Knowing Your Pet’s Age In ‘Pet Years’

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A Brief History

Nowadays, as a pet owner, you probably want to know everything you can about your dog, but for many people, the process of fully understanding the age of their dog in ‘pet years’ is tough and confusing. It does not need to be though. We are here to clear up the confusion and let you know about how to know the age of your pet in ‘pet years’, as well as much else besides.

Digging Deeper

The Golden Rule

The rule you have probably heard about how to work out your dog’s age in ‘pet years’. The rule says that one year in human years equals seven years for your dog, but it is actually not as simple as that. In the early years of your dog’s life, they age much quicker than a human child does. In fact, the first year of your dog’s life is roughly equivalent to the first 15 years of a human’s life. 

The Size of Your Dog

There are two key things that will impact how your dog ages and how long the lifespan of your dog is. These two things are the size of your dog and its breed. Generally speaking, it is the case that small dogs live longer than bigger ones, and smaller dogs also mature faster in the first few years of their life. Big dogs mature faster after those first few years and become fully matured around age five, while smaller dogs mature at around age ten, with medium dogs falling between those two numbers.

Tailoring Your Pets Food and Exercise Routines to Their Age

One of the things you should do when thinking about the age of your dog is tailor their diet and exercise routines to their age. Barking heads offers a range of pet food options that suit all ages. As your dog gets older, its nutritional needs change and you should pay attention to that. The amount of exercise your dog needs will also differ depending on its age, so give them some thought too. 

What to do if You Do not Know the Age of Your Dog

In some instances, you might not even know how old your dog is. If you adopt a dog and the dog’s history up until that point is not known, you will have to work out the age for yourself and many owners don’t know how to do that; however, there are ways.

The teeth will tell you a lot. At seven months, all permanent teeth will be in place. After a couple of years, have duller teeth and will show some yellowing. Between three and five years, the teeth will show clear signs of wear. At ten years and beyond, heavy wear and tartar buildup will be clear and some teeth are likely to be missing.

Working out the age of your dog or the age in ‘pet years’ is not all that difficult. The information above should have provided you with all the information you need. And if you have any other questions or concerns relating to the ageing process of your dog, do not hesitate to see your vet about it.

Question for students (and subscribers): Do you know how old your pets are?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Grier, Katherine C.  Pets in America: A History.  The University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Raven Underwood of a smooth dachshund, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  This image, which was originally posted to Flickr, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on  by Pharaoh Hound. On that date, it was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the license indicated.

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Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland