Why Do Dogs Age Faster Than Humans?
It's a well-known fact of life that dogs do not live as long as humans and there are a number of facts that go into why that is, beyond the biological reasons. How a dog lives - their diet and amount of exercise they receive, along with their breed and general health all play a part in the lifespan of our family animal, the dog.
Dog's live an average of 10 to 18 years, depending on the breed, lifestyle, and general health of the dog. Dog's body's age a lot faster than humans, making their lifespan considerably shorter. While people are considered fully grown by their late teens, a dog is considered fully grown by 1 year old.
A year in a dog's life equates to about 4 to 7 years of human life. The exact age ratio shifts depending on the size of the dog, their breed, and their overall health. Some dog breeds simply age more quickly than others and only live to be about 10 years old if they're in good health. Other dog breeds age more slowly and can live to be up to 18 years old, sometimes even older!
Dogs have a much higher metabolism and their body has to work harder than ours to do activities, and overall they have a hugely different genetic make-up than humans. A dog's heart beats much faster than a human's, and their body tends to become worn out more quickly due to that fact.
Scientists suggest that a combination of genetics, inbreeding, metabolism, and evolution are all components of why a dog or cat’s life span is so much shorter than a human’s.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by
Professor Herman Pontzer of Hunter College, New York, helped to give us some insight. Pontzer and his associates worked with 17 primate species to determine how the body used energy and to characterize their overall metabolic rates. The results of their study showed that the lower metabolic rate of primates, and thus humans, was associated with a prolonged lifespan (compared to those of dogs and cats).
Current research does not have a definitive answer to the question of why dogs and cats don’t live as long as humans. However, it has enabled us to enrich the lives of our pets so they can enjoy every moment to the fullest. We may never be able to give our animal companions the same length of life that we have, but we are better equipped than ever to make every minute special for them.
If a dog is provided regular exercise, healthy balanced meals with proper nutrition, and lives a happy, healthy lifestyle, they will almost definitely live longer than the dog that doesn't have that.