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How old do dogs get?

As a dog owner you always hope that your four-legged companion will live forever, but unfortunately science is only slowly increasing the average life expectancy of dogs.

How old do dogs get? How old is the world’s longest living dog? How can you increase your dog’s lifespan? Read on to find the answers to these questions.

The average life expectancy of dogs

The answer to the question “How old do dogs get”? depends on many different factors. It might surprise you that, even though smaller dog breeds mature faster, small dogs also live longer than big dogs. The bigger the dog, the shorter their life expectancy.

On average, small dogs live up to 15 years of age, medium breeds live for around 10 years while the life expectancy of dogs that are very big can be as short as 7 years.

In humans, it is generally accepted that women tend to live longer than men. However, there does not appear to be a significant difference in lifespan between male and female dogs.

How old is the longest living dog in the world?

The life expectancy of dogs has risen sharply in recent years, just like for humans. The main contributing factors are the advances in veterinary medicine and dog nutrition.

For example, today you can find grain-free dog food at Yarrah, which means that if your dog is hypersensitive to grains you can prevent the chronic conditions that might develop as a result of their sensitivity. We also produce vegetarian dog food for dogs who are unable to digest animal proteins effectively. By providing nutritious food for dogs with special dietary requirements we help them to live much longer, healthier lives.

If you search for the longest living dogs in the world you will find that they were born after the 1980’s, the point at which health care for dogs continued to improve. Lists of the longest living dogs in the world, as can be expected, contain mainly smaller dog breeds, including many Beagles, Welsh Collies and Shibas On average, these dogs lived to about 23 years of age.

Currently the dog listed as the oldest dog in the world by Guinness World Records is Pebbles, a 22-year old toy fox terrier. The longest living dog ever was Bluey, an Australian Shepherd, who passed away at the age of 29 years and 5 months. So Pebbles will still have to live for quite a while to earn the title of the longest living dog.

How to extend the life expectancy of dogs

As a dog owner there are a few things you can do to increase your dog’s lifespan. While you can never get around genetic factors, you can make a difference in how old your dog gets by looking after their health.

First and foremost, make sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise. This prevents weight gain and also helps your dog to relax. Like in humans, obesity and stress have a significant influence on the life expectancy of dogs.

Your dog's diet is also important. You need to make sure that your dog gets all the nutrients they need to keep their bones, joints and organs healthy. If you feed Yarrah's organic dog food your dog will always get a complete and nutritious meal. Furthermore, the food contains only pure ingredients, without any artificial fragrances, colouring, flavours, pesticides or GMO.

Sterilisation could also help your dog to live longer. Research has shown that dogs that are no longer able to reproduce lived on average 1½ years longer than those that were not neutered or spayed. The most likely reason is that sterilisation reduces the risk of a number of diseases. Furthermore, sterilised dogs are generally less stressed when they don’t experience the natural urge to mate.

Old vs. Young Dogs

Finally, keep in mind that an older dog needs different care than a fit and young dog. As a rule of thumb, you can compare a dog's age to human years by multiplying your dog's age by 7. A more accurate calculation is as follows:

  • When your dog is one year old, their age is comparable to the human age of 15 years
  • In their second year of life, your dog is about 24 years old in human years.
  • After that you only add 5 years to every dog year. So at 3 years of age your dog is 29 in human years, at 4 they are 34, and so on.

A dog’s breed also affects this calculation. Because bigger dogs have a shorter lifespan, they also age a little faster. From age 7 you need to make sure that your dog still gets enough exercise, but without pushing the boundaries too much. When you notice that your dog gets tired while walking, you may need to shorten your walks.

You also need to feed your older dog the appropriate diet. Because they are less active, older dogs need less energy from their food to prevent weight gain. At Yarrah we have special kibble for senior dogs, which provides them with the exact nutrients they need. These kibbles contain fewer kilojoules and we recommend that you use them for dogs older than 7 years.

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