We love our dogs and we want them to stay with us for a long time. However, we also know that a dog's life expectancy is limited. Today we clarify how old do dogs get and offer you tips on how to give your dog a healthy and long life!
Determining factors in dog's life expectancy
While mammals such as whales and elephants can live to 70 - 80 years, the life expectancy of our dogs is nowhere near this impressive age. The average age of dogs is 10-15 years. However, there are 7 factors that influence life expectancy:
- nutrition and care
- medical prevention
- activity level
- living environment
The breed and size of the dog play the most important role. Smaller dogs usually have a longer life expectancy than larger dogs. It is assumed that large dogs will grow excessively quickly compared to their smaller conspecifics. A Great Dane’s life span is 6 years on average, while a Jack Russell can reach 18 years.
It is not uncommon to hear about dogs that are around 20 years old. The Australian kelpie Maggie is said to have reached the proud age of 30 years. Chanel from New York, formerly the oldest dog in the world, died at the age of 21.
When is a dog considered old?
How long the dog is expected to live is of course a very important consideration by aspiring dog owners. Generally, dogs are already considered seniors at the age of 7. Their activity decreases more and more, they sleep a lot and are exhausted faster after long walks. Eyesight and hearing also suffer. Therefore, do not be surprised if your senior does not jump up immediately when you call him or he may not recognise you from a distance.
The fur pigments also diminish and the previously intense colors of the dog’s fur are streaked with white-gray. Further signs of an old dog are a weaker immune system, increased susceptibility to diseases, increased stiffness and sometimes a slightly stronger odor from the mouth.
Life expectancy of common dog breeds
Dog breeds with the highest life expectancy:
Beagle: 12 to 15 years
Border Collie: 13 to 16 years
Boston Terrier: 13 to 16 years old
Chihuahua: 12 to 15 years
Cocker Spaniel: 13 to 16 years old
Collie: 14 to 16 years
Dachshund: 14 to 18 years
Doberman Pinscher: 12 to 15 years
German Longhaired: 12 to 15 years
Golden Retriever 12 to 15 years
Havanese 10 to 13 years
Jack Russell Terrier: 13 to 15 years
Labrador Retriever 13 to 15 years
Miniature Poodle: 14 to 18 years
Miniature Schnauzer: 13 to 16 years
Poodle: 13 to 16 years
Pug: 12 to 15 years
Scottish Terrier: 12 to 14 years
Shi Tzu: 14 to 16 years
Yorkshire Terrier: 13 to 15 years
Dog breeds with the lowest life expectancy:
Berger des Pyrenees: 5 to 7 years
Bernese Mountain Dog: 8 to 10 years
Bulldog: 8 to 12 years
Bull Mastiff: 7 to 10 years
Deerhound: 8 to 11 years
Dogue de Bordeaux: 5 to 7 years
Grand bleu de Gascogne: 5 to 8 years
Great Dane: 6 to 9 years
Greenland Dog: 8 to 10 years
Irish Wolfhound: 7 to 10 years
Leonberger: 7 to 9 years
Miniature Bull Terrier: 6 to 9 years
Saint Bernard: 7 to 9 years
Shiba: 7 to 9 years
The right precautions for a long dog life
In order for our four-legged friends to have a long and healthy life as possible, a species-appropriate diet, sufficient exercise, regular check-ups and a relaxed living environment are crucial.
Diet is an important factor
A natural and high-quality diet has an effect on the quality of life and the health of your four-legged friend. Each breed has its own needs, and each dog has its own preferences. Natural, species-appropriate feeding covers your dog's nutritional needs and provides them with healthy vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
Particularly in old age, your dog's daily food should be adapted to his changed needs because older dogs have a slowed metabolism and are also less active. A lack of exercise combined with a slower metabolism can lead to obesity. Dogs of normal weight usually have a longer life expectancy.
Occasionally, serve your four-legged friend light foods made from boiled chicken, potatoes and carrots. They protect the gastrointestinal tract and bring some variety to the daily feeding routine. Alternatively, you can enrich the food with our slightly fluffy vegetable flakes for dogs.
Strengthen the immune system for a long dog life
Not only does the dog's metabolism change with age, the immune system of our four-legged friends also weakens a bit. Cell renewal decreases and the dog becomes more susceptible to various diseases. Older dogs also take longer to heal.
To strengthen your dog's defences, you should top up his diet with immune-boosting vitamins and minerals: Vitamins B and C as well as zinc have an antioxidant effect and support the immune system of your senior dog. If you want to feed your dog a supplementary food, you should definitely pay attention to natural food supplements, such as our AniForte® MultiVetal Powder or tablets. A strong immune system fends off parasites as well as infections and diseases such as cancer.
Regular check-ups as a precaution
Just like us humans, medical prevention is becoming more and more important for our dogs as they age and should be done more often than with younger dogs. A thorough medical history and a complete blood count at least once a year are part of the regular medical check-up for an older dog. This precaution gives you an important overview of your dog’s health and the vet can recognize irregularities and diseases at an early stage. Especially with older dogs, the chances of recovery increase significantly through early detection.
Movement for more joie de vivre
Although dogs become more comfortable with age and sleep a lot, do not completely forego exercise. Daily walks at a leisurely senior pace stimulate the dog's natural body processes. The old dog's sense of smell and musculoskeletal system are also stimulated. In addition, exercise contributes to mental stimulation of the synapses and signal transmission in the brain. To make it easier for your dog to move around in old age, you can use green-lipped mussel powder or capsules to support his musculoskeletal system.
Small dogs live almost twice as long as large dogs. However, various factors can influence and extend the life expectancy of your dog. Just like us humans, nutrition, regular health care and of course sufficient exercise have an important influence on the health and well-being of your four-legged friends.