Some people will tell you that dogs age seven years for every one human year, but that’s not always true. Not only do their bodies age differently than ours do, but their lifespan is also affected by things like breed and size.
So how old is your dog really? It depends on a lot of factors! In this article, we’ll cover everything from why the 7-year rule doesn’t always apply to how to get an expert opinion on your dog’s true age once and for all.
Why does the regular 7-year rule not work?
Dogs age differently based on their genetic makeup, lifestyle, and health. They have shorter life spans than humans, which means they age at a faster rate as well. Depending on their breed and size, a dog can have anywhere from 7-15 years.
The average lifespan of a large breed dog is 10 years while small breeds fall in at 11 or 12 years. As you might imagine, these numbers vary with each individual animal—your Lab could live 14 years while your Chihuahua might only make it to 9 or so—but the rule of thumb still holds true: smaller dogs live longer than larger ones because their hearts are able to pump blood around their bodies more efficiently (and thus give them better cardiovascular health).
What are some ways to estimate a dog’s age?
It’s not always easy to guess a dog’s age by looking at it, especially if you don’t know much about dogs. But there are some things you can look for that can give you an idea of how old your dog might be.
- Look at their teeth: If they still have a full set of healthy teeth and no tartar buildup, it’s likely they are between one and two years old.
- Check the eyes: A lot of dogs start developing cataracts in their senior years (around seven to 11), but if they have clear vision, they’re most likely younger than six years old. The same goes for cloudy eyes—if they’re blue or brown, that indicates an older dog; if they’re yellowish in color, it means she may only be one year old or less.
- Examine their coat: Older dogs’ fur tends to get a little grey, so look out for greying fur around the muzzle.
- Examine their hearing: Younger dogs generally have very sharp hearing, if the dog doesn’t respond to you quickly, they may be older/hard of hearing.
- Pay attention to their mobility: Younger dogs tend to be more active and agile, whereas older dogs can get a little slower and less nimble. If you notice the dog is having trouble walking upstairs or jumping onto furniture, it may mean they’re getting on in years.
Visit VIP Animal Hospital to get expert care for your dog at every age
If you are looking for a veterinary hospital that can take care of your dog at every stage of life, look no further. Our team of experienced veterinarians and staff is ready to provide your dog with the expert care at every age.
We understand how important it is to keep your pet healthy throughout their lifetime so they can enjoy many years with you.
Contact us today to book your next appointment!