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Age is not just a number for dogs

The new way to calculate it doesn’t really help mathematically challenged humans.

ET Bureau|
Dec 04, 2019, 09.07 AM IST
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What is achieved by knowing that an energetic two-year-old pet is actually a spry middleaged mutt rather than a teenager?
It has been ridiculously easy so far to calculate the ages of our furry best friends, using the ‘traditional’ measure of multiplying their chronological age by seven to arrive at their canine equivalent.

Even though some dog breeds rarely make it past single digits (in ‘human’ years) while others even become canine centenarians, no one has ever questioned the ‘times seven’ method.

So, it was expected that when some researchers did hit upon a more accurate measure of ‘actual’ canine age — though such precision would not seem necessary to many dog lovers — they would keep in mind the limited mathematical capabilities of the average humans. But that, clearly, was not to be as the new formula is based on the epigenetic clock, which is actually a biochemical test based on DNA methylation levels.

For those not deterred by such scientific esoterica, the new method entails multiplying by 16 the natural logarithm of a dog’s age (which moves at different speeds and is usually a single number followed by several other digits after a decimal point) and adding 31 to the total.

Even though mobile phone calculators are there, the joy has just been squeezed out of the human-dog equation. Besides, what is achieved by knowing that an energetic two-year-old pet is actually a spry middleaged mutt rather than a teenager? Age is just a number, right?

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