If you have a dog, you’ve probably heard of the theory of 7 dog year = 1 human year. Well, this is wrong and one study explained why. Research from the American University of California in San Diego has revealed a new method of calculating your dog’s age.
Turns out that calculating your dog’s age is not that simple.
Age was estimated by a method called the epigenetic clock and they studied a phenomenon called DNA methylation. They monitored methylation rates in 104 Labradors aged amid 4 weeks and 16 years. The obtained results were compared with the results of 320 people aged from 1 to 103 years.
Dog Years Are More Complicated To Calculate Than You Think
As the researchers studied the methylation rate, they concluded that a 7 week-old puppy matched a 9 month-old human baby. Dogs age faster so the differences between humans and dogs get bigger over time.
However, dogs age faster when they are younger, but as they reach maturity and begin to get older their years starting to get closer to humans.
These researchers, also created a calculation formula so you can calculate your furry friend’s years. But, this formula requires doing more math calculations than the simple multiplication with 7. Using the epigenetic clock, the natural logarithm of the dog’s age is found by multiplying by 16 and then adding 31 to the result.
The formula: 16*ln(dog_age) + 31=human_age
For example, your 2 years aged dog is equal to a 42-year-old human then a 5-year aged dog is corresponding to a 56.7-year-old human, and a 10-year aged dog is equal to the years of 67.8 human. As you can see after 2 years, your dog aging slows down a bit.
Geneticist Tina Wang said there are situations where a dog’s epigenetic clock does not match human age.
“It’s not easy to come up with a true comparison of the relative age of a dog and a human, given that they reach maturity at different rates, and different breeds have different lifespans. Smaller breeds live up to 18 and larger ones six to seven,” she said.
But, what if you adopt your dog and you don’t know its age? In this case, the dog’s teeth can give you a rough answer.
If your dog has all the baby teeth, it’s probably around 8 weeks. If she/he has all of the permanent teeth and they are white and spotless, it probably has 7 months. By 1-2 years, your dog’s teeth become a little yellow and duller. If the teeth show signs of disease, your dog is probably aged between 5-10 years. For a more accurate age guess you should take your dog to the vet and do a complete exam.
Reference: Calculate Your Dog’s Age With This New, Improved Formula
How To Figure Out Your Dog’s Age
How old is your dog REALLY in ‘human years’? Researchers come up with a new formula for calculating the ‘true age’ of your canine friend (and it’s not multiplying it by seven)