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How to Tell a Dog’s Age in Human Years: a Step-by-Step Guide

September 10, 2021 by Becca Shepherd
how to tell a dog's age in human years

We’ve all wondered how old our dogs are in human years at some point in time. There's a common misconception that one dog year equals seven human years, but it's actually a little more complicated than that! The aging process in dogs is unique in that the dog breed also impacts their lifespan, too. For example, small dogs tend to live longer lives than large dogs, making it a bit trickier to calculate their age matter-of-factly into human years.

To help you calculate dog years to human years, we at SPOT have come up with a comprehensive guide to understanding your furry friend’s true age, including a chart to convert human years to determine your dog’s age.

What Factors Into My Dog’s Age?

Breed and size aside, dogs naturally age faster than humans. To get a more accurate read on a dog’s biological age (meaning, how “old” their body is functioning rather than their years alive since birth) some researchers include a frailty index.

The frailty index takes into account a dog’s level of activity, current health conditions and diseases, as well as any other impairments that might be impacting their biological age. So, if your pup is getting up there in age but still runs after the ball when it’s thrown, you could say they might have a low frailty score.

How To Convert Dog Years To Human Years

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that pinpoints exactly how old your dog is in human years. Humans and dogs age very differently, so it can be a process to truly pinpoint how old a dog is.

Luckily, we’ve created an easy-to-understand dog age chart that breaks down your pet’s age in human years by size and dog age.

Dog Age Conversion Chart

Final-Approved-How to Tell a Dog's Age in Human Years_ A Step-by-Step Guide

Dog age chart for sizes ranging from small dogs (20 lbs or less) to giant dogs (100+ lbs).

Key Points:

  • A 1 year of a dog is equivalent to about 15 years in human age.
  • Smaller dogs tend to outlive larger dogs, which is the human age for each size differs.
  • Small dogs aren’t considered to be “seniors” until age 10. For giant dogs (100+ lbs), become seniors at ages 5 or 6.

How Old is My Dog?

To find out how old your dog is you must first know their weight and dog age. Weight is important because smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger dogs, which is reflected in our dog age chart above.

Of course, it’s impossible to predict exactly how long your dog will live based on a chart, but it’s a good benchmark for understanding how your dog’s needs may change as they age over time.

Why Do Smaller Dogs Live Longer Than Larger Dogs?

Smaller dogs (and smaller animals in general) tend to live longer than their larger counterparts mostly because their bodies metabolize food more efficiently, and given their size, are more adept at fighting free radicals and abnormal growths within the body.

Common small breed dogs:

  • French bulldog
  • Chihuahua
  • Dachshund
  • Shih Tzu
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Pomeranian
  • Boston Terrier
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Large dogs grow to a big size in a relatively short amount of time, aging them faster and making them more susceptible to tumors that can negatively impact their health.

The larger the dog, the shorter their expected life span.

Common large breed dogs:

  • Huskies
  • Great Dane
  • Mastiff
  • Saint Bernard
  • Newfoundland
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Irish Wolfhound

When it comes to the differences in converting dog’s age in human years, size of the dog is factored into the calculation. With the differences between small dogs and large dogs, age is calculated differently from dog years to human years.

How Can I Help My Dog Live Longer?

Everyone wants to enjoy a long and healthy life with their dog. To accomplish this, you want to make sure you are taking care of your dog’s overall health just like you look after your own. Using a dog age chart, allows for owners to care for your dog’s health and wellness as they age.

Take your dog for walks or throw their favorite toy to make sure they get their daily exercise. Be sure not to feed them unhealthy food or processed human food which can hurt their digestive system. Also, make sure you take them to the vet for regular checkups and preventative care.

To support healthy aging in your pup, check out SpotPet Insurance plan’s preventative care coverage options, which can be added at an additional cost. Preventative care is a great type of care to have as your dog ages and becomes vulnerable to developing health conditions! Show your furry friend you love them by getting help protecting them against accidents, illnesses, or emergencies with a dog insurance plan from Spot.

Get a quote today!

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