Interesting Things You May Want To Know

Winter Month Precautions

Salt used on sidewalks can be very injurious to the pads and nails of our pets. Use protective gear or wash feet during this time of year.

How Old is my Dog or Cat?

(and how do our beloved pets age)

Cats & Dogs age differently, and we need to be aware of those differences.

Let’s look at our aging process to help understand our dogs and cats. We are now living longer lives and it is more common to hear of people living 100 to 105 years. In the dog world, most live 8-12 years, but begin to have more health issues from 6-12 years. Cats, on the other hand, seem to live longer and it’s not uncommon to see cats reach 20 years and more.

Let’s create a mathematical equation.

What do we need to consider? We can have children as early as 14 years old. Most dog and cat breeds could have raised a litter within that first year of life. So, lets use 14 years for any cat or dog at year one. Now lets look at species. We know that cats live longer than dogs and that smaller dog breeds live longer than larger dog breeds. Now we can establish an equation:

Cats 14 human years at year one + 4.5 years/year thereafter = age of cat

(Example) An 11 year old cat = 14 year one + (4.5 x 10) = 59 years old

A 21 year old cat = 14 + 4.5 x 20 = 104 years old

The oldest cat that I’ve seen was 26 years old and I think the world record is 38 years old. Some clinical signs to look for in gereatric cats: increased drinking and urinating, weight loss, more vocal from early signs of hyperthyroidism or arthritis, vomiting, and constipation. Cats seem to respond well to treatment, thus extending their lives if screened early through annual exams.

Dogs are more sensitive to weight and structure (size). It is accepted that smaller breeds live longer lives than larger breeds of dogs. Our math equation uses size as a variable. Small breeds will weigh less than 25 pounds at 5-6 years old, medium breeds 26 to 50 pounds at 6-7 years old, large breeds 51-100 pounds at 7-8 years old, and giant breeds 101 lbs and up at 8-9 years old.

(Example) 11 year old small breed dog: 14 (year 1) + 10 x 5-6 = 64-74 years old

11 year old medium breed dog: 14 + 10 x 6-7 = 74-84 years old

11 year old large breed dog: 14 + 10 x 7-8 = 84-94 years old

11 year old giant breed dog: 14 + 10 x 8-9 = 94-104 years old

Interestingly, the oldest dogs I have seen were both German Shepard intact male dogs and were 21 years old. These two examples don’t follow our equation, but in my experience these are exceptions. They would have been 154 years old using our equation, but again I see these as exceptions.

Dogs, unlike cats, tend to have more difficulty dealing with kidney disease, and don’t respond as well to treatment. If you notice PU/PD (increased drinking and urinating), you should have your dog examined.

Licensing Considerations

Dog licenses for the City of Chicago are now available online. Licenses for neutered/spayed dogs cost $5.00/year, and $2.50/year for Seniors. You must have a current Cook County Rabies Tag to register. Licenses for intact (unneutered/unspayed) male/female dogs cost $50.00/year. Studies have shown that over 75% of dog bites registered with the city involved intact or unneutered dogs.

Dog Parks owned by the Park District: this is a tag that is good from January 1st to December 31st of each year and costs $6.00. They can be purchased at our office. You must have a current rabies, distemper/parvo/lepto, bordetella, fecal test, and city license to get this tag.

Cook County Rabies Tag will be issued with a certificate when your pet is vaccinated for rabies. Duplicate tags are available by calling Cook County Rabies Center at (708) 974-6140.

Simple Medical Tips

Always contact your veterinarian to report medical issues. Allergic reactions may cause swelling, which can obstruct or narrow the air pathway. Difficulty breathing can be a clinical sign of allergic reactions to insect bites, contact allergens, vaccinations, or other substances contacted or ingested.