A Long And Happy Life: The Principles Of Pet Longevity

pet longevityThe human lifespan has increased significantly over the past century. Thanks to significant progress in medicine it may continue to increase even further!. Our pets have also enjoyed an increase in their overall life expectancy, although not quite as dramatically as humans.

We all want our pets to live as long as possible, which is why we’re delving into the complicated topic of pet longevity and how pet owners can make the most of it!

The Domestication Factor

It’s probably obvious to most people that pets enjoy an increased lifespan over their feral counterparts. The difference is particularly striking when it comes to our feline friends, who in the “wild” have a life expectancy of only a few years, but can easily live 15-20 years when kept in the home of a loving and attentive human owner.

Allowing a cat to live outdoors even part time can significantly cut down on the number of years you have together. The risks to your indoor-outdoor cat’s longevity include:

  • Being hit by a car
  • Attack by another animal
  • Ingestion of poisonous substance
  • Contracting a disease from another animal
  • Injury or death at the hands of other people

To give your cat the best shot at a long and healthy life, we always recommend keeping them indoors exclusively.

The Role Of Breed

Genetics plays an important role in pet longevity, and a pet’s breed may determine in part how long he or she can be expected to live. Larger dog breeds, such as Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds, tend to have significantly shorter lifespans than smaller varieties like terriers and beagles. Certain cat breeds, including Balinese and Bombay, also tend to live longer than other breeds.

Inbreeding can reduce the lifespan of both dogs and cats as it increases the chance that an individual animal will be born with genetic problems or abnormalities common to the breed. Mixed breed animals of both species tend to be hardier, and that can often correlate to a longer life expectancy.

Pet Longevity

Although breed, size, life circumstances, and plain old luck all play a role in pet longevity, there is still plenty that a pet owner can do to prolong the life of his or her best pal. Consider the following:

  • Preventive medicine – By adhering to your pet’s regularly scheduled wellness exams, you are giving your veterinarian a chance to spot and treat any health conditions early, before they become major problems.
  • Spay/neuter – Spaying and neutering offers protection from ovarian, uterine, and testicular cancers, all of which can shorten a pet’s life.
  • Disease prevention – Making sure your pet is up to date on his or vaccines and is on year-round parasite prevention protocol will help to prevent a variety of devastating diseases that can significantly reduce his or her lifespan.
  • Weight management – Keeping your pet at a healthy weight through diet and exercise will help to prevent a variety of life-shortening conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Your team at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates is honored to work side by side with you in ensuring that your pet lives the best (and longest) life possible! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet.