We all consider our pets to be as much a part of the family as all of our other relatives. In fact, more often than not we get on better with the animals in our life than other humans – particularly when we’re all together in one room!
Consequently, we like to feel like we’re in tune with them, tending to their every need as they grow older and their everyday requirements change.
Our pets, of course, have a much shorter lifespan than we do, meaning that they age at a considerably more rapid rate…
In an effort to help us understand and care for our pets adequately, here’s a simple guide on estimating your pet’s age in human years!
First things first, it’s vital that you understand the stage of life that your animal is at. This is based on the respective life stages of humans, but is, of course, increases at a much faster rate.
In a dog’s lifespan, for example, they are considered ‘young’ between the ages of 0-0.75 (the latter portion of which is their ‘teenage years’), then ‘grown adults’ from 0.75-6.5 years, ‘middle aged’ at 6.5-9.75 years before becoming ‘elderly’ from 9.75 onwards.
A more detailed version of a dog’s life stages can be seen here:
In terms of cats, the stages of development are similar, yet more spread out as a result of their typically longer life expectancy. This will become clear when viewed on the ‘cat years’ chart below.
So, how do I calculate my pet’s age in human years?
There’s an old myth that one human year is the equivalent of seven years for dogs and cats – and there is some logic behind it! An ‘average sized, medium dog’ would live, on average, for one-seventh as long as it’s human owner. It becomes tricky, however, when dealing with anything other than an ‘average sized, medium dog’.
Aside from differences in size, weight etc. changes in the human lifespan mean that such calculations become furthermore inaccurate. As veterinary care has become more advanced, however, new methodologies have been formulated to calculate how old cats and dogs are in human years.
For dogs, breed and size are the largest contributors to life expectancy, with nutrition and associated weight the next most important factors. By using the chart of life stages as set out by the American Animal Hospital Association, comparing the average life stages of dogs and humans can provide an illuminating insight into their ‘human’ age.
The same is true of cats, as the American Association of Feline Practitioners-The American Animal Hospital Association have set out a series of feline life stages – kitten, junior, prime, mature, senior, and geriatric – to help determine their age in human years.
As most healthy cats are around the same size, there’s less variability in the age at each life stage.
So, there you have it. Not only is it totally sweet to understand the lifespan of our pets in relation to our own, it also means that we can give them the necessary care and attention as and when they need it!
Summer holiday booked but still looking for pet care? Perhaps Tailster can help! We’ve a range of fully vetted carers across the UK, available to tend to your pet care needs as and when you require. For more information on our full service, click here.