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You may have heard that calculating dog years to human years is as simple as multiplying two numbers, but the answer is a bit more complicated than that.
Dogs reach maturity a bit sooner than humans do (a one-year-old puppy is practically an adult while a one-year-old child is still a baby) and dogs mature at different rates depending on their size.
All of these factors can make it a bit more complex to calculate your dog's age in human years.
Luckily, we've put together a chart that breaks it down for you.
Until they are five years old—in human years—all dogs mature at the same rate. One year after birth, they have reached mid-adolescence, or about the equivalent of a 15-year-old human.
By the time dogs are five, they are 36 in human years (even if they still have all that leftover puppy energy!).
By the time they reach six, however, they are basically "middle-aged" and this is where dogs start to age differently.
Before you can calculate your dog's age in human years, you'll need to first look at their size.
Larger dogs age faster than smaller dogs and thus tend to have a shorter lifespan.
The differences aren't that great in seven-year-old dogs, but by the time your dog is 16, the gap is huge. A 16-year-old German Shepherd will be much "older" than a 16-year-old Chihuahua.
If you adopted your furry friend from a shelter (thank you!), you might not know exactly when your pup was born.
Animal shelters and rescue organizations can make guesses, but sometimes these estimated ages can lean toward the "younger" end of the scale to make the dog more adoptable.
Your vet should be able to give you a better idea of your dog's age at their next appointment, but if you can't wait until then, you can find clues by looking at your dog's teeth.
If you have a puppy whose teeth haven't completely come in, a vet's age estimate should be extremely accurate. But if you have an older dog, it can be a little harder to calculate their age.
Just as with humans, a dog's genetics, habits, and lifestyle can all play a role in the condition of their teeth. A dog who never received adequate dental care will likely have more wear and tear on their teeth than one who gets regular brushings and good nutrition.
Still, there is an average progression that can act as a baseline if you're trying to guess your dog's age.
Even if this information doesn't help you determine your dog's age, it will show you the importance of good dental care. A good calcium supplement can help your puppy develop strong teeth and bones so that they (hopefully) don't lose those teeth later on.
Here at Rick's Dog Deli, we include the eggshells when adding eggs into our meals. Eggshells are 95% calcium, which is essentially the same as taking a calcium supplement. (Of course, the shells are very finely ground, so your dog won't be able to feel or even taste them.)
For another tasty dental hygiene option, our bones are a great way to clean excess tartar from the teeth.
Your love for your dog won't change based on their age, so why bother calculating it?
Well, part of caring for your dog is knowing how to respond to their natural aging process. Your kids will eventually grow up, take care of you, and ultimately outlive you, but a puppy will be a senior dog before your baby goes to college.
Diseases and health conditions can often develop as your dog ages, and knowing their age can be a good reminder to take them to the vet regularly to check for things like cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease.
Your dog's nutrition and dietary needs may also change as they age.
In addition to needing a diet that caters to their health issues, your older (and possibly more toothless) dog might require softer, more nutritious, and more easily digestible food.
Knowing your dog's age can give you a heads up on the changes that will impact your dog's life.
While most of us want to know how old your dog is out of simple curiosity, knowing your dog's age is a good way to gain valuable insight on their changing health.
Dogs have different needs at different stages in their life, and these changes are often based on their breed and unique health concerns.
At Rick's Dog Deli, our meal formulations are specially created with your dog in mind. Our Signature Meals have been prepared with the utmost attention to holistic nutrition, and our Therapeutic Meals can help alleviate the symptoms from allergies, excessive weight gain, and digestive issues.
Use our Custom Meal Builder to find the meal that's just right for your individual pet.