Everyone who owns a dog is bound to have heard that one year for your best friend equals seven human years. The problem is that the maths is not that simple.
When we celebrate our pets’ birthdays it’s worth remembering that dogs mature more rapidly than we do in their early years, which means the first year of your dog’s life is actually equal to around 15 human years, but that this rate of aging changes over time.
On top of this, the size and the breed of your pet also plays an important role. The rule of thumb is that smaller dogs generally live longer than their larger counterparts, but they may also mature more quickly in the early years of their lives.
If you have a huge pup he or she may well age more slowly in the beginning, but then be approaching middle by the age of five years. Whereas, the smaller toy breeds tend not to become “seniors” until they are aged around 10 years. Medium sized dogs are somewhere in the middle on both counts.
The Clues To Tell How Old is Your Dog
If you’ve ever adopted a puppy or an older dog and are not sure of his or her history, it’s highly likely you don’t know how old the animal is. However, even without a date of birth, there are ways you may be able to guess the age.
Teeth are a good way of establishing a rough idea of age. The guidelines vary from dog to dog, and also depend on any dental care the dog may have received but a broadly accurate guide based on practice indicates that:
- By eight weeks, all the baby teeth should be in.
- By seven months, all the permanent teeth should be in and appear white and clean.
- By one – two years, the teeth are becoming duller and the back teeth may even be showing some yellowing.
- By three-five years, all the teeth may be showing signs of tartar build-up and some may be worn.
- By five -10 years, there are likely to be more signs of wear and possibly disease.
- By 10-15 years, the teeth will be worn, and it’s highly likely there will be signs of heavy tartar build-up and some teeth may be missing.
Vets can guess how old is your dog based on a complete physical examination or tests that allow the study of joints, bones, muscles, and a dog’s internal organs. The more senior a dog is specific signs of aging may be showing including:
- Cloudy eyes
- Grey hair, which begins around the muzzle and then spreads to other facial areas as well as other parts of the dog’s body and head.
- Loose skin
- Stiff legs
Some Health Care Tips When You Know How Old Is Your Dog
Like us as our dogs age, their health problems tend to progress more rapidly. Some of the common illnesses associated with aging dogs include osteoarthritis and periodontal disease, as well as diabetes and cancer. Some actions that can be applied to help dogs age gracefully include:
- Scheduling well-checks with your veterinarian.
Being proactive and working ahead makes life a lot easier than waiting for something to come up. Your veterinarian should be able to discuss what to look out for and you should arrange to see the vet twice a year with your older dog.
- Monitor your dog’s weight.
A dog’s weight increasingly impacts a dog’s health as they age. Any dramatic weight changes in either direction can be an early warning of illness.
- Start administering a mobility supplement
As dogs age, they become stiffer and less mobile. To alleviate any pain and stiffness for your dog start administering an advanced joint support supplement on a regular basis. Supplements like the Advanced Joint Support from The Petcare Factory has a blend of natural ingredients, including Chondroitin, Glucosamine, Green-Lipped Mussels, along with Curcumin and Hyaluronic Acid that helps support a dog’s hips and joints throughout their lives.
- Keep playing with your dog
When you notice there may be less interest in playing, and an increased keenness for sleep, change the pattern by encouraging your dog to accompany you on walks, play fetch and tug-of-war in the garden and endeavour to draw out the playful instincts your dog had as a puppy.
Our dogs are wonderfully beautiful and fulfilling but sadly don’t live long enough. But this must not be accepted. We all need to do our part to give them the best lives they can while we’re lucky to have them with us.