Do you love dogs? If you do, I’m sure you’ll feel so sad if your beloved furry friends get sick, and die. Well, just like people (and other living things) dogs go through various stages in life. However, new studies have shown or indicated that dogs are similar to humans in important ways, like how thy act during adolescence and old age, and what happens in their DNA as they get older. So, read on to learn more about dog years, dog personalities and the aging process for canines.
The Personality of Dogs Changes Over Time
If you’ve been wondering how dog years compares over human years, well the most common assumption is that one dog year is comparable to 7 human years. But then again, let’s discuss this maybe later, and first delve into a new study, which reveals that dog’s personalities change over time.
The study, which was conducted in Vienna, Austria, discovered that dogs seem to mellow in the same way that human beings do. The most intriguing part of this discovery is that just like people, some dogs are just born old, which is to say, relatively steady and mature.
Although the Vienna study’s participants were all Border Collies, the researchers state that this finding can also be applied to dogs of different breeds and categories.
The Calculations of 7 Dog Years for Every Human is Not Accurate
Perhaps you’ve already heard of the assumption that one year in the life of a dog is equal to 7 years in the life of a human being. A recent scientific magazine released a conclusion that the calculation of 7 dog years for every human year is not accurate. Well, I suspected that too.
The study notes that to calculate dog years, one must multiply the natural logarithm of a dog’s age in human years by 16 and then add 31. Does this sound confusing to you? Well, it is actually not as hard as it sounds, as long as you have a calculator, or access to the Internet.
For example, the natural logarithm of 6 is 1.8, which if multiplied by 16 is around 29, which plus 31 is 60. Well, I’m starting to get a little confused too. And to be honest, it’s not that easy even if you ask for help from the Internet.
In addition, the research team also reported that adolescent dogs share some of the characteristics of adolescent humans, like they mentioned reduced trainability and responsiveness to commands. However, unlike teenager humans, teenage dogs do not torment their actual mothers, but instead to complain to humans.
The Physical Signs of Aging in Dogs
Everybody gets olds, and that includes your pets. If you have dogs at home, stop whining about the real calculation between dog years and human years, and instead learn the physical signs of aging in dogs, so you can better care for your canine friends. Remember that the more tuned-in you are to the usual signs of dog aging, the sooner can you help your dog age gracefully.
The physical sign of aging in dogs is change in weight. It’s not surprising that older and less active dogs usually gain weight, for which fur parents may need to adjust their dog’s diet and exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
But, the loss of weight could also be due to reduced muscle mass, which is common in older dogs. It could also be caused by poor absorption of nutrients, or a digestive illness. The second physical sign of aging in dogs is incontinence or difficulty “going”. If the dog suddenly forgets his or her house training, or seems to strain when urinating, then it could indicate either be a urinary tract infection, or kidney disease.
The third sign of physical aging in dogs is cloudy eyes or difficulty seeing. Eye cloudiness or nuclear sclerosis can happen so gradually that dog owners might not notice it quickly. It could also be a sign of cataracts or other eye diseases.
The fourth sign of physical aging in dogs is horrible breath. While doggie bad breath is not uncommon at any age, if your dog suddenly has awful breath, then it could indicate tooth decay, gum disease or infection.
The fifth sign of physical aging in dogs is slowing down, or difficulty getting around. Just like humans, the adding up of dog years may lead to a slowdown in body movement by your canine mate.
A senior dog may have difficulty in climbing stairs, jumping into a car or simply getting up after a nap. While we all slow down as we get old, you dog’s mobility problems could be caused by arthritis or some other degenerative disease.
Along with the use of prescribed medication or supplements prescribed by your vet, you may also need to adjust your dog’s exercise regimen to shorter, and slower, walks, or you may need to introduce a new exercise routine like swimming.
The Mental & Behavioral Signs of Aging in Dogs
Apart from the physical signs of aging that we normally see when the dog years start piling up, there are the accompanying behavioral and mental signs too. For example, if your dog has suddenly turned grumpy and aggressive, then this could be caused by arthritis, or the dog could be experiencing some other physical discomfort.
However, changes in behavior could also be caused by canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CCDS), which affects 14% to 35% of dogs over 8 years old. As a form of dementia that’s similar to Alzheimer’s in humans, CCDS can bring pronounced changes in your dog’s everyday behavior.
CCDS could also result to your dog having a greater fear of familiar people or objects, changes in the sleeping-waking cycle, increased barking and vocalization, repetitive or compulsive behaviors, forgetting commands and cues that the dog once knew, increased anxiety, confusion and disorientation, as well as a marked changed in activity level.
So, to prevent aging from making life miserable to your dog, learn the physical and mental signs of aging in dogs, as well as get advice from your vet on how to make your dog’s aging more graceful and manageable.