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For many years, the standard measurement of a pet’s age was 7 years for every one year of life.  In other words, a 2-year-old dog was thought to be 14 in “human years.”  This is no longer the case. 

Research has shown that cats age more slowly than dogs, and that even among dogs there are differences.  For instance, large breeds tend to age faster and have shorter life spans than toy breeds.  (When speaking in terms of averages, however, it is important to remember that there will always be pets that exceed the standard and those that fall short.)

One of our favorite gadgets at the vet clinic is a chart which shows equivalent ages for cats and small, medium, and large dogs.  Be sure to ask about the chart on your next visit, if you’d like to find out how old your pet is in “human years.”

Click to enlarge. Graph by Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Check out these examples, using the guide for cats, small dogs (1-25 lbs), medium dogs (26-55 lbs) and large dogs (56 lbs and over.)

Let’s assume the pet is two years old:

  • The cat is 22 in human age 
  • The small dog is 26 
  • The medium dog is 25 
  • The large dog is 21

Now consider these pets at 7 years old:

  • The cat is 45 in human age
  • The small dog is 49
  • The medium dog is 58 
  • The large dog is 65

Finally, look at those same pets at 11 years old:

  • The cat is 59 in human age
  • The small dog is 65 
  • The medium dog is 77 
  • The large dog 99 

What do all these numbers add up to?
It means that, for a pet, major health changes
can occur in a short amount of time.

If your pet has not been to the doctor in over a year, it’s time for a check-up. Routine blood tests and urinalysis can catch disease in the early stages, while it is more likely to be treatable.

Call our office at 757-583-2619 or Contact Us to set up your pet’s appointment today.

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This article originally appeared on August 15, 2011.

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