Message Us

Do Some Breeds Age "Faster" Than Others?

By PatrickMahaney. | Dog Health

At what age is your pet considered to be senior? There is no simple answer for every cat and dog, but the general principle practiced by many veterinarians (including myself) is that pets having achieved seven years of age have entered the senior phase of their lives.

Breeds of Dogs and Effects on Health The conventional perspective that one pet year equals seven human years puts a seven year old pet at 49 years of age. This is the time in life when humans often develop ailments associated with years of wear and tear on body tissues. Yet, some pets exhibit physical signs of aging faster than others due to faulty genetics, poor nutrition, environmental factors, trauma, or illnesses. Others transition with ease from adulthood into their golden years without showing obvious signs of decline as a result of having good genes, a health-yielding diet, a reduced-stressful environment, lack of physical trauma, and few bouts of health problems. Ultimately, a pet's ability to recover from illness, heal injuries, and fight infectious organisms reduces with the passing years and is an inevitable consequence of getting older.

Why Different Breeds (And Their Mixes) and Sizes of Dogs Don't Age the Same?

Although some dog breeds are known to develop age-related health problems, the trends of illness can more consistently be correlated to a dog's physical size. Adult and geriatric life stages are the times that common condition called osteoarthritis (OA) impacts a dog's quality of life in a manner often visible to owners. Arthritis is joint inflammation, but OA is the progression of arthritis that happens when degenerative changes in joint surfaces occur that cause pain, reduced mobility, and other subtle or obvious signs apparent to the dog's owner or veterinarian. Large and giant-sized dogs are more susceptible to OA than their small and medium counterparts, but any size of dog can be affected by joint pain. Larger canines typically experience OA-related discomfort earlier in life than smaller dogs as a result of the increased stress on joints and other body tissues during day-to-day movements and exercise. OA occurs commonly in some dog breeds due to their size or conformation. Large and giant breed dogs like Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, Great Danes, Saint Bernard and others commonly have arthritis early in life due to hip and elbow dysplasia and are prone to traumatic ligament damage (cruciate tears, etc.). Breeds having short legs and a long back, like the Bassett Hound, Dachshund, and Corgi, frequently develop arthritis pain in the small joints (facets) that connect their backbones (vertebrae) and other debilitating back problems like intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). Small breeds like the Chihuahua, Maltese, Pomeranian, and Yorkshire terrier have genetics predisposing them to luxating patella, where the kneecap slides out of place, compromises knee joint stability, and ultimately leads to arthritis. Small dogs are more commonly affected by periodontal disease, where the teeth and their associated structures (gums, ligaments and supportive bone, etc.) are damaged due to bacterial infection and inflammation (gingivitis). Periodontal disease affects dogs of all ages, but adult and senior dogs are more commonly affected. We veterinarians consider multiple factors as the reasons small dogs having pure or mixed breeding to develop periodontal disease so readily. Owners often have more difficulty providing regular home dental care for petite pooches, as being able to open the mouth of a small dog can be challenging due to lack of compliance. Concern for injuring a small dog during tooth brushing also reduces owners' ongoing interest in provide home dental care. Larger dogs are more prone to exhibiting regular or more vigorous chewing habits. Chewing on a bone, carrot, piece of wood, or commercially-available dental treat can have some positive benefits to clean teeth and reduce gum inflammation. Regardless of size, a dog's enthusiastic chewing habits shouldn't replace daily brushing with a toothbrush moistened with water or a pet-appropriate dental product.

How Can the Aging Process Be Slowed for My Pet?

As small and large dogs are prone to age-related illnesses that is potentially irreversible, owners must team with their veterinarian to create a senior-wellness strategy that aims to prevent or resolve ailments before they become severe. Dogs of all sizes will benefit from staying slim, partaking in non-traumatic exercise, and starting an oral joint support supplement (glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, etc.) and other naturally anti-inflammatory products (omega-3 fatty acids, blue-green algae extract, turmeric, etc.) early in life to help deter the onset of OA and reduce the reliance on pain-relieving medications potentially having mild to severe side effects. All dogs, but especially those of having "micro mouths" that are challenging to clean require dedicated effort to promote periodontal health through daily home dental care and regularly scheduled cleanings with a veterinarian. For my patients, I recommend annual wellness exams, but juvenile, geriatric, and sick pets should be examined every six months or as frequently as the overseeing veterinarian recommends. Diagnostic testing (blood, urine, and fecal tests, x-rays, ultrasound, etc.) can help monitor organ system functions for variations that can start to change due to age or illness. Regardless of a your dog's breed, size, or age, it's crucial that owners strive to create the best possible state of health every day. After all, your canine's quality of life directly depends on your health-providing efforts. Breeds of Dogs and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premium Seat Covers

patrick_mahaneyPatrick Mahaney

Dr. Patrick Mahaney VMD, CVA, CVJ is a veterinarian and certified veterinary acupuncturist providing services to Los Angeles-based clients both on a house call and in-clinic basis. Dr. Mahaney's unique approach integrating eastern and western medical perspectives has evolved into a concierge house call practice, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness (CPAW), Inc. Additionally, Dr. Mahaney offers holistic treatment for canine and feline cancer patients at the Veterinary Cancer Group (Culver City, CA).


Signup/Login to post a reply


Reviews From 4Knines Customers VIEW MORE »

The best evaluations of our products come from the people who’ve bought them.

bought two of these

Searched for different ones, decided on this one. Exceeded all expectations. Bought one for a new care and another for our 2004 4 runner. Provides good protection for vehicle and our 140 dog. We travel and camp extensively also good for bringing thing back form garden shop.

George Linhardt

Great product!

Does exactly what we wanted. We can easily raise a part of the seat to give our dogs better access to the rear seat of our pickup. And it's easily removed or installed when we need to put humans back there!

Michael Dean

Back Seat Cover for Subaru Impreza

Excellent quality and great customer service!

Alex Garcia-Osuna

Great covers

Not only are they great covers, 4knines has great customer service. Truly deserving of more than five stars.

Carmela DiCristofano

Great Cover - Great Company

The covers are absolutely the best and I have had quite a few over the years. I had a minor issue with my cover and asked if I could get it repaired. The response was: "Thank you for reaching out to us. Your cover is absolutely covered by 4Knines Lifetime Warranty!" I received a new one.

Bud Conner


This liner was so easy to install!! I love the way it fits and looks. My puppy also loves it.

Susan Frick

dog loves it

i don't have to fuss a the dog for clawing the door panels,a much more enjoyable ride for both of us.

Steven Walker

Perfect gift

I purchased this rear bench cover for a friend with two dogs that frequently accompany her to her barn. No problem with wet, muddy feet. Fits well and protects her investment in her car. The cover arrived promptly as promised.

Maribeth Hartin

For all general inquiries, please call or email us
Phone: 888.602.2509

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nothing but the best for your best friend!
© 4Knines. 2017. All rights reserved | Terms | Privacy