Many of our life experiences impact our epigenetics, from age to life history. However, we created our age algorithm so that it will not be impacted by your dog's environment or previous experiences. Our reference panel consists of over 500 dogs that range in age from 6 months to 18 years. To ensure that our predictions are accurate for all dogs, we included single-breed dogs from over 100 breeds, as well as hundreds of mixed-breed dogs. We have found that this model, which includes dogs with a range of backgrounds and health factors, is able to estimate your dog’s age within ± 5 months with an accuracy of 98%.
You can read more about epigenetics the science behind our Age test here: The Science of Dog DNA Methylation and Age.
How did my veterinarian determine the age of my dog?
Veterinarians and shelters use visual clues to provide an estimate of your dog’s age. They take a look at your dog’s body shape, eye lens clarity, coat color, and their teeth! While these are great tools, they can also be impacted by factors other than age. Additionally, it can be exceptionally difficult to gauge a dog's age when they are already in adulthood (roughly 2-8 years old).
For example, dogs with lots of tartar build up tend to be older but some breeds and individuals tend to build up tartar slower than others due to genetics or environmental factors like heavy chewing. These pups may not have as much tartar as expected at their age so a vet may have thought they were younger than they are! There’s other factors as well such as how cloudy a dog’s eyes are. Many older pups develop lenticular sclerosis, an age-related phenomenon that causes the lens to become diffusely hazy or opaque. If a dog has little to no cloudiness, it’s possible they look quite a bit younger.
You can read a bit more about how a veterinarian or shelter estimates age here: How Veterinarians Estimate Dog Age.
It's a good idea to let your vet know your dog's age test results the next time you visit the practice. Although it's unlikely to drastically affect their care recommendations, this information will help everyone stay on top of your dog's health and wellness.