With November being “Adopt a Senior Pet” month, the age of a pet is something we’re thinking about. Although our pets who are 7 years old and older are available for our special “older” pet adoption rate, most pets are not really “old” at seven.

With dogs, it used to be said that a dog year was equivalent to 7 human years. A more modern idea accounts for breed size, where small and medium-sized breeds are thought to age at a slower rate than large and giant breed dogs. A rule of thumb is: a 1-year-old dog is comparable to a 30-year-old person, while a 4-year-old dog is similar to a 52-year-old human. When a dog reaches 7 years old, his aging process slows.

There are several calculators on the web that calculate based on breed, like this one from Pedigree: https://www.pedigree.com/age-calculator


Most rescue dogs are mixed breeds; sometimes the predominant breed and their exact age are just a guess. For rescues where the breed is unknown, we prefer this chart that uses dog size instead. https://www.pumpkin.care/blog/dog-age-chart/

How old is a cat in human years? It’s generally agreed that the first two years of a cat’s life are roughly equal to the first 25 of a humans. After this, add four ‘cat years’ for every human year. This means if your cat is six years old, their equivalent cat age in human years will be around 41. Here’s a chart to use to calculate your cat’s approximate age: https://www.pumpkin.care/blog/cat-age-chart/

aprilcatschs 2018 4

Now that you have an idea of their “human age”, what about life expectancy?

Cats’ life expectancies have increased dramatically in the last few decades. We know indoor cats live longer than outdoor cats. The average indoor cat lifespan is 16 to 18 years. Cat’s life span varies widely, and many cats have lived into their 30s. 

For dogs, the average life expectancy is about 12 years. Breed and size play a big part in how long a dog lives. Small dogs tend to live longer, while giant breeds often don’t reach their 10th birthday. There have been dogs who lived well into their 20s. The breeds and mixes of these long-living canines vary- including a 29-year-old cattle dog named Bluey and a shepherd mix named Buksi who lived to be 27.

The length of life can depend on you, too. Be sure you’re providing the best care for your dog or cat. Allowing your pet to eat too much or not getting enough exercise is a habit that can shed years off their life. Also, getting regular checkups, vaccines, dental care, and keeping them from roaming will help ensure they have the longest lifespan possible.

There is no way to know how long you will have together. I recommend that you enjoy each moment and know that you and your pet’s lives are healthier and happier because you have each other.

My name is Buddy, and I’m about 2 years old. In people years, I’m just entering adulthood- about 19. That means I have a lot of energy, am very curious, and still have a lot to learn. That also means I should be your best friend for a long time.


Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been serving San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties since 1994. Our shelter is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11 to 5:30. Our Community Veterinary Services are available by appointment. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.