Senior Dogs

A question we are often asked is, ‘How old is my dog in relation to human age?’ The old adage of seven years for each year of human age isn’t necessarily true, as this varies greatly with size and breed. A Saint Bernard may actually be considered geriatric as early as six years of age while Toy Poodles may not show signs of aging until they are eleven years old. The following chart gives an approximation of human to dog years:



8 months

13 years

1 year

16 years

2 years

24 years

3 years

28 years

5 years

32 years

7 years

44 years

9 years

52 years

11 years

60 years

13 years

68 years

15 years

76 years


The Ten Most Important Tips for Keeping Your Older Dog Healthy

1. Your relationship with us here at Burghley. For most older dogs, it is advisable to make an appointment with the vet every six months. Prevention is better than cure and the sooner we find a problem with your pet the more effective the treatment options we have get a chance to work.

2. Be informed about the conditions common to older dogs and the therapies used for them. Be alert to symptoms, bring them to our attention promptly if you have any concern, and be prepared to discuss treatment options.

3. Feed your older dog the best food you can afford; consider feeding them a special senior diet and two small meals daily rather than one large one.

4. Don’t overfeed your dog. Obesity will create health problems and shorten their life.

5. Consider the use of dietary supplements such as glucosamine/chondroitin for arthritis. Please contact the surgery to discuss the most effective ones for your pet.

6. Give your senior dog adequate exercise, but adjust it to their changing abilities. They will often appreciate shorter but more frequent walks rather than one long one.

7. Attend to your dog’s dental health. Brush their teeth daily and have them cleaned professionally when advised.

8. Be diligent in controlling fleas and ticks, and keep your dog and their environment scrupulously clean.

9. Make your senior dog as much a part of your life as possible, and do all you can to keep them interested, active, happy and comfortable.

10. Enjoy the time with your pet!

(Of course, these ten tips also apply in large part to young dogs, too.)