Recent recalculations in determining a dog's age in human years—factoring in their weight—have turned the old conventions on their heels.
No longer is your pup's age a static 6.8 x his human years. Science now factors in your dog's size as well.
Sadly, the closer in size to a human, the less long a dog's lifespan.
The good news is, this is an average model and many factors determine how long a beloved companion may live, such as:
- heredity / conditions at birth—was your dog's mom and pop from a puppy mill (was your pup bought in a puppy store or online?), or were they well-cared-for work dogs
on a ranch?
- nutrition—certainly lots of debate on what's good and isn't. Grains or not? Raw? Wet or dry? Safe bet: variety, including some homemade fixins' and treats.
- tooth / oral care—get your dog a toothbrush. Seriously. We use ours every other day.
- daily exercise—unlike humans, dogs rarely need a day off from exploring and sniffing. Which leads to…
- socializing—you may be your dog's best friend, but she needs to meet and romp with known and new dogs fairly frequently
- challenges—with a variety of toys, puzzles and learning new behaviors (aka "tricks") [yes, old dogs, too]
- general quality of life:
- does s/he feel loved, wanted, a member of the family?
- does she get the time to sniff at doggie bulletin boards most days?
- does he feel protected and safe on 4th of July, Hallowe'en, New Years and when strangers enter their home?