A Viral TikTok Is Proving That There's No Such Thing As "Dog Years" — Here's How Old Your Dog Really Is
"A 1-year-old dog equals a 31-year-old human...You don't even wanna know what a 7-year-old dog is."
If you're like me, you've probably lived your whole life believing that one year of a dog's life equals seven human years. For example, my dog Cosmo is 2, which would theoretically make him a 14-year-old in "dog years."
EXCEPT...it turns out that "dog years" are actually a total myth. A viral TikTok from a veterinarian is opening people's eyes to the much harsher truth.
"Okay, so you know that one saying that one human year equals seven dog years?" Dr. Hunter Finn says in the video. "It's not true."
And I'm so sorry to tell you this, but your dog might be much older than you thought.
"A 1-year-old dog equals a 31-year-old human. And a 2-year-old dog is 49," Dr. Finn explains in his video, which has amassed over 3 million views so far.
"You don't even wanna know what a 7-year-old dog is," he continues, whispering "62."
But Dr. Finn also had some good news for your pup: Although they age really rapidly in their first few years of life, the aging process slows down considerably in later years.
"So we found out that aging does slow down. An 8-year-old dog is 64," he explains.
The video is freaking out some dog owners on TikTok — myself very much included — who are realizing that their pets aren't quite as young as they thought. But Dr. Finn explained to BuzzFeed why knowing the truth about your dog's age could end up saving their life.
"It’s so important for pet owners to realize that pets do age at different rates than we do, and it makes keeping up-to-date on their health that much more important," Dr. Finn explained. "I can’t tell you how many times I need to justify the importance of yearly checkups and lab work to make sure their pet is indeed healthy."
"Many people would never believe that their 3-year-old puppy could have cancer, for example, but we as veterinarians see this far too commonly. This is just a prime example of our misconception of pet aging, and is an area we could teach more about."
Dr. Finn tells BuzzFeed he's not sure where the "seven years" myth came from, but cited a recent study that compared dog DNA to human DNA to determine a more accurate timeline of how our furry friends grow old:
The study looked at these chemical marks that change with age called “methylation marks,” which both human and dog DNA share. Through this method, they could quantify this information, determine how fast these people and dogs are aging, and compare it between dogs and humans. ... Again, this is all very new information that we are learning, but at the same time it’s very exciting and I can’t wait to see what else they discover.