You May Be Calculating Your Dog’s Age All Wrong

It turns out you don’t know how to calculate your dog’s real age!

Most of us are familiar with the traditional way of calculating a dog’s age, which involves multiplying their natural age by 7. For example, a dog whose natural age is 1 years old in human years, is in fact 7 years old in dog years. And a dog who is 7 in dog years is actually 49 in dog years.

If you use this method, your calculations are all wrong! A recent article about calculating a dog’s age, written by Heather Cha, and published 12/26/2015 on Yahoo News, suggests you should rethink your dog’s age.

In her article, Ms. Cha notes the Lawrence Veterinary Hospital in Lawrence, Kansas, is now suggesting after 1 human year a dog may actually be 15 years old in dog years. More particularly, Ms. Cha reports smaller dogs may mature quicker in the first few years of their life when compared to larger breed dogs. A person representing the veterinarian hospital is quoted as saying, “A large dog may mature more slowly at first but already be considered elderly at age 5 [in human years]. Small and toy breeds don’t become ‘seniors’ until around age 10. Medium-sized breeds are somewhere in the middle in terms of maturation and lifespan.” For any pet owner interested in determining the age of their pet using the Lawrence Vet Hospital method, I encourage you to read Ms. Cha’s article.

The Vet Hospital is not alone in its thinking. One of America’s larges manufacturer of pet food, Pedigree, seems to agree with the new way of calculating dog years. If you would like to calculate the age of your pet, you can also use the Dog Age Calculator published by Pedigree. When I used the calculator, I found my 6-month old (small-breed dog) is actually 7.5 years old in human years.

What does all this mean? It means that using either method, your dog may in fact be older than previously thought when she was spayed. For example, for those who wish to spay their pet between 4 and 6 months old in human years, the 7 year method suggests that your dog may in fact be between 2.3 years and 3.5 years in dog years when they undergo the procedure. On the other hand, under the new method for calculating dog years, your pet may be between 5 years and 7.5 years in dog years. The new method suggests your dog may be 3 to 4 years older than we originally thought!

That may good news for spay and neuter traditionalist who want to spay their pet as soon as the pet can survive the surgery. Still, as pet parents, we have to consider our pet’s age in similar way in which we consider the age of our daughters. Even if we use the new method of calculating dog years, we have to ask: is 7.5 years old in human years too young for our daughters to have a hysterectomy? Has she grown enough such that she will remain healthy even after her hormone producing ovaries have been removed?

Letting your pet mature, before spaying may be a good thing. If you think so, then you take precautions to avoid accidental litters. You should use a dog chastity belt like our Pet Anti-Breeding System (PABS).

How is your dog…really?