Most of us know how old our dogs are in human years, but what exactly is a dog year? And, what if you adopted a dog and you don't know exactly how old he is? Learning how to tell a dog's age will give you helpful information about your pet that you will need to give him the best care possible.
You have probably heard the myth that one human year is equivalent to seven dog years. No one really knows how this misconception started, but it's not exactly true.
People have been trying to determine the proper equation to translate human years into dog years for a very long time. One of the earliest examples was found at Westminster Abbey, on an inscription that dates back to the year 1268. In the inscription, it was determined that one human year is equivalent to nine dog years.
The truth is, there really isn't a hard and fast rule that equates 1 human year with any number of dog years. This is because dogs are so varied in breed and size. Like humans, these factors lead to a very diverse lifespan in the species. In this article, I'll explain how to tell a dog's age so you can get an accurate estimate of how old your pup actually is.
How To Tell A Dog's Age?
And, What Are Dog Years?
The problem with calculating dog years comes from the fact that different breeds mature differently, and that dogs do not age the same as humans do. In fact, dogs mature much faster than humans early on, but then they age more slowly after that. So, you can see where the difficulty comes in!
The first year of all dog breeds is equal to 15 human years. After the second year, small breeds tend to age slower than medium-sized dogs, while large dog breeds age even faster. That is why smaller dog breeds tend to live longer.
One study, performed on more than 50.000 dogs, showed conclusive proof that large breeds age at an accelerated pace. So, is it possible to calculate a “dog year”? If you're wondering how to tell a dog's age, there's a simple calculation that you can do to figure it out.
How to Calculate A Dog's Age
As I mention in my video guide above, there is a way for you to approximately calculate how old your dog is. The results won’t be exact, since they don’t take the breed into account. However, you won’t be off by more than 3-5 years – which is much less than being off by 20+ years with the old “1 human year equals 7 dog years” equation.
To calculate your dog’s age, subtract two from his age in human years, then multiply that number by four and add twenty-one. Here's the actual formula:
([Dog's age in human years] – 2) x 4 + 21 = Dog's Actual Age
For example, let's say your pup's age is 6 in human years. Subtracting 2 from 6 gives you 4. 4 multiplied by 4 is 16, and 16 + 21 equals 37. A dog that is 6 in human years would be about 37 years old.
For a more exact estimate on your dog's age, you can always consult with your veterinarian. After a thorough exam, they should be able to give you an estimate on your dog's age and guide you in providing the best care possible for a pet in this stage of life.