Category Archives: Aging
I came across this article on Yahoo! last week and found it really interesting. I haven’t gotten around to posting about it, but the time is here and now! So, we all know how to calculate our dog’s age. It’s simple really, we just multiply their “human years” by seven and, voila! There you have it! “Dog years.” So why is my “seven year-old” terrier about to give birth to a litter of five? And how come my chow mix was 126 before things really went south? The answer is as simple as the old way of calculating a dog’s age: we were doing it wrong!
As the linked article points out, dogs age differently over time (as do humans if you think about it). Puppies tend to develop pretty quickly, but as that pup turns into a full-grown adult, the aging slows down quite a bit. Humans are much the same, but over a longer cycle. If you only saw a baby once a month, he/she would look pretty different each time. Once that baby is 35 though, you might not notice a difference if you only saw the person once a year. The old practice of simply multiplying by seven doesn’t account for the differing speeds at which dogs age.
So how do we do it? The article linked above suggests multiplying by 12 for each of the first two years, then adding four for each year after that. So, a on year-old pup would be much like a 12 year old child. At age two, your pup is all grown up, much like a 24 year old young adult. From there, it’s simple; add four years for every year that passes. Below is the chart used in the article:
To me, it’s a very interesting concept and seems about right. It’s definitely better than “the old way” and it’s still pretty easy to calculate how old your dog is. However, I’m not sure it goes quite far enough. I would suggest that perhaps a one year old pup is closer to a 15 year old child, and that a two year old dog is closer to a 20 year old young adult. From there, I think the article is pretty close. I would say each year is between 4-5 “human years.” Clearly, different dogs will age at different rates (much like us humans). Bigger dogs always tend to age quicker than smaller dogs and any number of health conditions can change things dramatically, but this is a pretty interesting concept and it’s nice to think of your dogs in terms of ages we can associate with.
For example, Buddy, the Cocker Spaniel on the right (above) is three-ish years old. According to the article, that makes him roughly 28. I suppose he could be, but he sure is a little rambunctious for a 28 year old! I think he might be closer to the 20 years old by my method or the 21 years old by the old method of multiplying by seven. Hope on the other hand (on the left above), is between 6-7. So that would make her 40-44 according to the article (40-45 by my suggested method, or 42-49 by the old way). That sounds about right. And isn’t it interesting that as the dogs get older, all the methods start to catch up?
Now obviously, none of these systems is going to be perfect. After all, they are a special bunch those dogs! But again, it is fun isn’t it? What do you think? Which way makes more sense to you? How old is your pup? We’d love to hear your thoughts!