How Old is My Dog?
Have you ever wondered how old your dog is? How can you tell, especially if you adopted your dog from an animal shelter or rescue? If you don’t know the history of your pet, and you did not adopt them from a breeder, is there any real way to know how old they are?
In the article below, we’ll help you learn more about recognizing your dog’s age. With the help of this information, you can understand how to guess your dog’s age yourself, and you can also recognize which methods your veterinarian might use to get the same kind of estimate. Read on to learn more!
Look at Their Teeth
One of the best ways a vet can tell the age of a dog is by looking at their teeth. An older dog’s teeth will naturally be worn down and may have cavities and other issues, especially if they were adopted from a shelter or rescue. A younger dog’s teeth will not show these signs quite as readily.
A puppy’s teeth may not have all erupted yet, so it is possible to determine how young a puppy is by checking for the number of teeth in their mouth. In older dogs, teeth can only give a rough estimate of age, but they can be a good starting point.
Look at Their Skin and Coat
An older dog’s skin is not going to be quite as elastic as a younger dog’s, so it is possible to tell if a dog is seven or older by checking for skin elasticity. Similarly, dogs who are older than about seven years of age will start to turn gray around the muzzle, face, and head in many instances.
Once again, these methods may not be enough to tell you precisely how old your dog is, but they can help you narrow down their age a bit more.
Check Their Muscle Tone
Healthy, adult dogs have more toned muscles than older dogs, who may begin to lose their muscle tone. On the other hand, puppies may not have developed much muscle tone yet, so they likely will have a different look and feel to their muscles, too.
By checking the tone of your dog’s muscles, you can classify them as either a puppy, a senior dog, or a healthy adult. However, it may not be possible to tell much more than this by checking muscles alone, so you should combine this information with other signs of your dog’s age.
Look at Their Eyes
Dogs who are over seven years of age almost always have cataracts or some other vision problem. This issue may cause the dog’s eyes to look clouded, gray, or white, depending on the original color of the eyes. Known as “old eyes” by some vets, this quality can help determine if a dog is a senior or not.
Dogs who show cloudiness in the eyes are almost always at least seven years of age and may be as old as nine. Dogs who do not have cloudiness in their eyes are likely much younger than seven.
The Feel of Their Paw Pads
Older dogs have much rougher, more cracked paw pads than younger dogs. However, cracked paw pads does not indicate that a dog is a senior—it simply means they are not a puppy anymore. This factor can play into your understanding of your dog’s age, but it isn’t enough on its own to help you narrow down just how old they really are.
If your dog’s paw pads look like they have been walking on them for many years, then they probably have been. It may be easier to run this by your vet, however, as vets can typically tell the difference in a dog’s age by their feet slightly more easily.
Observe Their Activity Level
As dogs age, they become less interested in being active, playful, and energetic. You may be able to narrow down whether your dog is a senior based on their activity levels for this reason.
Dogs who are very lazy all day long may be in the later stages of adulthood or may have entered their senior years already. Typically, a puppy or a young adult dog is not going to be a complete couch potato, even if they like to cuddle with you a lot.
Your Vet Can Help Determine How Old Your Dog Is
As you can see, there are a few methods that may be used to try to pinpoint a dog’s age. However, without knowing their history and the date of birth, it is impossible to truly tell how old a dog is. It is possible, however, to guess correctly within the span of a few months, in most instances.
If you’re having trouble determining your dog’s age yourself, don’t be afraid to ask your vet for more information. Your vet should be able to help guide you toward a better understanding of your dog’s age depending on their health and wellness overall. The Boston Veterinary Clinic team is here for all your pet’s needs. Book an appointment online today!