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If you’ve taken in a stray or adopted a dog, determining how old he is can be challenging. Looks can be deceiving, even when Fido acts like a big clumsy puppy. And that old formula, “Dogs live seven years for every one human year” isn’t really accurate, since you have to know a dog’s age for that calculation to work. However, a few telltale signs can help you “guesstimate” your canine buddy’s age.
First and foremost, Fido’s breed and size play a big role in determining his lifespan. Smaller breeds, like Chihuahuas, typically live longer than larger dogs. Little dogs also mature faster during the first 2-3 years of their lives.
On the other hand, larger breeds, like the Great Dane, grow more slowly when they’re puppies. By age five, a Great Dane has reached doggy middle age, while a Chihuahua of the same age would only be in his early-30s in human years.
Fido’s choppers can also reveal some clues about his age. Puppies younger than four weeks normally have no teeth at all. In fact, permanent teeth don’t start growing until he’s three to four months old. They’ll also be a clean white in the puppy stage.
As a dog ages, you’ll start to see more tartar, stains, and plaque. Around age five, plaque and tartar really start to develop, and Fido’s teeth may be less pointed and slightly worn down. At this point, the risk of dental disease increases considerably. And canines ten years old and older often have loose, cracked, or missing teeth.
Much like with humans, gray hairs can be telltale signs of aging on dogs. Your pooch will get gray or white hairs on his muzzle, chest, and haunches between the ages of seven and ten. However, some dogs may develop gray hairs at a young age, oftentimes due to stress and anxiety.
Fido’s eyes also say a lot about his age. Over time, a dog’s eyes may produce discharge and get cloudy. These changes usually start appearing between six and eight years of age. Vision loss and cataracts are also more common in senior dogs.
This one’s pretty obvious and easy to spot. Anyone who’s had a puppy knows how they always seem to have an endless supply of energy. As Fido ages, he’ll probably prefer naps on the couch to running in the park.
Do you have questions about your dog’s age and health needs? Contact us today!