Thursday, June 3, 2010

Your Pet Dog’s Life Expectancy

We all will do anything and everything we can so that our pet will have a long and healthy life. But how long is the average life of a particular breed of dog and what can we do to maximize the likelihood that our dog will live longer than expected?

A myth is heard that one year of a dog’s life is equal to seven human years, so that, for example, a dog at age one is like a human child at age seven, and a 5-year old dog is the equivalent of a human adult of 35. In fact, there is not any linear relationship between human and dog years. Dogs mature much more quickly than humans. A dog at age one has generally achieved its full growth and is sexually active – this is obviously not true of a seven year old human child. So a dog at age one is similar to a teenager, who has some growing out to do but is more or less mature physically.

Thereafter each year in a dog’s life may be seen as about equal to 4 to 6 human years. Overall, the life expectancy of most dogs is around twelve years on an average. But the actual expected life span of any particular dog is highly dependant on its breed. Generally speaking, the larger the breed of dog, the shorter its life will be. We veterinarians guess that this is because larger dogs’ bodies must work harder than those of their smaller compatriots.

Factors That Contribute to Life Span

Various important suggestions as to how dog owners can improve the odds of their particular dog living beyond the standard life span are discussed. A number of steps owners of dogs should take to extend their pet’s life are also included.