Everyone knows that dogs age faster than people. The claim that a dog ages seven years for every one year that a human ages is a fallacy. Breeds vary in the speed that they age. Because there are hundreds of breeds, scientists needed an easy method for calculating the age of a dog.
That’s when the “rule” of 1=7 came into being. It’s a method people have used for decades. However, it doesn’t explain how canines actually age. The age of breeds vary according to whether they’re a toy, a small, medium or large dog. The physical body of a breed also affects how fast he ages.
The needs of a Pomeranian will differ as he grows old. Like people, dogs within a specific breed are also unique so their age, physical body and other attributes will vary as well.
Pomeranians and other small dogs usually live longer than bigger dog breeds. Aging signs in Poms may appear when he’s as young as 7 years, as old as 8 years or anywhere in between.
In the 1930s, a dog’s lifespan peaked at 7 years. Today’s dogs can live into their late teens and beyond, if they’re properly cared for and remain in good health.
Most vets measure and assess the human age-equivalent of a dog based on how much he weighs. Here is a chart for Pomeranians.
Pomeranian Years to Human Years.
1 = 15
5 = 35
6 = 38
7 = 42
8 = 45
9 = 59
10 = 52
11 = 56
12 = 59
13 = 63
14 = 66
15 = 70
16 = 74
17 = 78
18 = 82
19 = 86
20 = 90
Pomeranian maturity phases.
1 – 6 weeks: Newborn. Eyes will open at 2 weeks. Puppies begin to walk by Week 3.
Weaning is over by the end of the 6th week.
8 – 12 weeks: ‘New’ puppy. The world is theirs to enjoy. It’s all exciting but they tire easily and need plenty of naps.
8 weeks to 1 year: Puppy will grow a lot during this period.
4 – 6 months old: He’ll undergo teething.
6 – 9 months: Puberty period. Females may come into season. Males possess viable sperm.
3 – 6 months: The ‘puppy uglies’ starts. His puppy coat is slowly being replaced by a
new adult coat that may be darker or lighter. His colour may alter during this
period. Secondary colours may become stronger or fade.
10 months: Your Pomeranian should be at an adult weight and have a full adult coat.
1 year old: Officially an adult with lots of energy. He’ll be equal to a human teenager of 15 years. He should be housebroken and understand most of the rules. He’ll be awake for more hours and will feel a powerful need to be with his owners. He may feel intense separation anxiety.
8 years old: He’s regarded as a senior. There’s no official age at which he’s classified as a senior. Your vet decides but many wait until he’s 9 or 10 years old. However, it’s essential to declare seniority because that means he needs a bi-yearly health check instead of only being done annually.
First year changes.
Puppies may find it hard to only focus on a single thing at a time. When he’s 3 – 4 months old, there should be the beginning of a close bond between the Pomeranian and his owner.
Some owners will see that his coat’s colour changes. Examples: a black dog may become a black and tan parti or a wolf sable may turn a solid grey colour. During the “puppy uglies” phase (aka heavy shedding period) the dog’s baby coat gets shed and the adult coat begins to come in. If a senior develops some grey, there won’t be a full colour change.
During your Pomeranian’s first year, he will grow fast. Some Pomeranians will have a growth spurt while others will start and stop a few times. Once he’s one year old, he’ll be roughly the weight and height that you would expect from an adult Pom.
Smaller puppies may take longer to mature and, in some cases, may not be fully developed into an adult until around the 18 month mark. Bigger pups, on the other hand, might just be fast developers and be fully grown at 5 months.
The time from when your Pom is a puppy to the time when he’s a senior will flash by so fast, you’ll wonder where it all went. Older dogs need a different type of care to young dogs. There are visible signs to indicate when your dog is getting old. He’ll eat less food, need a different type of food, won’t be able to exercise the way he did as a young dog and will have more health issues that you need to be aware of.
One major sign is that he’ll slow down in many ways. He’ll be slower to walk up any stairs; to get up from his bed, to come when called, to eat and to generally move about and walk.
Never assume he’s getting older if you notice these symptoms. He may have health problems such as arthritis and thyroid issues. Medication can treat many problems so he can return to good health.
When your Pomeranian is a senior, a major life change is that he’ll need more vet trips. Every six months he needs a complete check-up. Unless otherwise advised, most vets say to change the check-ups once your Pom turns eight. A full physical will include: blood tests, a complete physical exam of every part of his body, from head to toe to butt and tail. He may need an electrocardiogram if certain concerns arise. Depending on his history, other specialised tests may also be carried out.
Between his regular check-ups, you need to be vigilant about anything out of the ordinary. You must get your Pom to the vet if you observe any of the following:
• Sudden weight loss. This may be an extremely serious problem.
• Not eating…to the stage that no food passes his lips.
• Vomiting and/or diarrhoea. If these signs last more than 24 hours.
• Increased appetite but no weight increase. This may indicate diabetes.
• Increased thirst and urination with no extra activities. May also indicate diabetes.
• Separation anxiety. If left alone, your senior Pomeranian may whine, bark, become destructive and/or have trouble controlling his bladder and/or bowels.
• Confusion, disorientation, lack of attentiveness, roaming in circles and being more withdrawn.
• Tiring faster than he did as a young dog. While it may simply be a sign of old age, it may indicate lung or heart disease. Excessive panting and coughing can mean heart disease. If he struggles to get his breath back after only a minimum of exertion, he may have pulmonary/cardio troubles and must go to the vet immediately. The vet will advise if he can still do exercises after a thorough exam and tests are conducted.
• Trouble getting up from his bed or any movements can mean he has arthritis. The vet will help you find other ways to ease his pain and assist in better mobility of his joints including the possible use of supplements. An orthopaedic bed can help him to sleep better, relaxing muscles and joints, and to assist him in rising in the morning.
• Hearing and sight problems are common in senior Poms. With hearing loss, clapping and/or hand signals, instead of calling his name, can get his attention more easily. If he has sight issues, don’t move furniture as he gets accustomed to the position of everything.
• Unusual aggressive behaviour: Because his tolerance level for a lot of things has reduced in old age, he may get aggressive if the room is noisy, if other dogs are running around playing, if he has painful joints and/or other parts of body, a bad reaction to medication and anything else that upsets his preferred, comfortable routine
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