Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Written by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2021

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If you have a new dog or even an older dog, you might not know his or her exact age.  There are ways to determine your pup’s age from vet visits to the condition of your pup.

How about human years?  The old human years to dog years practice has been around for centuries.

The common methodology to determine your dogs’ age is that 1 dog year equals 7 human years.

Even though this theory has been around for a long time, the truth is that it is not that simple to figure out.

Related: 10 Things You Must Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance

It’s easy to understand how this became the go-to-formula.  After all, humans live to 70 and dogs live to about 10 years old.


Well, we all know that humans are living longer than 70 years now due to exercise, good health practices and advances in human health care.

And the same can be said of dogs.  We are feeding them better and exercising them more often.

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FACT: Pet insurance pays up to 90% of vet bills when your pet is sick or injured!

How Do You Calculate A Dog’s Age in Human Years?

The general guideline today through the American Veterinary Medical Association is more like this for a medium-sized dog:

Dog Age Formula

Here’s how to find out your dog’s age:

Year 1 of a dog’s life = 15 human years

Year 2 of a dog’s life = 9 human years

Year 3 and beyond = 4 human years

According to this formula, a 4 year old medium-sized dog is 32 years old (15 +9 +4 +4)

If you want to skip the math, find your dog’s size and age using this chart:

Age in Human Years

Age of DogSmall (20 lbs or less)Medium (20-50 lbs)Large (50-100 lbs)X Large (100+ lbs)
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Why Use This Formula For the Dog Age Calculator?

While any formula is not that cut and dry to determine a dog’s age, there are so many factors to consider: the size, breed and overall health of the dog.

In general, larger dogs tend to have a shorter life span than smaller dogs.

Some larger dogs are even considered seniors at ages 5 or 6.

A good example would be the Great Dane which is one of the larger dog breeds and is known to have a shorter life expectancy (usually 7 to 9 years).

A 4 year old Great Dane is approximately 34 to 35 years old in human years.

And of course, when it comes to pet insurance, a policy on an older dog costs more than a policy on a younger dog.  See our pet insurance rates for 3 to 5 year old dogs.

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PetFirst saved his parents


A happy energetic Luna one morning couldn’t hold her food down. After months of multiple costly vet visits to specialists and an endoscopy, the problem was discovered and fixed. Luna put 22 pounds back on in no time and her parents were grateful for having PetFirst by their side to pay the bills.

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Why Do Larger Dogs Age More Rapidly Than Smaller Dogs?

While most small mammals such as mice only live for a few years while larger mammals like elephants live 10 to 11 years old, this isn’t the case with dogs.

Larger dogs tend to age at a much faster pace than smaller dogs.

Scientists have determined that for every 4 pounds of body weight, a dog’s life expectancy is reduced by about one month.

There isn’t any hard evidence to back this up and the real reason large dogs’ age more quickly is really just theory.

It could be that larger dogs grow and age at a much more accelerated pace than smaller dogs.

This accelerated growth can cause a more abnormal cell growth which can lead to more illnesses that could be fatal, like cancer.

Pictures from puppy to adult dog

Studies are being conducted today to try to explain this phenomenon as well as ways to delay our dog’s aging process.

How To Calculate the Age of an Adopted Dog or Puppy

If you have adopted a puppy or young dog, you might not have any idea of your pup’s age.

The teeth can be very telling and can help determine your dog’s age.  Of course, this depends if your dog had any dental care previously to adopting your pup.

  • 2 months old:  A puppy’s teeth are fully in.
  • 1 year old:  All the dog’s permanent teeth are in and are clean and while.
  • 3 to 5 years old:  Teeth many have some wear and tartar build-up.
  • 5 years plus:  Teeth can show more tartar and show some dental disease
  • 10 years plus: Some of your dog’s teeth may be missing.

Your vet can also help you determine your dog’s age based on your pup’s health, bone mobility and ease of gait.

How You Can Slow Down The Dog Aging Process

We, of course, want our dogs to live as long as they possibly can and be in great health.

You need to feed your dog a high-quality dog food that is full of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Exercise is equally important as we know in humans too.  The more exercise we do the better it is for our bodies and longevity.  And dogs are the same.

Keeping up with your annual vet visits can be really important too.  A healthy dog will live a long time and who better than your vet to give you sound advice and give your dog his annual physical.

And if your dog has some sort of disease, like diabetes or cancer or even a hereditary or chronic condition, pet insurance can help you take care of the bills associated with these conditions.

We don’t know what will happen in our dog’s lives and the best assurance is to have the financial ability to pay for whatever might occur with our dogs.

And pet insurance will do that.  For a monthly payment that is very reasonable, you will always know that you can help your dog through any injury or illness and get your pup the right, high quality is.

And, not worry about the cost so you can focus on your pup.

Pet insurance companies like Healthy Paws will pay up to 90% of your bills with no unlimited benefits in all of their plans.

Fetch Rates With Healthy Paws!

Whatever your dog’s age, the most important thing is to keep your dog in the best health possible, and that makes you and your pup even happier.

If you want to see some other health conditions that might occur as your dog ages, our dog health primer can give you some insight.

Other articles you may find helpful: 


Is Exotic Pet Insurance Necessary? 

The Best Pet Insurance By State 

What Is Pet Insurance?

Fun Facts, Dog FAQ, And Unsolicited Dog Advice

5 Training Commands to Save Your Dog’s Life

The Ultimate Guide to Safe Foods for Dogs

Dog Health Problems

Dog Breeds


Cat Health Problems

Cat Breeds


We have many dog-related additional resources to help with finding the best pet insurance companies or the top insurance for dogs and puppies. We have a great section to help you train your dog with an extensive list of articles about frequently asked dog questions. Don’t miss out on our look at safe and healthy foods for your dog or puppy in our ‘Can my dog eat’ section. Last you may find our dog breed and related common dog health problems articles very helpful. 


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