Do dogs really age 7 times faster than humans?
We all know that dogs don’t live as long as humans but do they really age 7 times faster? While it’s true that they only live around a 7th of the average human lifespan, you can’t expect a dog’s development to mirror that of a human’s but at 7 times the rate.
Dogs age at a different rate to us so the old rule that there are 7 dog years for every 1 human year isn’t right. If humans aged seven times slower than our fluffy companions, we would be able to make children at 7 years old and we would live till the ripe old age of 150. You don’t need to be an expert at anything to know those numbers don’t add up.
Our four-legged friends age differently to us because their bodies mature at different rates. Canines reach sexual maturity once they are one year old. In fact they age faster than we do over the first two years of their existence. But even that statement’s inaccurate because smaller dogs tend to mature quicker than larger breeds. However, overall dogs mature quicker at the start of their life and slow down their development way before humans do.
Ok, so can you calculate a dog’s age compared to yours in any accurate manner? Well, some experts have done just this and created a table that takes into account the dog’s weight. After one year, small dogs tend to be at the same maturity stage as a 15 year old human. Larger dogs are at the same stage as a 14 year old over the same 12 month period. This evolution slows down in year two as small breeds are at the same level as a 23 year old human after 24 months while larger breeds are at the same stage as 20 year olds. At the end of year three, all breeds of dogs are at either the same maturity level as a 28 or 29 year old human. If you just take those numbers into account, you’ll see that there’s no pattern to the dog’s maturity compared to ours.
The whole “dog years” idea is therefore not based in reality. Some actually believe that it’s a marketing ploy dreamt up by vets to get dog owners to bring their pets in for a check-up at least once a year.