What is your dog’s age? This is a question I get asked quite often on our walks. When I tell them Popo is 9.5 years old, most people are surprised. Some of them go like, “Aww!!! but he still looks like a puppy.” I beam and respond, “Oh of course, he will always be a puppy. I don’t think dogs grow up after two.” Obviously, that’s a hu-mom thing! Of course, they grow up in age.
There’s another crazy hu-mom who runs a doggie day care called Romi’s Home Pet Nursery who once told us, “Oh, I’ve stopped counting after Chloe [her German Shepherd Dog] turned five. She is and will forever be my little girl.”
So, next time anyone asks what is your dog’s age? You know what to say 😉
Let’s bust a myth first
But while we are at it, let’s bust a myth related to how dogs age versus how humans age. The seven human years to one dog year ratio can’t be taken literally. Because a lot of factors including size, breed type and even pre-existing health conditions influence aging in dogs. Also, research and studies indicate that young pups tend to grow up quicker than human babies. But as they get older the aging process slows down.
Also read: Canine distemper outbreak in the UAE
How we care for senior dogs is all that matters
Our dogs are often the most precious beings in our lives. They make our lives whole. But as humans of dogs there’s an innate tendency among us to choose to overlook the age factor. Not literally though, because we do start taking care of our older dogs differently compared to when they were pups. But it’s often hard to talk about their age. I’ve struggled with it but now I feel more confident to talk about Popo’s age, because what’s more important is that he leads a happy and healthy life.
However, to ensure our dogs, especially senior dogs, are healthy there are a few areas that need attention, as mentioned below:
Annual vaccination [which is mandatory in the UAE]
Maintaining balanced diet and nutrition, including supplements where required
Regular dental and eye care
Weight and parasite control are crucial
In addition, a few baseline tests are recommended. These include complete blood counts, serum chemistries and urinalysis. And depending on the dog’s health and history specialised screenings such as EKGs, chest X-rays, thyroid, glaucoma and blood pressure tests are also available.
Age is just a number
I’ll leave you with a story. Four years ago, on our walk we met a dog called Murphy, a Jack Russell Terrier. His energy would put any puppy to shame. Murphy’s coat was perfect, and he generally looked very healthy. I went like, “You are one hell of a firebrand!” His human casually asked, “Would anyone believe he is 11?” We kept meeting Murphy for the next few years until they moved homes 😊
So, yes, age in fact is just a number!
Note: This article is meant for information and awareness only and should not be treated as medical opinion.