Dog Years to Human Years: How Old is My Dog?
Most dog lovers have heard that every year dogs age is the equivalent of seven human years. Well, it may surprise some dog owners to find out that this is actually a myth!
Although dogs do definitely age faster than humans, it is not strictly a seven year to one year ratio. In fact, different sized dogs will age differently and dogs will age more quickly at different parts of their life.
In this article, we will be explaining everything that dog lovers need to know about aging in dogs. This will include explaining how dogs age, and how we can equate this to aging in humans. Alright, let’s jump right into it!
Can a Dog’s Age Really be Transferred to Human Years?
While it is not necessarily true that dogs always age seven dog years in the span of one lunar year, you can loosely convert the aging process in a dog to that of human years. In fact, this can be a useful way to gauge exactly how old your dog is.
How Can You Calculate Your Dog’s Age in Human Years?
Interestingly, there are ways that you can calculate your dog’s age into human years. Here is a helpful chart for calculating your dog’s age.
As you can see, dogs age at different rates depending on their size, with the giant dog breeds aging the fastest. Dogs also age the quickest in the first year of life compared to later on all across the board.
Why do Dogs Age Faster Than Humans?
Sadly, most mammals technically age faster than humans. This is mostly because other mammals have different DNA to humans, giving them a higher heart rate and metabolic rate. As a result of these genetic differences between humans and dogs, dogs have bodies that go through more wear and tear sooner.
Why do Larger Dogs Age Faster Than Smaller Dogs?
Large dogs age faster than small dogs because their bodies need to do more work to carry out everyday biological processes. For example, the heart of a Great Dane technically needs to work harder than the heart of a Chihuahua. The metabolic rate of large dog breeds is also faster than smaller dog breeds. This is why it is nearly impossible to see a Great Dane that is over ten years old, but you see Chihuahuas that are in their teens fairly often.
Can Your Vet Tell How Old Your Dog Is?
Yes, veterinarians can roughly estimate the age of dogs. They do this by looking at things like a dog’s teeth, eyes, body shape, and coat. This is because as dogs age, these things tend to change.
As dogs get older, their fur tends to turn grey slightly, their teeth tend to be in worse shape, and their eyes tend to become slightly clouded. Similarly, older dogs tend to have fat deposits on their lower back, while dogs that are young adults do not.
When estimating a dog’s age, a vet will look at all of these factors when making their estimation. However, this estimate will not be entirely accurate, and most vets will give you an age range such as three to five years rather than an exact age.
In addition to having vets estimate your dog’s age, there are also DNA tests that are designed to give more accurate age estimates in dogs.
At What Year Are Dogs Middle Aged?
The answer to this question depends on how large the dog is. For example, small dogs that are under 20 pounds are considered middle aged between the ages of 6 and 10. Meanwhile, medium sized dogs that are between 20 and 50 pounds are considered to be middle aged between the ages of 6 and 9.
Larger dogs are known to age faster than smaller dogs. This means that big dogs will also be considered to be middle aged sooner than smaller dogs are. Larger dogs that are between the sizes of 50 and 100 pounds are considered middle aged between the ages of 6 and 8. However, dogs that are over 100 pounds in size will be considered middle aged between the ages of 5 and 7.
At What Year Are Dogs Considered Elderly?
Like with dogs that are middle aged, the age when dogs are considered to be elderly depends on the dog’s size. Small and medium sized dogs are roughly considered to be elderly between the ages of 10 and 11. Meanwhile, large dog breeds are considered to be elderly at age 9, and giant dog breeds are considered to be elderly at age 8.
Although it is not entirely possible to pinpoint your pup’s exact age in human years, you can get a fairly close estimate based on the factors laid out in this article. For more accurate results, it is always best to see your dog’s veterinarian.
About Brown Veterinary Hospital
We are here to serve as your partner in keeping your four-legged family member healthy, ensuring you have all the tools you need to provide them with a lifetime of outstanding care. Our animal hospital in Terre Haute offers a full range of services to nurture and extend your pet’s life, from wellness and preventative care to critical care, exotic pet care, and dermatology.