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Pet Talk: Do Dogs Age Seven Years to A Human’s One?

By Sally Salopek

 Q: I have always heard a dog ages seven years to a human’s one. Is that true?

A: Actually, it’s not true. We really don’t know how that calculation came into play, but I am sure most folks have heard it. Some believe it was in the 1950s when the average life span of a human was 70 years and a dog’s was 10 years. This made it easy to calculate, that a dog lives one year for every seven years a human lives.

Dog's Age in Human YearsWe all know our dogs age faster than we do. Unfortunately large dogs don’t live as long as small dogs. Although a lot of factors come into play determining your pet’s lifespan, including breed, genetics, diet, veterinary care, exercise and lifestyle, size is the biggest determining factor in how long a dog will live. The chart below will help give you a rough estimate of your canine’s real age in human years. It was formulated by veterinarians and is much more accurate than the seven-to-one ratio.

We all want our dogs to live a nice, long, healthy life. Here are some things you can do to improve their chances:

  • Keep them thin. Studies have shown slightly underweight dogs live on an average of two years longer than overweight dogs.
  • Brush your canine’s teeth daily.
  • Go for a walk every day, even when they are elderly, to help maintain muscle strength.
  • Keep their minds sharp with regular training and mind-stimulating toys.
  • Take them to the veterinarian yearly for wellness checkups.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Sally Salopek is the owner and operator of Attend-A-Pet pet sitting services in northern Door County. She has also worked professionally with animals in health care, pet grooming, training, wildlife rehab and rescue. Send your pet-related questions to her at [email protected].

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