Unless we own a Koi fish or a Galapagos tortoise (which would be illegal!), most of our pets have relatively short lifespans compared to ours. Translating pet ages into human years is tricky business and, in the face of better nutrition and medical care for our dogs and cats, the old rule of “1 pet year to 7 human years” just doesn’t hold true anymore. Additionally, many of the pet/human age charts I found online don’t line up with my 35+ years of experience seeing cats and dogs of all ages. Below is my best effort at estimating the age of dogs and cats in human years: (Click on chart to enlarge)

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* Time to start yearly blood/urine tests!
Small Dogs = Toy and miniature breeds; Medium Dogs = Beagle, Australian Shepherd, etc.; Large Dogs = Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, etc.; Giant Dogs = Great Dane,
Saint Bernard, etc.

This chart is not always accurate either, as I have seen cats as old as 25 and dogs as old as 23!
In general, once a pet passes the human equivalent age of 50, we should begin to do yearly blood and urine testing in order to pick up early signs of organ trouble that may not be obvious based on your own observations at home or even a thorough physical examination done here at the clinic!

– Dr. Chris Wilson