Determining the age of your dog is important. Not only is it convenient to know how old your pet is, but their age can also correlate with other things. For example, the amount of food they should be eating, the types of health problems you should watch for, and their activity levels should all correlate to certain stages in their life. Knowing your pet’s age in dog years will also help you estimate how long your pet will live. It is common knowledge that dogs age faster than humans, but what are dog years exactly?
Facts about Dog Years
Most commonly people believe one human year equals seven dog years. Though this is what dog years average out to be, the truth is the pace of their development will vary. An example is that during their early years a puppy will mature more quickly. So the first year in a dog’s life could possibly equate to about 15 in human years.
Not only is development a factor in your dog’s years, but also size and breed contribute to how quickly your dog will age. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs, reaching possibly 15 plus human years if they are healthy and well cared for. However, smaller breeds also mature more quickly early in their life. The larger breeds on the other hand, do not mature as quickly, but might be considered older by just age five.
Common Dog Sizes
- Small dogs are 20 lbs or less
- Medium dogs are 21 to 50 lbs
- Large dogs are 50 lbs or more
How to Estimate Dog Years
Sometimes a dog is adopted and their history is unknown. Whether they are a puppy or older dog, it can still be possible to estimate their age. For example, professionals can often use teeth to determine your dog’s age. Puppies receive all baby teeth by 8 weeks. By 7 months all permanent teeth have grown in. In the first two years teeth become dull, and rear teeth may show signs of yellowing.
Between 3 to 5 years dogs will have more tartar on all teeth and only slight signs of wear. Finally, from 10 to 15 years dogs teeth are all worn, there is heavy tartar buildup, and some teeth are likely to be missing. Other ways a vet can determine age is by looking at a dog’s bones, joints, internal organs, and muscles.
As with people, aging can bring on changes and challenges in your dog’s life. They could lose their ability to hear and see. They might lose some mobility and become obese. Some health conditions in older dogs include cancer, renal failure, arthritis, and heart problems. As a dog gains more years they may need changes in their care as well. Things like diet, exercise, and health treatments can all be impacted by dog years. So knowing a dog’s age is not only interesting, but helpful as well.
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