When adopting a dog, especially if it comes from a kennel or has been saved from the road, it is important to know the dog’s age so as to adjust accordingly to the food and care it needs to do. It is very important to calculate the age of a dog also to start a proper vaccination program, as you can see in this article: Vaccines for Dogs: what are they and when to do them
There are many people to know the years of a dog in relation to those of a human being, they make a simple multiplication for seven, so if a dog is 3 years old can be compared to a 21-year-old … but this is incorrect, and you will find out in this article.
We will explain how to calculate the age of a dog based on teeth and other physical factors, and how to compare the age of a dog to human time with precision.
How to Calculate the Age of a Dog
The safest way to know the approximate age of a dog is to look closely at his teeth, which show some peculiarities in each stage of life.
So, to count your dog’s years more or less accurate, just look at your teeth and check the following:
- 2 – 3 weeks: they have no teeth yet
- 4 – 5 weeks: the first milk teeth begin to emerge
- 5 – 6 weeks: the incisors and premolars begin to emerge
- 7 – 8 weeks: the dog already has all the dairy teeth (twenty-eight) and there will be no changes for another four months
- 4 to 5 months: milk teeth begin to fall and the permanent ones begin to spin
- 6 to 8 months: the dog already has all the teeth (forty-two), very white and shiny
- 2 – 4 years: the teeth begin to become slightly yellow and have a bit of tartar
- 5 to 9 years: the presence of the tartar is more evident and the teeth are more yellowish
- 10 to 15 years: the presence of the tartar accentuates and may lack teeth. Their color is darker
If you want to read more, read this article: Dental Period in Dogs
Evaluating the general physical shape and muscle tone of the dog will give us an additional idea of the approximate age of a dog that can be, especially at a young age.
- Eyes: Bright eyes, no tears or secretions are more common in young dogs. The opaque eyes can cause cataracts in an older dog.
- Musculature: As in men, muscles lose volume and tone over the years. This is a clear sign of the dog’s age.
- Behavior: Adult and older dogs begin to be less active, and generally more irritable. Also, they may start having different behaviors when it comes to going out for a walk, sleeping more, not recognizing family members, etc.
- The hair: the puppies have a silky hair and very similar to the plush. A young dog will have the hair soft and up, while an adult dog usually has a coarse coat and sometimes has some white stains near the nose.
Dog Years Vs Human Years
Most people, to equalize the dog’s years with those of humans, make a simple multiplication of the dog’s years by seven. So if a dog is two years old, many people think that they are equivalent to the 14-year-old human (2 x 7 = 14). But this formula is not always correct.
Not all dogs have the same life expectancy. Small-sized dogs live on average 15 years while larger-sized dogs have an average life of 10 years.
Of course, everything links to the environment and the health of the animal … and a better quality of life corresponds to a greater expectation of life.
The right thing would be to make a fair division if a human being has an average life expectancy of eighty; we have to divide this figure from the actual expectation of a dog’s life. As the smaller dogs live on average 15 years, we should use the multiple of 5.3 (80 divided 15 = 5.3).
So if your dog belongs to a small breed, to know how much your age are in human years you will have to multiply your years by 5.3.
If the dog is 5 years old, it is comparable to a 26-year-old (5 x 5, 3 = 26.5), if the dog is 2 years old, it is comparable to a 10-year-old person (2 x 5.3 = 10.6).
The large dogs have a shorter life, averaging 10 years. So if we divide 80 (average life years for a human) with 10 (average life years of a big dog), we should use the multiple of 8 (80 divided by 10 = 8).
So if you have a big, big dog and is 2 years old, it could be compared to a 16-year-old teenager (2 x 8 = 16), and if your dog reached the age of 5 it could be compared to an adult man 40 years (5 x 8 = 40).
To say the truth, equating the dog’s years with those of humans is a rather bizarre idea, also because dogs have a very different evolutionary system than that of humans. To give you an idea, a one-year-old dog would be at the stage of puberty, and two or three years old would already be in the adult phase of a human being.
In conclusion about the age of a dog, we can say that small dogs begin to age to 11-12 years, middle-aged dogs 9-10 years, and large dogs 7-8 years old. In general, at the age of eight, we can say that a dog begins to enter his “third age”, that is, an advanced age.