Wondering why do dogs age so fast? You may believe that this is a simple answer that can be given in one sentence. In reality, it is far more complex than that. Below, we will take a deep look into the matter and explain all the variables and all the facts you need to know. Keep in mind that this affects your friend as well, so you may want to know all the specifics.
How Long Can Dogs Live?
On average, dogs live between 10 and 18 years. How long a specific dog will live depends on its breed, health, and size. Obviously, some live longer than others, meaning they age slower. The question of why dogs age so quickly is the same for all dog breeds.
Other dog breeds age much faster, so they can live only 10 years, which is short for most dog owners. You probably know that one year of a dog’s life is equivalent to 4 or 7 years of your life. The accurate and precise ratio will once again depend on the breed, health, and size of a dog.
Humans are considered to be adults when they reach their late teen years. Dogs are fully adult with 1 year of their life. Yes, they grow fast, and your puppy will become an adult sooner than you may believe.
Why Do Dogs Age Much Faster Than Humans?
The simplest answer is also the most complicated one. Their genes are completely different than ours. In other words, we don’t have anything similar. This also means that their hearts beat much faster.
Their metabolism is much faster as well. This is one of the reasons why dogs can eat a lot in short periods of time and why they can move so quickly.
If we combine faster heartbeats with a faster metabolism, we get a body that will wear out much faster than a body with completely opposite predispositions. As you can see, we live longer because our bodies work slower. On the other hand, a dog’s body is much faster in every way, so it will age much faster.
Take a look at your dog. If you have a backyard, you will see that he is active much more than you are. He also sleeps less than you do, can be on his feet the entire day, and can play with other dogs. When he is tired, he needs one hour to rest almost completely. You cannot have that lifestyle. You need plenty of rest, and you cannot stay active as long as your dog. There is a simple chart you can use to calculate how old your dog is in human years.
Here we can see an interesting fact.
All dog breeds can be divided into small, medium, and large, which is determined by their size and weight. All of them start to age similarly.
For instance, one year of a dog’s life is equivalent to 15 human years, and this applies to all sizes. But, a small dog 16 years of age will be as old as a human of 80 years. A medium-sized dog will have 87 human years, while a large dog will have 120 human years.
In general, smaller dogs live longer than larger breeds. They will also mature in less time. Large dog breeds will age slower at first but can reach middle age in only 5 years.
Very small, or better said, tiny dog breeds, will become seniors only once they reach 10 years of age! Here we can see another interesting comparison between dogs and humans. Babies get teeth after 10–15 months of life. Dogs will get all their teeth when they are 7 months old. But, their teeth will become dull and worn out after 2 years.
This reflects what we said earlier. Dogs develop and age much faster, which means that their bodies will be worn out much faster as well.
How Can Your Dog Live Longer?
The first answer we must provide is that you cannot help your pet live longer than his predetermined lifespan. If that dog breed can live 10 years, your dog will live between 8 and 11 years. Some small variations are possible. But you can make sure he lives as long as his lifespan allows.
For this purpose, you need to be focused on three things. The first one is a proper diet. Proper nutrients will make the body work slower and use less energy. Proper meals include healthy and natural foods. Harmful chemicals and artificial products will have the opposite effect.
Secondly, your dog needs a lot of physical activity. This will help him maintain a healthy weight, keep his body healthy, and make him a happier dog. Last but not least, your dog must be in proper health.
If your pet has a health issue, try to resolve it as quickly as possible. Yes, they are tough, but they are still prone to many diseases, depending on the breed.
All you can do is basically provide a healthy and happy life for your dog. When all three factors are present, your pet will live longer than if you avoid them. The only variation is if your dog is sick or has severe health issues such as cancer, etc.
Sadly, you cannot do much in that scenario. This is the worst thing that can happen to your pet, and it is the saddest!
Factors Influencing the Aging Process in Dogs
Dogs don’t all age at the same rate, and various factors can influence the speed and manner of their aging process.
- Breed and Size: One of the most significant factors that influence a dog’s lifespan and rate of aging is their breed and size. Generally, smaller breeds tend to live longer than larger breeds. This is partly because larger dogs grow faster, which can put them at higher risk for health issues.
- Nutrition: A balanced, nutritious diet plays a crucial role in a dog’s overall health and longevity. Dogs that are fed high-quality, nutrient-rich food tend to be healthier and may age slower compared to dogs on a poor diet.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and good overall health in dogs. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of diseases like arthritis, heart disease, and obesity, potentially slowing the aging process.
- Veterinary Care: Regular check-ups with a vet can help catch potential health issues early. Prevention and early treatment can contribute to a longer, healthier life for your dog.
- Genetics: Some dogs may naturally age slower or faster due to their genetic makeup. This can also influence their susceptibility to certain age-related diseases.
- Environment: Dogs living in a safe, clean environment with plenty of mental stimulation are likely to age slower. Stress, exposure to harsh weather conditions, or living in polluted environments can accelerate aging.
- Spaying/Neutering: Studies show that dogs that have been spayed or neutered tend to live longer, which could be related to a reduced risk of certain health issues like reproductive cancers.
Remember, while you can’t stop your dog from aging, you can influence the rate and manner in which they age. Providing a healthy lifestyle for your pet is the best way to ensure they live a long, happy life.
The Final Word
Your dog will live shorter than you. This is a fact, and you cannot change that. They age much faster than humans simply because their bodies work much harder and faster. You can help your pet live longer if you provide him with physical activity and plenty of healthy food and make sure he is healthy.
In some, rare cases he can live longer than the lifespan his breed has. Sadly, this happens rarely, but there are a lot of cases where dogs lived much longer than other members of the same breed.
Read my article How To Groom Your Dog A Home.