Older Dogs and their Health

What I want to write about here in this article is not so much the health of any particular dog, but more on their health as they get older and longer in the tooth.

You see, in many ways just like us, dogs tend to slow down a bit as they enter their old age phase of life.

older dogSome dogs live for more years than others, with smaller dogs tending to have longer lifespans than their older cousins. Although this is very general and there are plenty of exceptions.

German Shepherd Lifespan

Chelsea was the ripe old age of 11 when she died, which I’m told is not bad for a German Shepherd, although I’m sure that there were probably things I could have done to prolong that life a little longer.

But would it have been wise? She was already feeling her age and with arthritis causing her pain in her hips, would it have been cruel to keep her going for longer?

Tough question and there is probably no right answer. It would be down to personal feelings. Given the choice, I probably would have done – but I didn’t have the choice.

I can console myself that she had an amazing life while she was here, growing up in England and then spending the last few years of her life on a beautiful mountain farm in southern Spain, free to run around and no one to threaten her (or me) because of social changes in the attitude towards large dogs.

Yorkshire Terrier Lifespan

So we move on a few years and you probably already know (if you have been reading this blog) that I have sort of inherited two Yorkies of advancing age.

The girl, Daisy is 14 now and the boy, Ronnie (who was a rescue dog and is a crossbreed) is estimated to be around 16. They are both in reasonably good health for their age (Yorkies generally live longer than German Shepherds).

That being said, Daisy is less keen to go for walks now and sleeps a lot more. Ronnie, on the other hand, is a total loco! He doesn’t know he’s old and still bounds around like a puppy.

Not sure if that’s a good thing or not. I like to think that it is, because we all know you are only as old as you think you are. And the same must go for dogs.

So what has kept them so healthy?

Dogs Staying Healthy as They Age

Well, the standard answer applies here. They have always eaten decent food, very little “human” snacks, they have always had plenty of exercise and live in a calm, happy home.

In fact, I believe a lot of a dog’s health has to do with its environment. When a dog lives in a home where there are always arguments, stress and a tense, negative atmosphere, the dog gets stressed too.

Stress is a killer in us humans and that's not really any different in our dogs. If it doesn’t kill right away, it is a catalyst for a slow degenerative state of health.

On the flip side, a dog in a loving, happy home where people are always laughing and the atmosphere is always calm, relaxed, peaceful and positive then they will enjoy better health, just like we do.

So aside from the regular visits to the vet to get their jabs, a regular de-parasiting and being fed well, I believe if your dog(s) live in a happy home, they will live longer, healthier lives.

I think it probably also helps to be a little loco too…


Posted on 29 May 2010 in Dog Health | 2 Comments
Last Updated on 2 January 2024

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2 thoughts on "Older Dogs and their Health"

k9 says:
January 17th, 2011

Thanks for sharing this information with us. it is really worth reading for those with older pets.

Pet says:
January 31st, 2011

Nice blog really love your blogs nice to see you again ,it’s right we should very careful about our old pet’s health