Dogs grow old too
Last week the world’s oldest living dog died at the age of 26 years and eight months (or nine months – sources do not agree!). Pusuke, a mixed breed, lived in Japan with his master, Yumiko Shinohara, a 42 years old woman who literally spent her whole adult life with her companion. The dog lived a long and healthy life, suddenly not feeling good on Monday and dying a couple of hours later.
Pusuke, while very old (more than 120 years old in human years!), was not the oldest dog that has ever lived. This title would go to an unnamed Australian Cattle Dog that died at the age of 29 years and five months, in 1939! He was close to 160 years old in human years.
To know how old your dog is in human years is very simple:
Each one of the dog’s first two years count for 12 years in human years; the subsequent ones count for 5 years. So a four years old dog would be 34 years old in human years.
This method to compute a dog’s age is complicated by its breeds. Larger dogs have shorter lives than smaller dogs. For instance, Great Danes’ life expectancy is about nine years, while Chihuahuas on average easily live up to fourteen years. The shape of a dog’s face also influences his life expectancy: Dogs with a regular pointy face live longer than flat-faced breeds. But obviously, dogs that are well taken care of also live longer than neglected and abandoned animals – your dog is not doomed by his breed!
Dogs growing old go through the same age-related changes than humans, which include memory loss, slower thinking patterns, tight and sometimes painful bodies and weaker senses. Fortunately, with proper care, these symptoms of growing old can have lesser consequences, and can even be slow down. For instance, a dog brain can stay younger longer if it is properly stimulated with fun games and puzzles.
A quiet environment, good and complete nutrition, mental stimulations and love are the best things you can offer an aging dog.