A lot of people have been curious in finding out the real age of their dogs. Most people say that it is but a simple formula of multiplying a human year by seven. But a dog’s age may vary depending on his size and breed. Dogs also go through adolescence just like humans do. Their body undergo changes before they reach their peak and become an adult. And just like humans dogs become seniors too at some point. Determining a dog’s age can really help your pet in attaining optimal health and wellness.
How Do We Compute for a Dog’s Age?
A long time ago, people thought that there was about a very simple formula in knowing the age of a dog. Most said that you just needed to multiply the age of the dog by seven and that was it. Recent studies have proven this study as an over generalization and that it is invalid.
There are many several different theories about a dog’s age. Generally the bigger the dog the earlier they become seniors and live shorter. They become geriatric at the age of 5-6 years old. Middle sized dogs normally become old when they hit the age of 8-10 years old. Small dogs like shihtzus and Chihuahuas normally age the slowest and become seniors by the age of 9-11 human years.
A dog’s weight can be used as a guideline on how he ages and matures. A large dog is normally about fifty pounds or more. A medium sized dog weighs about 21lbs to 50lbs and has a medium sized body much like a Labrador retriever. Smaller dogs weigh about 20lbs or less. Generally, they all are of the same age until they reach the age of five human years where the increments of aging as compared to human years vary.
The first year of a dog’s life is where he matures and undergoes many changes. When he turns one in the human calendar, he would be a fifteen year old teen. When the dog becomes two, He would then be 24. After the second year in his life, his body size would now play the role in determining his age. Smaller dogs would now tend to age about four years per year on his third human year. A medium sized dog would age in increments of five years per calendar year. Large dogs on the other hand would age the fastest at about nine years per human year. There is no exact science yet in this determination of age as compared to human years. What is the best way to see it is seeing milestones in a dog’s life as compared to a human’s life stages. There are many factors that influence a dog’s age as much a human’s body age does. For example a human can be 29 in calendar years but he may be living in a body of a 50 year old due to a poor diet. This is the same for all pets. The quality of their food, their breed, their lifestyle as well as their living space can affect how much they mature in each passing day of their lives. Worming your dog can generally allow him to live much longer, as well as getting rid of fleas and ticks. These pests shorten a dog’s life span and ages him greatly because they take away nutrients that your pet needs to stay vibrant and healthy.
Simply put, your dog may fall into a specific aging category but may not necessarily be at that age level because he is healthier than most other dogs which makes him younger, or older because he is less healthy. Giving your dog the ample attention he needs will allow him to live out his years. On the other hand there is still a maximum age for dogs which is about 29. No dog has ever been recorded to have surpassed this age. The closest one ever recorded died at the age of 27.
Benefits of Knowing Your Dog’s Age
There are many benefits of knowing how old your dog is. This would allow you to support him properly and provide for his needs better. It may also allow you to plan activities with him and not misunderstand his actions. Generally younger dogs have more energy than older dogs. Older and senior dogs sometimes get tired easily and they may have some pains in their muscles and joints. Once you have determined your dog’s age, you can use that information to help him go through his life.
Breeding and Mating dogs – Most dogs reach sexual maturity at the age of one year old. At this point, your furry friend’s age would be equivalent to 15. But this does not mean they are already ready to mate and reproduce. Dogs are just like people, who cannot be responsible parents when they are just in their teens. By the time they are at two years of age, dogs would now be equivalent to a mid-twenties adult of twenty four. They are then ready to mate and reproduce. By this time they are more emotionally secure and have outgrown the mood swings of their adolescence.
Exercise and Training – A young dog of about two to three years of age is the peak of a dog’s life. He is very trainable at this age. He would normally long for active exercise such as fetching and running. He can play with you for a long time. At this time, your dog can learn a lot of tricks. Starting six months of age, you can introduce house breaking to him; you teach potty training, socialization and some games. However as your dog ages, he may have some cognitive issues. He may experience dementia and other neurological issues which would make him easy to forget. This would mean that you need to be more patient in teaching him something. His senses may not be as keen as before so you may have to peak his attention first.
Vet Visits – When a dog is young he needs to visit the vet very often to get his shots. As he grows up, he may only need it once or twice per year. The general rule is that once he goes beyond one year old, he may only need yearly checkups aside from the deworming that is every six months; which you may do at home.
Older dogs who have become seniors really need much attention from vets. They need to be checked for diseases such as kidney problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or weight loss. He may exhibit no bad symptoms but he may be suffering something since as they age, they become more susceptible to getting sick. Oxidation affects their body much more and little things may trigger illnesses.
Food and Diet – Dogs may have different needs as they grow. Some dogs when they are young or old need to have supplements because they may need it to support their health. Most adult to middle aged dogs do not need supplements and can be healthy from taking complete pet food. As a general rule, dogs should not be overweight or underweight since both of these pose threats to their health. Feeding them organic food or food that is free from harmful ingredients can prolong their life.
Pet Care and Attention – If your dog is young, he normally would be teething which would mean that he would like to chew on things. This would require chew toys to keep him away from your shoes. He would also need grooming and bathing more. As the dog ages, he may not be able to take getting a bath too often since the change in temperature can cause him to get a cold or cough. Older dogs may feel sad and depressed too at times so you need to show them affection. Some dogs who age need to wear doggie diapers to prevent him from peeing in the house. An arthritic bed can help him feel more comfortable. Also this would allow you to know if your dog is just having growing pains of is just plain aggressive.
Dogs may age differently just as humans do. Giving your pet some love and support at every stage of his life is vital for him to live well. You can prolong his life by avoiding bad food and pests in his body. I’m sure you love your dog, just as much I love mine and I know that you’d love him to blow out more birthday candles if possible.
I try my best to provide him healthy food and also we go to the vet at least twice a year. I treat my doggie like my own son and I love him so much that it would break my heart if one day he passes. Dogs are man’s best friend and they should be treated like a friend.