While there might not be a very accurate method of how to tell how old your dog is, it is possible to get an estimate.
That is, it is possible to find out what developmental stage (puppyhood, adulthood and old age) your dog is in by checking some parts of their body.
And it is really important to know this because dogs’ needs change from one developmental stage to another.
Knowing what stage your dog is on will help you be better prepared to support them.
Finding Out How Old Your Dog Is
To find out how old your dog is, you could check any of the following:
- Whether or not they have teeth and what kind of teeth they have.
- How clear the eyes are.
- Whether their coats have started greying.
Checking The Teeth
Of all the body parts you could check, your dog’s teeth will probably provide you as close an estimate as possible, especially if said teeth are non existent.
If you’ve adopted a young dog that doesn’t have any teeth at all, it is pretty easy to tell that your dog is a puppy.
And seeing as dogs do not start teething until about 8 weeks, you can be sure that your dog isn’t up to 8 weeks old, yet.
However, if your dog already has teeth, it becomes a little bit more difficult to tell by their teeth.
This is because, dogs develop differently and while there are general developmental expectations, there are a lot of exemptions.
That said, your dog’s permanent teeth will probably start growing in when they are around 3 months old and would have completely grown in around 7 months old.
This, however, could differ, especially considering that small dog breeds mature faster but age slower than their large breed counterparts.
So, while they will reach adulthood quicker than large dogs, they will get to old age slower than their large dog counterparts.
As a result, a small dog might get all their adult teeth quicker than a large breed dog.
That said, generally, till about the age of 1, dogs’ teeth will remain as white as they were when they came out.
However, from age 1, you might begin to notice some tartar build up, especially on the back teeth.
Nonetheless, this depends on a number of circumstances, chief of which is when your dog got all their adult teeth.
However, some dogs might actually start to have some tartar build up earlier than others, depending on genetics and what they’ve been eating.
So, basically tartar build up on your dog’s teeth could either be indicative of adulthood or tooth decay.
Checking The Eyes
The older a dog gets, the cloudier their eyes get. This is probably lenticular sclerosis and while your dog’s pupils might look opaque, lenticular sclerosis usually does not affect eye sight, at least not terribly.
That said, do not confuse this for cataract. With cataract, you’ll notice a milky white substance on your dog’s pupil and this usually affects their vision.
However, if you are not sure of what is what, take your dog to the vet.
Much like humans begin to grey as they get into old age, dogs grey too. You’d usually start to notice the greying around their snout and their eyes.
However (there is usually an however), much like with adults, there are dogs who start to grey really early. And there are even those who are born with white hair around those areas.
So, while the coat thing might be able to tell you what developmental stage your dog is in, you can’t be sure of its accuracy.
Check out these other articles:
- How Long Does It Take A Dog To Digest Food?
- Why Does My Dog Scratch The Floor?
- What To Feed A Nursing Dog
- How Long Can A Dog Go WIthout Eating When Sick?
- How Much Do Service Dog Trainers Make?
- What To Do If Your Dog Eats A Lemon
So, What Then?
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is pretty difficult to accurately tell how old a dog is.
One thing you can do, though, in addition to the other checks we mentioned, is to track your dog’s developmental progress.
That is, from the time you brought in your dog, have there been any significant changes in them? If there haven’t, your dog is probably at the peak of their adulthood.
Adulthood lasts for between 3 to 5 years or even more in smaller dogs. So, if your dog hasn’t changed much yet, they are probably there.
For the other developmental stages, you’ll know when you begin to notice the changes.
What If I Still Can’t Figure It Out?
Your veterinarian is your best bet. In fact, when you first bring in your dog, you ought to take them to the vet. And during this period, your vet might be able to help you figure out how old they are.
And even if they can’t you’ll just have to pay attention to your dog and report any changes your dog experiences to your vet immediately.
How To Tell How Old Your Dog Is
At What Age Does A Puppy Become A Dog?
The maturation to adulthood happens at slightly different times for different dogs. Most small dogs begin to mature at about 8 months while large breeds might not start maturing till they are 1. Medium sized breeds could start at 10 months to become adults.
That said, while your dog might start shedding off their puppy behaviors at between 8 and 12 months. they might not completely shed the bahaviors till they are about 2 years old.
At What Age Can A Puppy Get A Dog Pregnant?
A male dog can get a female pregnant as early as when they are 6 months of age. However, secxual maturation could happen for a dog later than that, aa late as 2 years old.
Can A 7 Month Old Puppy Get Pregnant?
A 7 month old puppy could get pregnant, provided she has had her first estrus cycle. And that estrus cycle could happen anytime between 6 and 12 months of age.
That said, it is best to wait till your dog’s second estrus cycle before you start breeding her, just to give her time to get used to the changes.
What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Dog?
The average lifespan of a dog is anywhere between 10 and 13 years. The oldest a dog has lived is about 29 years of age.
Do Cross Breed Dogs Live Longer?
Cross breed dogs actually do live longer than pure breed dogs. And that has something to do with the fact that pure breeds inherit the health issues associated with their specific breeds while dogs that have been bred with two or more breeds could skip all the bad stuff in their breeds and just keep the good stuff.
However, it is not impossible for cross breeds to take all the bad stuff associated with all the breeds they’ve been crossed with and skip the good stuff.
What Breed Of Dog Has The Longest Lifespan?
The Australian Cattle Dog is known to be the dog breed that has the longest lifespan. In fact the current Guiness World Record holder for oldest dog is held by an Australuan Cattle who lived to be 29 years old.