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.

  • Some breeds simply live longer than other breeds due to breed health, body structure and genetics.
  • Smaller breed dogs live about 1.5 times longer than bigger breed dogs. This may be due to the fact that a bigger dog's body must work harder to maintain daily functions (i.e. the heart of a Great Dane must pump harder than that of a Chihuahua's).
  • Just like humans, gender plays a role with canine life span. Female dogs are expected to live a year or two more than males.
  • Spaying or neutering your dog also contributes to a longer life span. An unaltered dog has greater risk of cancer and diseases associated with the sex organs.
  • Nutrition is a major factor in your dog's life. High-quality dog food will lengthen his life.
  • A healthy life style and exercise also helps your dog stay in fit physical shape. A mentally and physically fit dog will live much longer than one who is not.

Medical attention when needed also attributes to longer life. Never wait to take a dog to the vet
if you suspect he is ill, and get him vaccinated against dangerous diseases on regular basis.
Also, it is a good idea to keep his teeth clean. Rotten teeth can cause heart problems.

A review of the normal life span of dogs.

The average life spans for some of the most common breeds of dogs are:

  • 7-10 years: Great Dane, Newfoundland, Doberman Pinscher, Bulldog, Rottweiler
  • 9-11 years: St. Bernard, Bloodhound, Chow Chow, Boxer
  • 10-13 years: Airedale Terrier, Dalmatian, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Scottish Terrier, Afghan Hound, Dachshund, Irish Setter
  • 12-15 years: Beagle, Bichon Frise, Collie, Doberman, Pomeranian, Border Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Greyhound, Labrador
  • 14-16 years: Boston Terrier, Irish Setter, Standard Poodle, Schnauzer, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier
  • 15-18 years: Dachshund, Miniature and Toy Poodle, Chihuahua.

The life expectancies set out above are for purebred dogs. Inbreeding and pure breeding can weaken the gene pool and reduce life expectancy, as a unique pool increases the likelihood of an undesirable trait influencing your dog’s genetic makeup dog.

So what can be done to increase the chance of your dog beating the statistical norms for its particular breed and living a longer than average life? Obviously seeing to it that your dog gets plenty of exercise is important. And, like humans, dogs seem to thrive better in an atmosphere that is relatively stress-free.

Most important is your dog’s diet. Dogs are carnivores and as such require a diet heavy in meat proteins, as high as 42% for puppies. Unfortunately the manufactured foods we buy for them at the supermarket or local pet store, while being high in protein, for the large part use cereal grain protein sources. Also, even a well balanced Asian diet of rice, lentils and vegetables is inadequate. You should try to feed them a supplement that contains high grade meat proteins. In addition, to help ward off the chances of cancer, it is advisable that the supplement contain immune enhancers. To ward off skin irritations and the seemingly inevitable scratching, an anti-inflammatory supplement containing a proper balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids should be added to the daily diet. As dogs are very prone to joint diseases as they grow older, a Cox-2 inhibitor can prove very useful. And of course the supplement should be rich in vitamins and minerals.

You should make sure that your dog is get ample exercise and gets playful time and again. Also special care should be taken to monitor the food and supplements it eats. this and above all can help ensure your dog lives a long and healthy life. Also, a regular annual check up of your dog's health by a veterinarian is a must.

P.S. Also, according to the AKC, the following is a list of the most popular dogs in 2008, and their average life expectancy.

  1. Labrador Retriever (12.5 years)
  2. Yorkshire Terrier (14 years)
  3. German Shepherd Dog (11 years)
  4. Golden Retriever (12 years)
  5. Beagle (13 years)
  6. Boxer (10.5 years)
  7. Dachshund (15.5 years)
  8. Bulldog (7 years)
  9. Poodle (12 years Standard) (15 years Miniature)
  10. Shih Tzu (13 years)
  11. Miniature Schnauzer (14 years)
  12. Chihuahua (13.5)
  13. Pomeranian (15 years)
  14. Rottweiler (10 years)
  15. Pug (13.5 years)
  16. German Shorthaired Pointer (13 years)
  17. Boston Terrier (13 years)
  18. Doberman Pinscher (10 years)
  19. Shetland Sheepdog (13.5 years)
  20. Maltese (14 years)
  21. Cocker Spaniel (12 years)
  22. Great Dane (8.5 years)
  23. Siberian Husky (12 years)
  24. Pembroke Welsh Corgi (13 years)
  25. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (10 years)

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