Continue reading “Dog Breed Selector”
We all know that different dog breeds can have very different lifespans. Here are the best figures we have from three recent English studies. Please read this first to help you understand the figures. Continue reading “How Long Do Dog Breeds Live?”
Thanks to my big mouth I was in trouble from the outset. As a litter of five 10kg puppies were brought in by the scruffs of their necks, all I had to do was shut up. Continue reading “Why Banning Dog Breeds Doesn’t Work”
Ever wondered how much it costs to keep different dog breeds?
Recently I saw a very unfortunate case. The dog was barely 12 months old and had already had LOTS of vet visits. The owners were at their wits end both emotionally and financially. It didn’t help when I said; ” That’s not uncommon for the breed”.
“How were we supposed to know?” they said. I had to agree there wasn’t an easy way. There should be. Continue reading “How Much Do Dog Breeds Cost To Keep?”
Most people can tell if a dog or cat is sick. It’s not too hard with ferrets either. All of these are predator species and have no reason to hide their illnesses.
Then there are the prey species, like rabbits, guinea pigs and birds. They deliberately hide signs of illness. They even pretend to eat! Most of the time what looks like ‘sudden death’ or a ‘heart attack’ is really the end of a long, slow illness we couldn’t see.
The good news is that you can tell. Here’s what to look for: Continue reading “How To Tell If Your Chicken Is Healthy”
Did you see the animals in this year’s Guinness World Records? That’s two of them above.
The world’s longest living pet cat was a Maine Coon called Ludo, who is a phenomenal 118.3cm long.
The world’s tallest living female dog was a 96.4cm Great Dane.
Why do these cute facts make all vets shudder? Continue reading “Is Breeding Bigger Better?”
How can your dog do better than the average lifespan? Of course, avoiding risks & good veterinary care have a lot to do with it. But there’s also a lot you can do to improve their chances. Continue reading “How To Help Your Dog Live Longer”
We’ve all heard the saying: “multiply your dog’s age by seven to get the human age.” Like most simple rules, there’s a lot wrong with that:
- Dogs age at different rates to people depending on how old they are. They age much faster when young and slower when old.
- The number ‘seven’ has been chosen to match our lifespan to an arbitrary dog age of eleven. No vet would consider 11 an accurate dog lifespan any more.
Here is a more modern and less simplistic view:
Dog Years to Human Years
1 is equivalent to 15
2 is equivalent to 23
3 is equivalent to 28
4 is equivalent to 33
5 is equivalent to 38
6 is equivalent to 43
7 is equivalent to 48
8 is equivalent to 53
9 is equivalent to 57
10 is equivalent to 61
11 is equivalent to 65
12 is equivalent to 69
13 is equivalent to 73
14 is equivalent to 77
15 is equivalent to 81
16 is equivalent to 85
17 is equivalent to 89
18 is equivalent to 93
19 is equivalent to 97
20 is equivalent to 101
after this add 3 human years for each dog year. This approach is an amalgamation of several modern theories first proposed by Lebeau (1953). The Wikipedia page on dog ageing gives a good summary.
Even if more accurate, the new approach brings up two questions:
Do Large Dogs Age Faster?
Everyone says it, but what is the evidence? There isn’t much. All people are doing is observing that certain large breeds have shorter lifespans. That’s not the same thing.
Visit this page for the best data we have on how long individual dog breeds live. Is it correct that the larger breeds are known for shorter lives? I want to show you some good news from our clinic that changes what we think.
Look at this recent data from our clinic on 800 living patients. If you can see any difference between large and small dog lifespans you’re doing better than me. Read why I think old dogs now live longer than they used to.
The dog breeds famous for short lifespans are the giant breeds like Great Danes and Wolfhounds. I think that the diseases they are known for (bone cancer and dilated cardiomyopathy) take them while they are still in the prime of life. If we look at the large breeds, like Golden Retrievers for example, it’s not at all clear that they live any shorter lives than small dogs.
When Is A Dog Considered Old?
Dogs are only as old as they feel. I don’t think we should talk about ‘old age’ in dogs the way we do about people being retired or pensioners. True, knowing the equivalent human age is helpful in thinking about healthcare but it says nothing about their state of mind.
When I wrote about how to know when to go to the vet I said all change is meaningful. Old age is just the sum total of separate diseases. If we keep them under control our dogs can feel and act young right up to their senior years.
Next week: How to help your dog live longer.
Lebeau, A. (1953). L’âge du chien et celui de l’homme. Essai de statistique sur la mortalité canine. Bulletin de l’Academie Veterinaire de France, 26, 229-232. The matching of human and dog ages in this visionary study from 1953 has stood the test of time and become the basis for modern approaches to assessing dog age.
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These blogs are from a series regularly posted on Facebook and Twitter. We do not accept payments or incentives in return for stories. Like or follow our page or subscribe via email to read the latest.
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After the popularity of last week’s Genetic Diseases of Dogs, it’s only fair the cats get their own page. Information on breed disorders came from the Sydney University LIDA Cats database (no longer publicly available). Continue reading “What Diseases Does My Cat’s Breed Get?”