How Old Is My Dog?

By helloBARK!
Updated on 23 June 2023

Are you wondering how old your dog is?

If you’ve just adopted a dog from a rescue shelter, you could be pondering this question.

For dog owners who have given a rescue dog a forever home, there may be a burning desire to figure out your dog’s age.

This could be especially true if you’ve adopted a senior dog and you’d like to know how long they’ve got to live.

In this article, we’ll hear from a number of experts to find out the best possible way to assess your dog’s age.

Vet checks Labrador's tummy (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Vet checks Labrador’s tummy (Photo: Adobe Stock)

AVMA provides most accurate representation

Josh Snead, CEO Of Rainwalk Pet Insurance

The equation we’ve been using for decades to calculate a dog’s age is to multiply their age in human years by seven. To be more accurate, the American Veterinary Medical Association says that the first 15 years of a human’s life is equivalent’s to a dog’s first year. A two year old dog has then lived an additional nine human years and each year after that is like five human years. That’s the most accurate representation for a dog’s age.

Three ways to assess

Daniel Caughill, Co-Founder Of The Dog Tale

It can be difficult to determine your dog’s precise age, but there are a few tell-tale signs that can help you form an educated guess.

• Coat color – Just like humans, most dogs start to develop gray hair as they enter their senior years. If your dog has new gray hair on their paws, face, or back, they may be entering their senior years. •

• Their teeth – Vets often use a dog’s teeth to estimate their age. Dogs gain their adult set of teeth during their first year of life, after which they start to yellow and develop plaque just like humans do. If your dog’s teeth are significantly stained and worn down, they’re getting older.

• Mobility – Dogs experience deterioration of the ligaments and cartilage between their joints as they age. If your dog has trouble standing up, hopping, or running, they they’re likely in their senior years.

German Shepherd lies down in front of dog bowl (Photo: Adobe Stock)

German Shepherd lies down in front of dog bowl (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Difficult To Accurately Determine

Kathryn Goodwin, El Paso Animal Shelter

I work at an animal shelter and determining a dog’s age is something we do often. I typically ask some follow-up questions to learn more about the dog. Such as: When did you get the dog? Do you know what breed the dog is? Does the dog have any known health issues? Once I have gathered some information, I can estimate the age of the dog based on its breed, physical characteristics, and any health issues it may have. However, it’s important to note that it can be difficult to accurately determine the age of a dog without knowing its history or having a professional examine it. It is always suggested that the dog owner take their pet to a veterinarian for a more accurate estimate of the dog’s age.

Consult Your Vet

Ellen Russell, DVM And Founder Of The Malamute Mom

If you’re not sure how old your dog is, it’s best to consult with your vet. Your vet will be able to give you an approximate age based on a physical examination and the developmental stages of your dog. They may also be able to estimate the age of your dog from their teeth. Usually, a puppy’s baby teeth will start to fall out at around 12 weeks, and by the time they reach 6 to 7 months, their adult teeth will have grown in. Adult dogs normally have 42 teeth, and the wear and tear on these teeth can also be used to estimate their age. It is important to know how old your dog is because this type of information will help you better understand and care for them. Knowing your pup’s exact age can also help you keep track of their vaccinations and other important healthcare needs. From a behavioral standpoint, knowing your dog’s age can also give you insight into how they interact with other animals and people. Understanding their age can help you better understand any anxiety or fear they may be feeling in certain situations.

Never Long Enough

Dr. Mary Gardner, Co-founder Of Lap Of Love Veterinary Hospice

Beyond the numbers: no matter our pets’ ages in human years, most of us agree that they do not live long enough. But we can make the last life stage smoother and potentially help them live a long, better life.

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