We sometimes forget to take into account just how old our dogs really are. And it’s not a case of one size fits all. A dog’s longevity has a lot to do with the size of the dog breed itself. When we convert dog years to human years, we gain a better idea of our dog’s capability.
Longevity might be something that you want to take into account when choosing your next puppy.
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Surprised by Breed Longevity
I remember, sometime ago, spotting an absolutely beautiful dog. It was a huge dog breed. The owner was used to receiving compliments for his loyal companion. After striking up a conversation, he mentioned that this was his 3rd dog from this particular breed. It was obvious that he was very happy with this breed. However, I was shocked when he explained the reason he was already up to his 3rd.
Dogs from his favoured breed rarely live longer than 6 or 7 years of age. And this particular pooch looked so agile for his dog years. But, it appeared that he was predestined to live a shorter life than average.
On the other hand, I was quite surprised when I started researching quirky and fun facts about Chihuahuas. I didn’t realise the ripe old age they can often enjoy.
So it is obvious that size plays a significant contributing factor when it comes to canine longevity.
Dog Years to Human Years Calculator
The rule of thumb we used to use as kids (multiplying by 7) is extremely loose and outdated.
Let’s see, via this handy calculator, if we can use a more relevant conversion formula. The calculator does take into account breed sizes. It uses 3 different dog sizes because smaller dogs do age differently to extra large dogs.
Disclaimer: The results of most dog age calculators should be used as a rough guide only. Breed also comes into it and this particular calculator does not take breed into account.
This calculator is only useful if you already know the age of your dog OR if you are planning on getting a new puppy and are wondering about the breed longevity.
Dog Age Unknown – How To Work It Out
What if you have adopted a rescue dog and you don’t know the age?
There are some excellent signs you can look for that can provide an indication of age:
- Teeth – did you know that dog teeth start to be less than sparkling by the age of 1 or 2 years? You can get an excellent idea of what to look for when trying to estimate your dog’s age in this article: How to Figure Out Your Dog’s Age.
- Eye health – the video below demonstrates what to look for in an eye examination.
- Hair colour – most of us can easily recognise this because of the increasing grey hair around the nose and face area. The video below can help you equate this to an estimated age.
- Dog skin tone & muscle tone tend to decline with age
- Body agility – increasing stiffness in your dog can be an indication.
- Hearing loss, although this can also happen in younger dogs as well.
Your vet would be able to examine each of these above-listed areas and give you a fairly good indication of your dog’s age.
Some people also use DNA testing to work out the canine age.
Examine Teeth to Guestimate Dog Years
You can check the development, as well as the decline, of dog teeth to get an idea of age.
For example, did you know that by the age of 8 weeks all of the puppy teeth are usually present.
This video explains the various stages of dental development, with each age, very well. The video also gives an idea of how to examine eye health
Regardless of the dog years your pooch has reached, It is important to provide what is needed as he/she progresses through the years:
- Good nutrition
- Appropriate bedding & housing
- Affection & fun
- Medication if/when needed
- Regular vet visits and
- Whatever else become necessary to provide comfort in the more senior years.