How should I care for my aging dog?
As your dog gets older, you'll start to notice physical and behavioral changes which should be addressed if you want your dog to continue to have a good quality of life. There are simple ways you can do this, from their exercise to their diet.
How breed and size affect aging
Not all dogs have the same life expectancy; this is dependent on genetics, lifestyle, breed, and size. Smaller dogs—those under 10 kilos—live for around 12 years, while larger dogs over 45 kilos in weight tend to live for around seven to eight years. The aging process also starts earlier in larger dogs and therefore each dog can be considered senior at a different age.
Each breed and size of dog has specific age-related problems. For example, small dogs often suffer heart issues. Your dog's diet should take these differences into account and provide them with the specific combination of nutrients to support their health challenges.
Avoiding stress in your aging dog
One of the most important considerations when altering your dog's routine is to not cause them unnecessary stress. As dogs age, they can exhibit behavioral changes like incontinence, changes in sleep habits, and decreased interaction with owners. Abrupt or rapid changes to their routine can exacerbate these problems, so be sure to phase any adjustments in gradually.