Dog Friendly Tips: How long does a dog live?
The life expectancy of adult dogs is said to be about thirteen years.That is an average, as many die on the roads and, at a young age, of other unnatural causes. Otherwise most properly cared for canines live to fourteen or fifteen years.
The giant breeds and Boxers are exceptions, with an average life expectancy of eight to nine years. This is good evidence that life expectancy is a genetic trait; that during the development of the embryo the life span is predetermined and somehow imprinted on each individual animal.
If you assume life expectancy is hereditary you must not assume the quality of life is a stereotyped fact. There are many factors within our control which when applied enhance the quality of life for the geriatric pet: medications for the heart and lungs, for kidneys, and even arthritis, to name a few.
The most important consideration concerns nutrition. Commercial dog foods are nutritionally balanced and nourishing, but if certain problems develop, a change of nutrition can prolong the quality of life.
If the kidneys have lost some of their capability of filtering wastes from the system then a change to a diet that produces less waste may be helpful.
Likewise, if the heart is failing and the retention of fluid is a problem, a low sodium diet may be helpful.
Many old dogs require a good deal of care as they reach the end. Some show signs of senility by ceasing to be housebroken. As sight, hearing, and reflexes are impaired, a pet must be watched over more carefully than previously.
A deaf dog cannot hear danger approaching and if eyesight is failing cannot see it. There is no sadder event than seventeen-year-old dog being struck by a car. Most of us are willing after a lifetime of loyalty and affection from it to give of ourselves to make the golden years as comfortable as possible.
One way to help is to find problems before they become serious. Home physical exam should be employed on a regular basis. And when its last days approach, don't permit an old-timer to wander off, to lose its way and die from exhaustion far from the security and love found in your home. Just an unwell cat may disappear when injured, to recover on its own, before reappearing once it is recovered, so an ill dog may wander off to seek solitude.
The three most common causes of death in old dogs in descending order are cancer, heart disease, and kidney disease. Many a terminally ill dog will have so many concurrent problems it is difficult to determine which single one is the cause of death.