Life Expectancy in Dogs: All You Need to Know

Our pet puppy is one of our best friends. They become an unquestionable source of happiness, loyalty, entertainment, and companionship from the day we get them. They want nothing from us other than unlimited pets and cuddles, to play fetch all day and night, and also be fed. It doesn’t sound like a lot because it isn’t if you think about it. The input is extremely simple, and the return on investment is very high.

You get your bodyguard if your dog is a big breed. You get someone who can give you company almost all the time. When you think about it, dogs are unlike anything else in your life. However, like any living thing, they too have a start, middle, and end.

All dogs do not have the same life expectancy. This can be owed to the fact that dogs come in different sizes, colors, builds, etc. Different breeds have different diets and also different levels of activity. These factors and more are responsible for deciding the life expectancy of a dog.

Different Breeds, Different Life Expectancy

On average, the life expectancy for a larger dog is between 8 to 12 years of age. Larger breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Rottweiler’s, Great Danes, and various Mastiff breeds are known to live around 8 to 12 years. This is how long these breeds live on average if kept in the best of health.

Different factors hindering a dog’s life expectancy involve cancer, infectious diseases, and obesity. As a dog, you lose almost two years off your life expectancy if you are obese. This is because obesity puts pressure on the skeletal system. After the stress is placed on the skeletal system, different diseases such as osteoarthritis, diabetes, and pancreatitis can arise, which will weaken them.

Smaller dog breeds tend to live for 10 to 15 years, some even going as far as 18 to 20 years of age. As a result, certain dog owners prefer to get a small breed dog because it will be with them for a lot longer.

This phenomenon of small breeds lasting longer than larger ones has always been debated. Unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, where larger size means longer life, dogs are the opposite. Small breeds always outlive larger breeds. One theory suggests that because larger breeds grow much faster into a much larger size, their abnormal cell growth is the cause for their shorter life span.

Factors That Affect Life Expectancy

Besides the size factor, other things determine how far a dog’s life will go. These include:

The Diet

Feeding your dog’s the right food is self-explanatory. Just as in humans, what you eat makes all the difference in the world. You need to make sure you always feed your dog food that gives them the nutrition that they need to function and the energy they need to burn every day.

Different breeds require different amounts of nutrition, so make sure you feed your dog right. Talk to your vet if you don’t know what to feed your dog. This will make it easier for you to take care of the dog, and it will improve the quality and life expectancy of your dog.

Spaying and Neutering

Neutered female dogs tend to live longer than ones that aren’t. The risk of pyometra in females and testicular cancer in males go down by getting animals treated.

General Effects of Aging

Dogs often age similar to humans. Certain problems only start to show when the dog reaches a certain age. For example, a dog might become less mobile as its age progresses while developing arthritis as well. In some cases, it was observed that dogs even got dementia.

Dogs can also experience a loss of hearing and vision, decreased physical activity and reduced lung function, weight gain, and different skin conditions. Furthermore, they may also develop urinary issues and diabetes.

These are all problems that may or may not be avoidable by proper care. However, sometimes it just does happen no matter how much consideration is given – just like in humans. These things can directly impact the life expectancy of dogs, regardless of their breed.

How To Make The Most Of This

There are a few basic steps to follow if you want to increase your dog’s life expectancy as much as possible. By following these steps, the chances of making sure your dog doesn’t leave your side anytime soon go up.

You can start by making sure your dog’s diet is the right kind. As an owner, it is your job to ensure their dietary requirements are met. A good diet means a healthy dog. After the diet, make sure your dog’s vaccines are all up to date to ensure they have protection from every preventable disease that there is. Make sure you have a routine visit to the vet to ensure your dog is checked in case something is wrong. Even if there isn’t, it helps that you are ahead of the curve and catch something before it happens.

Finally, make sure you watch what your dog puts into its body. This can include bits and bobs lying around the house, toxic plants in your garden, or anything that can harm them. Make sure you don’t leave anything around the house that your dog might chew or choke on. What might seem harmless to us might be fatal for the dog. If you have a garden in your home, make sure you don’t have any plants that might end up being toxic for the dog. Before planting them, do some research to make sure they are dog-friendly.