Old Dog vs Senior Dog – What is the Difference?

Dogs are wonderful companions, and as they age, many pet parents find themselves thinking, “I want my dog to live longer.” Perhaps what pet parents are really desiring is  “How do I keep my dog healthy so it will live as long as possible with a good quality of life?’ Of course, a dog’s overall vitality can be attributed to age, but as the years pass, dogs start to display signs of aging. It’s essential to know the typical signs associated with dog aging so we can better prepare to optimize our dog’s quality of life and healthspan.

What is the difference between a healthy older dog and a healthy senior dog?

While it differs depending on size, breed, and health, generally a dog between six and eight years old is typically considered an “older dog,” at just about 50% of its expected lifespan. A dog that’s seven years or older is typically considered a “senior dog.”

Breed and General Dog Life Expectancy

As we mentioned, dogs age at different rates depending on their breed, size, and health status, so it is good to have an idea where your dog is in their lifespan. If you have a mixed-breed dog, the first step is identifying its breed, so you can reference a dog age chart by breed.

On average, small dog breeds live between 12 to 16 years, while larger breeds live somewhere between seven to 12 years, with the range affected by nutrition, lifestyle, diseases, genetics, and other factors.

What are the stages of a dog’s Life?

Again, lots of factors affect the stages of an individual dog’s lifespan, however, here’s a generalized breakdown by life stage; zero to six months is considered puppy, six months to a year is  a pubertal period, and the young adult stage starts at one to two years. Dogs aged twelve to twenty-four months may be considered fully grown, although post-pubertal dogs are still experiencing adolescent development.

Calculate Dog Years to Human Years

Zoomed in AKC Dog Age Chart by Size
Click Image To Zoom.

Around two years of age is when the developmental stages are completed, a dog begins to age.  Interested in learning more about signs of aging? You can check out our latest blog on the subject: Getting to know the signs of aging in dogs

Even though dogs experience similar biological and physiological markers of aging as humans, these markers occur within a condensed period of ten to fifteen years instead of many decades. People often compare dog years to human years.  The American Kennel Club created a good resource for pet parents to see how to calculate dog years to human years. The chart is referenced below.


I don’t know my dog’s age, can I work it out?

Many of us may not know our dog’s exact birthdate or birth year, especially for a rescue or stray, but we can estimate our dog’s age by looking at its physical characteristics.

Here are a few things to look out for that could be an indicator whether your dog is in the older or possibly senior category of life:

  • Look for graying or thinning hair.
  • Look into the dog’s eyes to see if there is any cloudiness or a mild bluish-gray discoloration. It’s usually a sign of at least a six to eight-year-old dog.
  • Check their teeth for significant staining or plaque buildup.
  • Watch for lower energy levels and more sleep, and slower to climb stairs and get up and down.
  • Watch for their overall fitness as well; less activity and extra weight are correlating signs of aging

When to Consult your Veterinarian

If you do not know your dog’s age, having an assessment done by a veterinary professional will be helpful. Your veterinarian can help you estimate your dog’s age by checking the health of its gums and teeth. The degree of teeth wearing, discoloration, and tartar buildup can suggest certain ages in adult dogs. Other aging markers may be joint health and overall vitality. Your veterinary professional may also check and test for age-related illnesses you may not be able to detect visually.

When should a dog begin to take Leap Years® soft chews?

All dogs can take Leap Years® daily, but those middle-aged or older (estimated 50% or more of their lifespan) see the most benefit. It may also improve the cellular health of younger dogs with chronic diseases.

Leap Years® is a chewable supplement system that works at the cellular level in two ways: to restore cellular health by boosting NAD+ production and clean out damaged cells to make room for new, healthy cells.

While many pet parents turn to Leap Years® for their senior dogs, it is also an ideal supplement for middle-aged dogs. Research shows it is around half of a dog’s predicted lifespan that NAD levels begin declining. For example, if a specific dog breed lives twelve years on average, it would be the right time to start the chews at six years of age.

Incorporate Leap Years® soft chews into your dog’s life to boost NAD and promote increased vitality and engagement.

Try Leap Years® Today And See The Benefits For Yourself.


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