No time speeds by faster than dog years. It’s the only true drawback of pet parenthood. Most of us outlive our furry companions and miss them so. But there’s good news to share here. Veterinarians say that many dogs and cats are living well into their teens.

In fact, Martha Smith, director of veterinary services at Boston’s Animal Rescue League told msnbc.com, “Just as the average life expectancy for people keeps reaching closer to the century mark, we’ll continue to see the same parallels in our pet population.” This comes as a huge relief to the Woof Reporters as we search for newer, better ways to keep our pets thriving well into their geriatric years. Here’s what we learned at msnbc.com.

Just like in humans, a dog’s chance to live to old age hinges on a combination of factors, many of which are predetermined. For example, smaller to medium-size breed dogs tend to live longer than larger breeds. Hence, the toy breeds tend to live longer than all the other breeds together. Additionally, genetic variations also play a significant role in longevity. Scientists believe that life expectancy is wired into the genetic code. When good genes are met with proper nutrition some dogs are just pre-programmed to outlive their peers. It’s so unfair!

Fortunately, not all variables are out of a pet parent’s control. Here’s a sneak peek at the “10 tips for happy golden pet years” from the ASPCA and featured in the article.

  • Keep your dog or cat at an average weight. You should be able to feel, but not see their ribs.

  • There’s no such thing as puppy fat. Keep puppies slim not chubby.
  • Well-trained dogs should learn hand signals for sit, down and come at an early age. This way, if hearing loss happens later, your dog will still be able to follow direction.
  • Keep your pet active with scheduled exercise and playtime to keep muscles strong to help manage mobility and pain around arthritic joints.

So there we have it. Pets are living longer for a reason, right? Let’s give some credit where it’s due. Your strong bond with your dog, plus excellent vet care, nutrition and responsible ownership add up. And what you get is well worth the effort – more time together with your best friend.

The Scoop:

For more expert insights on why our pets are living longer and the rest of the top ten list, check out this interesting article from msnbc.com.
www.msnbc.com/longevity

See our past tip “Dog Years Debunked” for the truth about dog years.
www.woofreport.com/dog-years

Thank you to our Woof Report Friends Telly, Gwenny and Miss Elly for the photo.

Thank you to Dale, Buzz and Stringer for the tip.