If you have a dog at home, it is natural for you to want to know their age in terms of human years. The kind of care – medical, emotional, and physical varies greatly with the dog’s age and development. It is, thus, crucial to keep a tab on how old your dog is. Dogs are fascinating creatures that have a very different maturity rate from humans. There is the simple “one dog year is equal to 7 human years” formula but this is not always accurate or even scientifically backed. Different breeds have different life spans and it is impossible to determine using one generalized formula. Smaller breeds are said to live longer than the larger ones, their rate of development and maturity is vastly different, and the 1:7 human to dog years ratio is often redundant in such cases. A study conducted in 2019 has come up with a different formula that takes into account the various genetic changes and changes in the DNA of dogs over time. Then how can you find out your dog’s age in terms of human years? What formula applies when you’re calculating how old your pooch has gotten? Let’s find out!
It is common knowledge that smaller breeds live longer than the older ones. They also mature quicker during the first few years of their lives while huge ones that may mature slowly at first but reach middle age by the age of 5.
The following chart will give you a rough idea about how age progresses in dogs depending on their breed size and lifespan.
|SIZE OF THE DOG||SMALL||MEDIUM||LARGE|
|AGE IN DOG YEARS||AGE IN HUMAN YEARS|
Why Do Smaller Dogs Outlive Bigger Dogs?
Scientists have been astounded by this simple but surprising phenomenon. We know that bigger mammals live longer than smaller ones. Then why is it that this is reversed in the case of dogs? Why do smaller dogs live for more years than bigger ones do? What is the correlation between body mass and lifespan? Let’s find out.
Researcher Cornelius Krauss, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Gottingen, Germany says that larger dogs happen to age at an accelerated pace and that their life unwinds faster than others. Scientists have found that every 4.4 pounds of body mass reduce a dog’s life expectancy for about a month. Krauss has cited several reasons for this effect.
- Larger dogs succumb to age-related diseases like loss of vision, hip or joint dysplasia, cataracts, and more sooner than smaller ones.
- Larger dogs are more prone to abnormal cell growth which ultimately leads to cancer.
Formula for Counting Dog Years In Terms Of Human Years
The American Veterinary Association has provided a few pointers as general guidelines for calculating your dog’s age.
- 15 human years constitute the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life.
- The second year of a dog’s life is almost equal to nine years of a human being’s life.
- After the second year, each dog year would be calculated as five human years.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has conferred that both cats and small dogs can be considered “seniors” once they hit 7 years of age. They go on to live long after that. However, bigger sized dogs have a shorter lifespan and they can be considered to be “seniors” once they hit 5 or 6 years of age. This seniority is based on the fact that the dog’s age grows much faster than human beings do and veterinarians often notice age-related problems in dogs at this point and age.
A classic example of this is the Great Dane whose life expectancy, according to the Great Dane Club of America, is 7 to 10 years. At 5 years of age, Great Danes would be 35 by human years. However, it is important to remember that these are rough estimates made based on pet insurance companies, breed club surveys, and veterinary hospitals.
How Can I Guess My Dog’s Age?
If you have recently adopted a puppy or dog whose history and exact age you are unaware of, don’t worry. Many clues give you hints about your dog’s age, primarily “teething”. Even if you don’t know your dog’s exact birth date, these clues, especially their rate of development of teeth can give you crucial hints about your dog’s age. However, remember that teething may vary from breed to breed and it also depends on the kind of dental care your dog has received in the past.
- By 8 weeks of age, all of your dog’s baby teeth are in.
- By 7 months, all of your dog’s permanent teeth are in. At this point, they are white and clean.
- By 1 to 2 years of age, your dog’s teeth will appear duller. There may also be some yellowing at the back.
- By ages 3 to 5 years, all of your dog’s teeth have tartar build up and begin to wear.
- By 5 to 10 years of age, your dog’s teeth will show more signs of wear and disease.
- By 10 to 15 years of age, your dog’s teeth will mostly be worn and there will be a heavy build-up of tartar. Some teeth may likely be missing.
More specific signs of aging exhibited by senior dogs are:
- Cloudy eyes
- Grey hair that starts around the muzzle and spreads to the rest of your dog’s face, head, body, and limbs.
- Stiff legs
- Loose skin
You can also take your dog to a veterinarian who can guess their age with the help of a complete physical exam and tests to determine their bones, joints, muscles, and internal organs.
Be it in human years or dog years, there is a charm in every step of the process by which your dog matures and grows old. Their grey muzzles and wise faces make senior dogs all the more serene and lovable.