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Working Out Your Pet's Real Age
Thursday March 9th 2017
At one time, working out the age of your dog or cat in human years was relatively simple, as all you had to do was multiply the age by around six or seven.
And while this may this may give you a reasonably accurate answer for cats, it’s a bit more complicated for dogs.
That’s because canines vary so dramatically in terms of size and shape. Age can therefore depend on a range of other factors such as their size and stage of life.
For instance, smaller dogs like terriers and poodles reach maturity more quickly than their bigger canine companions.
That means that small breeds may have a shorter infancy, and then go on to have a longer period of adulthood. By contrast, it may take a year or two extra for bigger canines like Great Danes and Mastiffs to reach full size.
They would then have less time as adults, typically around four or five years.
There’s also a difference in the speed at which different types of dog grow old. Smaller pooches will age more rapidly in their first few years, while big breeds will develop at a greater speed in adulthood.
All these factors have led animal experts to make the following conclusions.
• To work the age of a smaller dog in the first 2 years of life, multiply it by 12.5
• For larger dogs at the same stage, you multiply it by 9
When dogs reach the age of 3, the age is multiplied by around 4 for most smaller pooches and by around 8 for the majority of their bigger peers.
Top tips on caring for elderly pets
The issue of ageing raises serious concerns for how to look after our more senior animals, with changes in health and character taking place.
According to the Blue Cross, as cats grow older and become less active, it can be a good idea to feed them a special low-calorie diet that can help to reduce weight gain.
It’s also advisable to keep an eye on their claws too, which can start to overgrow due to reduced levels of physical activity.
Many dogs can start to suffer from dental problems when they reach their golden years, meaning they may need to start eating only soft foods.
And as dogs’ immune systems start to lose strength, they can also be put at greater risk of infection from the likes of fleas, ticks and worms.
With these health risks in mind, it’s advisable to make sure your dog is given regular health check-ups, and to speak to your vet if you have any concerns.
World’s oldest animals
- The title of oldest dog ever to have lived is thought to belong to Maggie, the Kelpie who died in Australia at the grand old age of 30. However, as her owner lost her original paperwork, her age could not be independently verified.
- Crème Puff, from Texas, US was the world’s oldest cat, reaching 38 years and three days before passing away in 2005.
- In 2009, a 16-year-old rabbit named Hazel set the record for the world’s longest-living bunny.