June 21, 2018 | 2:31 am
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Calculate Your Dog’s Age

Calculate Your Dog’s Age

Contrary to popular belief, one dog year is not equivalent to seven human years. Many believe that was a marketing ploy, trying to show dog owners that dogs age faster than people, and that they should bring their dog into a veterinarian at least once a year. This “myth” goes back to the 1950s, and it’s stuck around, proving very difficult to get rid of.

What’s the real formula?

The American Veterinary Medical Association has decided that a dog’s first year is equivalent to about the first fifteen years of a human’s life. A dog’s second year is about the same as another nine human years. After age two, each year the dog gets older is approximately equivalent to five human years.

How did researchers figure that out?

The calculations were mostly based on the fact that a dog is considered “senior” at about 7 years old. But many dogs can live well beyond seven years quite easily. The reality if even more complicated. Small dogs tend to live longer while large dogs tend to die younger. So the formula is actually slightly different depending on the size of your dog. A large 8 year old Great Dane is considered to be approximately 55 years old, while an 8 year old Chihuahua is only 48 years old. Great Danes have shorter lifespans than a Chihuahua, but if both dogs made it to 15 years old, the Great Dane would be the equivalent of 93 years old while the Chihuahua would be about 76 years old. Usually larger mammals live longer than smaller ones. Compare a mouse’s lifespan to that of a whale’s. But in dogs, it’s the opposite. Some researchers believe it’s because of the very fast growth that large dogs go through. They reach adult size at the same time a small dog does. This accelerated growth may be what causes the dogs to also age faster and cause mistakes to be made in cell division, leading to cancers.