How many human years old is your dog or cat? Most people think that calculating the answer is using a simple formula where you multiply the number of actual years by a constant number, usually believed to be somewhere between six and seven. That is only partially correct. The number is between six and seven, but it’s far from a constant. Ask a pet vet Traverse City Animal Hospital employs and they will tell you it’s actually a variable number that is based on the size and weight of an animal.

In other words, if your Chihuahua and your German shepherd are the same chronological age in real time, they are not the same age in dog years. The life expectancy of the Chihuahua is longer, fifteen years or more. The Shepherd will reach fifteen only rarely. The standard calculation for human years equaling dog years is done according to life expectancy, with the human number being right around 80. A Chihuahua reaches the equivalent of 80 at 16 years old, the Shepherd only twelve.

The same formula can be applied to cats, though the standard domestic cat varies a lot less in size and weight than the standard domestic dog does. The first thing our doctors do at the veterinary clinic Acme, Kalkaska and Traverse City pet owners come to is weigh the animal. We then use the chart below to determine what the approximate age of the animal is in human years.

Of course, our doctors don’t have to convert to human years before they deal with an emergency situation. They’re well aware of the limitations and strengths of each breed and how to properly take care of them. Accurately calculating the age and life expectancy of a pet gives us the ability to create wellness programs and has helped us develop the animal dental Traverse City pet owners can apply for better oral health. Starting routine dental cleanings early in an animal’s life can ensure that later on they are able to eat properly and comfortably. Without proper dental care, tooth decay and bone disease are both risks.

Understanding how size and weight relates to longevity of life for your pet will help you to make better decisions when it comes to nutrition and dieting. Examine the chart below and you’ll see that smaller dogs and cats have a longer life expectancy. Putting a larger animal on a proper diet will help them to live longer. Even smaller pets that can only drop a few pounds can still benefit from proper diet and moderate weight loss. Check with the veterinarians here at Traverse Animal Hospital and let us set up a health and wellness routine for your pet. Their life and your happiness are important to us.

Age Chart