According to the 2013 State of Pet Health report just released by Banfield Pet Hospital, the largest veterinary practice in the world, dogs living in those states tend to live longer, or shorter, than dogs in other states.
- Good news for all pet parents: The average life span for dogs in 2012 was 11 years, up about half a year since 2002.
- The five states with longer dog longevity are Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and South Dakota.
- The states with the shortest dog life spans are Alabama, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Mississippi.
These statistics are based on the 2.2 million dogs treated by Banfield hospitals in 2012, and calculated by the Banfield Applied Research & Knowledge (BARK) team.
Is it something in the water that’s increasing the lifespan of dogs in those five states? No, it’s factors like infectious (but preventable) diseases, whether dogs are spayed or neutered, and the size and breed of dogs.
A Pound of Prevention…
For example, heartworm disease, which is preventable, is one of the main health concerns for dogs treated by Banfield veterinarians in Southern states, including those with the shortest lifespans.
“As a practice, Banfield is a believer that regular preventive care is essential to helping pets live happier, healthier and longer lives – a core piece of that preventive care is twice-annual examinations and early disease diagnosis,” said Jeffrey Klausner, DVM, MS, DACVIM, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Banfield Pet Hospital, in a press release.
Another Good Reason to Spay or Neuter
The report findings also point out yet another important reason to neuter or spay your dog: Neutered males live 18 percent longer than unneutered males, while spayed females live 24 percent longer than unspayed females.
Two of the states with the shortest life spans also have the fewest number of dogs spayed or neutered (only 38 percent in Louisiana and 44 percent in Mississippi).
Among Banfield Pet Hospital’s oldest patients are Cupid (in the photo above) and Daisy, 17-year-old Shih Tzu siblings who live in Colorado.
Banfield Pet Hospital’s BARK team will follow up on the report results “by thoroughly investigating factors that might influence lifespan in dogs and cats – factors such as body condition that, when effectively managed, may help keep pets with their owners longer,” said Banfield veterinary research associate Sandi Lefebvre, DVM, PhD, in the press release.
“We look forward to sharing the results of these studies with pet owners and the veterinary community in early 2014.”
PHOTO: Banfield Pet Hospital