How old does a dog get?
How old do dogs get?
Who grows up with dogs, they often accompany a whole life. Unfortunately, dogs do not have the life expectancy of a human being and so we have to say goodbye to our friends many times, some earlier than others. But what are the factors that influence, shorten or lengthen the life expectancy of the four-legged friends?
For one thing, it makes a difference what breed it is, of course. Small breeds usually live longer, averaging 15-17 years, while large dogs tend to hover around 10-12, exceptions prove the rule as always.
However, breeds bred to be tiny often have problems with their joints, their bones break more quickly and short-nosed dogs quite often have respiratory problems, carelessness can cause them to overload more easily due to restricted breathing. These high-risk breeds include (a selection):
- Prague Rattler
- Japan Chin
- Terrier & Poodle breeds
Jack Russell Terrier
Parson Russell Terrier
West Highland White Terrier
Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
The large dog breeds, on the other hand, often suffer from heart defects and diarrhea; in German Shepherds and Retrievers, the deeper pelvis is often the result of misalignment of the hips and elbows, which in the worst cases can lead to osteoarthritis and herniated discs.
Breeds at risk (selection):
- Great Dane
- German Shepherd Dog
- Retriever breeds
- St. Bernard
In general, overbred breeds (i.e., focused on miniature or certain body characteristics) and purebreds are more likely to be at risk than mixed breeds, but the breed is usually not the deciding factor for long (or short) health, but rather the other circumstances of life.
Husbandry & Care
The general condition of our four-legged friends naturally depends on their care. The right choice of food should be adapted to the breed, size and activity level of the dog in order to avoid overweight. To avoid tooth decay and bad breath, and to ensure that your dog still has enough teeth in old age, a food with no added sugar and a low grain content should be chosen. The vet can prescribe any necessary additional supplements in consultation and give the right feeding recommendation.
It is important not to feed your dog any unhealthy snacks, no matter how big-eyed they are, some can even be dangerous.
Important food no-gos:
- Chocolate: the theobromine found in cocoa is highly toxic to dogs. A piece of dark chocolate can be deadly for small breeds.
- Grapes: Also poisonous, at worst can lead to acute kidney failure.
- Macadamia nuts: As few as four nuts can cause poisoning symptoms in a medium-sized dog
- Poultry bones: While the meat is safe, a dog should never be fed poultry bone scraps because they splinter very easily and can dangerously bore into the animal's palate and throat
In addition to diet, exercise and activity play a big role, just as they do with humans. Bright and energetic breeds should also get the chance to let off steam; while the lazier candidates sometimes need an extra dose of motivation.
At the end of the day, everyone knows his dog best, knows what is good for him and what is not. If you pay attention to one or the other point, you should have good prospects to enjoy some long, fulfilled years with your four-legged friend.
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