Longevity And Aging Of Dogs and Cats

This week it was announced that Chanel, the “world’s oldest dog” celebrated her 21st birthday.

In fact, the dog with the greatest recorded age was an Australian cattle dog named Bluey. Bluey was euthanized at 29 years and 5 months of age.

Of course, this is an extreme case and most dogs live nowhere near this long.

HUMAN-PET AGE ANALOGY

CANINE ADULT SIZE IN POUNDS

PET AGE

CAT

DOG 0-20#

DOG 21-50#

DOG

51-120#

DOG >120#

if your pet is this age:

his human equivalent age is:

his human equivalent age is:

his human equivalent age is:

his human equivalent age is:

his human equivalent age is:

1 year

15

15

16

19

26

2 years

23

23

24

27

34

3 years

28

28

29

31

39

4 years

32

33

34

38

49

5 years

36

38

39

45

59

6 years

40

42

44

52

69

7 years

44

46

49

59

79

8 years

48

50

54

66

89

9 years

51

54

59

73

99

10 years

56

58

64

80

11 years

60

62

69

87

12 years

64

66

74

94

13 years

68

70

79

101

14 years

72

74

84

15  years

76

78

89

16 years

80

82

94

17 years

84

86

99

LEGEND:

18 years

88

90

ADULT

19 years

92

94

SENIOR

20 years

96

98

GERIATRIC

W. Fortney, R. Goldstein, with modifications.

While it was reported that Chanel has lived 147 human years, this, too, needs explanation.

Of course, a year is a year, 365 days or twelve months regardless of whom is living it. A better term is human longevity equivalence. In other words, if human life expectancy were 100 years, a 90-year-old person would have lived 90% of his life expectancy.

Likewise, a nine-year-old dog with a ten-year life expectancy would have lived 90% of his life expectancy.

Charts (above) have been established that put dogs’ and cats’ aging on a non-linear scale in proportion to human life expectancy. By “non-linear” we mean that there is not a straightforward “7 years for 1 year” relationship. For example, a three-year-old cat (or a dog under 20#) already have a human longevity equivalence of 28 years, meaning the first years of maturation of dogs and cats are very accelerated.

Another factor is the size of the pet. Small pets age more slowly and live longer than large breeds. To further illustrate this relationship, the three-year-old dog over 120# is already 39 years old, an increase of 26% in rate of aging.

Chanel, a dachshund, is a small breed of dog. A healthy dachshund should not weigh much, if any, over 20#, so her current age of 21 years makes her approximately equivalent to 100 years of human longevity equivalence age.

Broadly speaking, many small-breed dogs can be expected to live to be 15-18 years of age. Giant breeds such as mastiffs and Great Danes may be truly geriatric by only age six and infirmed soon after. Giant-breed individuals over 10 years of age are truly rare.

It is difficult to overcome one’s longevity genes, whether canine, feline or human. Still, TLC counts for a lot. Proper diet, exercise and rest are crucial regardless of one’s species. The importance of regular medical care at your pet’s doctor cannot be overstated. This includes annual or semiannual physical examinations, vaccinations on schedule and heartworm preventive given every month year-round.

MMHPAGEAN

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