If we adopt a dog or find a stray dog and decide to give it a home, we will need to know how old it is in order to provide the most appropriate care for its life cycle. Since puppies need very different care than a middle-aged or elderly dog.
With these simple tips you can easily tell how old your dog is, regardless of its size or breed. Thanks to this, you will be able to take care of him as he deserves by providing him with a diet appropriate to his age and adequate care.
Surely you will also be interested in: Symptoms of aging in dogs.
How to calculate the age in puppies and young dogs
The denture is undoubtedly the best way to know the approximate age of a dog without the help of a veterinarian, since in reality veterinarians also use these same techniques to specify the age of dogs.
If our dog is a puppy and he still does not have teeth in his mouth, it means that his age is between one day and fifteen days old. During this cycle they do not have teeth as they are in the process of formation.
From the fifteen days to the month of life, the puppies develop the incisors and the fangs. The incisors are the small teeth that form between the upper and lower fangs. If the puppy only has these teeth, we know that his age does not exceed one month of life.
From the first time of life to the third month of life, our puppy will develop all its milk teeth. Which are characterized by being very fine and also weak, since they are rootless teeth. They are colloquially known as needle teeth, since due to their thinness and how sharp they are, they can stick into our hands like little needles (when we play with our dog).
From three to eight months of life, our dog will begin to pull its milk teeth, replacing them with its permanent teeth. These are sturdier, larger and harder, and their color will be much whiter and brighter.
From eight months of age to twelve months of life, the dog will have completed the entire transition from milk to permanent teeth, bearing perfect teeth and without wear.
As you can see, calculating the age of a young dog or puppy is very simple if you look at its teeth. It is impossible to determine an exact age but we can get very close.
How to know if our dog is adult or elderly
Specifying the age of an adult dog is more complex than when it comes to a young dog or puppy, but we can get a good idea also based on its teeth, wear and other physical aspects of the dog.
Dogs that are one to three years old show perfect teeth but with slight wear on their incisors (the incisors are the teeth between the fangs). Your incisors will gradually wear down to a smoother shape, without looking so sharp.
From three years of age to six years of age, the wear of the incisors becomes much more noticeable, acquiring a more square shape. The fangs also begin to wear down, acquiring a more rounded and less sharp shape, although this does not mean that they are weak.
After six years of life, their teeth will wear out considerably, losing some teeth or showing the appearance of tartar if the dog is being fed with food (commercial food, kibbles). We will also appreciate spots on the truffle (the truffle is the dog’s nose) and obvious signs of old age.
Other signs that can help us calculate age
Not all dogs have the same life expectancy since while small breeds have an average life span of fifteen years, large breeds only have a life expectancy of eleven years. This does not mean that they cannot live longer, there have been cases of large dog breeds that have even reached twenty years of life.
However, it does mean that large breed dogs age faster than small breed dogs. So the following symptoms will always be more noticeable in large breed dogs than in small breed dogs, even if they are the same age.
- Appearance of gray hair: Dogs over six years old begin to show gray on their muzzle, their hair turning white over the years. However, small breeds begin to show gray later, normally from the age of eight.
- The shine of the hair loses over the years, which also leads to the appearance of gray hair on the rest of the head and body.
- The dog’s energy diminishes over the years, while when they are puppies and youngsters they are very energetic and playful, when they become adults and enter old age they prefer to walk quietly and not be too busy.
- The appearance of diseases such as osteoarthritis in dogs usually occurs in elderly dogs, whose joints have been aging along with them.
- The tranquility , at general levels and with rare exceptions, elderly dogs rarely look for trouble. They acquire a calm and respectful aptitude because they know that they are vulnerable.
With all the information provided, you will be able to get a clear idea of how old your dog is, in order to give it all the attention and care it deserves.