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How to Determine the Age of a Dog

Updated on August 23, 2009

A dog should be looked at entirely in order to determine its age


While determining the age of a horse through the appearance of its teeth can be a pretty accurate method, in dogs, the process may be a bit trickier. Many times even a veterinarian may have difficulty coming up with a correct age range of a dog with the end result of relying more likely than not in approximations rather than accurate guesses. Of course, with puppies or pretty senior dogs estimates can yield quite accurate guesses, but problems seem to arise more likely than not when the dog is ''middle-aged''.

How to Estimate the Age of a Dog


In puppies teeth can provide a good insight on the puppy's age leaving not much room for guesswork. This is because puppies go through a distinct phase where they will have baby teeth that will fall (deciduous teeth) and then be replaced by the permanent adult teeth. In general, a puppy will have most baby teeth replaced by adult teeth by the age of 6 months. If the dog has very white teeth very likely the dog is around 1 year old, while a yellowish tint may be seen in dogs nearing 2 years.

In adult dogs, the wear and tear of teeth along with the presence of tartar, may provide some ideas, but this is not very accurate since it really depends on what food the dog eats and its chewing habits. Tartar buildup generally accumulates the most in dogs near the age of 3 to 5 years old. If the dog is missing teeth, the mouth smells bad and there are signs of sever wear with lots of tartar very likely the dog is senior an needs immediate dental care.

-Grey Hair

 Just as humans some dogs will exhibit some graying of the hair. This is most seen near the dog's muzzle. While this can be pretty obvious in dark dogs, white dogs may be quite a challenge. Graying in dogs may start anywhere near 7 years of age or older, however,  s humans, dogs as well may tend to turn grey at a quicker rate than others. So again this is not a very accurate way to tell a dog's age.


As dogs age their eyes may not be bright as they were when they were younger. Often senior dogs have cataracts which is the presence of whitish stains in the eye that appear like shards of crushed ice. In other cases, the eyes may undergo ''nuclear sclerosis'' where the eyes may assume a typical bluish tint along with haziness.

-Energy Level

A high energy dog is most likely young even though there can be senior dogs that still retain puppy like behaviors. However, often senior dogs are most likely to engage in light moderate exercise whereas young dogs may be quite hyperactive and playful. Often senior dogs may be affected by joint pain especially if they are medium-large dogs.

Often, the best way to guess the age of a dog is to simply look at the dog as a whole entity. By looking at the dog's over all appearance rather than focusing on a singular body part may be the best factor to consider when debating on a dog's age.



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