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Friday, May 28, 2010

How Old is Your Dog?

by Carrie Boyko
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(c) Carrie Boyko
 Xena, at Age 13 1/3 
Still Playful After all These Years

The tired old estimate of 7 years for every human year is a tough way to think of our dog's ages, yet its general accuracy seems to hold up with most vets I have asked. The other main factor in life expectancy is the size and breed of your dog.

If you're really curious, you can use a couple of online tools to estimate your canine companion's true age. My advice? Take it in the spirit in which it is offered--an estimate.

The quick and easy method is located at Pedigree's website. This estimator only requires a breed and age in years. If you have a mixed breed dog, it allows for this entry and his size right at the top of the list. You'll have your answer in just 3 clicks.

For those of you who would like a bit more of a crystal ball, the additional accuracy can be had for about 10 minutes of your time. DogAge offers a thorough evaluation of your dog's lifestyle, living environment, physical health, diet, exercise and many other unique factors, to calculate a 'real age' for your dog. They even asked if my dog lives in a smoking household; how about that for some thorough health testing for a pup!! 

I took this test for Xena when she was 12 and learned that her body was  a mere 54, even though the 7 year rule would have put her at 84. I thought that sounded a little far-fetched at first. Now, at 13 1/2, I'm beginning to believe that DogAge was right on the money. My old girl still has some pep in her step, despite the cone she's wearing to keep her off a 'boo-boo'. You go Xena!

Hint: DogAge has a test for us too. RealAge will give you an estimate of your body's actual, physical state in years. I took it; it wasn't all that scary, and I do think the results were arguably accurate. Don't take it too seriously, though. Remember, it's only a calculated estimate. It's not reality. If you're interested in reading up on more you can do to really have an impact on your overall health, visit Organic-Journey-Online, where I share my organic journey back from cancer, M.S. and more.

Here's Dog Age's book, dirt cheap. It's actually not a bad read, especially for under 10 cents!

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