How old is your pet… really?

Pet Owner Tips
June 21, 2024
Disclaimer: This information is general in nature only. While Pet Health Insurance Services has endeavoured to ensure the information we’ve relied on is accurate and current, we do not guarantee it. Pet Health Insurance Services accepts no liability for this information.

It is common knowledge that human age and pet age are not the same. The general understanding is that 1 year of a human's life is equivalent to 7 years for a dog or cat. However, ongoing research in this space has found that both cats and dogs age faster in their first couple of years of their lives, which equates to being more likely to 15 human years to their first year, and just under 15 years for their second year. After that, each year is roughly equal to 5 human years.

Breeds and sizes play a big part in the ageing process, with larger breeds typically ageing quicker. The reason for this is yet to be explained, but bigger dogs show age related illnesses sooner than smaller dogs.*

There are ways to tell a cat or a dog's age through their physical attributes. For example, the teeth of an older dog or cat will have more stain on them and a very young cat or dog will still have small, very sharp baby teeth, which eventually fall out and are replaced by their adult teeth. Their coat may change as they get older, showing more white or grey hair, and their coat texture may become coarser. Their eyes could be cloudy or less bright, in addition, an older cat or dog may show physical symptoms of age such as being slower to get up from a sitting or lying position, or have less endurance when out walking. Dr. Natalie from Swift Vets, a new in-home, mobile veterinary service says that “This is the reason that it is so important for your pet to get regular check-ups. Because they age much faster than we do, an annual visit by your vet is like going to the doctor every 5-7 years. Vets can often pick up early signs of disease which can improve your pets quality of life and potentially reduce costs in the long term.”

If you have recently adopted a dog or a cat and you are looking to find out how old they are, your vet should be able to give you an indication. To find a local vet visit: or if you are unable to get to a vet, why not have them come to you. Vet services such as Swift Vets are becoming more readily available. Search for a mobile vet in your local area if you have difficulty getting yourself and your furry friend to the vet.

*American Kennel Club

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