Scientists discover new precise way to calculate dog's age in human years / new research in DNA methylation and genetics / how old is my dog in human years / Perfect cocker spaniel blog / breed and puppy guide, grooming tips, diet and nutrition, cocker spaniel puppy training / canine nutritionist, dog dietician, pet nutrition coach / (C) Natalia Ashton

Science discovers a more precise way to convert dog’s age into human equivalent

Remember being told that you can convert your dog’s age into human years by multiplying the former by 7?

Well, the latest research published in the Cell Systems magazine tells us that it’s not as straight forward and our dogs may, in fact, be older in human years than we previously thought…

This time the scientists took blood samples from 104 labs spanning a 16-year age range to follow the changes that occur within the dog’s DNA sequences over lifetime. They then compared them to 320 human samples taken from people aged between birth and 103.

The aim of the study wasn’t simply finding out the most perfect age conversion. Instead, the researched wanted to compare the changes that occur in dogs’ and humans’ genes as we age, see how these changes can be utilised to improve the quality of life, and learn whether or not “the methylome* can be used to quantitatively translate the age-related physiology experienced by one organism (i.e., a model species like dog) to the age at which physiology in a second organism is most similar (i.e., a second model or humans)”.

These changes tend to occur at certain milestones of our lives showing as new attachments of the DNA structure (called DNA methylation), thus allowing the researches to use the DNA and these alterations (also referred to as the “epigenetic clock”) as a reliable estimate of a person’s age.

The dogs were chosen for the study because they are the species we tend to share our lives, diet, chemical exposure and environment more than any other animals.

The highest similarities in sequence changes were noted in young dogs and young adults, as well as senior dogs and older people. The results of the analysis also showed that an 8-week old puppy is likely to be equal to a 9-month old baby, will be similar to a 31-year old by the time he turns one, and the 12-year old lab can be compared to a 70-year old adult. The adolescent stage was less predictable, possibly due to the fact that dogs have a shorter lifespan.

For me, another fascinating discovery was the dramatic age jump during the first year of dog’s life (from birth to being 31!) yet how the process slowed down once the dog celebrated his third birthday.

The geneticists did come with an algorithm for calculating the age, which was a bit more challenging than multiplying our dog’s age by 7.

human_age = 16 ln(dog_age) + 31

If you fancy doing it yourself, you first need to multiply your dog’s natural logarithm by 16, then add 31.

However, I did the maths for you to keep things simple…

Dog’s age = 1 years old / Human age = 31 years old

Dog’s age = 2 years old / Human age = 42.1 years old

Dog’s age = 3 years old / Human age = 48.6 years old

Dog’s age = 4 years old / Human age = 53.2 years old

Dog’s age = 5 years old / Human age = 56.8 years old

Dog’s age = 6 years old / Human age = 59.7 years old

Dog’s age = 7 years old / Human age = 62.1 years old

Dog’s age = 8 years old / Human age = 64.3 years old

Dog’s age = 9 years old / Human age = 66.2 years old

Dog’s age = 10 years old / Human age = 67.8 years old

Dog’s age = 11 years old / Human age = 69.4 years old

Dog’s age = 12 years old / Human age = 70.8 years old

Dog’s age = 13 years old / Human age = 72 years old

Dog’s age = 14 years old / Human age = 73.2 years old

Dog’s age = 15 years old / Human age = 74.3 years old

Dog’s age = 16 years old / Human age = 75.4 years old

So how old is your cocker in human years? I am still struggling to process the fact that Coop is already over 50 and my little Fred is same age as me, if not a bit older. Quite a shock to the system, mainly mine, of course.

* the activity within the DNA that changes during our lifetime


Photo source: image by athree23 from Pixabay

Can my dog eat cucumbers? Recipe for quick, simple, easy, one-ingredient cooling & hydrating snack for dogs in hot weather and heatwave / dog nutrition and diet tips / qualified canine nutritionist & pet nutrition coach / (C) Natalia Ashton, Perfect cocker spaniel: Guide to English cocker spaniels, grooming, training, puppy tips, health and diet

Healthy & easy cooling snack for your dog

If you can slice a cucumber (and have one around), you can make this delicious cooling snack for your dog in no time!

Take a cucumber.

Peel off the skin if it’s not organic or have been wrapped in plastic.

Cut into 2-mm slices

Place them on a plate or tray and place in a freezer

Once frozen, treat your spaniel to a fabulous healthy snack that will keep him hydrated and cool!

Puppies over 3 months old and dogs who have never tried cucumber before should start with 1 slice per day.

Cucumber lovers can have 2-3 slices per day as too much can cause loose stools because cucumbers are full of water and fibre.

Only use fresh raw cucumbers, not pickled or preserved varieties.


Photo credit: Kai Reschke & monicor from Pixabay

How much water should a dog cocker spaniel drink? Why my puppy drinks so much water? Can drinking water cause problems? When dogs need more water? Diet & nutrition tips and advice for English cocker spaniels dogs by pet nutrition coach / canine nutritionist / Perfect cocker spaniel dog blog, puppy tips, diet, health, grooming (C) Natalia Ashton

How much water should a spaniel drink?

Do you ever wonder if your cocker spaniel drinks too much water? Or, perhaps, not enough? This is especially curious when you have a little puppy  because they seem to drink a lot, often turning each “session” into a splash and a dip, too.

We don’t tend to think about it, but water is the most important nutrient for dogs. They can survive without food to the point of losing half of body fat and over 50% of body’s protein storage. Yet loosing 10% of water will be fatal.

Water fills every cell of the body and makes up 80% of lean body mass. It is in the blood, in the cells, in every tissue and organ supporting biological function from transport of the nutrients, toxins removal, temperature control and homeostasis to giving shape to the body.

Dogs will naturally lose water through urine, faeces, breathing, panting and sweating (through the paws). Water will also be used to support body chemistry.

How much water does a dog need a day?

There are a few formulas to establish this amount. The basic one is dog’s body weight, kg x 50 (or 60) ml. However the resulting number should only be used as a general reference.

Why some dogs need more water?

The actual need for water will depend on many factors. Puppies and junior dogs usually need more than adults. Pregnant and lactating bitches would drink more, too. Hot weather, changes in body temperature, body composition, stress, vomiting, diarrhoea, illness, certain medications, amount of exercise and type of food will also have an effect on daily water requirements.

Why do puppies drink so much water?

The need for water depends on the amount of lean mass, volume of food needed per kilo of body weight, and what is known as surface area per unit of body weight because the latter determines the speed of evaporation. Puppies eat more yet their surface area per kilo of body weight is larger compared to adult dogs. They are also going through a growing stage when the body need extra fluids. Plus, puppies often have slightly higher body temperature than adults, which also means that the body may need more water to maintain homeostasis  or the balance between chemical and physical states.

Can a dog drink too much?

Yes. This can happen to some avid swimmers who tend to fetch balls and sticks in the water, and dogs who like to play with water hose or sprinkles. If they swallow too much water, it can affect electrolyte levels (the balance of sodium and potassium in the body when sodium levels become low) and cause hyponatremia or water intoxication. The condition can affect several organs and body system, cause brain swelling and be fatal if left untreated. If the dog is affected, he becomes lethargic, looks weak, confused and out of balance, develops gazed look, has vomiting and diarrhoea, and suffers from seizures leading to coma.

How to make sure the dog drinks enough?

Keep an eye on his water bowl. Make sure that your spaniel has an access to fresh cool water at all times. Change it daily and top up if necessary. And always carry supply of water if you go for a walk on a hot day.