December 7, 2021

When is a Dog Considered Senior

Your dog is considered "senior" depending on your dog's breed and size. If you have an older dog, you know they are less active, go a little slower, take more naps, and generally, take life a little easier. If you want to determine if you have a senior dog or are just getting older, dog age calculators and signs of aging will point it out. Figuring out if your dog is considered a senior will help you learn the best ways to care for your dog in its new stage of life. It will change how much they use the bathroom, their activity level and manage any dog health problems and health issues. While most people think that one dog year is equivalent to 7 human years, and that is how you calculate old age, that's not the case—individual dog breeds age at different paces. We can't compare their years to our human years to determine seniority. But we will give you some ways to help you know when a dog is considered senior and how to care for this new stage of life properly!

Dog Age Calculator

The first step in determining if your dog is senior is knowing how old they are. If you didn't adopt your dog at a young age and were told how old they are, or if you just lost track, we have articles on determining your dog's age that we recommend using! Once you know your dog's age, you can use this simple dog age chart to consider a senior dog. 

Small breeds - senior at 10-12 years old

Medium breeds - senior at 8-9 years old

Large breeds - senior at 6-7 years old


Being aware of when a dog is senior is essential. Your dog will start changing at this age, and it will affect how you properly care for them. We will touch on the different signs of aging and how your dog's life may start to change, but these are great base points for knowing when a dog is considered senior. 

Signs of Aging

If your dog has reached senior years or is approaching them, you may start to notice them slowing down a little bit. This slower pace is not necessarily a direct sign of aging, but it is a sign of joint pain that is common in older dogs. 

You will know your dog best and will be able to notice significant changes, but we also have a list of common signs of aging. This will be a good list to refer to as your dog starts getting older. The more accurate indications of aging are 

  • Muscle loss
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Greying of the hair around their mouth, nose, and chest 
  • Sleeping more or even difficulty with sleeping
  • Changes in behavior
  •  loss of hearing 
  •  gum disease

If you start to notice these changes, combined with an old dog age, you should start planning to change your dog care plan. 

Caring for Your Senior Dog

As your dog ages, its life changes. Their activity level decreases, their joints get weaker, and they start to develop health issues. 

If you now have a senior dog, it is good to change how you care for them to provide a healthy life! The first thing you can start changing is their food. There is senior dog food you can buy specifically for their age, including more nutrients and supplements. 

In addition to changing their dog food, you will want to change their activity level. Walks and dog exercise will always be necessary, but you shouldn't push your senior dog too far. Learn a new routine that keeps your dog active without exhausting them or affecting their health. 

We suggest shorter walks and more calisthenic exercises. Dogs will start to develop more health issues at an old age, the most common being dog arthritis. The best way to protect their joints is with supplements - which can be found in senior dog food. Still, you can also discuss the best vitamins to add to your senior dog's life with your vet! 

Similar to humans, senior dogs are entering a new time of their life. Be gentle and patient during these years and continue providing them with a healthy and happy life! 

As always, the best plan of action can be made with your vet and tailored to your dog's exact needs, but we always strive to provide you with tools and helpful tips to care for your dog the best you can. 

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