4 min read


Why Dogs Don't Live As Long As Humans



4 min read


Why Dogs Don't Live As Long As Humans




Why don't dogs live as long as humans? At some time during the life of their pet, many dog owners find they ask themselves this question. It's often not in the early years when you've just acquired a bouncing puppy full of life and vitality, but later when your pet starts to show visible signs of aging, that all important question will resound in your head like a lament. We all want our beloved friends to live forever. Want to postpone that inevitable moment when they leave us. Wouldn't it be nice if nature suddenly made a quick change in the evolution system and our dogs could be around forever. Nice thought, but not likely to happen. Not for a few million years at least. Is there anything you can do to extend your dog's life expectancy?

The Root of the Behavior

Dogs age at a different rate to humans. They may be born with their eyes closed and only able to crawl a few inches, but it is not long before all that changes. At two weeks their eyes are open, at three weeks they are getting around, and at six weeks, they have already gotten their first full set of teeth. Us humans, well, we are seriously lagging behind. The development a dog goes through in just a few weeks, apart from the eye opening, takes us about a year. That swift rate of maturing continues until they are fully grown and enter into adulthood. It was nature's way of helping them protect themselves when they were wild pack animals. Nothing has changed now that they are domesticated. We humans also need to realize we are in some ways accountable for shortening the lifespans of our pets. Demanding dog owners wanting as close as they can get to the perfect pet have encouraged dog breeders to alter the makeup of many breeds.

Do you like to spoil your dog? Of course you do, don't we all? Maybe you like to share titbits of food with him too. If a dog is given too many treats which are not specifically produced for canine consumption, it can be seriously detrimental to your pup's health. Allowing your dog to have an inadequate diet can cause a lot of problems when he gets older. Dogs are naturally active and can run around for hours on end if given half a chance. It is our modern lifestyle which restricts their natural tendencies. A quick walk around the block or a run in the backyard before you go back to the sofa and put your feet up in front of the TV with your dog by your side. Sounds all too familiar, doesn't it?

Need advice about your pet's health?

Get answers fast from a veterinary professional 24/7 in the Wag! App.

Get Vet Chat

Encouraging the Behavior

Dissimulating or accentuating certain features just to make a dog aesthetically more attractive can have a damaging effect on its health and longevity. A dog develops the way it does because that is the that way nature created it. All animals are different for a reason and it would be as well as boring world if they were all the same. To make interventions into what nature intended can sometimes do some good but most often has the opposite effect.

Poor diet control and insufficient exercise can encourage obesity in your dog. In the long term, it may even result in canine diabetes or another serious health problem which will shorten your dog's lifespan. Your dog needs at least an hour of intense exercise every day to stay healthy and happy. In fact, your dog may become anxious or depressed if he does not get enough exercise. This can cause behavioral problems such as chewing on property or excessive barking. In some cases, your dog may become aggressive. Take your dog to the dog park to play with others of his kind or let him chase the local wildlife in your backyard for a few hours a day. These activities are fun for him and will also keep him healthier and happier for a long time. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

It is difficult to believe the dog you have had for many years is not going to live as long as you are. When they depart, it leaves a big gap in your life that you cannot easily fill. To keep your dog healthier and living longer, see your veterinary provider regularly and be sure to feed your dog the right food along with getting enough exercise. You might, if your dog is getting long in the tooth, want to consider getting another puppy. It will give your old dog a new lease on life and be a solace when the worst comes to the worst.


We know dogs do not live as long as humans and some of the reasons why. We might want to change that fact but it is something which is beyond our control and so we have to learn to accept it. The best thing to do is keep your dog healthy with the correct diet, lots of exercise, and enjoy them to the max while you've got them.

By a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze

Published: 02/07/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

What do you think?

Wag! Specialist
Need to upgrade your pet's leash?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews


© 2023 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.