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How to Calculate your Dog’s Age?

by | Oct 6, 2016 | Pet Lifestyle

If your dawgie was a hooman, how old would (s)he be? People have been trying to find a good way to calculate dog years in human years since the 1200s. One of the earliest examples of this is an inscription at Westminster Abbey that dates back to the year 1268 and calculates that one human year is equivalent to nine dog years.

We all know that dogs age at different rates than us. Larger breeds tend to age faster and hence have a smaller lifespan than smaller breeds. Compared to hoomans, dawgies age more quickly at the beginning of their lives and slower toward the end. Therefore, calculating your dog’s age relative to yours is a bit tricky, but luckily it’s possible.

Seven-year Rule

A popular rule of calculation has been that 1 dog year is the equivalent of 7 hooman years. Even though this formula has been around for a surprisingly long time, it’s far from being accurate. If hoomans actually aged seven times slower than dawgies, then many of us would be able to reproduce at age seven and live to be 150 years old. Obviously, that’s not the case.

The origin of the seven-year rule (read: myth) is unknown. But I believe the formula was devised on the assumption that people lived to about 70, and dogs to about 10 years of age, approximately.

It has been proved time and again that the 7:1 ratio doesn’t stand valid in real life. But that doesn’t stop many people from defaulting to this traditional calculation. “You can’t really kill the seven-year rule,” says Kelly M. Cassidy, a curator of the Charles R. Connor Museum at Washington State University, who in her spare time maintains an online compilation of dog-longevity studies.

How to convert Dog Years to Human Years?

As a general guideline, the American Veterinary Medical Association breaks it down like this:

  • 15 hooman years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life.
  • Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a hooman.
  • And after that, each hooman year would be approximately five years for a dog.

Dawgie Years to Hooman Year Chart

How do researchers come up with those numbers?

There are several factors to consider while estimating the age of dogs and not all of them can be documented precisely. The National Center for Health Statistics doesn’t keep records for dogs. Instead, there are three main sources for data on their longevity: pet-insurance companies, breed-club surveys, and veterinary hospitals.

The longevity studies include studying the lifespans and medical histories of several hundreds of dogs from various size classification, breeds and age groups. The results are compiled and generalized for public use. It is important to understand that these numbers are merely indicative, and do not represent the exact physical and mental state of your furry baby.

Canine gerontology is a mushrooming field of science, as pet parents are looking to not only extend the time they have with their pets, but to improve the quality of that time. The Dog Aging Project is studying the aging process in dawgies, using geroscience research to “delay aging and promote healthy longevity.”

Why is it important to know my dog’s age?

Thanks to better care, pets are living longer now than they ever have before – but as pets get older, they need extra care and attention. Age is not a disease. Although senior pets may develop age-related problems, good care allows them to live happy, healthy and active lives in their senior years.

Regular veterinary examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your pet.

Understanding your dog’s “true age” is also important to understand his true dietary requirements. Growing puppies have different dietary needs than a senior dawgie. While it’s easy to spot the outward signs of aging such as greying haircoat and slower pace, it’s important to remember a pet’s organ systems are also changing. Naturally, the diet needs to change too to support the changes in his body.

An older pet is more likely to develop diseases such as heart, kidney and liver disease, cancer or arthritis. A healthy and balanced diet lowers the risk of developing such life-threatening diseases.

DawgieBowl provides 100% natural, fresh, healthy, custom diets for your best friend. We understand that every dawgie is different and that is why every DawgieBowl is different too. Customize the best food for your dog, start now.

Cover Photo Credits: ScienceMag.org


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