Dog owners are used to estimating their pooch’s age with a ratio of 1:7 – one human year equals to seven dog years. But there’s no blanket way to work out your four-legged friend’s ageing process.
The rate at which a dog ages is dependent on a multitude of factors, including its age, gender, the quality of its nutrition and its breed, according to Germany’s animal protection authority.
As a rule of thumb, smaller dogs tend to have a longer life expectancy than larger ones, meaning that a mini-sized Chihuahua is likely to outlive a big Dobermann.
Accordingly, you should start to feed a larger dog food tailored to the nutritional needs of a senior dog when it reaches the age of six, even if that equates to only 42 dogs years by the standard calculation ratio.
Older dogs have a lower energy requirement, meaning that regular dog food could overload them with calories which could result in weight gain. Being overweight can be a serious health condition that can damage joints, lead to cancer and an overall decrease in the dog’s lifespan.
Responsible dog ownership requires diligence in monitoring and adjusting the animal’s nutrition as it gets older rather than continuing to give it the same portion to eat every day. – dpa