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What Is the Life Expectancy of Pets?

Be sure to feed your dog or cat a high-quality diet that provides adequate nutrition.
A pet goat can live for 15 years or longer.
Macaws can sometimes outlive their owners.
Cockatoos can live for up to 70 years.
Goldfish normally live between five and 10 years.
Rabbits can be expected to live 5-15 years.
Cats generally live between 12 to 18 years.
Hamsters typically only live a few years.
The life expectancy of most parakeets is around 10-15 years.
Bulldogs have a lifespan lower than many dogs.
Canaries, like other pet birds, can live 10 years or longer.
Ferrets live an average of eight years.
Pet rats live an average of about two years.
Frogs live between 4 and 15 years.
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  • Originally Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Revised By: A. Joseph
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 20 July 2014
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The life expectancy of pets varies quite a bit, depending not only on the type of animal but on other factors as well, such as whether they are indoor pets or outdoor pets and the level of care that is provided by their owners. Common house pets such as cats and dogs typically live about 10-12 years, which means that a child who receives a pet when he or she is young might have that pet throughout his or her childhood. Many types of animals can be kept as pets, which means that pets' lifespans can range from a few months to several decades or more.

Considerations

Many parents take life expectancy under consideration when choosing pets for their children. A pet with a shorter lifespan might not be chosen for a young child who is more likely to be emotionally distraught if the pet dies. Some parents, however, might see a pet's death as a chance to teach their children about death. When choosing pets that have shorter lifespans, such as fish, hamsters or gerbils, parents often get more than one so that their children will still have one or more pets remaining if one dies.

Proper care

The life of a pet can be extended if it is cared for properly. Proper pet care includes providing it with the proper food and habitat. Veterinary care also can help pets live longer.

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Dogs

Each breed of dog has its own life expectancy, with breeds such as Irish wolfhounds, bulldogs and Bernese mountain dogs being on the low end with average lifespans of six or seven years. At the other end of the spectrum are breeds such as Bedlington terriers, miniature dachshunds and poodles, Tibetan terrier and whippets, which have life expectancies of about 14 years. A life expectancy is not a maximum age, however, and many dogs can live for 20 years or more.

Cats

For cats, the main factor that determines life expectancy is whether they're indoor or outdoor cats. Outdoor cats generally live to be only four or five years old because they are more likely to catch viruses or to suffer some kind of trauma. Indoor cats, on the other hand, often can be expected to live 12-18 years.

Birds

Birds typically have a life expectancy of 10-30 years. The parrot family as a whole — including parakeets, cockatoos, macaws and cockateels — tends to live longer. These birds can have a lifespan of 70 years or more.

Other pets

Some very short-lived creatures have become popular as pets. The hybrid of Artemia salina, a species of brine shrimp, sometimes known as fairy shrimp or sea-monkeys, can live up to two years. Ant farms, which allow owners to see the tunneling and other activities of ants, might house ants that live for about six months. The creatures with the scientific name Triops longicaudatus but commonly known as aquasaurs or tadpole shrimp, are a kind of crustacean that typically lives for less than a month.

LIFE EXPECTANCY OF COMMON PETS
Pet typeAverage life expectancyOldest reported (approximate)
rat2-34+
mouse3-56
anole48
golden hamster310
goat15+18
rabbit5-1518
sheep8-1620
frog4-1521
dog12.829
domestic cat12-1834
pigeon20+35
goldfish5-1041
cockatooup to 7070
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Discuss this Article

anon248968
Post 31

I have two anoles named cheech and chong. I got them for my husband as a birthday present. Chong is thriving but cheech seems to be going blind. I'm not sure whats wrong with him but I hope he pulls out of it. I'd hate to lose him.

I also have two gerbils, taji and marlie. They are the funniest little things anyone has ever seen. Also have a one year old cat. His name is tink and he's spoiled rotten, especially since we got him fixed last week. He loves his cat nip.

anon194166
Post 30

well i have this damra (that's a goat crossed with a sheep) and she's about eight months old now and she is quiet when we have the radio on. she just sits there and listens.

anon160311
Post 29

My husband had a Boston Terrier from the time he was a boy(11). After we were married I had the joy of playing with the dog and getting close to it! He was very active up until the day he died. He was 16 years old. That is uncommon for any type of bulldog I have heard.

anon151968
Post 28

Besides, cats are animals that need to go outside. sure they might live a little longer but what's the quality of life if you keep it cooped up and away from other cats?

anon151965
Post 27

I have a male cat that is 14 years old he's been in door out door his whole life and has only been to the vet once since he got fixed. Very recently one of his teeth got kicked in and had to be removed. we found him in a bush when he was about a week old and raised him ourselves. he is an anomaly I guess cause he's still alive but he's always been lucky I think he will make 17!

anon132076
Post 26

I had a Siamese Fighting Fish (the dept. pet I was forced to take home) that lived eight years. And, an anole is one of those little green lizards that can turn brown; pet stores usually call them chameleons. Technically, this is incorrect; they are not true chameleons, which I think are native to Africa.

You very seldom see a real chameleon in a pet store, and when you do, they're pretty expensive. The last one I saw in a pet store, which was many years ago, was something like $75. Anoles are usually under $5.

It was my understanding that chameleons were difficult pets to keep alive, that they didn't do well in captivity. Anoles are easy to keep; I used to feed mine mealworms, spiders, houseflies, bits of banana, and house them in an ordinary terrarium. I would spray water with a water bottle, heavily enough to leave big drops of water hanging off the plants in the terrarium, and that's how they drink.

If I remember correctly, they're native to the islands in the Caribbean Also, if I remember correctly, there is more than one species, but you don't see it (them?) in pet stores.

The male can blow out a rosy-colored pouch in his throat, but I've only seen this once. I think it generally has something to do with courting and mating. And no, you can't sex them; only they know who's a male and who's a female. If you try to grab them by the tail, it comes off. It'll grow back, but usually not as straight as the original.

Some people like to take them out and play with them, but watch out -- they're fast and jump very, very well. I didn't take mine out, as I was afraid of losing them and one of my cats subsequently finding them. They're 4-6" long and a lovely light, bright green color. They'll turn brown when alarmed. That's all I can think to tell you about, now. Hope this is useful.

anon126780
Post 25

how long is the life expectancy of a budgie?

anon118032
Post 24

My cat is 17 and she's still going strong. She gets beat up (by other cats) outside so spends most of her time inside now.

anon102419
Post 23

I have a rat and i love her dearly. she is like my best friend. I'm a senior in high school this upcoming school year 2010-2011. I got her when i was in the 10th grade, so she is about two years old. She developed a mammary tumor on her side. I am debating whether or not to have it removed. It isn't deadly, but i don't want to waste the $150 and then have her die in the next year. What should i do? - Ashley

anon93267
Post 22

i have the fattest budgie (or should i say big), seven years old and just as healthy and fit as he was at two years old. I feed him seeds and fruit, and let him out his cage to fly around every day almost.

anon87642
Post 21

I have five pets: three mice and two dogs, 10 months and six years old. Mice, over one year old.

anon87354
Post 20

I had a goldfish named Whale that lived for nine years. It die when we went on holiday and our neighbour looked after him(?). And she flushed him down the toilet! Sad face. That goldfish deserved an excellent burial.

anon83930
Post 19

About three years ago I found a wounded pigeon on my doorstep. It let me look at its wounded wing while it just stood there. When I opened my front door it just walked right in my house.

I took it in for a couple of days and then found a veterinarians assistant (who lives three miles from me) who nursed it back to good health. When the pigeon was healed it found its way back to my house. It stood at my window ledge and made a ruckus until I came. I couldn't believe it came back!

Every spring there are pigeons that return to the neighborhood but there's one pigeon that doesn't fly away from my window when I approach. I speak to it sweetly and it allows me to get pretty close.

My question is: could this be the same pigeon from three years ago? And does this make me a crazy pigeon lady?

I'm really glad this is anonymous.

anon83630
Post 18

My cat, who was an outdoor cat, lived to be around 22 in human years which is a lot longer than what the life expectancy of an outdoor cat is (4-5).

anon82332
Post 17

A healthy fish should live at least three years, if it's properly taken care of. I have wanted a dog for some time, but have stuck with cats because I'm afraid to get attached to the dog and then it doesn't live long (7 years).

anon79352
Post 16

i have a 3 month old goldfish.

anon77164
Post 15

i love your web site.

anon76940
Post 14

Is the life expectancy for goldfish measured in years or days. Days seems right.

anon63824
Post 13

what's an anole?

anon35761
Post 12

In response to the unneutered tom cat post. the first thing you need to do is get him nuetered. Cats go through 2 heat cycles per year, meaning that he could be responsible for many many unwanted cats over the years. many of which may end up in the shelter systems and be euthanized. So be responsible. Secondly, if he goes outside he is much more prone to disease (FeLV + FIV) as well as physical trauma (Dogs, wildlife, cars, poisoning etc)

anon30889
Post 11

A budgerigar is what you probably call a parakeet.

anon24589
Post 10

I have a frog that's over 75 years old.

anon22988
Post 9

A budgie is a parakeet - short for budgerigar

Elvoret
Post 7

hmm...tricky...cuts and scratches from fighting and whatnot generally do not contribute majorly to the reduction of life expectancy.

However, no visits to vet can be a bad thing..does that include inhections/innoculations? If so, then I am afraid that your cat runs a large risk of disease and infection...

anon559
Post 5

We own a non-neutered white tom cat who has never been to a vet in his life. He lives indoor/outdoor, but comes home every morning, occassionally with cuts and sore patches. He's five years old and still thriving. How old would you say he would live?

anon361
Post 4

A budgie is a bird similar in appearance to the love bird.

Moderator's reply: thanks! I had no idea!

anon93
Post 3

Are anoles really kept as pets? I thought they were just considered pests.

anon92
Post 2

A budgerigar is a type of parakeet native to Australia.

Dayton
Post 1

Does anyone have any clue what a Budgerigar or budgie is? I thought I was well-informed, but I've never heard of such a beast!

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