You have all heard that one human year is the same as 7 years in a dog, right? Well it turns out it is not that simple. It actually depends on the weight of the dog. Small dogs age slower and larger dogs age faster. Here is a summary from a dog aging chart developed by Fred Metzger, DVM at Pennsylvania State College:
Dog’s Weight Years per 1 human year:
So a 20 year old 20 lb dog is only the same age as a 96 year old human but a 16 year old 90 lb dog is the same age as a 123 year old person.
So What Does This All Mean?
It only means dogs age faster and explains why their lives are shorter. It should not be used as a measure to evaluate whether a dog should be given certain drugs, treated for certain diseases or undergo medical procedures requiring anesthesia. We don’t tell an 80 year old women needing knee replacement surgery not to do it. Doctor’s do various tests to make sure that the reward of surgery is far greater than the risk of anesthesia and surgery.
Veterinarians do the same thing. The age of the animal is not nearly as important as the consequences of the problem without surgery and that the risk is minimized by the appropriate testing. Dental procedures are a good example.
As a holistic veterinarian, I am an advocate of anesthesia-free dental maintenance. But some dogs and certain breeds develop tooth and gum disease that can’t be treated conservatively. These dogs have such rotten teeth that the mouth bacteria associated with it can cause heart, kidney and liver failure. The pain of eating, especially hard, dry food, and the ill feeling from bacteria circulating in their blood reduce the quality of their life. They need dental work and extractions that can only be done under anesthesia. The risk of dying from dental induced disease can be greater than the risk of anesthesia, especially if the veterinarian does the proper testing to minimize the risk of anesthesia.
What is the relative risk of anesthesia? Advancement in testing, anesthetics and anesthetic monitoring are far superior than they were just 10 years ago. Believe or not, the risk of your dog being killed in a car accident involving your car on the way to the vet is greater than your dog’s risk under anesthesia at the vet.
Don’t use “dog years” to decide against the necessary medical and surgical treatments that your dog needs. Life quality is important for old dogs too.
If you are too far away to see Dr. Tudor in person, but still wish to make your own balanced dog food at home using Dr. Tudor's exclusive nutrient powder, omega 3 oil and recipes, we now offer two options for you:Healthier Homemade for Dogs
When you need or want custom recipes that are personalized for your fur family, our sister site Healthier Homemade can help you out. Because this service is remote, we are unable to give medical advice or diagnosis, so we work with your veterinarian to make sure your fur family is well cared for.
At Healthier Homemade, we offer Medical Recipe Programs for 14 different conditions. See them in detail here.
There are an assortment of recipe formulations for dogs with diagnosed Food Allergies. They include, High Protein, Instant, and Economy options.
If you have all Normal Adult Dogs in your fur family and wish to have more control over the formulations of your recipes, we offer Economy, Instant, High Protein, and Ultra-High Protein (including a few all meat options).
With all of our custom recipes you may include up to 4 dogs (with the same health profile) and you may choose cooking frequency from every day to once a week. We do all the math, we even calculate serving size for each dog! We also have detailed tutorials for each step of cooking, mixing, and storing.
If you are an experienced cook, like flexibility, have a normal adult dog, and just need general guidelines, Hearthstone may be right for you. Before purchasing a Starter Kit, you can see a complete list of ingredient options that can be used.
Our EZ Meal Planner gives you a great starting point. You still get to pick out wholesome ingredients at the grocery store and you still get "The Well Dog Nutrient Powder" to make sure your dogs' meals are balanced.
The Getting Started page gives you a great road map for what you need to equip your kitchen, preparation, transitioning to a new food, and more.