How accurate is estimating a dogs age by inspecting it's teeth, is it possible a dog could be 4 years younger than it's
I rescued a Patterdale terrier, very bright, energetic and puppy like. However had a bad flea allergy and had a very matted coat and was malnourished but very full of life. Vet estimated by looking at teeth age 6 - 8. Can this be an accurate estimation. Is it possible she could be between 2 - 5 ?
on Apr 17th 2012
in Health & Wellness
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I don't believe you can tell how old a dog is by looking at its teeth. I've seen many, many, many dogs who are 10+ years old and have perfectly clean teeth. I've seen a ton of dogs under the age of 3 years old who have gunk built up on their teeth, dental disease, plaque, etc.
There's no way to tell how old your dog really is.
Teeth can be inaccurate. You vet may be wrong if:
He's not familiar with your breed of dog. Some breeds are more prone to tooth decay and gingivitis at younger ages, like Yorkshire Terriers. I have no idea about Patterdales, they're not common in my area. Tartar build-up is an individual thing, some dogs get it faster than others, different mouth shape and saliva chemistry. Also depends on what they eat.
Some dogs also wear down their teeth pretty young by excessive chewing (especially tennis balls- they're abrasive.)
The vet could still be totally right, though... 6-8 is NOT elderly for a medium-sized dog, and many dogs that age are still "very full of life" as you put it, especially the more active, athletic breeds. I wouldn't assume she's young just because she's very active.
Bruno CGC answered on 4/17/12. Helpful? / 0
in general teeth can be an alright age-indicator. Can be very inaccurate too... Other answers are right, some dogs/breeds have 'cleaner' teeth than others [also depends on their diet/how much oral care owners give them]. My 4yr old mutt has teeth that are only a little bit more yellow than my 1yr old pit bull... [it was crazy, my mutt had PERFECT white teeth till just a few months ago. Wheras my pit has also been recently getting tartar...] Both dogs get their teeth brushed usually once every 1-2 weeks + they get access to 2 big elk-bones almost all day.
Best Regards! =D
Shasta answered on 4/18/12. Helpful? / 0
The shelter estimated Rigby to be around 3 years of age due to her dental staining.
Comparing her molars to my 6 y/o Border Collie, my BC would be MUCH younger.
Dental staining is just 1 way to estimate age, behavioural cues are another way.
Unfortunately there's no sure fire way that I am aware of that can tell the age accurately.
Rigby answered on 4/18/12. Helpful? / 0
Teeth normally are not a good way to tell the age of a dog. It depends on the care, and the size of the dog. Some people do a great job with teeth, and I have seen some very young dogs have all kind of teeth problems. After about the age of two, it is just a guess to the age by looking at the teeth.
Tiara answered on 4/18/12. Helpful? / 0