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The Age of Your Pomeranian

Do You Know the Actual Age of Your Pomeranian?

Your dog will, of course, age much faster than you. The old saying that a dog ages 7 years for each human year is not exactly true. Each dog breed ages differently. With literally hundreds of dog breeds, the scientific community needed a simple and easy way of approximating a dog's age ...

Therefore, the basic rule of 1=7 became popular. And that method was used for a long time. It by no means explained the real aging process of canines. The truth is that toy breed dogs age much differently than small, medium or larger breeds.

Because of the makeup of their bodies, they will grow older at a slightly different rate.
young adult Pomeranian
 As your Pomeranian ages, their needs will change. Just like humans, dogs are very individual in the way in which they age.

Smaller dogs, such as the Pomeranian generally live longer than larger breeds. A Pomeranian may show signs of aging anywhere as early as 7 and as old as 12 years.

In the 1930’s the life span of a dog reached its peak at 7 years! Today, with proper care, a Pomeranian may live well into its late teens if not longer.

Many vets judge the real human age equivalence of a dog based on its weight. With Pomeranians weighing less than 10 pounds, the following is the Pomeranian Age Chart.
Pomeranian Years  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
Maturity Phases for the Pomeranian Breed

1 - 6 weeks: Newborn. Eyes open at 2 weeks. Pups are walking by Week 3. Weaning ends by the beginning of Week 6. 
8 - 12 weeks: 'new' puppy. The world is their oyster! Everything is exciting but young pups also tire out easy, taking quite a few naps. 
8 weeks to 1 year: Puppy. This first year is one of quite a bit of growth. 
4 months old: Teething starts
4-7 months: Puberty (females enter heat, males have viable sperm)
5 - 6 month mark: The 'puppy uglies' begins! A dramatic change-over from puppy coat to adult. The color of the Pom may change during this time. Coat may lighten or darken. Secondary colors may fade or come in stronger. 
7-9 months: Teething stage is winding down
10 months: A Pom is just about reaching his/her adult weight. The adult coat is just about in by now.
1 year old: Adult; official an adult at this age (and the human equivalent of 15 year old teenage, the 1 year old Pomeranian has lots of energy. While housebreaking is accomplished by now & the Pom understands many of the rules with more time awake & often having a strong need to be with his humans, separation anxiety can be stronger than ever. 
8 years old: Senior. There is no official age that a dog of any breed becomes a senior. You vet will make a determination. To pacify owners, many vets wait until the 9 or 10 year mark. However, it is important to have this declared so that a Pomeranian can start having twice-per-year health checks instead of once-per-year. 
First Year Changes

Young puppies may appear to be a bit distant and it is sometimes difficult for them to focus on just one thing. Usually by the 3 or 4 month mark, the foundation for a close bond between owner and Pomeranian has been established. 

Many owners will notice that during the 1st year, the coat will change color. It is not unusual for a black to become a black and tan parti...or for a wolf sable Pomeranian to become a solid grey. This normally happens during the heavy shedding phase (known as the puppy uglies) in which the baby coat is shed and the adult coat grows in. (Seniors can develop a bit of graying however it will never be a complete coat changeover).

The first year is one of rapid growth. Some Poms grow steadily and others will have starts and stops. By the time your Pom reaches the 1 year mark, he or she will be just about at full adult size, in terms of both height and weight. 
Growth stages of Pomeranian
Signs of Aging

Time seems to go by too fast from the baby Pomeranian to the senior. Elder dogs need different care than younger dogs. There are signs that you can look out for to know that your Pomeranian is starting to grow old. When entering the senior years, some elements will change such as what they eat, exercise limitations and you will have health warning signs to look out for. 

One of the first signs of a dog aging is slowing down. Your Pomeranian will take longer to go up the stairs, get up from a lying position, etc. Never assume that a change automatically means it is a sign that your dog is getting older. Loss of mobility can be caused by a variety of health related issues including thyroid conditions and arthritis. With the right medication, some issues can be resolved and your Pomeranian will be back to normal.
One of the biggest changes you will need to make when your Pomeranian is a senior dog is the need to take them to the vet more often. Older dogs need to been seen every 6 months. It is recommended to begin a geriatric screening for your Pomeranian beginning at 8 years old unless your veterinarian recommends an earlier age. Basically, a geriatric screening for a dog will be one that includes a full physical exam, blood tests and possibly an electrocardiogram. Specialized tests may be done for your Pomeranian depending on their health history.  

In between visits to the vet and annual geriatric screenings, you can stay alert to behavioral changes and other signs of aging. Here are some things to watch for. Take your Pom to the vet right away if you notice:
  • Sudden loss of weight - This can be extremely serious.
  • Serious loss of appetite, to the point that your dog is eating almost nothing.
  • If your Pomeranian has an increased appetite but does not have an increase in weight this may point to diabetes
  • Diarrhea or vomiting, if it lasts more than a day can be a sign of one of many problems
  • Increased thirst, without a change in activity or exercise level and increased urination are other signs of diabetes. 
  • Tiring more quickly than when younger is normal as a dog ages; however this may also be a sign of disease affecting the heart or lungs. Be alert to your dog becoming excessively out of breath after minimal exertion. Have your vet check for cardio/pulmonary problems as soon as possible, if you notice such symptoms. If the vet determines that all if fine, you can continue an exercise program, but modify it in order to not overtax your Pomeranian.
  • Coughing and excessive panting may indicate heart disease. If these symptoms persist even after you've modified your dog's exercise program, this must be diagnosed.
  • Difficulty in getting up from a lying position or other problems with moving may indicate arthritis. The goal will be to find ways that relieve your dog's discomfort and help with lack of mobility. The use of a supplement to help with joint mobility can be helpful. Discuss with your vet using Glucosamine HCl & Mucopolysaccharides. You can find the proper supplements in the Pomeranian Specialty Shoppe.
  • Prescribed medication can relieve swelling in joints and an orthopedic bed works well to help an older dog receive relief from sore muscles.
  • Problems with vision and hearing are natural as a Pomeranian ages. Accommodate these changes as best you can -- by not changing the location of furniture, for example, or clapping instead of calling your dog's name when they have trouble hearing you. When hearing loss is gradual, you may find it very helpful to begin training your Pom to rely on hand signals instead of voice commands.
Behavioral changes you may see include:
  • Separation anxiety. You may notice that when you leave your older dog alone, he/she become destructive, barks,whines and/or loses control of bowel and/or bladder.
  • Uncharacteristic aggression. This may be due to painful joints, a drug reaction, or intolerance for new people and new circumstances; your older Pomeranian will like things to remain the same.
  • Confusion, lack of attentiveness, disorientation, roaming in circles, withdrawn
Read more: Senior Pomeranian Care - What you need to know about aging Pomeranians and ways to keep the senior Pom happy and healthy.
Some of the most popular pages:

Why do Pomeranians look so different from each other - A great article with lots of cute pics, explaining why this breed can have so many different looks. 
Fox Pomeranian- A super interesting page that dives into fox faces, fox haircuts & even a side-by-side comparison of the two animals. 
Pomeranian eye color - A look at not only the AKC standard, but also rare eye colors found with this breed.
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