The popular formula to convert a dog’s age to human years is to multiply the dog’s age by 7. This formula has been around for so long that nobody knows who made it and where it started from.
But recently, veterinarians and dog professionals have pointed out that this formula is too simple, and many variables have an impact on the age of a dog. These factors need to be accounted for when determining your dog’s age in human terms.
This article will help you to find out how to convert your dog’s age into human years and what factors affect the calculation of your dog’s age.
Importance of calculating a dog’s age
People tried to transform the age of dogs into human terms. There is an inscription on animals and people from Westminster Abbey in London dating back to the 1200s. In the inscription, dogs live 9 years while human being lives 81 years.
Calculation of the age of a dog in human terms is not based solely on curiosity. A dog is quick older than a human being. Therefore, it is essential to calculate the age of a dog to determine how best a pet can be cared for when it passes through all phases.
Ways to convert your dog’s age into human years
Today, you can use three methods if you want to convert your dog’s age into human years. These are:
1. The “x 7” formula.
This is the most popular and most common method that people use in converting a dog’s age into human terms.
The history behind this formula, as discussed above, is not apparent. It was based on statistics, one hypothesis states that human being lives up to an average age of 70 years old while dogs live to an average age of 10 years old. So, there is a 7:1 ratio between humans and dogs.
Dog experts state that this formula is inaccurate based on two reasons:
- a. the first two years of a dog’s life is already equivalent to 18–25 human years based on physical and behavioral development; and,
- b. the size and breed of a dog can affect and change the ratio.
2. The “10.5 + 4” formula.
This formula is not as common as the one above. The equation goes:
1st dog year = 10.5 human years
2nd dog year = 10.5 human years
subsequent dog years = 4 human years each
This formula is a little bit more accurate than the first one. But it still does not take into account the size and breed of a dog.
3. Size and breed calculators and charts
There are now online calculators that take into account the size and breed of a dog.
A calculator of this kind is Pedigree (https:/www.pedigree.com/dog-care/dog-age-calculator), and another one is available from the websites at www.ajdesigner.com/fl_dog_age/dog_age.php. It can be used to convert a pet age to human years.
Some charts also take into account the weight and size of dogs to convert a dog’s age into human years.
These calculators and charts are considered more accurate because they take into account factors that affect a dog’s longevity.
Dog years to human years chart
Let’s take a closer look at some of the charts that can be used as a guide to a dog’s age.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) uses this chart to estimate the age conversion of dog years to human years:
|Dog years||Human years|
The AVMA’s chart is very general and covers dogs from small to large breeds.
Here is another chart that estimates your dog’s age converted to human years:
Factors that affect a dog’s age
As stated above, size and breed are very important factors that affect a dog’s age. The third important factor is a healthcare.
1. Size of dogs
You can see, based on the graphs above, that dogs of a big breed tend to live longer than dogs of smaller breeds. Large breeds when they are 5-6 years of age are regarded “old” or “elderly.” Small breeds when they are 10-14 years of age are regarded “seniors.”
So let’s look at some of the breeds of dogs and how to determine which category your dog falls under based on the American Kennel Club classification.
|Size||Average Weight (Adult Dog)||Sample|
|Giant breeds||75-120+ pounds||Akita, Bernese Mountain Great Dane, Dog, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard|
|Large breeds||55-85 pounds||Alaskan Malamute, Boxer, German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Tibetan Mastiff|
|Medium breeds||35-65 pounds||Australian Shepherd, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Samoyed|
|Small breeds||7-35 pounds||Bichon Frise, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Dachshund, French Bulldog, Pug, Shiba Inu, Shih Tzu, Whippet|
|Toy breeds||2-9 pounds||Chihuahua, Maltese, Papillon, Pomeranian, Toy Poodle, Yorkshire Terrier|
Mammals with enormous body mass such as elephants and whales generally live longer. But it seems that dogs are an exception to this rule. No study has yet identified why dogs display a distinct lifespan depending on their size.
One probable cause is that larger breeds develop illnesses related to aging faster than those from smaller breeds.
Here are the most popular dog breeds in the U.S.A. and their usual life expectancy:
|Australian Shepherd||12-18 years|
|Bernese Mountain Dog||6-8 years|
|Boston Terrier||11-15 years|
|Cavalier King Charles Spaniel||9-14 years|
|Doberman Pinscher||10-13 years|
|French Bulldog||8-10 years|
|German Shepherd Dog||11 years|
|German Shorthaired Pointer||12-14 years|
|Golden Retriever||11 years|
|Great Dane||6-8 years|
|Labrador Retriever||11 years|
|Miniature Schnauzer||12-14 years|
|Pembroke Welsh Corgi||12-15 years|
|Saint Bernard||8-10 years|
|Shetland Sheepdog||12-13 years|
|Shih Tzu||12-16 years|
|Siberian Husky||12-15 years|
|Yorkshire Terrier||13-20 years|
According to records, the longest dog to live longest was an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey who lived for 29 years and 160 days.
Concerning breeds, some researches have shown that inbreeding may lead to a shorter lifespan in a dog. In contrast, crossbreeding could lead to a longer lifespan.
The reason is that the diseases prevalent to its breed are carried by an inbred dog. In the meantime, a crossbred dog generally inherits its parents ‘ excellent characteristics and not many diseases.
Just like humans, a dog that is adequately cared for, given a proper diet, and frequently exercised has a greater opportunity of living longer than a dog that is obese and has no regular physical activity.
Let’s talk further discuss the important points under healthcare.
1. Proper care
A dog should have regular check-ups with a veterinarian. This is like having an annual physical examination in human terms. A vet can check your dog’s condition, advise you on the right diet for her, and offer her the significant shots she needs.
Some studies have established a positive connection between spaying and neutering and longer lifespans among dogs.
Dogs who are neutered or spayed at a young age have reduced risks of developing cancers like ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or testicle cancer.
However, other studies indicate that there is no link between surgical procedures and diseases. Although it was known that spayed females live longer than intact females, some neutered male dogs grow cancer of the urinary tract or prostate cancer.
But there is a marked reduction in stress among dogs that have been neutered and spayed. Less stress is a big factor in longer lives among dogs.
The debate on the ideal diet for a dog will probably never end. This is because each dog is unique.
Some dogs are supplied with raw diets for long life. Some dogs are thriving on wet food. Due to sensitive stomachs, some dogs need special diets. Some dogs are white meat allergic. Some dogs are unable to manage grains. Some dogs aren’t fond of vegetables. Some dogs can eat anything.
Your dog’s diet has to meet her specific nutritional requirements at each level of her life.
She will need a diet for maximum growth when she is still a puppy. This means she needs protein and calcium for developing muscles and bones.
When she becomes an adult dog, she will need protein, vitamins, and minerals for energy.
When she becomes a senior dog, she might need a softer diet for easier digestion.
Another reason why frequent visits to the vet are essential is to select a correct diet. Your veterinarian may assist you to track the response of your dog to certain foods, find out what ingredients it is allergic to, and answer your questions about what food is best for your dog.
3. Regular exercise
Obesity among dogs can lead to many other illnesses. This is one of the many reasons why regular exercise is important for dogs.
Many owners have testified that regular exercise has also led to more well-behaved dogs.
Just like diets, exercise should be adjusted according to your dog’s age.
Puppies have soft pads, so they should only run on soft surfaces such as carpets or grass for those under three months. Don’t let your young puppy run all the time up and down the stairs because in the future she might develop hip dysplasia. Also, don’t indulge your young pup in long runs.
When your dog is a teenager or an adult, then you can have long walks and runs with her. You can also play active games and go through intense training with her.
Of course, if your dog becomes pregnant, then her physical activities should be less intense.
This is also true when she becomes a senior. In old age, your dog could suffer from age-related illnesses like arthritis, so her exercise should not be intense or active.
It is a sad fact of life that your dog will have a shorter lifespan than you. She will develop and age faster than you.
This is one reason why every stage of your dog’s life is important. Whether your dog is a cute puppy or an energetic adult or a sweet senior, she will need your attention and care a happy life.