New Research Says Your Dog May Be Younger Than You Think
Dog lovers are often saddened as years advance and their dogs become less spry than they used to be. Our hearts break as the energetic pups we brought home calm down. Before long, we start seeing grey around the muzzles, and stiff joints that pop and crack as they move. You’re probably familiar with the idea that a dog ages seven years to each one year of human life. The good news is that science is changing this thinking, even calling it flawed.
There’s an age calculation that might make your head spin a little unless you’re a mathematician. To calculate your dog’s age, you must now multiply the natural logarithm of a dog’s age in human years by 16 and then add 31. My dog is 10. Let’s do the math. The natural logarithm of 10 is 2.30. I’ve forgotten, long ago how to calculate logarithms — crediting Google for solving the logarithm for me. 2.30 multiplied by 16, is 36.8. Add 31. My dog is 67.8 years old, not 70. In dog years, that’s a lot more longevity than I had thought.
If you don’t want to do the math, but still want to know how old your dog is, this calculator will simplify the process. The calculator put my dog at 56-years-old, which is excellent news, considering I thought he was 70. All breeds do not age equally, so you can select your dog’s breed or a similar breed and have an approximation for your dog’s age quickly. Depending on the calculator you use, you may get a different result. Admittedly, there’s some variance in the answers, but they are likely more accurate than the old 7 dog years to 1 human year calculation.
Watch for Other Signs to Determine Age
Regular veterinarian visits and staying up-to-date on shots will be helpful for your pet’s health. Signs that can help determine your dog’s age can come from observing their eyes and teeth. A young dog has little to no tartar on his teeth, but a dog of 10 may have tartar buildup, and possible disease by around 15 years.
The eyes also offer clues. The next time your faithful friend comes in to kiss your cheek, pay attention to his eyes. Note if they are cloudy. Grey fur, loose skin, and whether your dog has stiff legs are other indications of age.
Dogs Mirror People’s Actions
If you’ve ever hinted at the idea that dogs are people too, you’re on to a kind of thinking that has some truth to it, according to newer science reports. Dogs' behavior has similar trends to those people display at the same age. A teenage dog (in dog-equivalent years), for example, may exhibit similar adolescent phase-conflict as your teenage child. In humans, we can take a blood test to determine our age. The Dog’s Aging Project is getting close to accomplishing the same determination in dogs.
Analyzing your dog and his behavior for parallels to human behavior may help both humans and dogs. Because science has found similarities, studying them may offer hints on how to live a healthier life longer than before. When you understand your dog better, you can connect deeper.
Connect Beyond Life
We know, in the end, dogs and humans meet the same fate. One day we may accomplish immortality, but for now, no one can live forever. We may as well live the best life for as long as possible while we’re here and enjoy better health because we've allowed for love, and to be loved by our pets. When people and dogs love, our connection isn’t always lost, even in death. Consider Where the Red Fern Grows, where Billy’s family struggles to feed themselves and can’t afford to feed a dog during the depression. Billy had a special bond with his friend and buries him under a tree. After a season had passed, a red fern grew where he buried his dog.
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.
Undoubtedly a dog lover, Neruda offers the idea that we’d be so lucky to love a dog in a way that completes our human-ness. And in the idea of a love lost, that somehow it goes beyond our ability to connect on earth, may we continue to love beyond the grave.