Davinci's Korner

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I'm Davinci. Being the oldest of the pack, I have many years of wisdom and knowledge that I would like to share with you. 

Tips and tricks for dog care, dog games, trivia, facts,  boredom busters, and much much more

How Old is Old?

Comparing Dog Age to Human Age

By Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM; Lynn Buzhardt, DVM

You watch your young pup bounce across the lawn. You see your old dog lumber slowly to the food bowl. You take a brisk run with your young dog close at your heels. You slowly walk to the mailbox and your old dog still lags behind.

What a difference a few years make to your dog. You do not feel older, so why does your dog? Perhaps it is because what you and your dog consider “old” are vastly different. Comparing your human age to your furry friend’s canine age is rather complicated but, simply put, one year to Fido is not one year to you.


Doing the Math

The most common theory comparing human and canine ages uses this equation:

A dog’s age (in years) x 7 = Age in “dog years.”

For example, if your dog was born 7 years ago, he is 49 years old in “dog years.” (Or, stated differently, a 7-year old dog is at a similar stage in aging to a 49-year old human.)

This simple equation is only a rough estimate. A more accurate comparison of human vs. canine age takes into consideration the dog’s size and breed.

Smaller dogs age more slowly and have longer life spans. Larger dogs, in contrast, age more quickly and have shorter life spans. In addition, certain breeds enjoy more longevity than others. When comparing size, small Poodles live longer than huge Great Danes. But when comparing breed, Great Danes may outlive larger sized Bulldogs. The 7:1 ratio does not hold across the board.

"Dogs develop more quickly the first two years of life, after which development levels out a bit."

Another factor that skews age calculation involves the rate of canine development. Dogs develop more quickly the first two years of life, after which development levels out a bit. During the first two years, one dog year equals about 10.5 human years. So, the dog: human aging ratios is 10.5:1 rather than 7:1. When a dog hits the three-year mark, he ages 4 years to every 1 human year bringing the ratio to 4:1. Using this formula, a 10-year old dog is the equivalent of a 53-year old human. Using the simple 7:1 ratio, this same 10-year old dog would be the equivalent of a 70-year old human.

All of these calculations are based on the assumption that the average human life expectancy in developed countries is 80 years. The average life span globally is only 66 years. So, the equations have to be altered according to geography. Complicated enough for you?

Simple Math Will Not Work

Complications in comparing dog age to human age are well founded. The old “7 dog years = 1 human year” theory is inaccurate, because the dog ages and develops more quickly during the first two years of life. Plus, the ratio varies with dog breed and size. Even the more accepted equation utilizing the 10.5 factors the first two years of the dog’s life and 4 years thereafter has pitfalls, because it does not account for size and breed. The most accurate estimate of a dog’s age in human years is calculated by taking size and breed into consideration. This method either categorizes dogs as small, medium, and large or more specifically uses their estimated adult weight.

So, what is the answer to the math problem?

Who knows? The easiest equation (7:1) is probably the least accurate. Formulas that take into consideration the faster development that occurs during the first two years of life give a more accurate comparison. But even with this theory, there is variation. Some mathematicians feel that a 1-year-old dog should be compared to a 10- to a 15-year-old human. The second year, as development levels out, should equate to 3 to 8 years of human aging. That would put a 2-year-old dog on par with a 13- to 23-year-old human. But that is still a big range. "

"What is consistent is the fact that dogs age more rapidly than their owners."

In short, there is no definitive answer to the math problem. There is just too much variability in the canine community; there are too many breeds and too many sizes. What is consistent is the fact that dogs age more rapidly than their owners and a 1-year-old dog often resembles a gangly teenager. A 4-year-old dog has the energy of a young adult, while a 9-year-old dog walks with the stiff gait of a senior citizen.


Emotional Aging

To further complicate the issue, emotional maturity does not align with physical maturity. Emotional maturity occurs over an extended period of time. For example, a 21-year-old human is considered an adult, but may not reach emotional maturity until age 40 or so; the same applies to dogs. Even though a 9-month-old pup may be socially and sexually active, full maturity is not achieved until age 3 or 4. That is why 2-year-old Labradors still chew your favorite slippers!

What is considered old for a dog?

For humans, some people consider 55-year-olds to be senior citizens. Others delay imposing that status until 65 years. Canine senior status varies, too. Small dogs are considered senior citizens of the canine community when they reach 11-12 years of age. Their medium-sized friends become seniors at 10 years of age. Their larger-sized colleagues are seniors at 8 years of age. And, finally, their giant-breed counterparts are seniors at 7 years old. Therefore, a Great Dane becomes a senior citizen far earlier than a Pomeranian.

Like humans, dogs suffer the effects of aging. Some signs you may notice (regardless of what size dog you have) include:

  • Loss of vision

  • Loss of hearing

  • Weight gain

  • Loss of energy

  • Arthritis and other joint problems

  • Loss of muscle tone

  • Loss of teeth

  • Loss of organ integrity (heart, liver, kidneys)

  • Loss of skin elasticity

  • Loss of hair

  • Loss of immunity

  • Loss of mental acuity

Many people think it's cute when they sit down on a couch to eat a few chips or popcorn. But I bet you don't ever think that it could kill your dog!

Many people mistakenly believe that a dog can simply remove a chip bag from his head with his front paws or tear through it with his claws. This is just not the case.  Once the bag starts to seal around the dog’s neck, it’s extremely difficult to break the suction of the seal. ALL dogs are vulnerable to pet suffocation – no matter their size, breed, or age.  No dog, from a tiny teacup poodle to a massive Great Dane, can win a fight with a chip bag or other plastic bag over his head once the bag seals and he starts to lose oxygen.  Please review the preventive safety measures below to help keep your pets, both dogs and cats, safe from pet suffocation.


  • Keep all chip/snack/pet food bags safely stored away from your pet.
  • Tear or cut up all chip bags and food bags after use.
  • Store chips/snacks/pet food in resealable plastic containers.
  • Serve chips and snacks in glass bowls or containers instead of in bags.
  • Keep all trash can lids tightly fastened, locked, or behind a cabinet.
  • Keep kitchen pantry door closed.
  • Learn CPR for pets.
  • Do not allow your pets to roam freely in the house while you are away.
  • Alert all your friends and family about the suffocation dangers of bags.
  • Educate pet sitters and babysitters about pet suffocation prevention.
  • Be extra vigilant during family and holiday gatherings.
  • Lobby companies to add warning labels on snack/cereal/dog food bags.
  • Share this website on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
  • Visit, “Like” and Share Prevent Pet Suffocation on Facebook.
  • Follow Prevent Pet Suffocation on Twitter @4YouBlue2.
  • Follow Prevent Pet Suffocation on Instagram @PreventPetSuffocation.

Build A Better Bond With Your Dog

There are many different ways to form a bond with your dog. You don't need to spend hours and hours playing with them to do it.

1. Communicate in a Consistent Way
Communication is always key. Being consistent with what you are telling your dog helps lessen the confusion your dog may have when you are telling him or her. In return strengthening their trust in you. For example: allowing them to greet you by jumping on you but when someone else comes over you scold them for jumping.

2. Offer Comfort
There's a myth that providing affection when your canine is scared like during thunderstorms, reinforces a pet's fearfulness. But Radosta says that's rubbish. "You can't positively reinforce fear," she says. "It's not possible. When a baby is crying and you hug her, she cries less, not more. The same for canines. You can't make the feeling of fear worse by loving somebody." So go ahead and give your pup some sympathy.

3. Discover Your Dog's Preferences
Each dog is different in their personalities and preferences. Some like to play fetch or frisbee while others just like to go for long walks. Others like to play with toys while again some prefer just chewing on a bone or rawhide.

Paying attention to what gets your dog excited helps create that bond.

4. Do More of Your Dog's Favorite Activities
Once you've figured out what activities make your dog happiest, do more of them. For example, if they like playing fetch or hide and seek. My dogs love exploring, so taking them to the park or hiding things around the yard for them to explore and find 

5. Teach Your Dog Something New
An excellent way to build trust is through positive reinforcement training, Radosta says. "When you learn something together, it builds the bond. Your dog comes to understand that you'll give him a reward—treat, toy, throwing the ball—when he behaves a certain way." You can use this method to teach your dog good manners, simple tricks, or even canine sports like agility.

6. Cuddle With Your Pup

As long as it is something you both enjoy. Some dogs just are not the cuddling type so don't push it if they don't like it. But for those dogs who can't wait to snuggle in your arms or lay in your lap, cuddling is the number one way to bond with their furry pals.

7. Give Your Dog His Own Space

Some dogs are more independent than others so don't be offended if your dog wants his own space. Take into account your dog's breed and personality, and if he wants to nap in another room, let him! You don't need to be together all the time to have an amazing bond.

8. Learn Canine Body Language
Did you know that dogs wag their tails when they're happy and when they're nervous? Canines communicate with their entire bodies. So to figure out how your fur baby is feeling, you have to know what to look for. Learning what your dog's body language means will clue you into his emotions. And that kind of understanding is bound to take your bond to the next level.

9. Pet Your Pup
Petting your dog is a feel-good activity for you both—it's calming for your pup and it's also relaxing for you. A Washington State University study found that just 10 minutes of petting a dog or cat significantly reduced cortisol (a stress hormone) in people. It's a mood booster as well, reports the National Institutes of Health. So petting your pooch may be one of the easiest, healthiest ways to connect with your four-legged friend!

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15 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer


1  Walk at cooler times of day

    Early mornings are the best time or late evening after the sun has gone down.

    The hottest time of the day is around 3 - 5 pm

2  Use Shoes/Boots or Pet Balm/Wax 

     Asphalt temperatures can reach as high as 56 degrees hotter than the air temperature!

     Having your dog wear boots or show during the hottest time of day can help prevent burns, blisters,

     and other damage to their paw pads. But, if they are anything like us (Nubbies and Tails Crew) they

     might not be so fourth coming to wearing such things so the next best thing is Paw Balm/Wax. Paw

     balm/wax can help soothe and protect our paws from the heat, elements, and cracking

A few other quick tips to keep your pup’s pads safe in hot weather

  • Walk in the shade as much as possible

  • Avoid black asphalt and try to walk on sidewalks and lighter-colored ground

  • Walk on grass as much as possible, it’s much cooler than concrete or asphalt

  • Try letting your pup follow the lead, they will often be better at finding cooler spots than you are



Also The 7-Second Rule!

This can help you know if the ground is too hot for your dog!

Place the back of your hand on the ground for 7 seconds. If it’s too hot to leave your hand for

7 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.

3    Always Bring Water & A Bowl


      ALWAYS have water available for your dog. And be sure to give your pup plenty of opportunities to

      stop and drink while you’re outside on a hot summer day!

There are so many options out there!

  • Dog water bottles with a reservoir for drinking

  • Collapsible bowls that clip to a bag, harness, or belt

  • Soft bowls that condense to fit into a pocket

4   Take Frequent Breaks

      Sometimes us dogs tend to just Go Go Go!  As a dog parent, you need to make sure we take

      breaks. Find some shade and give us a "paws" for a  drink of water and some treats. Take this time to

      check us over. Make sure there is no damage to our paws or that we are in any pain

5   Give Your Dog Frozen Treats

    Always a Good Fun Snack to help cool your pupperoo down!

  • Pupsicles

  • Frozen Fruits and Veggies

  • Frozen Kongs

  • Pup Ice Cream

  • Ice Cubes

  • Frozen Broth in Ice Cube Trays

6   Be Aware of Critters Like Snakes, Fleas & Ticks, Chiggers, Etc.

     The warm summer months always bring out the fleas & ticks, so make sure you have a good

      prevention routine in place. Starting One - two months prior to the season is best if possible.

     With the warmer weather also comes more hiking and camping.

     Be sure to read up on snakes in your area. It’s a good idea to learn where they often hide out, what

     they look like, and which ones are or aren’t poisonous for your dog.

7   Don’t Leave Your Dog In The Car


      NEVER leave us in a car during the summer months, even with the windows cracked.


      Temperatures in a car can quickly surpass the outside temperature. It can literally become a sauna

       in no time!


      If you have the ability to leave the A/C on with the assurance that it will stay that way, you can leave   

      us for a short time. But even that has its risks.

      Sometimes us dogs can turn the car off accidentally (seriously) or unintentionally switch dials on the

      air system (ie from cool to hot), etc.


       Leaving your dog in the car even with A/C on does still present risks!


       It’s generally a good idea to not ever leave us alone in the car during the summer months!

8    If Your Dog Must Be Left Outside, Provide Shade and Water


       Keep us safe during the summer by not leaving us outside alone for too long.


       It’s best to not leave your dog outside unattended for extended periods of time in the summer

       (especially without proper shelter). 


       If you must leave your dog outside for a long period of time, be sure to provide adequate shelter,

       shade, and water.


       Just remember that your dog has a “coat” on, so they’ll likely be much hotter than you’d think!

9    Use An Elevated Or Cooling Bed


       Elevated beds keep your dog off of the hot ground and allow air to pass through.

       You can also try out cooling beds or pads. Cooling beds or pads are either made from special

       material or are filled with water to help cool your dog down!

10  Swimming And Water Activities

       Any type of water activity is always fun and can help keep your furbaby cool!

       If your dog enjoys swimming, like we do, going to a nice pool, lake, or pond can do the trick.

       Splashing in a small creek, water features at a dog park, or even just putting some water on your

       dog’s back while out on walks. A small wading pool or splash pad in the backyard is helpful too


       Of course, swimming has its own risks so be sure your dog knows how to swim and has other safety

       gear as needed!


       Also, be aware that ponds, creeks, and lakes can have blue-green algae that are very toxic to dogs.

       So exercise caution!

11   Keep Lawn and Garden Products Out of Your Dog’s Reach

       Many lawn and garden products are actually toxic if ingested by your pup. Here are some lawn and

       garden products to keep away from your dog!


  • Antifreeze (not summer specific, but is often found in the same area as other lawn products and is extremely poisonous)

  • Pesticides

  • Like snail and slug bait

  • Herbicides

  • Roundup

  • Weed killers, etc

  • Some mulches

  • Fertilizers

  • Compost piles


       While that list isn’t exhaustive it covers most of the common toxic lawn/garden products for dogs.


       Generally speaking, any time you use a new lawn product, be sure to look up the ingredients for your

       dog’s safety. If there are toxic chemicals, don’t allow your dog near the product or where the product

       has been used for an extended amount of time.


       When in doubt, keep it away from your pup!

12   Brush More Frequently

        At a minimum, you should brush your dog once or twice a week!


        Brushing your dog frequently in the summer provides multiple benefits.


        While brushing, gives you the opportunity to check over our body and make sure things are ok. Are

        there any cuts or bumps that need to be taken care of? Any bugs or pests that need to be removed?


        Second, it helps release excess hair from your dog which can help keep them cool!


        It’s also a great summer safety tip to thoroughly brush your dog after hiking or exploring wooded

        and/or grassy areas!


       Unwanted bugs and critters like to hide out near trees, bushes, and grasses. So, after your pup

       ventures there, be sure to give them an inspection and brushing!

13   Use Sunblock (No, Really)


        Dogs with very short hair and fair skin can easily get sunburned when outside for extended periods

        of time. Using dog-friendly sunscreen can keep them safe and protected!

14   Screens On Windows In Your Home


        Dogs don’t always have the best perception of height, especially when it comes to windows in your



        Dogs often fall or purposely jump out of windows. So, having screens can help to deter that and

        keep them safe!


        It’s best to keep your windows closed if you aren’t home or able to supervise your dog.

15   Keep Your Dog’s Hair Trimmed (BUT NOT SHAVED)


        Keeping your dog trimmed can help keep them both safe and cool during the summer months!


        It’s important NOT to shave your dog. Shaving your dog can actually make them hotter. 


        Keeping your dog’s hair trimmed will also make it less likely for critters and bugs to end up in your

        dog’s hair.

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July 4th is fast approaching. With this hooman holiday comes lots of noise and other things that are harmful to us four-legged family members. There are 3 things you hoomans can do for us.


1) Prepare us for the Holidays. This should be done by making sure we (the pets) are identified by a collar, tag, and/or ID tracker. This is in case we take off during the Booms and Bangs of fireworks. 

You could also prepare us by desensitizing us to loud noise well in advance of this Day. Keep us relaxed and introduce us to loud sounds until we no longer are bothered.

2) While Celebrating this Holiday, keep us inside and cool. Keep us away from your table food. As much as we like it, there is a lot of food our hoomans eat that is poisonous to us. So be wary of what others are giving us. If you have us outside, keep us on a leash, just in case we get spooked and run.

3) After the Holiday, please look around the yards and house. Make sure you pick up anything that we may be tempted to put in our mouths and eat. Things hoomans take advantage of could make us very sick (used fireworks, table scraps, wrappers, empty cups, chip bags, etc.)

These are a few of the things you hoomans can do to help keep us safe this July 4th. We Wuv you, so keep us in mind while you celebrate.


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