How Old Is My Pet in Human Years? - NaturesPlus Accessibility Notice

How Old Is My Pet in Human Years?

Knowing how old your pet is in terms of people years isn’t just a fun fact: Being aware of what life stage your dog or cat is in can help you better care for your companion.

And that seven-dog-years-equals-one-human-year idea? It isn’t really accurate.

“Even though this formula has been around for a surprisingly long time, the reality is not so cut-and-dried,” says the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Your Dog’s Age in Human Years

Actually, by the time your dog is one year old, he or she is right in the middle of a human’s teenage years (which might explain their behavior!).

After age two, “each human year would be approximately five years for a dog,” says the AKC.

However, even that has exceptions.

“Larger-breed dogs tend to have shorter lifespans compared to smaller breeds,” explains the AKC. “They are often considered ‘senior’ when they are 5 to 6 years of age.”

Here are some dog-to-human age milestones.


Dog’s Size

Small (20 lbs or less)

Medium (21-50 lbs)

Large/Giant (51-100+ lbs)

Dog’s Age, in Years

Age in Human Years

1

15

15

15-12

4

32

32

32-38

6

40

42

45-49

8

48

51

55-64

11

60

65

72-86

14

72

78

88-107

16

80

87

99-121


Source: VCA Animal Hospitals

Your Cat’s Age in Human Years

For cats, size is less important than breed…which is less important than whether your cat lives indoors or out.

The life expectancy of outdoor cats “is often less than 5 years, during which time they may have a poor quality of life,” says the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

When it comes to a cat’s breed, mixed breeds are “often are longer-lived than their purebred counterparts because they have a broader gene pool with less risk of inherited disease,” says Mitchell Veterinary Services in Ontario. (The same holds true for dogs.) “The average lifespan for a spayed or neutered housecat is 15 years.”

Among purebreds, the Siamese are known for generally longer lifespans.

Here are some cat-to-human age comparisons.

Cat’s Age, in Years

Age in Human Years

15

32

6

40

8

48

12-13

64-68

16-17

80-84

20-21

96-100


Source: VCA Animal Hospitals

Caring for An Older Pet

Each animal is a unique individual, and aging rates vary from one to the next.

But once your pet reaches his or her senior years–generally starting around age 10 or so–there are ways to promote healthier aging that may help your pal live a longer, more vital life:

  • Take your pet to the vet at least once a year (preferably twice). Because pets age more rapidly than we do, it helps to stay on top of potential medical problems before they develop.
  • Feed a healthy diet. You should be giving your pet high-quality food from early on, but it’s never too late to start. Talk to your vet about the best way to feed your dog or cat (assuming there are no conditions, such as kidney disease or diabetes, that would require a special diet). To explore dietary options from a different perspective, you can consult a veterinary nutritionist or a holistic veterinarian.
  • Make sure your pet has access to water at all times. If you need to, make it easier for your pet to drink by placing the dish in a more accessible location. You may also want to invest in a pet drinking fountain; many dogs and cats prefer slaking their thirst with running water.
  • Care for your pet’s teeth. Dental problems can lead to other health issues. If brushing isn’t possible, consider using dental treats or chews to keep teeth in good condition.
  • Encourage exercise and mental stimulation. Even senior pets need to exercise, but you may need to tailor physical activity to your pet’s abilities, such as walking at a slower pace (and possibly on a softer surface) for older dogs and providing ramp-like structures instead of high cat trees for senior kitties. If your pet tends to gain weight, food puzzles can provide both a mental challenge and a way to slow his or her eating.
  • Consider dietary supplementation. Like us, our pets often benefit from supplements such as multivitamins, to promote overall well-being, and probiotics, which support digestive and immune health. For pets with sensitive tummies, products formulated to promote optimal digestion may be helpful.

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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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