This might be a familiar conversation to you; How old is the dog, in human? The old stand by answer was 7 human years to every 1 year the dog’s been alive. But new research published Thursday in the Cell Systems journal debunks that method. Because dogs and humans don’t age at the same rate.
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine have developed a new formula that takes into account that variance. Tracking molecular changes in the DNA of Labrador retrievers, and in particular “the changing patterns of methyl groups” in their genome, according to a release.
The study shows how dogs age at a much faster rate than humans early in their lives, then slow down dramatically after reaching maturity. So what age does a dog reach maturity? Considering that the study suggests a one-year-old dog compares to a 30-year-old human, and a four-year-old dog compares to a 52-year-old human. It would be safe to say somewhere between 1 and 4. The rate decreases significantly after 7.
The study also includes a graphic that makes the age comparisons easier to see and explain the next time you have that conversation about the age of your dog.