Is Your Dog Older or Younger Than You Think?
According to a new study, it sounds like we’ve been calculating our dogs' age wrong all along.
The standard, multiply-by-7 to determine a dog’s age is not an accurate measure, and recently the University of California San Diego School of Medicine created a formula that more accurately compares dog age to human age.
A press release from UC San Diego Health revealed that this formula was developed by “mapping molecular changes in the genome over time.” The peer-reviewed study observed Labradors from 0-16 years of age and looked at physiological milestones during both development and lifetime aging.
From the findings, researchers found that dog’s don’t age in the same linear fashion when compared to humans—a dog grows much faster than a human at first, experiencing certain physiological milestones much earlier than humans.
“A one-year-old dog is similar to a 30-year-old human," said the press release. "A four-year-old dog is similar to a 52-year-old human. Then by seven years old, dog aging slows.”
The findings concluded that a more accurate equation to determine a pet’s age is: Human age = 16 ln(dog age) + 31
Beyond the fact that it’s interesting to learn about your pet, and how they compare to you age-wise, it’s also important information for veterinarians and the pet industry as a whole to pay attention to. Having a closer understanding of a pet’s life stage and needs is key to providing the attention and products needed to help pets live long and healthy lives.
According to senior author Trey Ideker, PhD, professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center, veterinarians often use the 1:7 years ratio to figure out a dog’s age, and will make an appropriate diagnosis based off that information. Understanding a dog’s true age, and their appropriate needs at that age, will benefit dogs and aid research into how we can prolong their lifespans.
More research is needed, as the focus of this study was one particular breed of dog, but researchers plan on digging deeper to learn more about determining a pet’s true age.