When trying to decide how old your dog is compared with how old you are, you've probably multiplied his age by 7 to come up with the answer. Many people think that's the best way to compare. But that method is largely inaccurate. If you truly wish to know how old your dog is in human terms, look to different, better ways to determine this.
Why 7 Anyway?
Dogs age faster than humans do, so multiplying a dog's age by 7 puts you on the right track, but that method is too simplistic. The only time multiplying by 7 comes close to being accurate is when a dog is around 4 years old.
Factors That Contribute to Aging
A dog's size and weight affect how long she lives. Small dogs, weighing less than 30 pounds, tend to live longest, often into the late teens. Large dogs, weighing more than 100 pounds, tend to live the shortest lives. They often don't make it to age 10. Medium-sized dogs between 30 and 100 pounds tend to be somewhere in the middle regarding how long they live. WebMD offers a chart that translates dog years into human years by factoring in size.
Compare by Stages
Comparing dog years to human years by stage of life gives you an accurate assessment of your dog's human-age comparison. Here are ways to determine your dog's age by stage:
The puppy stage: Dogs are puppies from birth until about 6 months, whereas humans are babies from birth to about 18 months. Puppies wean between 7 and 8 weeks old, whereas human babies wean between 6 months and a year. Puppies between the ages of 3 and 6 months are comparable to children in the vicinity of 3 to 8 years old.
Adolescence: A female dog experiences her first heat cycle between 6 and 24 months. That compares with the age a human female begins menstruating, which is between 8 and 13 years.
Adults: Dogs are considered to be adults at the age of 2, whereas humans are 21 before they are legally adults.
Seniors: The age of senior dogs ranges based on the size and breed. A small dog might be comparable to a 65-year-old when it reaches 12 to 13 years, a medium dog might be comparable to a 65-year-old at 11 years, and a large dog might compare with a 65-year-old between 9 and 10 years.
Geriatric: Dogs are considered geriatric when they are near the end of their lives and might have health issues. Small dogs might not reach this stage until they are 14 or 15, medium dogs tend to be between 13 and 14 to be geriatric, and large dogs can be geriatric at 11 years old. Although there is no set age for when a person becomes geriatric, it occurs sometime after age 65.