Until recently, we took it for granted that one year of a dog’s life equals seven years of a man’s life. Conventional wisdom told us that dogs advance seven years at a time, but research does not say the same thing. Today we can calculate a dog’s age in human years in a scientific way. Do you want to know what this calculation is like and what aspects it is based on? Then, just keep reading this article that we have prepared from Las Almenas.
Small dogs, the longest-lived
All dogs follow a similar developmental trajectory. They usually reach puberty at ten months and die before the age of 20.
However, the aging of dogs, like that of people, depends on many factors. What does seem clear is that dogs mature much faster than humans, although small breeds, such as the Yorshire terrier or the Poodle, do so at a slower rate than large breeds, which is why they live longer.
These differences in life expectancy between dogs lead us to consider other methods and concepts for calculating the age of a dog in human years, which, as we can see, is not so simple because it depends on the breed, but also on other factors that should be known.
Chronological age and biological age are not the same thing
Until now, to calculate the age of a dog in human years, we took the chronological age of the dog and multiplied it by 7. This chronological age is simply the time that has elapsed since the birth of the puppy or person.
Biological age, on the other hand, is what is responsible for measuring other physiological indicators that help us identify the stages of development of the animal or person. These indicators can be the frailty index, the presence or absence of cognitive impairment and activity levels.
The speed at which this biological age changes is due to genetic factors, but also to mental health and lifestyle. That is why, if we do not lead a healthy lifestyle, the biological age can be higher than the chronological age and, on the contrary, with a healthy lifestyle we can have a biological age lower than the chronological age.
That is why many scientists and researchers of the aging process consider that the chemical modifications that DNA undergoes throughout life create the epigenetic clock. This clock is based on the biological age where the impact of diseases, life habits and genetics allow to determine the age of a dog in human years, as well as the life expectancy of the animal or person.
Scientists have already proven that dogs have the same diseases and functional losses from aging as humans. But it turns out that the canine epigenetic clock runs much faster than that of humans at the beginning, during the developmental stage.
Then the clock slows down and no longer runs as fast. So, for example, a seven-week-old puppy would be equivalent to a nine-month-old human baby. At 2 years of age, it would be a middle-aged person. But after 2 years of age, a dog’s age in human years must be calculated differently because it is no longer going so fast.
The scientific formula for calculating the age of a dog in human years
The exact formula used by researchers at the University of California in San Diego (United States) can be seen in this link to the journal Science, but so you don’t get confused, here we explain how to calculate the age of a dog in human years.
Specifically, you have to multiply 16 by the neperian logarithm of the natural age of the dog and add 31. This formula to calculate the age of a dog in human years is effective as long as the dog is at least one year old.
16 x ln (chronological age of the dog) + 31
You will have to use a scientific calculator, but to give you an idea, here are some equivalences of a dog’s age in human years:
-1 year equals 31 human years.
-2 years equals 42 human years.
-4 years equals 53 human years.
-8 years equals 64 human years.
-16 dog years equals 75 human years.
As we can see, in the first year of life alone, the dog covers 31 years, but thereafter its epigenetic clock slows down. This means that at the beginning of his life, the clock is running much faster than the popular wisdom thought.
Don’t know your dog’s chronological age?
If you can’t calculate a dog’s age in human years because you don’t know what their biological age is, which happens with adopted dogs, then you can find clues in their dentition:
-8 weeks: At this age, they usually have all their baby teeth.
-7 months: They already have all their permanent teeth and usually look white and clean.
-1 – 2 years: The back teeth may start to yellow.
-3 – 5 years: Tartar has already accumulated on the teeth which leads to some tooth wear.
-5-10 years: At this age, the dog is already older and has more worn teeth and signs of disease.
-10-15 years: teeth worn down and with a lot of tartar, he may even have lost some teeth.
How to lengthen your dog’s biological age
Apart from the equivalence of a dog’s age in human years, what is really important is the biological age of the dog and its life expectancy. To extend it to the maximum it is convenient to:
- Follow a proper diet
The nutritional needs of the dog are different according to the age and vital stage. It is important that the diet evolves with your dog and that it is always of the best quality. This will extend its life expectancy and you will be able to notice it quickly, for example, in the quality of the animal’s coat.
Don’t forget that there are certain forbidden foods that you should not give to your dog because it could get sick. If you want to know them, you can read our article 10 forbidden foods for dogs that you should avoid.
- Practice moderate exercise
Try to get your dog to exercise every day. This will help him to keep his joints and heart in good condition, besides avoiding overweight and even diabetes.
Exercise and daily walks also allow the dog to be emotionally balanced by releasing tensions and interacting with other dogs. Keep in mind that his emotional health is also decisive in his quality of life.
- Go to the vet regularly
It is necessary to take your dog for check-ups and vaccinations. And, of course, in case of any doubt or injury, veterinary attention is indispensable. Undoubtedly, this extends the life expectancy of dogs and other animals.
- Avoid accidents
It is not always easy to avoid accidents, but you must try to keep the dog in a safe place. It is also convenient to have a first aid kit for dogs that will get you out of more than one trouble.
- Find out about your dog’s breed
We have already mentioned on other occasions that there are breeds that have a certain predisposition to suffer from certain diseases, many of them can be hereditary. That is why it is important to know everything about your dog.
If you buy a dog breed from a responsible breeder, you can be sure of its health and that of its parents, as well as the care that the puppy has received until it arrives at your home. As we say, this care is essential for a correct growth and development of your dog, both present and future.
Do you have doubts about the age of a dog in human years?
As you can see, the important thing is not to know the age of a dog in human years, but its health, emotional state and life expectancy. And although genetics has a lot to say, the life expectancy of your dog depends on the care and love you give him.
What did you think of our article? Did you know the new formula to calculate the age of a dog in human years? Did you have any doubts? You know that we are happy to hear your opinions and experiences, so you can leave us your comment at the end of the article or through our profiles on Facebook and Instagram profiles or on our YouTube channel. We hope you and your dog can enjoy many more years of mutual friendship and affection.