It is common knowledge that one dog year is seven human years, it is how we all calculate our pet’s age. A new study has come up with substantial evidence that this might not be true.
“In terms of how physiologically mature a 1-year-old dog is, a 9-month-old dog can have puppies. Right away, you know that if you do the math, you don’t just times seven,” says senior author Trey Ideker of the University of California, San Diego. “What’s surprising is exactly how old that one-year-old dog is – it’s like a 30-year old human.”
The authors explain that genetic evidence shows that puppies and younger dogs age faster than their older counterparts. This means their ages are not able to be uniformly calculated across their life span.
Researchers looked at 104 Labrador retrievers spanning from few-week-old puppies to 16-year-old dogs. They compared the changes at a molecular level to humans, considering the developmental genes in each DNA.
The new formula found for working out a dogs age is human age = 16 ln(dog age) + 31.
So, for example, an 8-week-old dog is approximately the age of a 9-month-old baby, both being in the infant stage where puppies and babies develop teeth. The average 12-year lifespan of Labrador retrievers also corresponds to the worldwide life expectancy of humans, 70 years.