Comparing animal years to human years

It has become very trendy to celebrate our pets’ birthdays with an event similar to a child’s birthday party. We celebrate their actual birthdays or, if the date of birth is not known, some people use the date they adopted their pet. But most animals age faster than humans, which means they are actually older than their birth date indicates. Understanding their true age helps us to understand how old they really are, and which stage of their life they are in.

Busting the seven-year myth

There is a myth that each human year is equal to seven dog years, but this is not accurate. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact calculation to work out how old your cat or dog really is, as some animals age slower the older they get. Also, large breed dogs age faster than small breed dogs. (See page 28 for a list of dog breeds and their expected life expectancies.)

At one year of age, a medium-sized dog, for example, is about 15 years old – typically the age when humans go through their teenage phase. At two years, the dog will be 24 human years – nine years older. Thereafter, you can add five years for every birthday. So, by the dog’s third birthday, he will be 29 years old.

A cat’s age is calculated differently. At her second birthday, she is about 25 years old, and you can add four years for every birthday thereafter. So, by her seventh birthday, she is about 45 years old.

This calculating method isn’t precisely correct, but it gives you a fairly good idea of how old your pet is.

Expected lifespan

By knowing approximately how old a pet is and how quickly he will age, will give a potential pet owner a good idea of the pet’s expected lifespan. There are many factors that influence the lifespan of an animal, including nutrition, health, living conditions, stress-related incidents and diseases.

 

Age and life expectancy

Comparing an animal’s age of to the equivalent human years can be difficult, but here are a few estimates.

Dog

Real age at first birthday: 15

Life expectancy in human years: 9-15 years

Cat

Real age at second birthday: 25

Life expectancy in human years: 16-21 years

Rat

Real age at first birthday: 27

Life expectancy in human years: 2 years

Guinea pig

Real age at first birthday: 10

Life expectancy in human years: 4-8 years

Budgie

Real age at first birthday: 5

Life expectancy in human years: 5-15 years

Hamster

Real age at first birthday: 58

Life expectancy in human years: 3-4 years

Rabbit

Real age at first birthday: 20

Life expectancy in human years: 8-16 years

Mouse

Real age at first birthday: 58

Life expectancy in human years: 2-3 years

Horse

Real age at first birthday: 3

Life expectancy in human years: 40 years

 

Wildlife

Hippo

Real age at first birthday: 1.78

Life expectancy in human years: 36 years

Lion

Real age at first birthday: 2.29

Life expectancy in human years: 10-16 years

 

Tortoise

Real age at first birthday: 12

Life expectancy in human years: 80 years

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