If you own a dog you’ve probably heard one of the most common misconceptions surrounding them. The 7 dog years to 1 human year theory. While there is some truth to the concept, the math is not that simple. When calculating your pup’s age there are a lot factors you need to take into consideration. Size and breed are just a couple of them. Also what most people don’t take into consideration is that dogs mature faster than humans. By the time they turn one, their age is equivalent to the age of a teenager. Hence we count their first year as 15 in human years.
The above mentioned rule cannot always be applied, as not all dogs are average sized. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger ones and also mature more quickly. Also an important factor, the pup’s breed. Mixies tend to live longer as ‘breed mixing’ produces a healthier offspring. Therefore these pups are often more resilient than their pure breed friends. It’s worth to mention that ‘genetical perfecting’ of breeds sometimes resulted in interbreeding that has long lasting medical consequences. For example a bulldog, due to their general health might never live as long as dachshund.
Lets see the numbers
Not sure of your pet’s age?
If you have an adopted pooch and are not sure of their age, here are a few things to look out for.
Their teeth are a great indicator of their age. Pups are growing their permanent teeth when they are 3-4 months old. Up until they turn one, their teeth are usually bright white and clean. After the first year their teeth will show a bit more wear. You’ll start to notice plaque and discoloration. Dogs around 5 have a lot or tartar, discoloration and the teeth are not as pointy anymore.
Examine their coat. Between 7 and 10 most dog are likely to develop a grey coat around the muzzle, neck and chest. Greying fur, however can be the indication of stress and anxiety rather than the result of aging.
Eyes and their hearing can be a good indication of age too. Around the ages of 6-8 the eyes can get cloudy and develop some discharge. Not to mention, the hearing might fail in an advanced age. My frenchie was 13 when she passed and for about a good year before that she was almost stone def. Loved her even more!
I’m only stressing the importance of your dog’s age, because at every singe stage of their life they have different needs. Different needs regarding food, exercise, walks and potty time. It is easy to look on them as forever babies, but it’s important to keep up with their actual age so we can keep them in top form.
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Sources: WebMD – How to figure out your dog’s age?, Puppy age calculator – Pedigree, How old is your dog? – Embark Vet