Maximum K9 Lifespan
As I ponder the mortality reality of my awesome shepherd mix turning 14 years old soon, I think of everything I can do to extend his lifespan as far as possible. Of course I mean a comfortable happy life, not dragging him along just merely keeping him alive while he's suffering.
So what is the maximum lifespan of a domesticated dog? The official verifiable record is 29 years 5 months for an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey from Victoria, Australia, who died November 14th 1939. More recently an Australian Sheep Dog named Maggie died at about 30 years old in 2016, also living in Victoria, Australia. Maybe these Aussies are on to something. Maggie's age cannot be officially entered into the Guinness World Records due to her master losing the old paperwork. Many more dogs have come very close to living to record ages. The oldest one I've personally been told of was by one of my customers at our retail store telling me their dog lived to 24 years old, I forget the breed. This gives us hope of breaking out past the conventional lifespan. Dogs can never live long enough.
Factors have to be considered regarding lifespan.
BREED - Certain pure breeds tend to have inherent health issues that shorten their lifespan. Over breeding and breeding for aesthetic features merely serving as living show pieces, has made many dogs needlessly suffer and have shorter lifespans. Mixed breeds can avoid some of these issues. Personally I'm very much against the suffering ailment type breeds and think they should be phased out with humane breeding to rid these painful tragedies. Smaller breeds overall tend to live longer, many hitting 20 years old. All life is precious, but optimal conditions will make for maximum time together before your heart is broken.
DIET - Standard regular cheap kibble is basically junk food. The cleaner and more genuine the food is, the better. Also good to mix in some healthy people food in with their regular diet. I give my dog healthy treats of eggs, and meat scraps like beef, chicken, pork and fish. Avoid junk snacks. For fun treats, I give him all natural baked doggie cookies. You can Google the top rated healthy dog foods for some choices. My guy gets a 50/50 dry mix of Dr Marty (freeze dried turkey, beef, salmon, duck) and Nutro (chicken, brown rice, sweet potato). Those are the primary ingredients but there are other nutrients in there too. He gets 2 scoops in the morning, 2 scoops at night. Whatever you decide to feed them, keep them at a good proper weight. You're going to spend more on a good healthy diet, but hey they're worth it. One of our clothing models is giving his dogs a butchers style 100% raw meat diet, this is very natural but realistically most people will not do this. For the most part, my dog prefers his meat cooked, probably because he's accustomed to it that way and must be tastier. More recently he's been getting Ruff Greens supplements after hearing some good things about it, I'm going for overall optimal nutrient conditions. Its real important they get plenty of fresh water to keep things flowing nicely.
LIFESTYLE - An active lifestyle with plenty of fresh air and exercise is good for the health of dogs just as it is for humans. Long hikes instead of just merely a walk around the block to empty out will keep the muscles and joints strong. Mental stimulation by letting them do what they like to do is important for their spirit. Its not good to have them bored all the time, they can get depressed. The bond between master and beast in the wild does wonders for the both of you as you trek the beautiful scenery. It is very good if you have a fenced in yard or an invisible fence so they can walk around and exercise on their own outside while you're busy.
OLD AGE THERAPY - As your dog gets older they'll need attention with old age related issues such as arthritis, joint pain and hip dysplasia. For joint maintenance I have my dog on Cosequin with Glucosamine and Chondroitin, good to start early on joint supplements to prevent issues. My active dog blew out both hind leg joints and had TPLO surgeries with metal plates, one leg at 7 yrs old and the other at 11 years. I have him on CBD for pain maintenance and it works pretty good for going on his daily hikes, he gets a morning and evening dose. I take my dog to K9 physical therapy periodically for the water tread mill and massage therapy. It certainly helps, and he seems to like it, especially the water tread mill. These things will also cost some money, but well worth it.
PUSHING THE GOAL POST - Overall we can really make a big difference in how long our dog lives. My dogs vet told me my dog is in really good shape for his nearly 14 years, and she said he's beyond his lifespan. Well hold my beer, I think he's at middle age and I'm pushing the goal post way out. In all seriousness, I'll do whatever I can to keep him enjoying this wonderful world as long as possible.