Many pet owners have adopted or rescued their dog and may wonder, how old is this dog, really? Others pet owners may think they know it’s age by applying the old 7 to 1 ratio. For every year of a dogs life add 7 years. Which, by the way, is not exactly accurate either.
Dogs age much more rapidly in the first two years of their lives but then it slows down to a 5 to 1, 6 to 1 or a 7 to 1 ratio, depending on the size of your dog.
Small little Chihuahua’s will be in the 5 to 1 ratio after the first two years while Labs and Chow’s may be a 6 to 1 ratio. If you have a St Bernard lounging around the house, then bump that up to an 8 to 1 ratio. Yes, 8!
So, just how old is your dog? Here’s some other signs that may help you figure it out.
Your dogs teeth will be a good give away for signs of aging. Dogs usually have a set of permanent teeth by their seventh month, so if you’ve come across a dog with clean pearly whites, he is likely a year old or thereabouts. Yellowing on a dog’s back teeth may put the dog between one to three years of age, while tartar build-up at a minimal level could mean you have a dog between 4 and 6. Missing teeth or severe wear usually means the dog is settling into senior aging.
Your dogs muscle tone is another clue. Younger dogs are more likely to have some muscle definition from their higher activity level. Older dogs are usually either a tad bonier or a little fatter from decreased activity.
Does your dog have a shiny coat of fur? A younger dog usually has a soft, fine coat, whereas an older dog tends to have thicker, coarser (and sometimes oilier) fur. A senior dog may display grays or patches of white, particularly around the snout.
Look into your dogs eyes. Bright, clear eyes without tearing or discharge are common in younger dogs. Cloudy or opaque eyes may can mean your dog is starting to age.
One of the best ways to prolong the life and improve the functions of your dog as it ages is to carefully regulate its fuel intake. Older dogs exercise less and thus need fewer calories. No matter what your dogs age, a healthy dog is a happy dog and needs lots of love from it’s owner at any age!