How Old was the Oldest Dog that Ever Lived? 5 Health Tips to Help Your Dog Live Longer
[Written by Star LaBranche]
When it comes to pups, the average lifespan for a dog is 10-13 years. So the life of Bluey, the current record holder for the oldest dog in the world, may come as a shock. This pup, born in 1910, lived to be a surprising 29 years old before passing away in 1939. The Australian cattle dog managed to stun everyone with his longevity.
Although you might not expect your dog to celebrate their 29th birthday, you can help your furry family member lead a long, happy, healthy life. Let’s take a look at some recommendations for how to keep your dog living their best life for as long as possible!
1. Consider a Mixed Breed Dog
If you're looking to add a dog to your household, you might have your eye on a purebred. After all, who doesn’t love Instagram accounts of corgis, German shepherds, and other purebred dogs posing and playing? Mutts, however, tend to outlive their posh, purebred compatriots. The reasoning is simple.
When dogs are bred for specific traits, these traits can sometimes come at the expense of health. Pugs with curly tails, for example, can develop spinal problems and other issue can arise that relate to this trait. But breeders, because curly tails tend to be more popular, have continued to breed the dogs for this trait, regardless of what it did to them healthwise.
Breeding these purebred dogs can also be a problem because a they are usually only breed with other purebreds in order to protect the bloodline of the breed. This sometimes means they will be bred with direct family members.
A purebred is generally less healthy than a mixed-breed dog because the lack of diversity in their gene pool. Mutts are much better at fighting off disease and less likely to be born with genetic problems.
The bright side is, there are tons of healthy mixed-breed dogs in shelters who would love a good home! Mutts are also typically cheaper to adopt and ultimately cheaper to own as purebreds almost always have higher vet bills.
2. Train Your Dog Well
Dog training might seem like a luxury, but it can be vital to the health of your dog. Imagine you’re walking Rover in a shopping district you frequent often and you’re headed to the local dog-friendly cafe. Suddenly, your dog sees a bird across the street and because they don’t know how to walk on a leash or control their hunting impulses, they take off into traffic. You scream at your dog to stop and return to you, but because they don’t know return commands, they ignore you.
This situation is unsafe for your pup and it can put people in the area in danger. Not to mention, untrained dogs in public could lunge at people or even bite someone out of fear or frustration. But a dog who knows commands, listens to their owner, and follows their direction is much safer in all settings, including in public.
If you're looking for professional help, try a training class. Lots of local pet stores offer classes at reasonable rates, and private companies usually offer general obedience classes as well. If you’re hesitant to take your dog to classes, or you can’t due to their aggression, it’s a great idea to start training them by using YouTube videos and other resources. You might even find a local dog group or rescue that could help you out with troublesome behaviors.
3. Keep Your Dog at a Healthy Weight
While we all love to spoil our dogs, regular fatty or sugary treats are a bad idea for dogs over the years. Weight gain for dogs puts pressure on their joints and can cause many other health related issues such as arthritis and even tumors.
In addition to feeding your dog right, they also need plenty of exercise. While not everyone has a fenced in backyard, most towns and cities have dog-friendly parks and off-leash dog parks where you can let your pup feel the wind in their fur! Not only can this be good for their health, it’s also a great way for you to bond with them over a game of fetch.
Another form of exercise for some dogs could be heading to a local watering hole. Whether there’s a dog friendly pool nearby, a lake or ocean, or even your backyard with a plastic kiddie pool, lots of breeds love to splash around and get their paws wet.
4. Keep Up With Your Dog’s Hygiene and Grooming
You might think that bathing your dog a few times a year is enough, but you have to remember that every time you take your dog outside you’re exposing them to allergens, insects, bacteria, and lots more. If your dog goes outside several times a day, it’s important to make sure they are well-groomed to prevent infestation and disease. A clean dog is a healthy dog!
This also includes their teeth. While it might seem weird to ask your local pet store associate where they keep the doggy toothbrushes, slacking off on tooth health can lead to all kinds of problems for dogs. After all, if your dog has discomfort while eating and starts refusing meals, their problems will only compound.
Most dogs, especially senior pups, require regular professional cleanings. If you keep your pup updated on their brushing, give them dental chews, and keep their teeth in an overall good condition, you could help cut down on the number of professional cleanings they'll need.
5. Keep Your Dog Up to Date With All Their Shots and Wellness Visits
This advice might seem obvious. When it gets down to the nitty gritty, however, a lot of pet owners think wellness visits or vaccines aren’t really needed at the schedule most vets insist on. Without regular checkups and vaccinations, many dog illnesses, such as parvo or parasites, can spread to other members of your furry family and lead to disastrous consequences.
Parvo can be avoided through a vaccine, but they need to receive the vaccine regularly. Most health problems can be prevented or caught early by your vet and their staff. While it might seem expensive to go to the vet so frequently, it’s much more expensive to treat advanced disease in a dog, especially when surgery is required.
No matter how long your dog lives, always be attentive to potential issues, and make sure they are well cared for. Even if your dog doesn’t outlive ol' Bluey, the time they spend with you will be something you cherish for the rest of your life.