How Do You Convert Dog Years to Human Years? Since the 1950’s, it has been common practice to calculate a dog’s age “in human years” using the formula 1 dog year = 7 human years. The reality is not as simple, despite the fact that this formula has been around for a surprisingly long time. That doesn’t stop many people from using this conventional calculation as their default.
“The seven-year rule can’t really be killed.” The 7:1 ratio appears to have been based on the statistic that people lived to be about 70 and dogs lived to be about 10. This may be one explanation for how this formula came to be. It’s more likely a marketing gimmick, an effort to inform the public about how quickly dogs age in comparison to people, primarily from a health perspective. It served as a means of enticing pet owners to bring their animals in at least once a year.
Do you know? Evidently, the ratio of human to canine years has been used for centuries. “If the reader wisely considers all that is laid down, he will find here the end of the primum mobile; a hedge lives for three years; add dogs and horses and men, stags and ravens, eagles, enormous whales, and the world: each one following triples the years of the one before,” the artisans who built Westminster Abbey’s Cosmati Pavement in 1268 inscribed into the floor.
By this calculation, a dog lives to be nine and a man to be eighty. If these figures are correct, dogs’ lifespans were reduced by a year and ours by nearly a decade between 1268 and the middle of the 20th century. Fortunately, our lifespans have increased in the opposite direction for both species.
As a general guideline, though, the American Veterinary Medical Association breaks it down like this:
The first year of a medium-sized dog’s life is equivalent to 15 human years. A dog’s second year is roughly equivalent to a person’s ninth year. After that, a dog would live for about five years for every human year.
How are those figures calculated by researchers? It’s difficult to pinpoint it precisely because there are so many variables to take into account: “Cats and small dogs are typically considered “senior” at seven years old, but we all know they still have plenty of life left in them at that age.
When compared to smaller breeds, larger dogs tend to live shorter lives and are frequently regarded as seniors at 5 to 6 years old. Pets age more quickly than people do, and because of this, veterinarians start to notice more age-related issues in senior pets. Dogs do not age at a rate of 7 human years for every year in dog years, despite what the general public believes.
The Great Dane is one instance. According to the Great Dane Club of America, the typical lifespan is between 7 and 10 years. A 4-year-old Great Dane would therefore be 35 years old in human years. Remember once more that these are merely approximations. Dog statistics are not kept by the National Center for Health Statistics. Instead, information on their longevity comes from three main sources: pet insurance companies, breed-club surveys, and veterinary clinics.
Why do smaller dogs typically outlive their larger counterparts? The relationship between body mass and a dog’s lifespan has perplexed scientists for years, and research has yet to provide an explanation. Large mammals, such as elephants and whales, typically live longer than small mammals, such as mice. So why do small dog breeds typically live longer than large breeds?
According to researcher Cornelia Kraus, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Göttingen in Germany, large dogs age more quickly and “their lives seem to unwind in fast motion.” A dog’s life expectancy decreased by about a month for every 4.4 pounds of body mass, according to researchers.
Kraus suggests several explanations for this phenomenon, including the possibility that larger dogs may experience age-related illnesses more quickly and that their rapid growth may increase their risk of developing cancer and dying from abnormal cell growth. Future research is being planned to clarify the relationship between growth and mortality.
Canine gerontology is a growing field of study because dog lovers want to spend more time with their pets and spend it with them in a better way. In an effort to “delay ageing and promote healthy longevity,” the Dog Ageing Project is researching how dogs age. Every stage of our dogs’ development, whether measured in human or dog years, is beautiful and endearing. Senior dogs are especially endearing and poignant with their grey muzzles and thoughtful expressions.
Content for this question contributed by Emilia González, resident of Coon Rapids, Carroll and Guthrie counties, Iowa, USA