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The Mythology of Dog Years

Stashed in: Dogs!, Aging, Freakonomics

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I'm living with 60- & 70-year olds who like to drag their beds down the hall and throw them down the stairs!

Sounds like when my grandma moved in with my dad for awhile . . .

See, dogs teach us how to deal with our parents. 

18 dogs have been confirmed to live more than 20 earth years. Most dogs live 8-14 years.

In 1901, the average human lifespan in the United States was 49 years; today it is 77. Similarly, today’s dogs live much longer lives than their century-old ancestors (less than 20% of dogs lived past age six in 1900, as opposed to 44% in 2010). 

Yet because there is no canine equivalent to the National Center for Health Statistics, we rely on a triage of sources for their lifespan data: pet insurance companies, breed-club surveys, and veterinary hospitals. As Carl Bialik of the WSJ notes, these sources often provide inaccurate, skewed results. Dogs who have insurance, for instance, are generally more likely to live longer lives. Surveys, which often require owners to guesstimate their pets’ ages, yield inflated numbers. Nonetheless, we can roughly estimate a dog’s lifespan based on its breed and size.

Generally, the more pint-sized the dog, the longer he tends to live (again, there are some exceptions).

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