Why small dogs live longer than big dogs is one of the main questions for dog owners.
Most pet owners would like to be able to extend the life of their pets, wouldn’t they? Unfortunately dogs live very little compared to humans.
But there are variations in longevity between different breeds and sizes of dogs. And understanding this is important for you to be able to adequately meet your pet’s needs.
First, understand the aging process.
It is practically a consensus that small dogs live longer than big dogs. In fact, you may have already heard that the bigger a dog is, the shorter its life expectancy.
Indeed, aging is generally slower for small animals, although there are many things you can do to increase your pet’s life expectancy.
Basically, aging happens to anything that is alive and it occurs due to the deterioration of cells, which happens gradually.
This means that living organs, tissues and systems end up degrading over time.
Due to this process, as animals age, their bodies start to have specific needs.
Regardless of the size of the animal, when the tutor is able to adequately satisfy these needs, it is possible to extend the dog’s life for longer.
Despite this, aging cannot be completely stopped and the life expectancy for each species has a limit that cannot be exceeded.
Generally speaking, a giant dog is considered old at six years of age, while a large dog at eight, a medium one at ten, and smaller ones only enter old age around twelve years of age.
This is quite curious since when looking at the animal kingdom in general, larger animals tend to live longer compared to smaller ones.
Insects, birds and even small rodents live much less compared to large mammals, for example.
In general, this is due to forms of body organization that have basic differences, being much more efficient in larger organisms.
Some hypotheses on why small dogs live longer than big dogs
Aging in dogs has been much explored in recent times, but even so professionals still do not have a single idea about the reasons for greater aging in larger animals .
However, there are some hypotheses of great relevance. Understand each of them below:
Small dogs live longer due to their lifestyle
First, it should be taken into account that larger dogs are heavier and generally exert more physical effort compared to smaller ones.
Many breeds are even used as work animals, which further increases the strain on the organism.
In addition, it is observed that smaller dogs tend to have more protection from their owners. This leads to more care with the animal’s health and greater observation of any problems that may occur.
Larger animals tend to spend more time in the yard, which leads to greater wear and tear on joints, muscle system and the body in general.
If you consider terriers, for example, that doesn’t apply.
Small Dogs Live Longer – Heart Problems
Another explanation that scientists have found for this difference in longevity concerns the size of the heart.
It is clear that the size of the organ differs because it obeys a proportionality rule between the sizes of the animals.
This means that the effort that the organ must make to be able to pump blood throughout the body is much greater than that observed in small animals. In this way, the organ ages and deteriorates much more quickly.
Small Dogs Live Longer – Greater Predisposition to Serious Illness
The predisposition to various types of disease is something that significantly shortens the life of domestic animals.
It is very common for larger dogs to have muscle and joint problems, for example.
Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) and other types of tumors are also much more common in large animals.
Small Dogs Live Longer: The Breed Question
Dogs are animals that evolved from wolves, which are similar in size and weight to a large dog.
On average, wolves that live in a natural environment live 15 years, a very high number for large dogs.
But why does this happen? The main explanation concerns artificial selection, through which man began to create different races, without taking into account the damage this could have to the health of animals.
Thinking about it, it can be concluded that maybe there is an ideal size for dogs. This measure would be such that it would allow the proper functioning of the organism, so that the systems are able to remain healthy until old age.
Thus, the average size would be the most suitable for dogs, as they have the most suitable organism.
Toy and miniature dogs are also excluded from the logic of longevity, as they are artificially selected and have a low life expectancy. This is because their systems are not working properly.
What has science discovered about canine longevity?
As you can see, there are several hypotheses as to why small dogs live longer than large dogs.
Unfortunately pets live less than people and this is very difficult to face.
Dogs and humans are capable of developing very close bonds of affection and get along very well together.
Therefore, whenever a dog leaves, it ends up leaving the tutor very sad and not knowing how to deal with the loss.
But why do small dogs live longer than big dogs?
This is a question that has always greatly intrigued biology, as larger animals tend to live longer than smaller ones.
This is likely because larger organisms have slower metabolisms, which causes less accumulation of free radicals.
The released molecules cause premature aging, increase the chances of developing degenerative diseases and also cause cell death.
With less damage to tissues and DNA, the organism is able to stay healthy for longer, which considerably increases life expectancy.
That makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Despite this, this theory cannot be applied to all organisms and, therefore, the scientific community cannot accept it as true.
In the case of some mice and dog breeds, smaller individuals have a longer lifespan.
Some scientists even suggest that this could even apply to humans, but there is no proof.
Small Dogs Live Longer – Fast Growth And Cancer Rates
When looking at the canine species, larger animals have accelerated growth, which may be related to higher rates of cancer.
However, no one has yet been able to prove why higher growth rates lead to more advanced aging.
Despite this, everything indicates that natural aging happens more quickly in large animals.
To analyze the relationship between body size and the aging process, a research group used dogs from 32 different breeds.
As a general result, animals with larger body sizes had much shorter life expectancy.
As a conclusion of the research, the explanation that has already been mentioned here was given. In other words, dogs are artificially selected by man, which made them evade the rule of longer life expectancy for larger organisms.
To obtain the different races, the human being took into account only the physical appearance of the animals, not considering the characteristics of their organism and its proper functioning.
Boxers, for example, are large dogs that are prone to developing cancer.
This makes them have a shorter lifespan compared to other smaller breeds. Thus, the bad genetics of large animals leads them to have a critical health status.