Aging is the single most important cause of disease, disability, and death in adult dogs. Contrary to the common view of aging as a mysterious and inevitable natural event, it is more usefully understood as a set of complex but comprehensible biological processes that are highly conserved across species. Although the phenotypic expression of these processes is variable, there are consistent patterns both within and between species.
The purpose of this feature is to describe the patterns currently recognized in the physical and behavioral manifestations of aging in the dog and how these impact the health and welfare of companion dogs and their human caregivers. Important gaps in our knowledge of the canine aging phenotype will be identified, and current research efforts to better characterize aging in the dog will be discussed. This will help set the context for future efforts to develop clinical assessments and treatments to mitigate the negative impact of aging on dogs and humans.