and healthy for as long as we can.
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Signs Your Dog May Be Getting Older
Slowing down is going to be the first thing you look for as your dog ages. You're going to know your dog's personality - their likes and dislikes, their favorite activities, how far they can run, and when they like to play. As your pooch gets older, their joints are going to start to ache and their muscles make not be as strong. Imagine a person - while a 7-year-old may be able to run around screaming for 6 hours, an 85-year-old may find it more difficult to do the same.
This can extend to also some issues getting up. Their joints are stiffer, older, and well-used, so be patient while waiting for your dog to come hang out and join you!
Relatedly, older dogs also gain weight more easily, primarily because they start to slow down. Because they can't do all the activities they used to, your doggo may put on a few lbs. This is also due to the fact that their metabolism has just started to slow down or they're having thyroid issues.
Dogs that are getting older may also stop responding to you, but it's not because they don't love you anymore! Many dogs, when they reach a certain age just start to lose their hearing. Another thing that may start to go too is their eyesight. Dogs that have started to not see as well may seem like they're avoiding looking at you, but it may just because they can't see you! You may also see some cloudy eyes, which could be cataracts or just aged lenses.
- Raspy panting
- Lack of focus
- Averting eyes
- Urine sprinkling
- Frequent potty breaks or accidents
- Slow or lethargic behavior
- Whimpering or crying due to soreness
- Crabby behavior due to pain
- Cloudy or milky eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Gaining weight
- Disinterest in activities they used to like
- Lumps or tumors
- Hair loss or duller coat
History of Dogs Aging
The Science Behind Aging in Dogs
Basically, the smaller your dog is, the longer they will live. This is primarily because there's so much less work for their bodies to do! Think of it this way - the smaller a body, the easier it is to make it work. Your heart doesn't have to beat as hard to get blood throughout your body, your muscles don't have to strain as much to get you moving, and your lungs don't need as much oxygen.
It's the same with our pups! That's not to say that big dogs aren't just as lovable as the small ones. Just remember to show them a super-duper amount of love during the time they're with you!
Training Your Old Pupper
Also, it is important to note that just because your dog isn't up for a rigorous game of frisbee doesn't mean they no longer want quality time with you. Perhaps swap fetch at the park for a walk around the block. Find ways to continue to bond with your aging dog. We highly doubt you'll ever regret it!
How To React to Your Dog Getting Older:
Show your dog as much love as possible in the time they have left!
Be patient and understanding.
Try to make your dog as comfortable as possible.
Do as many things as you can with your pup - they love you the most!
Consider changing foods or decreasing food volume after talking with your vet.
Speak up louder so that your dog can hear you better when their ears start to go!
Take your pup to the groomer - as they get older, their skin may become inflamed or they may lose hair.
Safety Tips for Your Old Pup:
Don't be afraid to take your doggo to the vet if something seems off. It's not a bad thing to be safe over being sorry!
Don't push your dog to do things that they used to love. Sometimes, when our dogs get too old, they just can't do what they used to. So, be patient!
If you want your dog to live for longer, you need to ensure that they're healthy earlier in life! The healthier they are earlier, they healthier they'll be later!
Keep your old doggo warm. Dogs that are older have a harder time circulating blood through their veins, so you need to make sure your dog's body temperature is where it should be!