All pet owners have done it, taking their pampered pooch or feline’s age and multiplying it by seven to get the human age equivalent. Known as dog or cat years, this method is a way of determining how old our animal is according to the human age line.
But how accurate is this method?
According to the Independent, this method has been found to be an incorrect measure. However, there is some merit behind how dog years was originally determined.
The reasoning behind dog years of being a ratio of one dog year to seven human years is that humans live for approximately seven times longer than dogs. So, the math behind this makes some sense. If we assume dogs mature in a similar manner to humans, then the one to seven ratio works. However, anyone who has had a golden retriever can attest to the fact that they appear to live their life as a bouncing adolescent for far longer than a human does.
Also, it is well known that some dogs live much shorter lifespans. For example, larger breeds of dogs tend to die at a much younger age than smaller breeds, which means this ratio is thrown out.
In addition, medical advances over the years have helped extend the lives of our pets. This has led to the original ratio being considered outdated in this regard as well.
So, the American Animal Hospital Association has taken these sorts of variations into consideration and created a set of guidelines that cover the life stages of canines rather than an actual dog to human year conversion.
The Canine Life Stages Guidelines helps dog owners to identify at which life stage their pet is at. These guidelines, as a result, are now considered much more accurate than the previous notion that one dog year equals seven human years.
As seen in the image above, when considering the actual age of a canine, the puppy stage is considered from birth to six months, and an adult dog is considered to start from nine months onward. In addition, consideration is also taken for older dogs and those considered to have lived beyond the normal life expectancy of their breed or size.
In addition to these new dog years guidelines, the American Animal Hospital Association has also identified and included the fact that the guidelines can change depending on the individual animal. For example, just as obesity can affect a human’s life expectancy, so too can it affect the lifespan of a dog.
So, now when you want to calculate your dog’s real age compared to human years, you need to check in with the new canine life stages guidelines for a more accurate idea.