Photo: Lin2867 | Pixabay

With every birthday celebration held for Fido, it is likely that you simply added six more years to his doggy age count. If we think about it though, such a method of calculation may not be an accurate representation of his maturity.

For example, dogs and cats are able to start reproducing when they are a little less than a year old – when converted to human years, that's akin to a seven-year-old kid giving birth!

The general rule of thumb is that our furkids mature quicker in the first few years of their lives. Larger breeds like Newfoundlands, however, tend to mature faster and have shorter life spans, while medium and small-sized pooches reach ‘senior dog status’ much later in life.

Medium dogs are considered old only at seven human years of age while for toy breeds, ten human years would put them in the elderly league.

A more accurate way of calculating your dog's age would thus take into consideration his earlier maturation, as well as the slowing down of the ageing process towards his senior years. Although these guidelines do not take into account your furkid's breed, it is agreed by veterinarians to be a more accurate method to follow.

It assumes that a one-year-old dog is 12 years old in human years, and a two-year-old dog is 24 years old. Following that, paw-rents only need to add four years into the age count. This would mean that a three-year-old pooch is 28 in human years.

Similarly, cats will mature faster during the first few years of her lifetime. A one -year-old cat is considered to be 15 in human years, and a two-year-old one will be 24 years old. For the years that follow, pet owners can do the same as they did with their dog -- by adding four years into the age count.

With these new standards, the next time you sing the birthday song for your furkid, be sure to put the right number of candles on the cake!

*This article was updated on 26 Mar 2021. It first appeared in on  4 May 2016.