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How Old Is My Dog?

How Old Is My Dog?

Author WDF Staff

07.01.2021.


One of the problems dog owners, who adopted their dogs face, is finding the answer to the question “How old is my dog?” It might seem impossible to find out, but if you know what you are looking for, you might just find the answer.

There are some ways you can determine your dog’s age. One of them would be using a DNA test. It is easily ordered online, or it can be found in some pet shops.

If you ask your vet that same question, they might be able to help you. There are specific things vets look for in a dog to determine their age accurately. Of course, not everyone is a vet, so we decided to make a list of things that could help you determine how old your dog is.

old dog in park

The eyes

The older the dog is, the cloudier their eyes will get. The vet will look at your dog’s eyes and check them for signs of cloudiness. That might be the first indicator of a dog’s age.

There are some health issues connected to the dog’s eyes that can affect older dogs. Certain eye infections, progressive retinal atrophy, and cataracts can all affect your dog. The latter two usually affect dogs older than two years. If you notice anything weird about your dog’s eyes, you should contact your vet no matter how old your dog is.

Body

Just like in humans, a dog’s body will change as they get older. The most significant difference will be in weight distribution. That can easily be checked by running your palms down both sides of your dog’s spine.

Senior dogs will have lower muscle mass, which may result in a more prominent spine. Like in humans, some fat might appear on their hips (lower back and lumbar area). Some older dogs will have a specific “sway-backed appearance,” which is usually a clear indication of older but healthy dogs.

old labrador

Hair color

Another thing we share with our dogs is - our hair turns white as we grow old. Yes, our dogs will get grey hair as they mature, and some grey patches can be noticed along with their coats.

Keep in mind that specific breeds have naturally grey hair or patches of grey hair, so this might not be the clear age indication we might need. This is particularly tough to notice in wirehaired breeds like the wirehaired Vizslas or Dachshunds. However, dogs tend to get grey patches around their eyes and muzzle as they grow old.

Teeth

There is plenty of information we could get by looking at a dog’s teeth. You can quickly spot if your puppy still has their puppy teeth, and their adult teeth haven’t grown yet. At that time, the vet can pretty accurately determine how old your dog is. After that, things get a bit murky.

When the adult teeth kick in, it will be pretty hard to guess the dog’s age accurately by looking at their teeth. Some gum problems, infections, or tartar build-up could give us some information, but nothing too accurate. Younger dogs can have bad teeth for many reasons, and older dogs might not have any problems.

Do you know how to get your dog used to a toothbrush? This article might help you - Dog Toothbrush - Most Important Things.

grey dog muzzle

Overall appearance

It is essential to look at your dog closely. Notice all the bits and pieces from the moment you adopted them. Look at the color of their hair, their eyes, teeth, and body shape. Notice how they change over time and how quickly these changes appeared after you have given them a good home.

The life expectancy of small and large dog breeds is not the same. Small breeds live significantly longer than the large ones. So if you adopted a dog and it barely changed over 1 - 2 years, it is safe to say that you adopted a dog in their adulthood. That would mean they are from 2 - 4 years old for larger breeds, and for smaller ones can be anywhere from 1 - 5 years old. The good news is, if you take proper care of your dog, there are plenty of good years in front of them.

Knowing your dog’s age is crucial because you don’t want to adopt a dog and then lose them over a problem that might have been prevented if you checked them. Unfortunately, other than DNA tests, there is no accurate way to say how old your dog is exactly, but if you do check these things, you will be able to make a pretty educated guess.

World Dog Finder team

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