Discover your dog’s age with the help of your veterinarian
How Old Is My Dog?
Some dog owners know the age of their fur baby down to the day and celebrate it each year with a doggy birthday party. Other doggy parents have no idea of the day – or even the year – when their dog was born. If you have a fur baby that is a rescue, the best you can do is work with your veterinarian to get an estimate of age. Vets have a number of different tactics they use to come up with an estimate of doggy age. Having a realistic approximation of your dog’s age will help you and your vet provide the right type of care for your pup going forward.
The condition of your dog’s teeth
When dogs are young – still in the puppy phase – it is fairly easy for your veterinarian to estimate age. It takes about six months of life for puppies to get in all of their adult teeth. Before that age, the vet can look to see how many teeth still need to grow in and use that information to estimate age. For dogs that already have all of their adult teeth, the veterinarian can look at the wear patterns as well as the presence of disease to help with age estimation.
The physical shape of your dog’s body
Think about the physical differences in a puppy, a young dog, and one that you know is older. When you look at all three age groups it is obvious that there are physical differences. Older dogs tend to carry more weight than their younger counterparts. You may also notice physical issues with certain breeds of dogs as they age such as hip dysplasia which impact how the dog moves. Your vet is well versed in the physical changes that happen to dogs as they age and will use that knowledge to help you make an estimate of age.
The clarity of your dog’s eyes
The eyes of your furry friend can reveal a lot about his or her age. Dogs can develop a haze in the lens of their eyes as they age. This is known as Lenticular sclerosis and can be found in dogs that are middle-aged and older. If you notice any changes in your dog’s eyes it may be an indication of age or potentially a problem. You can talk with your vet about your observations and schedule a time to have your dog’s eyes examined.
Your personal history with your dog
You may not know the exact day of your dog’s birth but you still have some information. Has your dog grown significantly since you rescued him or her? Has your pup remained basically unchanged in the past year? The changes that you have observed (or not observed) in your dog will help your veterinarian make a more accurate estimate. You will need to be an active participant in the process of figuring out how old your dog is in order to get the most accurate estimation possible.
It is important to have an estimation of your dog’s age because it will impact factors such as the food you should provide and the care your dog needs. At the Vet on Fourth, we can help you estimate the age of your dog using the tactics outlined above along with other clues that your dog provides.