How old is my Pet?
How to calculate the actual age of your pet
Most people think that calculating the age of
dogs and cats in "human years" is quite simple: multiply
their age by seven. For example, a 4-year-old dog or cat would
actually be 28 years old in human years.
But when you really begin weighing out the arithmetic, this method doesn't add up. Say a 1-year-old dog is the equivalent of a 7-year-old human -- get out of here! How many 7-year-old humans are sexually active and capable of reproducing? Dogs and cats are much more likely to have babies at 1 year old or even at 10 years old, than any person who is 7 or 70.
Aging is much faster during a dog's first two years but varies among breeds. Large breeds, while they mature quicker, tend to live shorter lives. By the time they reach 5 they are considered "senior" dogs. Medium-sized breeds take around seven years to reach the senior stage, while small and toy breeds do not become seniors until around 10.
Many veterinarians agree that a pretty good guess on the age of pets can be made using the following formula. Although still simple, it is much more accurate than the seven-year method.
Assume that a 1-year-old dog is equal to a 12-year-old human and a 2-year-old dog is equal to a 24-year old human. Then add four years for every year after that. (Example: A 4-year-old dog would be 32 in human years.)
Since this method takes into consideration the maturity rate at the beginning of a dog's life and also the slowing of the aging process in his later years, Martha Smith, director of veterinary services at Boston's Animal Rescue League, feels that this is the more accurate calculation formula. Here is a chart, for easy reference:
Human Years to Dog's Age Reference:
- 5 human months = 10 dog years
- 8 human months = 13 dog years
- 1 human years = 15 dog years
- 2 human years = 24 dog years
- 3 human years = 28 dog years
- 4 human years = 32 dog years
- 5 human years = 36 dog years
- 6 human years = 42 dog years
- 7 human years = 47 dog years
- 8 human years = 51 dog years
- 9 human years = 56 dog years
- 10 human years = 60 dog years
- 11 human years = 65 dog years
- 12 human years = 69 dog years
- 13 human years = 74 dog years
- 14 human years = 78 dog years
- 15 human years = 83 dog years
- 16 human years = 87 dog years
- 17 human years = 92 dog years
- 18 human years = 96 dog years
- 19 human years = 101 dog years
Now let's take a glimpse at a simple formula for calculating feline age in human years.
Assume that a 1-year-old cat is equal to a 15-year-old human and a 2-year-old cat is equal to a 24-year-old human. Then add four years for every year after that. (Example: A 4-year-old cat would be 32 in human years.)
The following chart shows this formula of calculation:
Human Years to Cat's Age Reference:
- 1 human years = 15 cat years
- 2 human years = 24 cat years
- 3 human years = 28 cat years
- 4 human years = 32 cat years
- 5 human years = 36 cat years
- 6 human years = 40 cat years
- 7 human years = 44 cat years
- 8 human years = 48 cat years
- 9 human years = 52 cat years
- 10 human years = 56 cat years
- 11 human years = 60 cat years
- 12 human years = 64 cat years
- 13 human years = 68 cat years
- 14 human years = 72 cat years
- 15 human years = 76 cat years
- 16 human years = 80 cat years
- 17 human years = 84 cat years
- 18 human years = 88 cat years
- 19 human years = 92 cat years
Things Owners can do to Maximize there Pets Years
While things such as heredity and intelligence are out of the owners' control, there are some things they can do to hopefully extend their pet's years.
Diet - Feeding a premium diet throughout the pet's life will ensure their pet gets all the nutrients it requires as well as minimizing the risk of dental disease (if feeding premium dry food).
Spaying/Neutering - For dogs and cats, neutering or
spaying reduces the risk of certain types of cancer (eg: breast),
and prevent pregnancy and unwanted litters. For male dogs and cats,
neutering can reduce fighting, aggression and other behaviors,
particularly if desexed before 6 months of age.
Medical Care - Providing proper medical care such as vaccinations and prevention of intestinal worms and heartworm as well as dealing with any medical issues that arise is the best thing owners can do for their pets.
Pet owners can do a lot to provide a healthy lifestyle for their pet, but pets are individuals and there are no guarantees for life expectancy. Either way, understanding dogs and cat years helps owners to understand that while their pet may only be 15 in human years, it is actually closer to approximately 80 years old in pet years.
Top 5 Ways to Improve Life for Your Senior Dog
1. Visit your veterinarian frequently. Instead of seeing the veterinarian once per year, make an appointment every six months, this will help catch any diseases, tumors or ailments before they progress too much. Many times, we can catch something before it spreads and offer a cure, or at least greatly improve the quality of life.
2. Watch your dog's weight. An overweight dog is likely to suffer more mobility and health issues and find its quality of life to be diminished. Consider switching your dog to a high-quality commercial food that is designed for seniors and adjusting your dog's calorie intake. It's a good idea to consult your veterinarian about when to make the switch, since breeds age differently.
3. Keep your dog moving. Walk your dog regularly, alternating between short and long walks. Debra Atlas, an environmental journalist, also keeps her 15-year-old dog healthy with swimming, when it's feasible. "There is essentially no impact on the joints, but it allows muscle activities and it burns calories," says Atlas.
4. Maintain training. As dogs get older, they will lose some of their sight and hearing, with that in mind, it's nice to use hand signals and repetition so that they have a routine. This will help prevent wandering off and accidents due to any old age impairments.
5. Modify your dog's environment and activities. Your dog may still want to play but may no longer initiate activity. know that though your dog is still a puppy at heart, its senior body can't keep pace, be sensitive to how much your dog is able to do. Installed a dog ramp that enables your dog to descend steps! You might need to make other adjustments, such as moving the location of your dog's bed for better access!