Figuring out how old a dog is can be challenging if you’ve adopted or taken in a stray. Fido may act like a big clumsy puppy, but looks may not tell the whole story. And that old formula, “Dogs live seven years for every one human year” only works if you know a dog’s age, so it doesn’t really apply. However, you can “guesstimate” your canine pal’s age by taking note of a few telltale signs.
The first thing to keep in mind is Fido’s size and breed play a big role in determining his lifespan. Smaller breeds, like Chihuahuas, not only mature faster during the first 2-3 years of their lives, but they usually live longer than larger dogs.
On the other hand, larger breeds, like the Great Dane, grow slower as pups. By the age of five, a Great Dane has reached middle age in doggy years, but a five-year-old Chihuahua would only be in his early-30s in human years.
Fido’s choppers also offer signs about his age. Puppies that are younger than four weeks usually have no teeth at all. And Fido will be three to four months old before he starts growing permanent teeth. They’ll also be a crispy white at this stage.
As canines age, you’ll start to see more tartar, stains, and plaque. Somewhere around age five, tartar and plaque really start to develop, and Fido’s teeth may be less pointed and slightly worn down. The risk of dental disease increases considerably at this stage. And canines ten years old and older often have loose, cracked, or missing teeth.
Those gray hairs are telltale signs of aging on dogs, just like with humans. Your pooch will get gray or white hairs on his muzzle, chest, and haunches between the age of seven and ten. However, gray hairs may appear at an early age on some dogs, oftentimes due to stress and anxiety.
Fido’s eyes also can tell a lot about his age. Over time, a dog’s eyes may produce discharge and get cloudy. These changes usually start appearing between six and eight years of age. Vision loss or cataracts re also more common in senior dogs.
This one’s pretty easy to spot. Anyone who’s had a puppy knows their energy knows no bounds. As Fido ages, he’ll probably prefer napping on the couch to running in the park.
Do you have questions about your dog’s age and health needs? Contact us today!