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April 18, 2012 at 4:19 PMComments: 5 Faves: 0

Pets and Their Age - Not What You Think It Is!

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

Check out this FUN Pet Age Calculator App!

When I was a young girl, I was taught that a dog's and cat's age is equivalent to 7 years of a human. So, for every year, multiply that number by 7 to determine a pet's age.

DOGS

So let's look at my dogs; Izzy, my Mini Dachshund, and Romeo, my Pomeranian (two small breeds).

  • Izzy is 6 years old, so, in human age, that would be what I thought was 42 years old. Not so! She is considered 40 years old in human years (is two years really a big deal?).
  • Romeo who is 9 years old, would be 63. His new age according to this new calculation; 52 (he is so much younger then I thought!!)
  • According to the new calculations; as they get older they don't age as fast as we originally thought
    • When 12 years old, instead of being 84 years old with the old calculation, they would be 64 years old, that is a 20 year difference!
  • Those two extra years for Izzy are a big deal after all!

It is known that dogs do age very rapidly in their first two years of life. Although they have a body of an adult usually by 12 months old, just like an 18 year old human, this doesn't mean that they have the maturity level of an adult. Many dogs are considered an adolescent (teenager mind-frame) until they are 2-3 years old (size and breed plays a role in this stage).

  • Larger Dogs tend to age quicker then smaller dogs
  • Smaller Dogs tend to live longer then larger dogs
  • Average lifespan is considered to be around 12-13 years (but breed and size can play a role in this)
  • Smaller breeds tend to take longer to mature mentally into adulthood (sometimes up to 3 years old)
  • Larger breeds are thought to mature by 18 months old
  • Female dogs tend to live longer then male dogs

Let's take a look at the new age calculation formula (according to the article, Martha Smith, director of veterinary services at Boston's Animal Rescue League feels this is a more accurate formula), this formula is different for the "Large Breeds" which stays with the old calculation of every 7 years, however at age 1, a "Large Breed" is considered 12 years old then originally thought to be 7 years old. Lets take a look at the formula:

Dog's Age

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

OLD AGE CALCULATION

0

7

14

21

28

35

42

49

56

63

70

77

84

91

98

105

LARGE BREEDS

0

12

19

26

33

40

47

54

61

68

75

82

89

96

103

110

SMALL BREEDS

0

15

24

28

32

36

40

44

48

52

56

60

64

68

72

76

80

84

88

For the Small Breed Dog's and Cats aging process, at first by the looks of it, you would think this makes your pet age faster then the old formula, however as they continue to age, you see the years of aging slows down and does not add up so quickly as the old formula demonstrates.

Sadly, this doesn't hold true for the Large Breed Dog's.

CATS

I will use my cats for the example. Oliver is a happy-youthful 11 year old boy and Casey is a vibrant-young 12 year old. According to the new calculation, this is how it looks for them;

  • Oliver who is 11 years old would be 77 years old according to the old formula, new formula says my boy is only 60 years old! That is a 17 year difference, WHOA!
  • Casey is 12 years old and with the old formula that would be 84 years old in human years, not so according to the new formula! Casey is a young 64 year old man!

The new calculation formula for cats is a little different than dogs, the cat and "small breed" dog are the same; however the "large breed" dog is 12 years old in human years by age one and starts to calculate 7 years thereafter, vs. the cat and "small breed" dog calculating at 4 years after 2 years old. The cat's aging process looks like this;

Cat's Age

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

OLD AGE CALCULATION

0

7

14

21

28

35

42

49

56

63

70

77

84

91

98

105

112

119

NEW Age in Human Years

0

15

24

28

32

36

40

44

48

52

56

60

64

68

72

76

80

84

According to the new formula, after age two, you add four years for every year after that for both "small breed" dog and cat.

I personally LOVE the new formula, if I had my way, my pets would live forever. I like seeing that they are actually younger in their aging years then I once thought.  It makes me feel good knowing they are mentally and physically younger as they age!

Resources:

Animal Discovery - Choosing a Dog - Life Stages

Pets - Old Pet Correctly Calculate Dog/Cats Age

More from Health Coach Victoria Swanson Others Are Reading

5 Comments

  • Thanks for the info Victoria, I was like you, I previously always thought a dog year equaled about 7 human years; this article really offers a new perspective!

  • Thanks Brad! I loved finding out the new ages of my pets in human years....they are much younger with the new formula :-)

  • No matter what formula you use, they will still die the exact same day, month and year they would have in the first place. By the same token, they will also live no matter what age you call them so it all is just a matter of words. I had a male daughshund that lived to be 17 years and 3 months and it depends on the care and love you give them as to how long you have them with you for the most part. Feed them right and love them lots, they will be with you as long as they can.

    bill

  • Hi Bill! I totally see your point of view, but for me, I like to put an age with my pets as it does help me to understand why certain behaviors and attitudes change as they go into different phases of their life. Reminding myself that my cat, Casey is 64 years old, helps me to understand why he doesn't have the same "pep in his step" as he did 6 years ago. In the end, it is just a number. But for some, having a number to relate to their pet in the aging department can be helpful. I just wish they lived much longer then the short time they have with us. ~Victoria~

  • So, my cat, accordiing to your numbers is 72 years young at his age of 14! I knew he was acting older lately!

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