Longer living dogs tend to be smaller dogs. The bigger dogs age faster and the bigger they are, the shorter their life span. From the American Society of Naturalists comes:

Big Dogs Age fasterLarge dogs age at an accelerated pace, as though their adult life is running at a faster pace than small dogs’. Hence, a first answer to the question of why large dogs die young is that they age quickly.

Across breeds, body size is strongly positively linked to the absolute speed at which the mortality hazard increases. This relationship was still evident when looking at the aging rate relative to the current level of the mortality hazard (proportional scale); that is, large dogs age at an accelerated pace, suggesting that their adult life unwinds in fast motion. Additionally, size was connected to the baseline hazard, which was higher in large dogs compared to small ones. We found no clear relationship between the age at the onset of senescence and size.

While this sounds simple and factual, it’s still not clear why this is true. More research and study need to be done to really answer this question not just for dogs but humans too.

Tips on Helping Your Dog Live Longer

  1. Feeding a Healthy Diet – Dogs that eat less, live longer. In one study it was found that dogs raised on a restricted calorie diet of eating 25% less than “normal” recommended diets, lived an average of 2 years longer. The quality of food matters too. Avoid generic “meat byproducts,” sugars, excess sodium, and unnecessary fillers. Look for whole ingredients and responsible sourcing practices from your dog food to help extend your dog’s health.
  2. Exercise Enables a Healthy Body – Exercise is proven to lower stress, increase endorphins, and balance mood and emotions in people and dogs alike
  3. Dogs Need Mind Stimulation – It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks!
  4. Dental Hygiene – poor oral hygiene can lead to plaque, gingivitis, and eventually periodontal disease, a bacterial infection of the mouth that has been linked to heart disease and organ damage in dogs.
  5. Wellness exams from Dr. Charles Whitworth at Whitworth Pet Vet in Madison, AL. Sticking to a regular preventative care routine will give your dog the best shot at a long, healthy life.
  6. Enjoy every moment with your companion. Who else in your life lives just for you? Your time together is precious, so maintain healthy habits, keep your dog active in body, mind, and savor every moment.

    About Us: At Whitworth Animal Clinic, we treat your pets like the valued family members they are. We look forward to working with you and your pets. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call today.