TAGS: training | behavior | development

What to expect from your 5-6 year old dog?

11 Feb, 2023

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While the lifespan of a dog largely depends on its breed type, size, and daily habits, 5-6 years old is typically considered middle-aged for most pups. This is around the age your dog should be well established in your daily routine and has felt one with family for quite some time. When they have been a part of your family for such a long time, it is hard to remember a time that they were not around. Some dogs have a natural tendency to be more stubborn. However, for the most part, your dog will understand and comply with the commands you give them. At this point, I am sure they know the whole trick routine that you have built for them off by heart. 


Dog Giving Paw


Energy Levels


Dogs at 5-6 years old still have plenty of energy and will love to run and play. There is no good reason to let up on the amount of exercise they receive, as they should not have slowed down significantly. Not all dog breeds require the same amount of exercise, so whatever has been working well until this point should carry on. Putting emphasis on daily exercise is even more critical now than ever, as your dog's metabolism is beginning to slow down. This puts them at risk of putting on some extra weight if they do not exercise properly, which can lead to health issues down the line. If your dog has made great doggo friends over the years at the dog park, then it is recommended to continue to let them interact and socialize with other dogs. Letting your dog play with other like-minded dogs will be excellent for both their physical and mental health.

Keeping your dog mentally stimulated is still very important at this age. Training should never stop, and your pup will still be more than happy to perform tricks. It is commonly believed that as dogs get older, they cannot learn new tricks. It is true that it becomes increasingly difficult. However, with enough work, your middle-aged pup should still be more than capable of learning new things. 


Golden Retriever running in grass




Generally speaking, your dog should still be healthy at this age. It is essential to begin to keep a closer eye on them, though, as prevention is the best medicine. Picking up on warning signals from your dog, such as irregular body language, excessive shedding, excessive barking, howling, repeated vomiting, or any other indication that they are not themselves, should be brought to your vet's attention. If you can pick up on a medical condition that your pup has early, you may prevent it from worsening and having long-lasting adverse effects. 


Male vet with dog


If you notice your pup begins to gain a few pounds, it may be time to change its routine. It is possible that they may need more exercise and less calorie intake. It is always best to consult with your vet, as they will be able to offer you an appropriate plan for helping your doggo shed some weight. If you have been giving them endless amounts of treats, this might be a good time to slow it down. Obesity predisposes your dog to various health problems, including arthritis, bone and joint problems, liver and heart conditions, and overheating. Keeping your dog healthy is the key to a happy and long-lasting life for them.


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