No matter how much we wish it weren’t true, our dogs do not live as long as their owners. We get far less time with our beloved pets than we would like, but exactly how long do dogs live?
The standard rule of thumb is that one dog year equals seven human years. The average life span for people in the USA is about 78 years. By the seven-year rule, dogs should live to be about 11 years of age, yet, this is far from accurate.
The truth is that the average life span of a dog varies considerably across breeds with many other factors impacting your dog life span. This can leave many owners shocked when their pets live shorter or longer lives than expected.
Read our guide to get a better idea of how long your dog will live and how you can help them live longer happier lives.
How Long Do Dogs Live?
There is no average life span for dogs as the life span of a dog varies significantly across dog breeds. Generally smaller dogs live longer than larger dogs as an example, Chihuahua’s tend to live for between 14 and 18 years, whilst a Great Dane lives for between 7 and 10 years.
You can check your dog’s life expectancy by breed here.
So, you can expect larger dogs to age earlier, later in this post, we will outline the signs of dog aging owns should be aware of.
What Can Dog Owners Do?
Other than breed there are many other factors that impact your dog’s life expectancy. Luckily dog owners can be proactive in managing these to ensure their beloved pet lives a long and healthy life.
It should go without saying, but how you care for your pet will have a big impact on how long your dog will live. Dogs are like people, if you feed your dog a nutritious diet and give them good regular exercise they will live longer than dogs who are not cared for.
Like humans, obesity in dogs will lead to serious health complications. Even if you feed your dog healthy food and exercise them regularly if you notice they gain weight you should seek advice from your vet.
Mental activities and exercise are often forgotten or overlooked by owners. Interactive toys and brain games along with nose work are important to maintaining your dog’s health. This mental stimulation gives your dog a task to complete and is very rewarding for them.
Furthermore, if you take your pet to the vet for regular (annual should be enough until your dog reaches their senior years and then semi-annual may be necessary) checkups you will be able to get ahead of any issues your dog may have that they cant tell you about. As much as you love your pet, your vet knows what signs to look for and will see things you might miss. Your vet will also help you and your pet manages the aging process.
Pure Bread Dogs vs Cross-Breed Dogs
Cross-breed dogs tend to live longer when compared to pure breed dogs. Pure breed dogs have a higher risk of carrying genetic diseases that are common to that specific breed. This doesn’t just impact life span, cross-breed dogs have fewer health issues throughout their lives.
Neutered and Spayed Dogs
Neutering and spaying your puppy is proven to extend its life expectancy. Studies have found that neutered males live 10% longer and spayed females like 17% longer.
Having your puppy neutered or spayed reduces the risk of certain cancers, primarily those affecting the reproductive system, and prevents some infections. Neutered and spayed dogs are also much better behaved, making it easier for you to care for them.
When you first bring your puppy home they are full of life and energy. In their early years, they may seem and act invincible. But like you, as your pet ages, they won’t be so active and things will start to hurt.
The trouble is your dog can’t tell you what might be wrong. As an owner, you will need to know the signs and be attentive to your senior dog’s needs. And remember age is not the only indicator of aging in a dog, here are some key signs.
- Cloudy Eyes and Vision Problems: If you notice a cloudy haze over your dog’s eyes it may indicate vision problems. Similarly, if your dog can’t find objects he can usually see it means it is time to see your vet.
- Hearing Loss: If your dog seems less responsive it is a sign of hearing loss rather than your pet ignoring you. Teaching your pet hand signals from a young age can help ease the aging process.
- Increased Urination: If your dog is urinating more often than usual this might be a sign of kidney issues, which often affect older dogs.
- Confusion: If your dog’s behavior changes, particularly seeming more short-tempered, defensive, anxious, or confused you should see your vet.
- Mobility Challenges: Older dogs will of course experience mobility issues. Issues such as arthritis are common amongst older dogs. A sure-fire sign is if your dog has issues getting up.
- Weight Loss or Gain: Older dogs are prone to changes in their weight, and can become either overweight or underweight.
- Lethargy: A reluctance to play and exercise is a sign that a dog has entered their senior years.
- Fatty Lumps: Senior dogs can develop lumps on their skin called Lipomas. These are harmless but are a sign of aging in your pet.
- Frequent Sleeping: If your dog is spending more time sleeping, and especially if they are more unresponsive whilst they sleep it is likely your dog is entering seniority.
We Love Our Dogs
We love our furry friends. Exactly how long do dogs live? Well, that depends on a number of things.
As responsible owners, the best way we can show them our love is to care for them properly. And when we do this we ensure they live longer and healthier lives. At Dog Deep we have a lot of amazing resources for dog owners to ensure their pet is cared for so check out the rest of our site.