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What is your dog’s age in human years?
The topic that I am writing this article on is something that has intrigued me a lot over the years. I have always loved dogs and wished that they lived as long as humans . Sadly, we don’t always get what we wish for. Delta is currently one and a half years old. Even though I always refer to him as my baby boy, deep down I know he is anything but a baby. So how do I find out your dog’s age in human years?
The old calculation for finding out your dogs age in human years:
As per the old theory, one year of your dog equals to 7 human years. Thus, if your dog is 1 year old, he/she is 7 years old in human age. If your dog is 5 years old, he/she is 35 years old in human age.
So every time you wish to calculate the human age equivalent for any dog, multiply your dog’s age with 7.
As per current research, the above mentioned formula does not hold true for calculating a dogs age in human age.
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Epigenetic study to understand the ageing process in dogs:
According to a 2019 study conducted by the researchers of the University of California, San Diego , a new calculation method has been put forth for calculating dog’s age in human years .
This method of calculation has its basis in the changes which accumulate in the DNA of dog’s as well as humans over time. In case of both species, methyl groups are added to the DNA stand throughout the aging process. This addition alters the activity of DNA without actually altering the sequence of the DNA stand. Due to these DNA modifications, the DNA methylation has been focused on by scientists for the purpose of studying the ageing process in both humans and animals via the EPIGENETIC CLOCK.
For this particular study, 104 Labrador Retrievers were recruited spanning over a 16 year range of age. Targeted DNA sequencing was performed on the blood of these dogs to understand the change in the pattern of DNA methylation with ageing process and find how it related to human ageing.
They have proposed the following formula for calculating the dogs age in human years:
Multiply the natural logarithm of the dog’s age by 16 and add 31 to it.
Human age of your dog = 16In(dog age)+31
The size and breed of the dog may also have a role in their ageing process. Thus, the above mentioned study cannot be considered as an all breeds inclusive one. Small sized dogs have been observed to lead a longer life than their larger sized counterparts. Small sized dogs also tend to reach maturity faster. Larger dogs need more time to attain maturity. Furthermore, this new epigenetic modification related formula has definitely put an end to the “multiply by 7 to know your dog’s age myth”.
You have a new dog and you don’t know his dog age…
What to do?
In case you rescue or adopt a dog, it is difficult to know immediately what age the dog might be. However, on the basis of the following cues, you can still make a rough guess of the dog’s age.
The teeth of dog’s say a lot about their life and age in general. The following guidelines to help determine your dog’s approximate age may vary from dog to dog and may not be conclusive if your companion has had dental care on any occasion.
By the period of 8 weeks: All the baby teeth should be visible.
Around 7 months of age: All the permanent teeth have come and are completely white in color.
By 1-2 years of age: The color of the teeth becomes dull . The teeth at the back may start to show some yellowness.
By 3-5 years of age: Almost all teeth begin to show the development of tartar. Some wearing of the tooth may also be noticed.
By 5-10 years of age: The teeth starts to show more wear and tear. Some signs of disease may start to become visible.
By 8-10 years of age: The teeth will appear worn and a heavy tarter build up is likely to be observed.
The best person to make a calculated guess of your dog’s age is your veterinarian. He/she may conduct a thorough physical examination or medical test which focus on the health of the joints , internal organs, bones and muscles.
Some specific signs of aging in senior dogs is as follows :
- Loose skin
- Stiffness in the legs
- Cloudy eyes
- Presence of gray hair around the muzzle and spreading from there to other areas of the body, face and head.
The above mentioned signs will definitely give you a fair idea of your dog’s age range. Now you also have the method to find out your dogs human age. As per the formula, a dog of age 2 years will be equivalent to a human of age 42 years. However, after this, the again process slows. A dog of age 5 years will be equivalent to a human of age 56.75 years while a dog of 10 years age will be equivalent to a 67.8 year old human. These results may become more intriguing once more breeds of different sizes are studied.