On average, pets are living longer than ever before. Modern science, better diets, and better care have increased life expectancy. But at what age is a pet considered ‘old’?

“My dog’s 60 in people years.” You’ve heard the old rule of thumb that one dog year is equal to seven human years. While it’s true that dogs age more quickly than humans, the seven year adage doesn’t hold true across the board. Larger breeds of dogs age faster than smaller breeds. So how old is your dog in people years? *Check out this chart by the AVMA.

At age seven, your dog might be a senior. The rule of thumb is that a pet is considered “senior” at age seven, but we know that varies. As your dog ages, we’ll do wellness labwork to help us catch disease earlier. Major diseases we screen for include liver, kidney, and thyroid disease. If a disease can be detected early on, before they show symptoms, we can slow and sometimes reverse the changes the disease has brought on. Doctor Horne shared, “I’ve caught diabetes mellitus in a cat by doing wellness senior labwork. I’ve also caught leukemia – the patient had a high white blood cell count, but no symptoms.”

Dogs can age gracefully, too. We’ve talked a lot about diet and exercise, and how they help delay aging in your pet. If we find other problems in your aging pet, we work to manage or correct the problem, leading to a longer life and/or higher quality of life.