Determining a dog’s age was easier 50 years ago when there weren’t that many mixed breeds. Today, due to breeding and crossbreeding between different breeds, dogs tend to acquire the aging characteristics of both parent breeds.
Perhaps, more than once you have wondered: “How old is my dog?” . And it’s likely that your dog’s actual age has remained a mystery to you for a while. Knowing how old your dog is will help you decide how to feed him and what preventative care he may need to live the best life possible.
Clearly, your dog’s size, breed, general health and activity level will all affect how he ages. For example, small dogs tend to live longer than large dogs. Furthermore, depending on the breed, our animal friends mature and age at different rates.
If you adopted a dog when he was a puppy, you probably have an idea of the exact age in dog years and human years. But if it wasn’t a puppy, how do we know how old our dog is?
Fortunately, there are several ways to roughly estimate how old your dog is.
Check your teeth
The most reliable way to estimate a dog’s age is to examine its teeth. Puppies up to five weeks old probably have no teeth, while those between five and eight weeks old have very sharp temporary teeth.
Your puppy will start to have permanent teeth around three to four months of age. These teeth will remain white, shiny and clean until the first year of life. From then on, they may begin to show signs of wear. At first, you will see spots and plaque on the back of the mouth.
By around three years of age, most of your dog’s teeth will be slightly yellowish and have visible plaque. Dogs around the age of five tend to have an abundant presence of tartar and less pointed and more worn teeth.
Additionally, they are more prone to dental disease risk. Dogs over the age of ten often have loose, cracked or even missing teeth.
How old is my dog based on the condition of the coat
Like humans, most dogs will begin to turn gray as the years go by. Between seven and ten years it is very likely that the muzzle, chest and flanks begin to show a grayish or white color.
However, the early appearance of gray hair is not necessarily a sign of aging. As with humans, it could be caused by anxiety or excessive stress.
How old is my dog based on the condition of the eyes
The eyes also allow us to estimate the age of our dog. As a dog gets older, his eyes begin to blur or produce secretions . This is part of the normal aging process that begins when a dog is between six and eight years old.
In these cases, it is advisable to take our dear animal friend to the vet for a check-up and make sure that these changes do not affect his vision and create discomfort. As they age, some dogs develop cataracts or lose their sight completely.
Pay attention to your dog’s hearing
Sight isn’t the only sense that can change with aging. Young dogs generally have highly developed hearing. Older dogs, on the other hand, may have hearing problems .
You will understand this when you approach them and they will not notice it or when you call them and they will not answer your call. Your vet can check for hearing loss and help you care for a dog that can no longer hear.
How old is my dog based on muscles
You can find out your dog’s age by looking at his muscle tone and body shape. Puppies tend to have smooth, rounded bodies with little muscle tone. They also likely have legs and ears that seem too large in relation to the rest of the body.
Young, middle-aged, and healthy dogs tend to have some visible muscles and a graceful, defined shape. An older dog, on the other hand, may have reduced muscle tone, be a little overweight, or start to get a little thinner and bony.
Mobility and activity level
If the dog is young, he will likely move around a lot and will be continually eager to play with you. As dogs age, they are less energetic and often begin to have difficulty jumping, running, or walking up and down stairs.
Older dogs may also show less interest in play and prefer a nap on the sofa rather than a run in the park. Check the dog’s activity level and check his joint mobility.
Don’t forget about genetics
While these methods can help you estimate how old your dog is, not all dogs age the same. Depending on the breed, history, diet and activity level, your dog may show signs of premature aging or remain active even in his later years of life.