What Were Your Longest & Shortest Lived Dogs?

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health What Were Your Longest & Shortest Lived Dogs?

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  • #94408 Report Abuse

    To give some background on myself, I’ve been a breeder/handler of show champion English Cocker Spaniels for about 17 years, and have owned the breed since the mid 90’s. Currently, I’m retired from the show ring, with no aspirations of getting back into it. We are left with seven dogs now, after spending the past 18 months losing the older ones left, right and sideways, mostly to various forms of cancer. The most recent death was Sandy, a 13 year old champion bitch who passed away last week.

    After about 23 years in the breed, she was the oldest Cocker Spaniel I’ve ever had.

    Average age of death for my dogs has been 10-12 years, which is below the breed average, while several breeder friends have dogs in their kennels that routinely live to be 14-16+ years. Insult to injury, they normally feed Pro Plan, or something along those lines. Whereas I am <i>very</i> conscientious about proper diet (I feed raw), husbandry and vaccinating minimally; but considering that most of my dogs have died below the breed’s average lifespan, I begin to wonder if I am somehow doing something wrong.

    Only days after Sandy’s death, I’ve already had several dog park and local encounters with dog owners of very old dogs, only to learn they were being fed a steady diet of the worst the grocery store has to offer. At first I began to think there might be little to no correlation between diet & longevity, but that refutes much of what I’ve seen in regards to dogs in poor grade health recovering on a better quality, especially homemade, diets. Then I began to formulate a few theories, two in particular, that might explain why those other dogs were so long lived while mine tend to die earlier – and neither theory has anything to do with the actual brand of feed.

    While it’s not very scientific, I’d like to test those theories by asking other dog owners how old were your longest AND shortest lived dogs, and what was the main diet of those dogs? Working on a spreadsheet, and if I get enough replies, I’ll share my theories as to what might contribute to longevity in dogs (which, upon research, seems to have some credibility) and the final results of my polling.

    I’ll start off the thread by answering my own question:

    Youngest dog: 3yo Corgi bitch euthanized due to genetic disc problems. Fed generic Dog Chow type feed before I purchased her, lived with me for 6 months and ate mostly home cooked, some raw.

    Oldest Dog: 13yo Am. Cocker Spaniel bitch. Fed Science Diet for several years, raw fed since 2014. Died of systemic cancer.

    #94410 Report Abuse

    This won’t apply to me as my four are still here. But I was thinking, what about throwing in exercise too? Even if you don’t choose to chart it I’d be curious to know. And vaccinating.

    #94411 Report Abuse

    Have you seen this article?

    “One of the most popular ways to promote unconventional ideas, including alternative therapies, is through fear. Claiming that health, longevity, and other measures of well-being have declined from some time in the past opens the door to claims that science-based healthcare is ineffective and that we should return to some past practice or adopt something radically different. Dr. Karen Becker, a popular promoter of veterinary pseudoscience, recently made just this sort of argument, claiming that dogs are not living as long as they used to and then implying that this can be blamed  on commercial pet food and “toxins,” by which her past writing indicates she means vaccines, parasite prevention products, and pretty much any conventional medical treatment”.
    (click on link above for complete article and comments)

    #94414 Report Abuse
    Z B

    Longest lived about 14 yrs – a foundling skin and bones pit bull/Lab mix street dog that i nourished back to health. I fed her purina dog chow her entire life with me (about 11 yrs) She had no health issues her entire life, aside from Cataracts and arthritis near the end. She was a very beautiful athletic healthy dog. Vaccinated her every 1-2 yrs and exercised her hard (swimming and fetch) regularly/almost daily
    Heartworm prevention and frontline given about 5-8 times a year.

    Shortest lived 5 yrs – pancreatitis, and another 9 yrs – liver failure, don’t know why.

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    #94422 Report Abuse

    I have had dogs that live from 9 to 16 years of age. The average age of passing being 12. Ironically, the one with the best diet, most exercise, least vaccinations, was taken out at age 9 due to hemangiosarcoma.

    A lot of these things have a genetic component, the puppy mills and backyard breeders that continue to breed dogs even when they are aware of hereditary disorders, doesn’t help

    I think of age ten for a dog to be equivalent to age 50 for a human . Some are in good shape at that age, others, not so much.
    Look at the parents (same thing with humans) if you want to guess at their longevity.

    #94425 Report Abuse

    A lot of these things have a genetic component, the puppy mills and backyard breeders that continue to breed dogs even when they are aware of hereditary disorders, doesn’t help

    To an extent, yes, but environment plays a more drastic role, IMHO.

    For instance, I lost a gorgeous show CH male Beagle at 10yrs from a line of extremely healthy, long lived hounds who averaged 16 years. Not long after I bought him @ 5yrs, he had a focal seizure. Nothing I had seen before purchasing this dog indicated anything of the sort was in the bloodline, and when I questioned his former handler and owners of littermates, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., no light could be shed on the problem. The seizure he had with me was apparently his first and only. A dog that seizes at such a late age either has been in contact w/ environmental contaminants, has been poisoned, has an underlying health issue such as a tumor or Cushings, or is being exposed to something in the food either directly or indirectly causing the issue.

    Lo and behold, this dog’s littermate sister also had the occasional “hypoglycemic fit”. She was also the only other dog of about a dozen or so relatives that also ate raw. P.S., I have had, on two other occasions, have dogs with violent seizures immediately after starting the raw diet, when ideopathic epilepsy was unheard of in the bloodline.

    Genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger.

    To answer the OP’s question:

    My youngest dog was a 4yr old GSD euthanized due to complications from degenerative myelopathy. At the time of death, however, she had been on Eukanuba dry/canned foods, and died about 2-3 months before their massive melamine recall. A friend of mine with 3 retired police S&R dogs who also fed Euk dry was experiencing the same symptoms as I was with all my dogs. So yes, I believe in this instance, diet contributed to her early death.

    My oldest, incidentally, was a 15yr old black GSD mix who also died of degenerative myelopathy, after battling it for three years. He was switched back to raw after I first noticed symptoms, and made some major improvements in overall health and mobility afterwards. He was NEVER paralyzed. He was treated homeopathically with green tea and ginkgo biloba, and did better than most dogs on conventional meds who’d had the disease half the time. He did “go down” 48hrs before we made the decision to euthanize, but he walked, with assistance, the six blocks to our vet. I will be damned to Hell if diet did not prolong and increase the quality of his life.

    And yet, 100% raw + Beagles = inevitable catastrophe. And it fed my Beagle bitch’s mammary tumor like I’d thrown gasoline on a fire.

    #94430 Report Abuse

    Hi, do you follow Rodney Habib on his Face book page?? he has over 1 million viewers, he’s trying to work out the same question you ask, at the moment he’s trying to find the best foods to feed dogs with cancer, google one of his video on “Maggie the oldest dog in the world” she lived till she was 30yrs old & just died last year, she was feed a raw diet from the day she left her mum, she lived Melbourne Australia on a dairy farm & worked everyday running 20km a day hearding the cows every morning & bringing them back of an afternoon, she drank 1 cup of fresh milk straight from the cow 6am, ate dead baby cows when they were born dead & ate the baby cow placenta’s… the video is a beautiful video with Maggies dad talking to Rodney about Maggies life….also she wasn’t over vaccinated, she just had her puppy vaccinations & that’s was it, she was desexed at 14yrs old when she feel pregnant after one of the new farm hand brought his dog with him..

    #94434 Report Abuse
    Martha G

    Such a tough issue….I read and read when trying to choose my current dog, as I’d had Dalmatians for 20 years and with the awful chronic renal failure of the last one, had plenty of time while doing her subcutaneous fluids 5X/day to consider I needed something smaller if it needed carrying around at times since I’m already 60 w 3 back surgeries.

    My oldest at 14 was a female Dalmatian, adopted at 2 from a show breeder as she was a “failed show dog” due to a super minor conformation issue…what great luck for me! She was spayed after her first heat, which came late at 2, and I fed her Science Diet (1990’s) and some frozen Bil-Jac. These foods were probably simpler then.

    Youngest was a German Shepherd at 8 who I had to put down from lymphoma. She had been my father’s dog, was spayed at 1 year, and he fed her WalMart Old Roy’s of some kind until I moved home and put her on Blue Buffalo Wilderness and also Cosequin for arthritis for years 5-8. She had autoimmune issues as a young dog, requiring steroids for 2-3 years, so I think the lymphoma probably came from that condition and/or treatment.

    #94437 Report Abuse

    “Maggie the oldest dog in the world” she lived till she was 30yrs old & just died last year, she was feed a raw diet from the day she left her mum

    Um… that dog was NOT fed a raw diet. There was an Australian dog, either her or another recent one that made it to a similar age, that was given kangaroo and emu (?) meat, but the owner never makes any mention of it being fed raw. And I have no doubt whatsoever that did not comprise the entirety of the diet, but was rather given as a nutritious supplement. Because no dog can survive on a diet of straight meat for very long. Take a good look at one of the pics in the following article about Maggie. She can be seen eating what appears to be round, artificially colored kibble pieces.


    There was also a dog in the upper 20’s who was fed a vegetarian diet, and one I think who was also pushing 30 who ate nothing but :::drumroll::: Kibbles N’ Bits. I think the common factor in all the oldest dog cases were a combination of genetics, fresh air/exercise, and a satisfaction with their life. Lowering the protein seems to help as well, and that is not something that can be achieved on a species inappropriate raw diet.


    #94438 Report Abuse

    “Lowering the protein seems to help as well, and that is not something that can be achieved on a species inappropriate raw diet.”

    That’s actually one of the factors I’m looking into.

    All the brands that seemed to have the longest lived dogs were between 19-21% protein, which I thought stood out because it was unusually low by today’s standards. Compared to the supposedly higher end brands that average 25-35% protein, I had to wonder if, even though they might use lower quality source ingredients, that was less important in the long run than moderating the protein.

    I even noticed that with brands like Purina, dogs were shorter lived on Pro Plan then they were on plain ol’ Dog Chow, even though one is higher quality, more nutrient dense, and they both have the same research & development behind them. Dog Chow is 21% compared to PP’s 26%.

    Now, from raw to holistic, expensive kibbles, one thing that has always remained consistent with my dogs is that I’ve gravitated towards higher protein foods, 26-28% on average, higher for in whelp bitches or champions being specialed. My dogs are plagued by the Big C, and my research into the correlation between protein & longevity suggests it can be a factor in triggering certain types of cancer.

    Food for thought, anyway.

    #94464 Report Abuse

    The oldest pug I fostered passed away at age 16. He was still using the doggy door and doing his business outside. Had arthritis and was cranky. The rescue decided that his time was up and he had to be put to sleep. 🙁

    My current crew are 9, 9 and 12 yrs and going strong 🙂

    #94618 Report Abuse

    To Hound Music,
    I forget to add in my post above, Maggie was also feed tables scraps, what ever they ate for dinner Maggie ate as well…
    I just thought anyone that was interested in Maggie’s story would watch the full video interview by Rodney Habib on Planet Paws & got the story straight from Maggie’s dads mouth….
    Maggie loved her Good O’s they were only given as a treat maybe twice a week, the Good O’s weren’t talked or advertised again, people like twisted the truth & Maggie’s dad didn’t want the Good O company receiving free advertisement for a poor quality moist treat/kibble that was not Maggie’s proper diet, she just liked her Good O’s treats, if she was given a better quality natural treats she’d probably would have loved those treats instead of the Good O’s…
    Maggie was not feed any kibble of any kind….after Maggie’s story hit the media, a picture of (must be the picture your talking about) Maggie chewing a red/orange coloured round moist kibble, the Good O company started to say Maggie ate their food & lived to ripe old age of 30, that story was quickly dismissed & made clear to Australian viewers, Maggie did NOT eat any kibbles & was only given a couple of Good O’s maybe twice a week as a treat….
    No supplements were given either, this is a farm in the out back of rural Victoria Australia, there’d be no pet shops for miles, to buy a dog supplement would be a miracle, you’d be lucky to find human vitamins in the local shops & we only have a few Australian dog supplements & most are sold online, we are talking about a old farmer & his dog, living a quiet stress free life, smelling fresh air, country living, Maggie’s slept on the back veranda in the Summer & in the barn with the farm cats in the winter…..the only healthy supplement that came Maggie’s way was her dinner & 1 cup of fresh cows milk straight from the cows utter that she drank every morning at 6am & the baby cows placentas when born & baby calves that was born dead…
    A lot of Australian dogs are feed a supermarket kibble as the base or a grain free kibble with either fresh kangaroo mince or table scraps left over from dinner are added with the kibble or they are feed what ever is shot & killed on their property is feed to their working dogs, our Pet Shops have rolls of fresh Roo’s mince & rolls of fresh Chicken Mince, sold very cheap around $1 a roll & we also have pre-made raw diets as well, it’s cheaper to feed a raw diet then a premium grain free kibble in Australia…
    Hound Music did you watch the video where Maggie’s dad was interviewed by Rodney Habib?? he would of mentioned if Maggie was given any supplements, he’s a very honest farmer & didn’t gain anything from Maggie’s story, he just enjoyed taking about his old girl Maggie……

    #94653 Report Abuse

    I think people forget to consider that lifestyle, excersize, proper weight, and getting to do what your dogs breed was meant to do likely play a larger role in longevity than diet does. There is far more to consider with longevity than the small vacuum Rodney Habib put Maggie’s story into.

    #94662 Report Abuse

    He sure did enjoy talking about Maggie, didn’t he? My oldest (that we got as a puppy) just turned 11; I’m hoping he hits the teenage years. I’m due a long lived dog for a change!

    #94663 Report Abuse

    My previous dog lived to be about 12 1/2. He was a newfoundland/retriever mix. I guess not too bad for a large dog. But, wished he lasted 12 1/2 years longer! He was awesome!

    You sure are due to have a long lived dog! Best wishes to you!

    #94709 Report Abuse

    Thanks, c4c. Katie lived to 14 but we didnt get her til she was 11.

    Boone, knock on wood, is healthy so here’s hoping!

    #103536 Report Abuse

    We had 2 dogs when i was a kid, they ate raw bones & cheap supermarket kibble
    Both dogs lived into their middle teen years, no health problems , mixed breed dogs.
    High protein freeze dried raw, is all the rage these days ,
    I don’t know if it is any better health wise for dogs, i would like to know the answers
    Does anyone have a clue on what’s best.

    #108134 Report Abuse
    Tom M

    We need more people posting about their dogs & how old they were, what food the ate.

    I have 2 Lab mix males, they are on canidae all life stage kibble, both are 5 years old
    so far their healthy.

    Years ago we had a Pointer that was fed Raw meat & bones only, he lived until 10 years.

    #108376 Report Abuse
    catherine t

    Our 16 1/2 year old pug just passed and had a quality life until the end.. she was fed Weruva canned food as it was her favorite along with lots of love and a comfortable bed or two made for a great combination.

    #108388 Report Abuse
    Rose G

    We’ve had a Rottweiler who initially was fed whatever my husband (single at the time) fed him…crazy stuff Probably dog chow and table scraps and he lived for 16 years. He died of, we believe diabetes.

    A Brussels griffen, who also ate dog kibble for the most part but was also growing up at the point that people where not paying as much attention and the melanmie issue came up. Then we switched to better dog food, probably higher protein the last 5 years of his life. He only lived for 10 years and died of liver cancer.

    A Brittany, who was also fed similarly to the brussels griffen and we just had to put her down in July because of cushing disease, she had also gone blind a year prior. She was 12.

    I keep reading and reading about dog food and get so confused…raw/high protein/low protein/no grains/with grains…it is overwhelming to try and figure out what is best for my dogs healthy life. We now have a 5 year old/45 lb shepherd mix and an 8 lb 2 year old mix of some sort of shitzu/brussels…truly Heinz 57.

    #108397 Report Abuse
    Tom M

    Cost of freeze dried & top end, dog food is over the top crazy

    I think most dogs live just as long on a more economical food choice
    only so much protein , & nutrients can be used by a dog, any extra his body has to lose it.

    #145970 Report Abuse
    Alice B

    Wow, this is so interesting!
    FrostHollow have you come up with any conclusions?

    The cost of freeze dried foods or raw meat is certainly more expensive than kibble, & my little boys seem better on Royal Canin than raw foods

    Both boys use to eat Wellness kibble, my Vet suggested Royal Canin for them both & they love it much more

    #146062 Report Abuse
    Alice B

    I was talking with a lady on our walk, about her dogs & dog food
    Her last dog was fed Orijen, Wellness, Acana, all very high protein foods, & died of cancer at age 5 years old!

    Now with her new pup, she is feeding Pro plan as her Vet has suggested & hopes the pup has a much longer lifespan

    #146149 Report Abuse

    Shortest: 9 y/o Lucy 🙁
    Longest: my current little guy, Chipy who is super healthy , and we are hoping for at least 23 years together, inspired by this dog who lived to be 23 y/o;

    #146166 Report Abuse

    Alice, do you honestly believe a brand of food that has whole fresh caught ingredients from small family farms and local rivers and oceans would be the cause of your dogs cancer? Cancer is caused my a massive variety of things. Purina and the rest of the big three have been tested and have all contain carcinogens over the years. Including glyphosate which is now being linked to cancer. I highly doubt the food u fed was the main cause of your dogs cancer. The truth is you’ll probably never know what caused it but it likely wasn’t food related.

    #146200 Report Abuse
    Alice B

    I’m so sorry haleycookie , I seem to have offended you,
    maybe the dog who got cancer could not handle high protein foods, I just thought I would pass along the information
    because I found it so interesting ,

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