A dog’s age is not always equivalent to a human’s age. In fact, depending on the breed, a one-year-old dog could be anywhere from fifteen to twenty-one in human years. So how can you tell how old a dog is?
One of the most common questions veterinarians get asked is, “How old is my dog?” Unfortunately, there’s no one easy answer to this question.
In general, smaller dogs tend to live longer than their larger counterparts and mixed-breed dogs typically have a lifespan somewhere in between that of purebreds.
However, a number of other factors – including diet, exercise, genetics, and overall health – can also affect a dog’s lifespan.
How Can You Tell How Old A Dog Is
While it’s impossible to determine a dog’s exact age without knowing its date of birth, there are a few things you can do to get a general idea of how old your furry friend might be. Here are five tips for determining a dog’s age:
1. Look at the dog’s teeth:
A dog’s adult teeth usually come in between the ages of 4 and 6 months. If your dog still has baby teeth, it’s likely younger than 4 months. If all of the adult teeth are present and the canines (or “fang” teeth) are well developed, the dog is probably over 6 months old.
2. Check for a visible third eyelid:
When a puppy is born, it has a third eyelid that helps protect its eyes from infection. This third eyelid gradually disappears as the puppy matures, and is usually completely gone by the time the puppy is 4 to 6 months old. Therefore, if you can still see a third eyelid, or “haw,” in your dog’s eye, it’s likely a young puppy.
3. Examine the dog’s ear carriage:
A dog’s ears typically stand up straight by the time it is 4 to 6 months old. If your dog’s ears are still floppy, it’s probably a puppy.
4. Note the size and shape of the dog:
Obviously, a large breed dog is going to mature more slowly than a small breed dog.
In general, toy and miniature breeds reach full maturity at around 12 months old, while medium and large breeds may not reach full maturity until 18 to 24 months old.
Additionally, certain breeds – like giant breeds – may take even longer to fully mature.
5. Consider the dog’s overall health:
A dog’s age can also be determined by its overall health and physical condition. A dog that is in good physical shape and has a glossy coat of fur is likely younger than a dog that is overweight or has dull, dry fur.
Additionally, a dog with clear eyes and ears is probably younger than a dog that has cloudy eyes or dirty ears.
6. Check their energy level:
Puppies are full of energy and tend to be much more playful than older dogs. If your dog is more laid-back and low-key, they’re probably an adult.
Puppies have more energy than adult dogs because they are still growing and developing. Their bodies are working hard to create new cells, build muscle, and repair any damage that occurs.
This takes a lot of energy! Puppies also tend to be more playful than adult dogs. They haven’t learned yet that certain behaviors are inappropriate, so they may jump on people or play too roughly.
7. See how they act around other dogs:
Puppies are often fearful or tentative around other dogs, whereas older dogs are usually more confident and at ease.
This difference in confidence can be attributed to a number of factors, including experience and socialization.
Puppies have had less time to gain experience and learn about the world around them, so it’s not surprising that they would be more fearful of things like other dogs.
They haven’t had as much time to build up a positive association with other dogs and may not have had many positive experiences with them.
On the other hand, older dogs have usually had more time to socialize and learn how to interact with other dogs.
8. Look at their skeletal structure:
Puppies’ bones are softer and more pliable than adults, so if your dog’s bones seem particularly sturdy, they’re probably an adult.
This is because puppies are still in their growing years so they have a soft and agile bodies.
9. Check their muscle tone:
Puppies often have less muscle definition than adults, so if your dog is particularly muscular, they’re likely an adult.
Just like human babies, puppies are born with a layer of baby fat that helps keep them warm and gives them energy. As they start to grow and develop, that baby fat starts to disappear and their muscles start to become more defined.
So, if you’re looking at a dog and trying to figure out their age, take a look at their muscle definition. If they’re looking pretty cut, they’re probably an adult.
10. Observe their behavior:
Puppies are often more prone to chewing and nipping than adults, and they may also be more excitable and restless. If your dog is calm and well-behaved, they’re probably an adult.
To conclude, there are a few things you can keep in mind when trying to determine a puppy’s age before buying a dog. First, look at the size and weight of the puppy.
A smaller puppy is likely to be younger than a larger one. Second, take a look at the puppy’s teeth. A pup with fewer teeth is probably younger than one with a full set.
Finally, consider the puppy’s energy level. Younger puppies tend to have more energy and be more playful than older ones.
If you keep these things in mind, you should be able to get a good idea of how old your puppy is.
Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines for determining a dog’s age. If you’re still not sure how old your furry friend is, your best bet is to consult with your veterinarian.