When deciding to adopt or buy a puppy or dog you might not look into the lifespan of your chosen breed. However, the life expectancy of your dog is an important factor.
Discover the life expectancy of your dog
According to the Guinness World Records, the record holder for the oldest dog ever is Bluey. Bluey was an Australian Cattle Dog who lived in Victoria and died at the ripe old age of 29. That’s more than double the average life expectancy for some of our canine chum.
While the life expectancy of dogs varies, medium to large dogs typically live 10-13 years. If you’re wondering what the life expectancy of your dog is take a look at the chart below.
8 factors that affect the life expectancy of your dog
Indeed, just like humans, every dog is an individual. Furthermore, just like us humans, multiple factors will affect its lifespan. Knowing the factors and what, if any, control you have over them can be useful. Indeed, you might be able to assist your fur pal to live a long and happy life.
Here are some of the key factors that can impact the life expectancy of your dog.
Dogs’ lifespan varies according to their size, which is determined by its breed (more on this below). But, in general, smaller dogs can live 14-16 years. Large dogs can live 10-13 years, while giant dogs might only live 7-8 years.
2. Genetics and health
As mentioned above, breed—as well as genetics—can affect a dog’s lifespan. Some breeds are more prone to health problems, such as heart issues, hip dysplasia, cancer and respiratory issues.
Breeds that are more commonly affected by health problems include Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, Basset Hounds, Bull Dogs and German Shepherds.
Obesity can have a major impact on a dog’s health and lifespan. Obese or overweight dogs are at increased risk of diabetes, respiratory problems and osteoarthritis. These types of health issues can have a detrimental effect on the life expectancy of a dog.
4. Diet and nutrition
A healthy, nutritious diet can help keep a dog’s weight in check and prolong its lifespan. Dogs need adequate nutrition for their age and life stage. Feeding our barking buddies an appropriate and balanced diet can help ward off some health problems and help them to live a happy life.
5. Preventative measures
For some pet owners, there may be preventative measures they can take to help support the life expectancy of their dogs. For example, there may be certain foods, vitamins, or medicines a dog can be given to help them avoid common health complications.
Likewise, there may be certain exercises or lifestyle changes that can prolong a dog’s life. For example, dogs with joint issues may benefit from doing more swimming and less walking.
Just like in humans, the environment can play a key role in determining a dog’s health and life expectancy. Studies have shown that certain social and environmental factors can have a big impact on a dog’s life. Factors include:
- Spending time in a shelter
- Frequently changing owners
- Getting lost
- Experiencing traumatic events
Additionally, dogs that live outdoors or spend much of their time outside may face increased stress and trauma. There is exposure to the elements, the risks posed by wildlife, as well as environmental pollutants.
7. Mental health
Certainly, we know the positive impact pets have on human mental health. But what do we know about our pets’ psychological wellbeing?
Just like in humans, stress can lead to greater health problems in dogs. Prolonged stress can cause anxiety and extreme fear, which can shorten a dog’s life.
By addressing psychological issues early on we can help protect our pet’s mental health and prolong their life. Regular exercise, games that encourage mental stimulation and a healthy diet all contribute to better mental health for dogs.
8. Social connection
Dogs love socialising. Well, most of them do! Dogs that have a strong emotional bond with their owner and feel loved are typically more calm and relaxed.
In the same way that stress can negatively affect a dog’s health, happiness can help a dog maintain good health. What’s more, social connection is achieved by taking dogs on regular walks, which is good for mental and physical health.
Essentially, if you want to protect and prolong the life expectancy of your dog there are a few things to consider. You can minimise your dog’s stress by ensuring they have a safe environment to live in. Watch how much food you feed your dog and try to feed it a high-quality diet.
Make certain your four-legged friend feels well cared for by giving it lots of love and attention — but don’t spoil him or her too much (if you can help it)!
Wallis Lisa J., Szabó Dóra, Erdélyi-Belle Boglárka, Kubinyi Enikö. Demographic Change Across the Lifespan of Pet Dogs and Their Impact on Health Status. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 2018, Volume 5.