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'Dog Years' Are A Myth And Your Puppy Is Actually Middle-Aged, Study Finds

'Dog Years' Are A Myth And Your Puppy Is Actually Middle-Aged, Study Finds

If you're a dog-owner and thought you knew everything about your furry friend think again, as new research has suggested that dog years are a myth.

It is often believed that a single dog year is the equivalent to seven in human terms, but a new study has claimed that puppies are middle-aged by the time they're two.

Mind blown.

A new study has claimed that puppies are middle-aged by the time they're two. (Credit: Pixabay)
A new study has claimed that puppies are middle-aged by the time they're two. (Credit: Pixabay)
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Researchers at the University of California examined how dogs matured by focusing on the DNA methylation in 104 Labradors, aged between four weeks and 16-years-old.

This kind of DNA contains marks which change over time as a cell matures, allowing the study to track the biological age of our four-legged pals.

The researchers then compared their findings to the DNA of 300 humans - and the results were astonishing.

Researchers examined how dogs matured by focusing on the DNA methylation in 104 Labradors. (Credit: Pexels)
Researchers examined how dogs matured by focusing on the DNA methylation in 104 Labradors. (Credit: Pexels)
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By the age of two, scientists discovered that a Lab's DNA was similar to that of a person in their early forties, rather than a 14-year-old as would have been traditionally believed.

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The research also found that our pooches may have an accelerated aging process in their formative years.

However, they said that this rapid aging slows over time and suggested that a 10-year-old Labrador would be more like a human aged 68.

The study said that their rapid aging slows over time. (Credit: Pexels)
The study said that their rapid aging slows over time. (Credit: Pexels)
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This finding ties in with the traditional formula for calculating the age of dogs, which was developed on the assumption that most lived until around 10, while humans lived until around 70.

Discussing the study, researcher said: "The expected lifespan of Labrador retrievers, 12 years, correctly translated to the worldwide lifetime expectancy of humans, 70 years."

The study also found that there were similarities in the ageing process between humans and dogs, in which they said eight-week-old puppies resembled nine-month-old babies.

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The research, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, can be found on biorxiv.org should it peak your interest at all.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

Topics: Dog, Life News, Animals, Health

Lisa McLoughlin

Lisa is a freelance journalist working for Tyla and the team's token Dubliner. After graduating with a MA in PR and Digital Marketing from D.I.T., she worked for MailOnline, Sun Online, Irish Independent and broadcaster RTÉ. Got a story of interest or want advice on how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness? Then email her at [email protected]