Why Do Dogs Age Faster?

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Why Do Dogs Age Faster Than Humans? A dog ages at a different rate to humans. The latest studies show they age quicker than humans. There are various other theories around why, but simply we are different species with different lifespans. 
All animals have different predicted lifespans, from a mayfly at 24 hours to a Greenland shark of 400 years.
These are some of the commonly used reasons as to why dogs age faster:
Different Species - We’re simply different species with different expected life spans. Humans are homo sapiens, and we have an expected life span of around 80. Dogs have an average lifespan of approximately 23. They are part of the domesticated caninae family. Other animals in the caninae family include wolves and foxes. Both of which have shorter life spans than domesticated dogs. Wolves living on average until 7 and foxes until 4. We may have enhanced the dog’s lifespan by domesticating them.
Heatbeat - The resting heart rate is said to be able to predict your life span. Animals with quicker heart rates tend to have shorter lifespans. In a study from 2015 is showed the link between increased heart rate and decreased lifespan. However, this still doesn’t explain why small dogs outlive larger ones, as their resting heart rate is considerably higher than larger breeds.
Size - Smaller animals, such as wild rabbits, only live 1-2 years and guinea pigs around 4 years, whereas elephants live for up to 70 years and blue whales up to 90 years. However, this does not explain why smaller dogs usually outlive larger breeds. The reason why small dogs outlive large dogs is still unknown and has baffled scientists for years. It is thought that large breeds almost live life in fast forward once they have matured; another theory is that they are more prone to illnesses due to their extensive growth.
Busy? Get Your Hands Paws On The Answers Quickly…

Where Did The 7 Year Rule Originate From?

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By 1-18 months, dogs are fully mature and ready to reproduce. Humans, however, are not fully grown until 18 years of age. So the ‘every 1 human year = 7 dog years’ is wildly inaccurate. 
It is not known for sure where this rule originated from. These are a couple of common theories: 
  • Potentially when the theory was first founded, the life expectancy of a human was around 70 and a dog of 10, and this was simply divided up to make 7 dog years to every 1 human year. 
  • Others suggest it to be a marketing ploy, designed to get you to take your dog to the vet more regularly. 

How Long Do Dogs Live? List Of The Top 10 US Breeds and Their Average Life Expectancy

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Breed Average Life Expectancy
Retrievers (Labrador)
10-14
German Shepherd Dogs
9-13
Retrievers (Golden)
10-12
French Bulldogs
10-14
Bulldogs
8-10
Beagles
12-15
Poodles
12-15
Rottweilers
8-10
Yorkshire Terriers
13-16
Pointers (German Shorthaired)
12-17
Boxers
10-12
Siberian Huskies
12-15
Dachshunds
12-16
Great Danes
8-10
Pembroke Welsh Corgis
12-15
Doberman Pinschers
10-13
Australian Shepherds
13-15
Miniature Schnauzers
12-15
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
9-14
Shih Tzu
10-16

What Age Is My Dog In Human Years?

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Age
Small (under 20lbs) e.g. Bishon Frise, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier etc.
Medium (21 to 50lbs) e.g. Basset Hound, Border Collie, Springer Spaniels, etc.
Large (51 to 100lbs) e.g. Afghan Hound, Labrador, German Shepherd, etc.
Giant (100+lbs) e.g. Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Akita, etc.
1
15
15
15
12
2
24
24
24
22
3
28
28
28
31
4
32
32
32
38
5
36
36
36
45
6
40
42
45
49
7
44
47
50
56
8
48
51
55
64
9
52
56
61
71
10
56
60
66
79
11
60
65
72
86
12
64
69
77
93
13
68
74
82
100
14
72
78
88
107
15
76
83
93
114
16
80
87
99
121
Information from AKC
For breed-specific details, check out Pedigrees Dog Age Calculator.

How Do I Find Out How Old My Dog Is?

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If you rescue a dog from a shelter or take in a stray, you probably don’t know your dog’s birth date. There is no method or science which can determine your dog’s exact age. 
Once your dog reaches full maturity, around 1-2 years, it can be difficult to pinpoint their exact age until they start showing signs of rapid aging into a senior, at around 9-10 for smaller dogs and 6-8 for larger breeds. 
However, most veterinary professionals can make rough estimations on age based on their teeth. These are common age markers to look for:
  • 6 weeks - Your dog will have its puppy teeth, also known as shark or piranha teeth. They are smaller, sharper teeth than their adult ones will be.
  • 18 weeks - Your puppy will begin to lose their baby teeth, you may also notice their adult teeth start to cut through.
  • 7 months - Most dogs will have a full set of adult gnashers by 7 months.
  • 7 - 18 months - Young dog’s teeth tend to remain clean and white until they’re around 18 months.
  • 18 months - 3 years - You will begin to notice yellow staining beginning on their molars (the teeth furthest back). 
  • 3 - 5 years - The yellow staining or tartar will start to build up. 
  • 5 - 8 years - The tartar will now affect the canines (long pointy teeth).
  • 8 + years - The staining will continue to increase and become more severe.
As they age and use their teeth more frequently, you will also be able to notice wear and tear. The incisors (teeth at the front) will wear down and flatten out. It is also common for older dogs to have teeth missing. 

Signs My Dog Is Aging

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Aging tends to appear quicker in dogs than humans, and it also affects larger breeds at an even faster rate towards the end of their lives. These are common signs of your dog entering the geriatric stage:
Poor Eyesight and Hearing - Just like humans, a dog’s eyesight and hearing deteriorate with age. This could be shown through slow reacting times, or your dog being less aware when someone is approaching them. Look out for cloudiness in your dog’s eyes, which could be cataracts or nuclear sclerosis.
Joint Pain - As a dog gets older, they won’t require as much physical exercise. Keep an eye on how your senior dog is after a walk, do they seem more stiff or sore? Osteoarthritis is also common in older dogs, usually caused by repetitive stress on the joints. There is no cure, but supplements and pain medication can help alleviate symptoms. 
Less Enthusiastic - When dogs enter their golden years, they may develop cognitive issues and become more confused and unsteady. They also tend to have less energy, needing less exercise. 
Weight fluctuation and variation in distribution - Weight gain and loss are not uncommon in aging dogs. Their body shape may also change as they need less food and less intense exercise. The muscle can deteriorate, making their spine more prominent, and they can develop a build-up of fat around their lower back. 
Decreased Bladder Control - As your dog gets older, they can lose the feeling of needing to go potty. This means they may occasionally pee in the house. Make sure to give your dog plenty of potty breaks as they get older to help avoid this. If your dog has other symptoms, such as increased thirst or lethargy, contact your vet as it could be a sign of kidney disease.
Coloring - As they age, dogs can go gray; this is most common around the muzzle, eyes, and nose. In darker colored dogs, you may also notice gray hair throughout their coat.

How Can I Make My Dog Live Longer?

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Diet - A nutritious diet is essential to keeping your dog healthy. Poor nutrition can cause your pet to have deficiencies, lacking the vitamin and minerals needed to live a long life. Ensure to keep their weight in check as obesity can lead to many health ailments.
Activity - Regular exercise not only keep our furry friends trim and active, but exercise keeps their digestive health in order, mentally and physically stimulated, well socialized. Walks, runs, swims, and games also keep behavioral problems in check. A well-exercised dog tends the behave better, as well as being less prone to issues such as stress and anxiety.
Mental Stimulation - Keeping your dog using their brain helps stop early dementia. It also keeps them busy and entertained, which curbs destructive behavior, boredom, anxiety, and stress-related issues.
Regular Vet Checkups - Make sure to take your dog to regular health checkups at the vet. This will not only desensitize your dog to the vets’ office, but it will also ensure any health problems are spotted early. Finding issues early helps to increase the chance they can be dealt with, medicated, or cured. 
Grooming - Brushing and bathing your dog is vital to keeping them clean and healthy. It gives you a chance to examine them for any foreign bodies or skin issues. Grooming can strengthen the bond between dog and owner.
Teeth Cleaning - The build-up of plaque can cause gum disease and other infections which, if left untreated, can transfer into the body, causing severe medical issues. 

FAQs

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What is the oldest dog ever?
The oldest recorded dog was an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey who lived to 29 and 5 months. Bluely lived in Victoria, Australia, from 1910 to 1939.

 

Why do dogs die so soon?
The latest research suggests it is because they age faster than humans.

 

How old is 18 in dog years?
It depends on the breed of dog, a larger breed will be around 130, but a smaller dog will be about 80.

 

What age are puppies the worst?
It depends on what you would consider the worst stage. 
Some people find the 8-9 week age the worst, as you are acclimatizing to a new puppy, as well as potty training and trying to help them sleep through the night. 
We tend to find the 4-5 month stage the hardest. Your puppy will be teething, as well as growing in confidence and therefore wanting to explore more and get into and eat everything. We find they need the most supervision around this time. 
However, many people experience their puppies regressing around 6-12 months, also known as the terrible teens. It can be frustrating as your perfect puppy can start misbehaving and ignoring the simple commands it once knew. Your puppy may begin to test the boundaries, and now you are dealing with a fully grown dog, compared to a 5lb puppy. Stay consistent if you require more help or reassurance, consider attending a positive training class.

 

How old is a 2 year old dog in human years?
On average, around 21, a smaller dog has probably matured to around 24, but a larger dog will be approximately 19 in human years. To find your specific breed, use Pedigrees Dog Age Calculator

 

How old is a 6 month old dog in human years?
On average, a 6 month puppy will be similar to a 6 year old child. However, this depends on the breed and size of the dog. A great dane may be more like a 5 year old and a chihuahua more like an 8 year old. It depends on the breed and size. Smaller dogs tend to mature quicker than larger breeds. Check out Pedigrees Dog Age Calculator to find your breed. 

 

 

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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.

 

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