Karen B. London
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Dog Lifespans by State
Where are dogs living longest?
Researching canine lifespan

It is hard to decide which of the many wonderful qualities of dogs is the best one, but it’s easy for me to say what is the worst thing about dogs: They don’t live long enough. We all wish dogs lived longer and most of us are hungry for information about which factors may give us more time with our dogs. It’s possible that where our dogs live is one such factor.

A state-by-state analysis of dog lifespan shows Montana and South Dakota at the top with dogs living an average of 12.4 years. Other states with long-lived dogs include Oregon, Colorado and Florida where the dogs are typically living over 11 years. In contrast, Mississippi and Alabama have an average lifespan of just over 10 years.

These data come from Banfield Pet Hospital and only include those states in which they have facilities, which means that Wyoming, North Dakota, Maine, Vermont and West Virginia are not included. It also means that the data may only reflect the specific dogs seen in their practices rather than fully representing each state’s dogs.

However, there are a number of reasons that lifespans may vary from state to state. These include nutrition, exercise opportunities, rates of spaying and neutering and the types of disease prevalent in the area. The breeds and sizes of dogs that are most popular in those states may matter, too.


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

iStock photo

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by SharLynn | September 30 2013 |

I don't think it's a very valid report, as my state, ALASKA, isn't even on the map!!! We get so tired of not being included on maps of the USA!!

Submitted by Karen London | September 30 2013 |

SharLynn, I completely agree, and find it ridiculous!

Submitted by Cadoha | September 30 2013 |

Where is the map or list?????? It would be nice if it was part of the article!

Submitted by Jan Trettin | September 30 2013 |

I notice that too. Alaska and Hawaii are commonly not on maps, as if they aren't part of the United States.
I also think, though they did mention it dismissively in the article, that a single privately owned business doing a study and trying to make broad conclusions is rather ridiculous.
I think it's a story that didn't need to be written. Just a space filler.

Submitted by Stacey | October 1 2013 |

No kidding! We are Americans too!

Submitted by Joyce Madsen | September 30 2013 |

I imagine this does not include all of the unwanted dogs who are euthanized for lack of a loving home. :(

Submitted by mary | September 30 2013 |

I couldn't find the map & California wasn't listed.

Submitted by Rita | September 30 2013 |

Surprisingly short dog lives in US States. Are you sure? Down here in Europe any vet will tell you that the average dog age is 15 ys, but I met dogs that have 18+years and still living.

Submitted by Phil | October 1 2013 |

My dog Terra lived to be 17 years and 2 months old. She was a Banfield client for about 8 years and lived in 3 states, the longest time in CA (8 years). Where/how would she fit into the calculations?

Submitted by Holli Thompson | October 7 2013 |

First of all I love The Bark Magazine! Now, I live in East Texas and have a rescue who happens to be 16 years old. His name is Trevor and he is in good health for his age. However with age comes loss of hearing, diminishing eyesight as well as arthritis in his hind quarters. We still go for walks even though they are shorter than years earlier and he has a healthy appetite too. In my opinion it depends on the dogs history (which in Trevor's case I don't know) and perhaps eating habits etc. He was a country dog for ten years and now lives in the city. He is such a good boy!

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