dog science

There’s a New Way to Calculate Your Dog’s Age in Human Years

Photo: Kevin Kozicki/Getty Images/Image Source

It’s so fun to think about what our dogs would be like if they were humans. My dog, for example, would either be a minor American poet or a young Leonardo DiCaprio, specifically in the movie Catch Me If You Can. Your dog, maybe, would be something like secretary of State. And would we vote for them for president, if they were humans? Of course.

But how old would they be? 

The previously accepted theory regarding a dog’s age in “human years” (accepted, at least, by the general population, if not scientists who can sometimes be overly concerned with things like accuracy) told us that to calculate our dog’s “human” age we multiply their actual age by seven. Well, buckle up, because according to an admittedly not-yet peer-reviewed paper published in bioRxiv the actual equation is: more difficult!

A team of researchers formed their equation after comparing the epigenetic clock (a way to measure age, involving DNA) of humans, to the epigenetic clock of Labrador retrievers and also mice. This is the equation they came up with:

human_age = 16ln(dog_age) + 31

(“Ln” is the natural logarithm of your dog’s age in years, which you can calculate using this tool.)

See? However much you know or don’t know about math, it seems fair to say this is more complicated. And remember, all dog breeds age differently; this calculation was made studying only Labrador retrievers, so it may not align perfectly with your dog’s breed.

My dog (about five and a half), by this calculation, is about 57 years old. He is wise and sprightly; he takes his morning coffee outside (for inspiration). He has a lot of good friends who love him, and he’s known a deep sadness. He is a good man.

There’s a New Way to Calculate Your Dog’s Age in Human Years