Scientists Created A More Accurate Dog-To-Human-Years Formula, So We Made A Dog Age Calculator

Written by: Samantha Erb

August 30, 2022

For as long as we can remember, we’ve multiplied our dogs’ age by 7 to convert their dog years into human years. For example, a 2-year-old dog would really be 14 years old by human standards (yay, teenagers!).

Scientists have now developed an equation using changes in canine DNA over time as a guide—that 2-year-old dog now becomes 42.

The study1 claims that puppies age rapidly at a molecular level, but that that molecular aging slows as they get older. It’s not the DNA itself, but the “wrinkles on the genome” that change, according to genetics professor Trey Ideker. In other words, “the marks on the genes that control a dog or human’s growth pattern.”

graphic showing new calculation of dog years to human years.

Related: Which Dog Breeds Live The Longest?

While this particular formula is based on the 104 Labrador Retrievers used in the study, we know that smaller breeds tend to live a bit longer, and larger breeds may not get as many years, so keep that in mind!

Why Do Smaller Dogs Live Longer Than Larger Dogs?

Larger breeds have shorter lifespans mainly because they age quickly. Due to their larger size, it puts more strain on their physiological processes, and they are also more vulnerable to certain physical illnesses (such as cancer). The average rule of thumb is that larger breeds have an average life expectancy of 7 years, while smaller breeds can have a life expectancy up to 14 years.

How Old is My Dog?

Go ahead and give it a try with the calculator below:

Dog Age (In human years):

What Can I Do To Extend My Dog’s Life?

Here are some ways to extend your dog’s life expectancy:

  • Feed a high-quality, balanced diet approved by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials), and avoid overfeeding—obesity is a common health issue in dogs.
  • Provide regular dental care, including yearly vet visits for overall wellness checks & teeth cleanings.
  • Spay or neuter.
  • Keep up to date on flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives.
  • Stay active, but be mindful of your dog’s limits.
  • Stay mentally active—keep your dog sharp with plenty of enrichment activities, from scent work, to food puzzles, to one-on-one play.


1Wang, T., Ma, J., Hogan, A. N., Bannasch, D. L., Ostrander, E. A., & Ideker, T. (n.d.). Quantitative translation of dog-to-human aging by conserved … – cell. Cell Systems. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from

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Written by: Samantha Erb

August 30, 2022

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