Unfortunately, it’s a fact that our pets age faster than we do. Just like aging in humans, advanced years brings more health issues for older pets. However, with the proper pet care and attention, there is much that you can do to help your dog or cat live a happy and fulfilled life even in advanced years.
What happens with the aging process in our four-legged friends?
Aging in Dogs and Cats
It’s actually a myth that one human year represents the equivalent of seven dog years. If you think about it, a dog that is one-year old in “human years” is much more mature than a child who is seven. After all, many dog breeds can already produce a litter of pups after a year or so.
The aging process with dog and cats is much quicker in the first few years of their lives. This means that our pets reach adult maturity faster than humans so. So, a cat or dog that is one-year old would be the equivalent age of a 15 or 16-year old adolescent. Then, the second year of a dog or cat’s life would be the equivalent to around 3 to 8 years of a human.
After the first 2 years of a dog or cat’s life, the aging process slows down and each year would be the same as 5 or 6 years of a human’s life.
There is also the fact to consider that, especially with dogs, the aging process is different among the breeds. In general, smaller dogs age slower than larger breed dogs. So, with smaller breeds like terriers, they reach “old age” when they are around 11 or 12 in human terms. But, larger breeds like German shepherd dogs are classed as elderly when they are about 8 years old.
The same is true when it comes to life expectancy in dogs. The average life expectancy for smaller breeds ranges between 12 and 16 years and larger breed dogs between 8 and 13.
As with aging in humans, there are also a number of factors that can influence how long you can expect your pet to live. Therefore, it is important that your pet enjoys a well-balanced diet with all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are required. You should also take your pet to the vet for regular checkups so that any health issues can be caught early on and the proper treatment and medication can be administered.