The most accurate way to work out how old a dog is in human years, according to scientists

Lisa Walden
Photo credit: Purple Collar Pet Photography - Getty Images

From Country Living

According to new scientific research, the age-old rule that one dog year equates to seven human years is actually a myth. It seems that it is much harder to calculate the age of a dog than we previously thought.

A study conducted by the University of California has discovered a new formula for working out the age of a dog compared to a human, and it's rather complicated.

The research used an epigenetic clock (a biochemical test that can be used to measure age) to analyse changes to dog DNA over a period of time and look at 'methyl groups' (these naturally circulate in our body to ensure biological processes work in the correct way).

The findings

• Scientists found that there were some similarities in the timings of major milestones between dogs and humans.

• However, the team also found that there are periods in a dog's life where their biological clock does not match that of humans. This includes puberty because dogs mature earlier in their lifecycle than humans.

• Despite that, scientists concluded that their new formula is more accurate than the 'dog age plus seven years' myth.

• The study has been published here.

What is the new dog age formula?

To work out the age of a dog, the scientists took the natural logarithm of a dog's age, then multiplied it by 16 and added 31.

For example, by using this formula, an 18-year-old dog would actually be 77 in human years, while a 2-year-old pup would be 42.

Photo credit: Jessica Peterson - Getty Images

Geneticist Tina Wang, who led the study, explained that it isn't easy to find a comparison between the age of dogs and humans, as different dog breeds tend to have varied life spans.

"While average lifespan differs dramatically across breeds, within some breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, there are extensive variations in lifespan," says the study.

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

SIGN UP


You Might Also Like