How old is your dog in human years?

This is a question that I am asked on a regular basis! The answer to this is largely dependent on the size of your dog. This is because small dogs generally live significantly longer than giant breeds.

For example, a 15 year old Jack Russell Terrier weighing less than 9kg would be considered to be around 75 – 80 human years old. For a giant breed dog such as a St. Bernard, then this age in human years would be reached when the dog is only 9 – 10 years old.

The reason why there is such a considerable variation in the longevity of different size dogs is unclear but is undoubtedly partly related to breed factors.

However, one thing is sure and that is ageing is inevitable. The signs will differ between individual dogs dependent upon which bodily functions or organs are affected. These changes can then result in a reduced quality of life for you and your dog. The management of ageing dogs is important because the population of older dogs in the U.K. is increasing with at least 30% of dogs in the U.K. being over 8 years of age.

So, would your dog say “yes” to any of the following questions?

1. I am less keen to exercise than I used to be.

2. I have slowed down and do not want to play much anymore.

3. My personality has changed. I am often grumpy and feel like an ‘old’ dog now.

4. I am less keen to get out of my bed in the morning and am generally less agile.

5. I get out of breath quickly.

6. I feel less bright or alert.

7. I just do not seem to feel like the same dog I used to be.

Any of these signs could be due to age related changes, and veterinary attention may be able to help.

During the month of February, Strathmore is offering a free initial health check for any dog over 10 years of age that is either no registered with us or which has not had an examination by a vet in the last 12 months.

Simon Robinson