How Old Is Your Dog Really?

While there are many things people like to say they know about dogs, the one that is the most common is how to measure their age. The old idea of dog aging being as simple as multiplying their age by seven has been disputed for years since not all dogs age the same way. For instance, a Chihuahua will not age the same way as a Great Dane since their lifespans are so completely different. A dog that lives only five years will age completely differently than one that lives fifteen years, plus diet and exercise play a role in their lifespan as well.

Our friends at BetterPet have put together a new way of seeing your dog’s age through algorithms and individual studies on other dog breeds. Going by their calculator, these dogs all have different stages in life that they reach, with most reaching the second to last stage as senior dogs. The stages outline different life changes in the dog, ranging from birth to death and have different importance including when a dog can safely begin mating.With each stage of development, a dog’s behavior and abilities change including how they can play, walk, or eat.

See how old your dog is here!

The Stages Of A Dog’s Life

The first stage in life is puppy, as everyone knows. However, people will call their dog a puppy for years either as part of the nicknames for the dog or simply because they think it is still a baby. A dog is effectively only a puppy until they are six months old which is when they move into a new stage of development. The puppy stage is when they are actually still babies and toddlers, effectively, but involves body development, teeth growing in, and  beginning to learn behaviors taught by their owners.

The second stage of development is known as junior and it ranges from six months old until just about one year. This is when your pet will become a different type of playful including more tests of strength and games like fetch since their brains are developing more rapidly. This is also when your dog will begin being able to mate, so it is important to keep them in control so they do not think they are in charge of the home. It is also important to get them spayed or neutered at this time if you intend to.

The next stage is adulthood, which ranges from around one year until the point where their metabolism begins to slow,, which is generally two to three years later. As an adult dog, the dog’s motivation will change, as will their coat and sometimes even their disposition. By the time they reach adulthood, most dogs are accustomed to the people around them, so their behavior will only change dramatically if there is a serious change in environmental factors. 

The next stage is called mature, and this is the middle to late age that most dogs reach.Mature dogs have lower metabolism than younger dogs. As a result, ensuring proper diet and exercise are absolutely necessary to avoid obesity and different ailments or health problems down the line. This in some dogs also is when joint issues begin to arise, such as high and leg issues in larger dogs like German Shepherd Dogs, Newfoundland Dogs, Retrievers, and so on. There is no set age when this will occur as each dog’s body ages differently than the next. 

The next and generally the final stage that dogs reach is senior. This is in the final quarter of their lifespan, sadly, and is when your dog’s mobility will start to decrease. While it is not always a rapid decrease, it depends on the diet of the dog in addition to the exercise they receive and other external factors. Switching to a senior-designed food is a good option to cut down on unnecessary fats that they may not be able to burn off. This is when dogs are the equivalent of their 60s essentially, which varies by breed and size of the dog.

The final stage, which the majority of dogs do not reach, is known as geriatric. While some dogs do reach this, it is considered to be outside the normal lifespan for most dogs. In this time, dog dementia can begin to develop, as can more serious joint and body issues such as making it difficult or impossible to walk as a result of decaying cartilage or arthritis. While exercise is still important, there might be a lot less they can do, as with jumping or straining themselves with physical activity. This is the last part of their life and they are going to need you now more than they did at any other point in their lives.

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