Calculating your dog’s age

My dog’s age in human years


A popular calculation since the 1950s is 1 dog year is equivalent to 7 human years. Even though this formula has been around for many decades, calculating a dog’s age is not that simple. That doesn’t stop many people from defaulting to this traditional calculation. A common explanation for how this calculation got started is that the 7:1 ratio seems to have been based on the statistic that people lived to about 70, and dogs to about 10.

How to calculate dog years to human years?

As a general guideline, the calculation breaks down like this:

  • 15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life.
  • Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human.
  • And after that, each human year would be approximately five years for a dog.

Where did that calculation come from?

There are several factors to consider, so it’s not possible to pin it down precisely, but the American Veterinary Medical Association says: “small dogs are generally considered ‘senior’ at seven years old, but we all know they’ve got plenty of life left in them at that age. Larger-breed dogs tend to have shorter lifespans compared to smaller breeds and are often considered senior when they are 5 to 6 years of age. The ‘senior’ classification is based on the fact that pets age faster than people, and veterinarians start seeing more age-related problems in these pets”.

Why Do Smaller Dogs Live Longer than Larger Dogs?

This phenomenon continues to be a mystery and research has yet to explain the relationship between body mass and a dog’s lifespan.

Senior dogLarge dogs age at a faster pace. Scientists have concluded that every 4.4 pounds of body mass reduced a dog’s life expectancy by about a month. The reason why is still unknown, although some possibilities include that larger dogs may succumb


to age-related illnesses sooner and that the accelerated growth of large dogs may lead to a higher likelihood of abnormal cell growth and death from cancer.

Canine gerontology is a growing field of science, as dog lovers are looking to not only extend the time they have with their pets but also to improve the quality of that time. Whether measured in human years or dog years, as our dogs mature and age there are beauty and charm at every step of the way.

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