Most people believe one dog year equates to seven human years, without realising that breeds age differently. In fact, calculating your dog’s age is far more complicated than simply multiplying by seven.
To translate a pet’s age into a meaningful, accurate number, there are a number of things you should consider, including physique, weight and breed.
Calculating your pet’s age in human becomes even more difficult if you don’t know exactly when your dog was born. There are some tricks to getting a rough estimate of your dog’s age.Quote now for pet insurance
Common signs of aging
Have a look at your dog’s back teeth. If they’re pearly white, your pup’s less than a year old. If you notice a bit of yellowing, your dog is probably between the ages of one to two. Tartar buildup could indicate an age of three to five, while missing teeth and substantial signs of wear will be present in a canine of advanced age.
Opaque patches in your dog’s eyes are a clear indicator of age.
Disappearing muscle tone
Younger dogs have pronounced muscles with a soft, shiny coat. Older pets tend to be thinner or pudgier, depending on their level of activity, with an oily, coarse coat of fur.
Just like humans, older canines tend to get a few grey hairs. Unlike humans, they’re typically concentrated around the snout.
If your pet seems to have trouble hopping up on the couch or climbing the stairs, it may have reached senior status. This may also be an indication of a medical problem, so you might consider taking your pet to the vet for a check-up.
If you have a general idea of how old your pet is, you can translate that age into human years in order to get a better understanding of your dog’s overall health. The most important things to consider when performing this calculation are your dog’s size and breed.
Life expectancy varies significantly between breeds. For example, Great Danes are considered relatively old at age five, while terriers are spritely and somewhat hyperactive at that age. As a general rule, small dogs typically reach adulthood faster than big dogs do, but typically outlive larger breeds. Most big dogs won’t reach the age of 16, however living beyond that point is fairly common in smaller canines.
Daniel Promislow, a professor at the University of Georgia, says the variation in life expectancy comes down to the fact that bigger breeds are at a significantly increased risk of cancer. Large dogs have a 50 percent chance of developing some form of the disease, while smaller breeds’ risk is only 10 percent.If you have a large dog, bear this statistic in mind and take your pet for regular trips to the vets, especially if you notice a sudden decline in health.
Pet insurance will help make expensive vet bills far more manageable, so you can afford to give your pet the care it needs.
How to prolong the life of your pet
Feeding your pet a balanced diet is the best way to ensure it stays healthy for as long as possible. High-quality dog food, specially made for your dog’s breed is ideal. Opt for brands with the required levels of protein, fibre, zinc and healthy fats - the right combination of nutrients will help preserve your pet’s youth.In addition, keep your pet active by taking it for walks and jogs. Play games outside, or indoors. One of the most rewarding things about being a dog owner is enjoying the companionship and unconditional love of a pet - make the most of it while you can.Quote now for pet insurance