Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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What does 'dog years' really mean?

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TWC News: What does 'dog years' really mean?
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The old way of thinking was that for each human year, your dog aged seven years. However, how your dog ages depends on several factors including their breed, genetics and general health. A five-year-old obese, medium size dog with diabetes has a shorter life expectancy than a lean healthy dog of the same age.

There really is no reliable standard “human years to dog years” conversion due to so many variables.

Large dogs age faster than smaller dogs, and in general, live shorter lives. The longer the legs, the shorter the life. For instance a Great Dane, one of the largest breeds of dog, lives on average about seven to ten years while most of the toy breeds have an average life expectancy of 10 to 15 years.

The best thing you can do for your pet is do your best to keep them healthy.

Extra weight will also age your pets. If you can’t see their waist, it’s time to get more exercise and cut back on the treats. An extra five to ten pounds on your dog can increase the chances of joint issues and diabetes, therefore, prematurely aging your dog.

Ruling out any heart, lung or joint issues, keeping your pet healthy is the best way to add years to their life. A daily walk of at least 20 minutes will help keep you both stay in shape, tone muscles and keep joints limber.

As your dog matures, talk to your vet about dental care to prevent tooth loss, blood work to catch any diseases early, and adding supplements to help with hip and joint maintenance.

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