December 7, 2021

How Can You Tell How Old a Dog Is?

There are a lot of different circumstances where you may not know exactly how old your dog is - and that is totally normal. If you didn't adopt your dog when they were young and told their age, then you may be struggling to determine how old your dog is. Knowing your dog's age is important for keeping up with their health, deciding how much to feed them, and helping them live a healthy and happy life! Always note that all dogs will age differently depending on their breed and activity level. For example, small dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs, and they both mature very differently from each other. Good for you; there are ways to calculate your dog's age and use dog age charts to give you an idea of how old they are. You can use your dog's teeth, breed, and coat to help determine age!

Check your dog's teeth.

The best dog age calculator is to examine your dog's teeth! There is a simple dog age chart you can follow when checking your dog's teeth. Please use the following to find which description matches your dog's teeth and follow the age that goes with it. 

  • All puppy teeth are (typically) in - 8 weeks
  • All adult teeth are in (clean and bright in color) - 6-7 months
  • Teeth are duller, and the back teeth may have some yellowing - 1-2 years
  • Teeth have some tartar build-up and slightly yellow - 3-5 years
  • Teeth show more wear, less pointed, and may start to show signs of disease - 5-10 years
  • Very heavy tartar build-up, teeth are worn down, teeth are beginning to break or go missing - 10-15 years

You can use that as a baseline to figure out how old your dog is. While you won't be able to pinpoint their birthday, this is a great way to narrow it down and get a very good idea of your dog's age. 

Check your dog's coat.

Dogs are very similar to us as humans in a lot of ways. One of those is getting grey hairs! Most dogs will start to get a little grey throughout their coat as they age. Around the ages of 7 to 10, they will develop grey hair around their mouth, nose, chest, or haunches. 

While this isn't the best dog age calculator, especially if your dog is younger than 7, it is a good factor to be aware of and determine if you're at a senior dog age. Keep in mind that similar to humans, dogs can develop grey hairs from more than just age. 

Dogs can start greying early due to stress or anxiety! If you know your dog hasn't reached 7 years old yet and is greying, it is a great indicator to check their stress and anxiety levels and talk to your vet. But, if you know they are a senior dog, then the greying is very typical, and you and your dog can start embracing it! 

Check your dog's breed.

All dogs will age and mature in very different ways. For example, small dogs tend to age slower than larger dogs and live longer. Depending on the breed, medical history, diet, and activity level, all dogs will show signs of aging differently. 

With the internet at our fingertips, our favorite tip is to look for photos online of your dog breed at all different ages and compare it to your dog! Your vet will also have a great idea of your dog's age based on their breed and give you ways to help your dog age gracefully and continue to be as healthy as possible! 

Now that you've figured out how old your dog is, you may be curious about the theory that one dog year is seven human years. That was the common rule of thumb for a long time, but research has started showing a different theory. We now know that puppies age much faster than younger humans do in terms of mental and physical health. 

A one-year-old puppy is now more equivalent to a 15-year-old! So you're going to be the parent of a teenager much sooner than you thought! It's hard to measure a dog's age and compare it to human age, but it is fun to speculate. But knowing how many years old your dog is, is very important. While there are many ways to tell how old a dog is, these are our favorites! 

The best and most accurate calculator is checking your dog's teeth. So it's always a good idea to be aware of them to ensure the best possible health for your dog at their age. 

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