Everyone knows that dogs don’t live as long as humans do, but it can be challenging to figure out your dog’s age is in human years.
After all, you may have heard the famous “1 dog year = 7 human years” theory, but this isn’t entirely accurate.
In reality, breeds age differently, and small dogs tend to live longer than large ones.
So how do you figure out your dog’s age in human years? Let’s take a look.
The origins of the dog years myth
How did the notion that one dog year equals seven human years originate?
One hypothesis regarding the origin of this formula is that the 7:1 ratio has been derived from the fact that humans lived to approximately 70 years old, while dogs lived until around 10 years old.
This was assumed to be a precise comparison; however, it fails to account for other variables like breed size or lifestyle differences.
Aging differences by breed
It’s crucial to remember that not all dog breeds age at the same rate when comparing the ages of dogs and humans.
For instance, smaller breeds like Chihuahuas generally have a longer lifespan — averaging between 12-20 years — than larger breeds like Great Danes, which have an average life expectancy of 8-10 years.
This makes it challenging to precisely equate dog years to human years since different breeds age differently.
Calculating your dog’s age in human years
Scientists have recently established that a medium-sized dog’s first year of life equates to about 15 human years.
The second year of this type of dog’s life equals approximately nine years for a human. Therefore, when this dog reaches two years of age, it will be around 26 human years old.
Each subsequent year would translate to around five years for a dog. As a result, when a dog turns three, it will be 31 years old in human years, and this pattern continues.
When a dog reaches age 10, it will be 66 years old in human years.
Again, there are variations depending on the dog’s size, and the above calculation is for small to medium-sized dogs.
Large dogs age faster than smaller dogs and typically have shorter lifespans.
Recognize signs of aging. For example, dogs typically start losing their baby teeth at three months and have all their permanent teeth by six months.
As dogs age, their hair also changes color, so white or gray hair along the muzzle helps indicate age.
Why is age so important?
Identifying the signs of aging is crucial to ensure that your pet receives appropriate care and attention as it ages.
Typical signs of aging include alterations in behavior, weight changes, decreased energy levels, and changes in sleeping patterns.
Moreover, it’s essential to schedule regular checkups with the vet since these visits become more vital for senior pets, which might require additional assistance, such as medication or dietary adjustments.
Get insight into dog behavior
Comprehending your dog’s “human age” can also provide valuable insight into its conduct. For instance, when your pup approaches its first birthday, it begins the “adolescent phase.”
This is when your furry family member progresses from a puppy to a teenage dog.
Throughout this stage, your dog will be active and energetic as it explores the world.
Although there might be some oppositional behavior, it doesn’t mean your “teenager” is disobedient; it’s just growing and having a hard time controlling its impulses.
Once your pup enters adulthood (between 2-7 years old), it should become calmer than during adolescence, although this isn’t always the case.
Depending on the breed, size, and lifestyle, your pup may still exhibit sudden bursts of energy but should generally be more composed than before.
This stage should proceed relatively effortlessly if your pup has received appropriate training since puppyhood.
Keep your aging dog healthy and happy
As dogs age, their needs change.
To best care for your senior dog, it’s essential to be aware of the changes that are taking place.
Though it can be hard to watch our furry friends get older, a few simple tips and tricks can help your dog stay as healthy and happy as possible throughout its golden years.
Regular vet visits
Regular visits to the vet are an essential part of taking care of older dogs.
Not only do these appointments provide timely detection of any medical issues, but they also act as a checkup to monitor your dog’s overall health.
As senior dogs have increased vulnerability to certain illnesses, regular vet visits can help detect any signs before they worsen and allow the vet to suggest further tests or treatments if necessary.
As your dog gets older, its dietary needs can change as well. With lower activity levels, seniors typically require fewer calories than puppies and young dogs, so transitioning to a specialized diet for seniors may be the best option.
Senior dog food has been formulated to provide specific nutrients for aging pets, such as Omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in joint health and support brain function.
To make mealtime more comfortable for elderly pets who may have difficulties with larger portions due to dental or other health problems, consider providing smaller meals multiple times per day.
Even though your dog is getting older, it still requires exercise to keep its body in shape and stimulate its mind! Walking around the block or swimming is a great way to get physical activity without putting too much strain on the joints.
Playing with toys is another fun way to help your dog stay mentally engaged while providing much-needed physical activity.
Exercising helps keep aging bodies in shape and strong while providing mental stimulation that can help reduce boredom or depression in senior dogs.
Determine your dog’s age in human years
It can be challenging to determine your pup’s age in human years, but a few simple tools are available to help you figure it out.
Knowing your pup’s age in dog and human years allows you to be more informed about its behavior and provide any extra care it may need during different stages of life.
Consider your dog’s breed, weight, and years since birth, and use a dog age calculator to determine your dog’s age.
An accurate understanding of its age helps ensure your dog gets the best care possible and has a full, enjoyable life.