In a perfect world, your four-legged best buddy would live just as long as you. Sadly, your canine companion won’t be around forever, and on average larger dogs don’t live as long as smaller dogs. You can take steps to help your pal live a long, healthy life, and some of those steps will be good for you, too.
Small vs. Large Dogs
About 40 percent of all dogs who are smaller than 30 pounds, such as miniature poodles, Yorkshire terriers and Pomeranians, live longer than 10 years, according to WebMD. Unfortunately, only about 13 percent of dogs larger than 100 pounds, such as Great Danes, Irish wolfhound and English mastiffs, live that long. There is a strong correlation between weight and longevity, meaning if you really want your pooch to be around for a long time, you may want to look in to adopting a smaller breed.
Large Breed Longevity
The average lifespan of all dogs -- both small and large -- is 12.8 years, reports pets.ca, a Canadian pet information provider. Some larger dogs tend not to live that long, and data varies considerably by breed. Afghan hounds, Irish setters, golden retrievers, greyhounds, Labrador retrievers, Shetland sheepdogs and vizslas tend to live from 12 to 13.2 years. Weimaraners average about 10 years, Samoyeds average 11 years, Rhodesian ridgebacks around 9.1 years, Rottweilers 9.8 years, and Great Danes around 8.4. These are averages, and the care you give your buddy can play an important part in longevity.
Gender Plays a Role
Gender also plays a part in how long your furry pal will be with you. As with humans, females tend to live longer than males, so if you're selecting a pup from a litter, the little girl pup has a statistical chance of living a bit longer than her brothers. This is not significant enough to be a major factor when you pick out out your new four-legged family member.
Living Long and Well
You can help ensure your canine friend is with you as long as possible by keeping her safe from accidents and medical emergencies such as bloat. Stay on top of her preventive care needs. Take her in for an annual exam, and make sure she’s up to date on all recommended immunizations. Never skip her needed heartworm preventative.
Larger dogs have somewhat different nutritional needs than little ones, beginning as puppies. Talk with your veterinarian about feeding your pal a premium food specifically formulated for dogs her size, and carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the feeding schedule. Feed her no more than the proper amount for her size. Overweight stresses her joints, making it more difficult for her to get around as she ages. Finally, make sure your pal gets plenty of exercise, even when she reaches her senior years. That will help control her weight and keep her joints free of inflammation, allowing her to feel good and be playful for many years to come.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.