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So what's the secret?
1. Smaller dogs seem to get to 20 yo, especially small poodles.
2. Giant dogs are lucky to get to 10 yo.
3. Not sure if we can do anything about cancer and arthritis (or accidents and injury).
4. But how do you get an average dog to live past 20 yo?

My GSD-Dobie (17 yo) was blind, deaf, and arthritic, but he was happy until PTS. I helped him hobble around for exercise, I kept him lean, and I free fed him. I think I pushed him from 15 yo to 17 yo ... not sure with current knowledge, if he could've made it to 20 yo.

My current 12 yo Lab-GSD is in terrific shape. Hearing is 100%, vision is OK, not perfect, and arthritis seems to be improved using Myristin. I brush his teeth 3x a week. He has lots of fatty lipomas, but otherwise seems very happy and healthy. I walk him off leash for 30min or more everyday, keep him lean, and feed him a rotation of dry dogfood twice a day with no significant snacks. Don't know if his health is nurture or nature.

What do the other ancient dog owners do?
 

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My nan and grandad had a dog ages ago that i think had BC in her, she lived until she was nearly 20. She had epilepsy and the vet said she would not live for long, proved him wrong!. I was not born when they had the dog but told me all about her and i have seen photos.

One of Holly's best friends is a Shih Tzu and he just turned 13. He is a great dog, good with kids, dogs and cats. My dog is dog reactive when she feels trapped or when dogs get in her face, he is helping Holly to understand that she can be around a dog without it wanting to attack her.
 

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My childhood dog, who I hated and who hated my guts, was an 18/19 yr old Pomeranian who was poorly bred, suffered from a genetic cough, lost most of his eye sight, and ate chocolate covered raisins and garlic ever day of his life. Every day from the age of 14, we'd let him out the back door where he'd walk over to my great grandparents house (out yard wasn't fenced in so he had free roam but never left the two yards that were connected) then he's come home every day at 2:30pm when my dad would come home from work. When he turned 18, we started having to walk him over to my Great Grandparents house ever day because he would get lost and we were scared he's find his way onto the busy street behind the house. We put him down when he had a stroke in the middle of the night.

Did I mention I HATED that dog??
 

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Our oldest dog was somewhere around 15 when she died. She didn't come here til she was eleven. For dogs that came here a young puppies, my oldest was Tucker who was just ten when he died.
 

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I have had some bad luck with dogs in the past.My first yorkie (Lady) died at the age of 9 (2 years ago).She was 2lbs full grown and our vet told us that her tiny size might make her life shorter...it did.She was considered a "senior" by the age of 7 when her hair started to fall out,she lost her teeth and she started to go blind.Then her heart and kidneys failed and at 9 years old,she passed :(
Jess (my second yorkie) was killed by my MILs German sheppard.She was 4.Then Chicco (my third yorkie) died (at least that what I was told) at the age of 2 in circumstances that we have never been sure of.My MIL was looking after him at the time and when we turned up to get him,she told us that he had died in his sleep so she burried him.I never got to see him and I dont know where he was burried...this caused alot of greif for me because I still think she sold him or that something else happened.I often wonder if he´s still alive somewhere.
Then along came Duke (before Milo and Bella),and he died of coronavirus at the age of 5 months old :(

I am hoping to god that Milo and Bella stick around for a LONG long time...I think my bad luck in the past is why I am so super protective of them.I cannot go through that again.
 

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DH and I adopted one of his coworker's mom's dog when the mom died, many years ago. The dog, a purebred golden retriever, was 9 when we got her, so we thought we'd have a couple of years at best with her. Sunshine was the lady's lake house dog - had NEVER been inside and refused to start when we got her. We fed her Science Diet (thought the stuff was good back then...), and got her a doghouse for cold weather (which she also refused to go inside of). The old girl lived to be 17 - just happy to be around! One day we came home and she had vanished; this was a dog who NEVER left our yard. We searched EVERYWHERE for this nearly blind and deaf dog, but never found her or her body. Sunshine obviously felt it was her time, and she wanted to go in peace by herself.

My son's childhood black lab, Chipper, lived to be 14.5. We had to have him put to sleep b/c he started rapidly declining and wasn't happy or healthy anymore. The whole family was with him at the vet's office, and we all said our farewells before we sent him to the Bridge - best dog we ever had!
 

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My parents dog Bingo was dalmation cross -15 years
My first dog Bow was cocker cross-12 years
Sammy-samoyed/husky cross-17 years
Goldie-pom/chi cross-18 years
Buffy-australian shepherd-10 years-he was lame from getting beat up by an elk so arthritis got the best of him
King was me and my hubbies first dog together-he was an Anatolian Shepherd-he was 14-he was lame for the last 4-5 years of his life, had him at the vets numerous times and they couldnt figure out what was wrong, they even sent his xrays to the top vets at many different places.
Nicky was my heart dog, a dachsie and she only lived to 10, heart failure.
 

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Currently our record is our current Boxer she is 13 and will turn 14 in July. She was diagnosed with a bleeding disorder last spring, and vet said her next Bleed out would be her last, we did and emergency trial of Prednisone and that suppressed that (she did go blind d/t bleeding into her eyes, over the summer) but shes not in pain and just is slow, sleeps alot and loves to eat and take little walks around the yard.. We will just see how long she goes (as long as it is pain free of course)......
 

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My last dog, when I was still living in Canada, a minpin was 21 and was euthanized due to poor health and diabetes which only developed at about 19/20 years of age. She was a rescue dog from Missouri who was saved from a puppy mill at age 6. They suspected she had litter after litter, was debarked, kept in a wire cage in the back yard. She basically lived under my desk or bed from then on out and remained timid and unable to play or socialize. Terrible thing those breeding factories, I would like to rip the vocal cords off every one of those rednecks and see how it makes them feel.............. I have 2 dogs currently, one who is 19 years of age, an Irish Hunt Terrier. He digs up coal in the back garden and eats it...... although he eats healthy he does like his treats........ and he will bury himself in badger holes and cry til he is dug out. Still, he is slowing down now the past year or so but maybe its just good genes that gets them to a ripe old age? No idea really. I had a cocker spaniel when I was a kid and she only lived to be 14 or so, full of cancerous tumours. My childhood friend had a wolf x shepard and he lived to be I think about 15.... and like GeorgiaPeach said her dog did, that dog one day went into the woods in the back of the house and just never came back. Who knows what it takes to get a dog to old age. Maybe it is just the luck of the draw, same as people?
 

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I lost two very dear companions last year. They were both Black Labs. They were also Mother and Daughter.

I lost Jesse First on 3/22/2012 to Liver Disease and a Deteriorated Sacrum. Jesse was 13 1/2 years when I sent her to heaven to end her pain when her her quality of life was not allowing her to enjoy life or my companionship any longer. It was my first experience with this and the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I believe the Liver Disease was a direct result of years and years of using Pesticide Based Flea Control Liquid like Frontline and Advantix. I wish that my vet had at least told me of the way it worked, told me what it was made of or that I had known enough to researched it before using it for so long. There are so many options with no health and life threatening side effects for flea control available. I just wish that I had known about them back then.

I lost Shadow on 8/22/2012 at the age of 16 1/2 years to old age and a tumor that turned cancerous. The tumor was located almost exactly where I had applied the Pesticide Flea Control for so many years. I think it was the true cause of her cancer. She went very peacefully in her sleep at about 6:30 AM that morning.

Both of my girls had been with me for almost 13 1/2 years. I got Jesse when she was still a pup, admittedly a large pup when she was just a few months old. I was living in an apartment and only had room for one at the time. Less than a year later I was moving and contacted the breeder. His health was poor and he was giving up all his animals. I went to see him. When he let all of his dogs out into the fenced in area, Shadow came up to me and followed me every where I went that afternoon. He told me that Shadow was Jesse's Mom. That day I did not choose who was coming home with me, I did not have to. Shadow made it clear she would have it no other way. For all the years we were together the three of us were all close, but with Shadow there was also a very special and very close bond that never faded. When I would leave the house she would lay at the door. When I cam home, she was still in the very same spot. She was a very special girl!!

Both Jesse and Shadow were very healthy all of their life until the very end. I am thankful for that! I attribute their health to the diet they both had all those years. They were always fed a high quality diet, the best kibble I could find. I did not believe that was enough and did not provide everything they needed. The kibble was supplemented with Raw Milk, Raw Bones, Raw Meat of a wide variety which included Raw Organ Meat, Fresh Organic Farm raised Raw Eggs from an Organic farm that pastured their cows and chickens, plus a variety of fresh and uncooked fruits and vegetables, canine appropriate. Every thing that I gave them, other than the kibble, was Raw, the way mother nature intended them to eat it. The only time a vet visit was needed all those years was for the law required shots, I did not agree with them at the law required interval, but was required to give them any way. I would have preferred to do blood tests and when the anti bodies for rabies dropped, give a booster then, when it was actually needed. Sadly, it is obvious the clout the Hundred BILLION $$$$ pharmaceutical industry has. The law required vaccine interval only benefits one thing, the pocket book of the VERY PROFITABLE ALREADY pharmaceutrical industry! They want their money for the rabies vaccine every three years for every dog in this country!! This IMHO is wrong and needs to be modified to require the antibody test and vaccine only when needed, especially now since the vaccines are proven to cause illness and sometimes even the deaths of far to many of our beloved companions.

Both Jesse and Shadow are still here with me in my home. They are here with their food and water bowls, their favorite toys, their collars and leashes, and other personal items. When I join them in heaven, my ashes will be combined with theirs and any other companions that I may lose between now and then. When I first lost Jesse, my Bestest Friend at the time encouraged me to look at pet rescue sites. She knew how much my companions mean to me and felt the same about her own companions. We spent many an hour on the phone together looking at hundreds and hundreds of rescued animals, some of which had very sad stories. Within a couple weeks we forund a pair of Chihuahua's at a local rescue that had been abused for two years. They were also brothers from the same litter, I seem to find my companions in pairs. They both now live with me and the loss of both Jesse and Shadow has allowed me to see just how much my companions mean to me and how large a roll they play in my life. I think about Jesse and Shadow often and still talk to them from time to time. I believe that they can hear me and that they are in heaven watching over me and my current companions, Bacon and Rascal. They are missed every day, but I know they are in a much better place, a place where there is no pain and no sadness, just happiness and Love- they deserve nothing less and so much more!!

Sorry for the ranting about vaccines and Pesticide Based Flea Control, but these are important topics that we as pet parents need to work on and get the laws changed to what is best for our companions, ourselves and our planet.
 

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The oldest dog I've had was a mixed shepherd breed, Bandit, she was 16 when she passed. The vet thought she had bone cancer. Truly an awesome dog! Love you B!
 

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Hi... I had to put my beloved beagle Riley down almost 2 years ago due to bladder cancer. I don't know how old he really was as he was a rescue. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, he was such an incredibly sweet and brave dog. I HATED putting tick control on him but we live where there are lots of ticks and didn't want him ( or us) to get a tick borne illness. I now have 2 more rescues and don't want to use the Vectra or whatever on them either, especially since one rescue is about 7 years old and was heart worm positive when animal control picked him up. What are the natural alternatives? I would appreciate any information. Thank you and my condolences on the loss of your fur babies, it is so heartbreaking! I miss my sweet Riley with every beat of my heart. Xoxo
 

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The oldest dog I've ever had is our current ACD mix, she'll be 16 next month!

She's doing OK. She has arthritis in her spine and her back end isn't working that well any more. She can still walk (slowly) and get up and down. She can't climb a full flight of stairs any more and has to be carried (at 45lbs) and has to be helped in and out of the car. She's otherwise very healthy, we just had blood work done. All major organs are in good shape and she can see and hear well. Weight is good. She'll probably last quite a bit longer, depending on when then spinal stenosis renders her unable to walk.
 

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Oldest dog I had was a mix from the SPCA. She lived to 16 yrs, the last 2 of which she had diabetes. Other than that she had a very healthy life except for the time someone shot her with a BB gun. She lived the rest of her life with a BB lodged in her liver and with a heart murmur. Don't know why she died as I was in hospital at the time. The pet sitter said she arrived to care for the dogs and Scooter was lying beside the door, already dead. It always makes me feel bad that she died alone, with only the 2 greyhounds in the house. The next oldest dog I had was a chihuahua/daschund mix: she died at about 16 when she was hit by a car. A great dog, always friendly and playful, right up to the end. The next oldest was a Sheltie. Skye had had one bout of cancer in his tail and we think he had cancer again. His quality of life was poor -- blind and deaf -- and when it was obvious he was in pain, I had him put down at 12 yrs of age. Miss watching him run and play, he was such a gorgeous dog. Right now I have 2 greyhounds, both 12 yrs old. My brood mom, Tango, was adopted at 9 yrs and is still well. One of my former greyhounds died at 9 yrs of osteocarcoma. From diagnosis to death she lived about 2 months, and I had her put down when I was overdosing her with pain meds and it wasn't helping. Right now I have 2 greyhounds, both 12 yrs. Jamaica had spindle cell carcinoma a few years ago and lost her leg. I had hoped to have her with me a long time, but the other day I thought she had a stroke. She was unresponsive and unmoving for a half hour, then it took 2 more hours for her to be able to get up. The vet says dogs dont have strokes -- she thinks it might have been a seizure. If it was a seizure, it was nothing like the seizures my Sheltie used to have. I know I will lose her one of these days, but I hope it will be more peaceful. It was heartbreaking to see her in such panic because she couldnt move. She is the dog I have bonded to the most, and I cant imagine life without her.
 

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I had a black lab mix that was 17 when I had to put her down. She was amazingly healthy all her life and then one day I came home and she was paralyzed from the neck down. The vet said there was nothing they could do and that it wasn't going to reverse, and I couldn't see that as any life for my baby, so I helped her to cross over to the Rainbow Bridge. But 17 years for a dog her size was amazing. We've got a 15 year old purebred yellow lab right now, but we don't expect her to make it too much longer. We can see her body is winding down. She's still happy and enjoying life, but she's really showing her age.
 

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The oldest dog Ive groomed was 19. He was a poodle mix, extremely skinny and completely blind and deaf, yet had the gusto of a young dog. He wasnt a regular so we only seen him once, so not sure how long he was around for after that. It was a nice change compared to the other old and frail dogs Ive done since his mind was still there
 

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I had to lay down my beloved Laika / long haired german sheperd/ at the exact age of 12 years - cancer on stomach exit - but never ever sick before - when I read the above I think it was a good average. But miss her every day. Take care dogfriends !
 

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The oldest dog I reared from a pup was my collie,Flyss,she was 15 years three months. another collie,Ben,who came to me aged 14,lived to nearly 17.
 

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My parents have a 17 year old Miniature Dachshund. She's blind, deaf, and has dementia, but she acts very comfortable.
 

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Charity: Beagle/Cocker spaniel my grandfathers heart dog is he ever had one, I picked her out at the same shelter a few short months after Kassie, because as a kid I thought Kassie was lonely when I was at school, ...she will be 13 in July....most interesting she has been raised like most people hate, table scraps and kibbles and bits lol. She is round as a barrel but still very athletic , loves to swim and has the shiniest glossy coat I've ever seen on a dog. She still thinks she in her prime! She was a terror back then and aggravated Kassie to hell and back.
I'm glad to hear someone else say this! I have a beagle/cocker spaniel mix who we feed table scraps and Innova brand kibble - nothing too fancy or expensive. Fonzie eats just about whatever we do and is very active. He hovers within a couple pounds of his ideal weight, getting a little heavier in winter months (don't we all!), but his coat stays shiny and soft. We can't go to the park without someone stopping me to ask what I do to keep his coat so healthy, and most give me a strange look when I say "it's the $5 oatmeal shampoo from Wal-Mart!"

Granted, Fonzie is only two & a half years old, so he doesn't really fit into the oldest dog category (although I cross my fingers that some day he will!). My dad always said that his dogs growing up lived well into their late teen years eating this way and that's how I've decided to raise Fonzie.

MORAL OF THE STORY: I guess I'm just glad to know that someone else out there doesn't buy into the $100 dog food bags at the vet!!
 
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