In the 1970s, dogs generally lived 7-8 years. Now dogs often live to 10-15, and even older. (Source: American Veterinary Hospital Association).
Like people, dogs are individual in the way they age. Certain breeds, mixed breeds, and, in general, smaller dogs tend to live longer. A dog less than 20 pounds might not seem to show signs of age until she is 12 or so. A 50-pound dog will show signs around 10, and larger dogs begin to show age at 8 or 9.
Using established guidelines to determine when your dog might qualify as a senior can help you understand changes in behavior or anticipate potential changes in health. This knowledge can better equip you to identify and approach health problems early, when they may be more easily treated. The table below shows of the relationship between a dog's age and a human's. Note that the weight of the dog is related to his age in human years.
The advantages of adopting an older pet
- Older pets generally have had some training experience with families.
- Older pets have learned "no" and how to leave furniture, shoes, and other "chewables" alone.
- They have been "socialized" and know how to be part of a pack and get along with humans and, in many cases, other companion animals.
- They appreciate love and attention and quickly learn what's expected of them to gain and keep that love and attention.
- They know how to sit calmly next to you, while your workday stress flows away and, thanks to their presence, your blood pressure lowers. They are also instant companions — ready for hiking, car rides, walks, play, etc.
- They are a "known commodity" — easy to assess temperament, and no guessing how big they'll grow!
Thanks the Senior Dog Project for permission in excerpting/reprinting the information on this page. The Senior Dog Project is an extraordinary resource for all things older dog, offering tons of information, stories, and inspiration.
Spot thanks the Senior Dog Project for the great service and work they do, and the enormous amount of love that goes into it ♥