Scientists Have Come up with a Real Formula to Calculate ‘Dog Years’

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If you’ve ever owned a dog, you know that your dog has two “ages” — their actual age, and their age in so-called “dog years.” To calculate dog years, you simply multiply the dog’s age by seven. But is there any actual scientific evidence behind this formula?

The short answer is no — but scientists have come with a more accurate way to calculate it.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, examined dog DNA to see how quickly dogs age. They looked at 104 Labrador retrievers from 1 month to 16 years old, comparing their rates of DNA methylation – which usually speeds up as living beings age – to those of humans.

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The researchers found that the rates of methylation were similar between dogs and humans; however, adolescent and mature dogs experienced more accelerated aging.

Based on this data, they came up with a new formula for calculating dog years.

Take the natural logarithm of a dog’s age, multiply it by 16, and then add 31.

By this measure, a 2-year-old dog would be 42 human years old – way older than 14!

However, methylation slows later in life, so the dog’s age in human years doesn’t increase as quickly. A 5-year-old dog would only be 57 years old, while a 6-year-old dog would be 60. A 10-year-old dog would equate to a 70-year-old human.

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This formula might not be completely accurate for every dog breed, as different dogs age at different rates, while the formula was determined based on data from Labs. Still, it’s a very interesting and informative contrast to the old unscientific 7-year rule!