Debunking The Dog Years Myth

beagle puppyEveryone has heard that in order to convert a dog’s age into human years, multiply by seven. For example, a dog who is 1 calendar year old, would be the equivalent of a seven year old human. This might be a useful and easily remembered rule of thumb, but it is flawed.

Closer to the truth
The fact is, dogs do not age the same way we humans do. Our companions live out their life cycle much faster than humans. While a human can live to be 100 years old, a dog might live into their teen years.

Due to this fact, dogs need to reach maturity faster than humans. A dog can reach sexual maturity by the age of one calendar year, while a human will not become mature until their early teens.

This means that a dog at six months old would be roughly the equivalent of a five year old human child.

Once a puppy has fully matured, the process slows down. A dog at age two would be roughly 24 in human years and at age three, the dog would be 28 years old.

Take a look at this infographic for a more detailed breakdown. You will notice the age difference slows down as the dog ages.

dog years graph

Still flawed
While the information above is closer to the truth, it is still not quite right. Different dog breeds age at different rates. Small breeds tend to outlive larger ones and therefore age slower.

If you want to figure out how old your dog would be in human years, you must consider your dog’s breed, behavior, and general size, then make a guesstimate. Use one of the charts and infographics found online, like the one at the top of this page, to aid you.

Why bother?
At this point, you might be wondering why we even bother converting our pet’s age into human years.

One reason for this is to relate to them. We enjoy comparing our pets to us, and many dog owners consider their pet to be a part of their family.

Another reason is for health reasons. It is important to understand where our pets are in terms of maturity. Puppies in the early months need to be trained and are also easier to train, while those a few months older will start to exhibit different behavior. Teenaged dogs can be a handful!

What really matters is your pet’s health and wellness. As they say, age is just a number and you (and your puppy) are as old as you feel!

About the author: Kayleigh Riffic has always loved animals and has spent time volunteering at the local dog shelter. http://www.yeepet.com/people/K.T.Riffic/

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