Dog years are a myth. At the age of 1, puppies reach puberty. By the time they are 2, puppies are middle-aged. By the time they hit 3, they’ll be closer in age to a 50-year-old human.
To know exactly how to calculate your puppy’s age, you need to evaluate a few factors that influence your dog’s livelihood.
All about age and dog breeds
Let’s be clear about one thing – 7 human years do not equal a single dog year. They do not age at a rate of seven years within a year, because that would be simply impossible.
Let’s take the gracious Great Dane as an example. The average lifespan of this breed is 7 to 10 years, so a Great Dane who’s 4 years old at the moment will be nearing a middle-age crisis, or 35 years old in human form.
The American Veterinary Association elaborates that smaller breeds are considered seniors after their seventh year. Smaller animals reach adulthood quicker. Unfortunately, larger breeds have a shorter lifespan compared to smaller breeds and are considered “senior citizens” after their 5th or 6th year of age.
Large and small dogs alike are called seniors after their 5-7 year because that’s the time when they show first signs of health-related issues. Not that they are ready for retirement any time soon. Oh, far from it!
7 human years= 1 dog year? not excatly
There are three rules to abide by when calculating your dog’s age and they can be quite confusing. However, before you read the rules you need to understand that puppies develop much quicker than humans, especially in their puppyhood.
For example, a puppy’s second year of age is when they grow the most. That’s why experts believe that by their second year of life, puppies skip 9 human years.
Here are some factors that can help you calculate at which stage your dog is now:
- A medium-sized dog like a pitbull lives most of his youth in his first year of life. So let’s say your pit’s first year equals 15 human years. That means that your pit is a teenager even after the first year of age. Oh, boy! Get ready for some teen attitude, friend!
- When your dog reaches their second year, they grow 9 human years within that one. Regardless of species and size, your dog does the most development from puppyhood into adulthood in their second year. After their second year, your dog is regarded as an adult that has not yet reached full maturity.
- After your dog’s second birthday, every year equals 5 human years. So the first year is 15, the second 9, and every other year is 5 human years . Now do the math.
Other factors that influence your dog’s longevity include regular veterinary check-ups, preventive care, and breed category.
Why do some dogs live longer than others?
Even after countless researches, scientists still can’t determine why some dogs live longer than others. However, over the years some have discovered that smaller breeds outlive bigger ones. It was discovered that your doggy’s weight could do him more harm than good.
It was common knowledge that nature’s giants like elephants, giraffes, and whales live longer than smaller animals like mice. But why do big dogs have it the other way around?
Large dogs age at a very accelerated pace. Their lives seem to transfer from puppyhood into giants in a matter of months and we have evolution to thank for.
Scientists uncovered that every 4.4 pounds of body mass can reduce a dog’s livelihood within a whole month.
Another reason why larger breeds live shorter lifespans is that they encounter age-health-related issues faster than, let’s say, a Pekingese. That’s because big dogs come with big health issues and abnormal cell growth is one of them.
Other ways to tell your dog’s age
If you’re looking to adopt a dog from your local shelter and don’t know their history, there are a few telltale signs of a dog’s age.
Dog’s teeth play a key role in determining a dog’s age:
- At 8 weeks, all baby teeth are in
- By 7 months, all permanent teeth have settled and are clear white
- If the teeth are dull and there are some yellow stains visible, the dog might be 1 to 2 years
- 3-5-year-old dog might have tartar buildup
- 5-10-year-old dog’s teeth will show different diseases or signs of aging.
Older dogs have other visible aging signs like cloudy eyes, gray hair, and loose skin.
Whichever age your dog is at, make sure to love them as they never grew out of their puppy stage! With love, care and adventure, we bet that you and your dog will share countless years to come!