A 31-year-old Portuguese dog named Bobi, who held the record for the world's oldest dog, died over the weekend in a veterinary hospital, according to his owner, Leonel Costa. Bobi was born on May 11, 1992, when Costa was just eight years old.
Bobi, whose official age was 31 years and 165 days—or about 217 in dog years—was a Portuguese Rafeiro do Alentejo, who has a typical life expectancy of between 10 and 14 years.
Whether you're a veterinarian with extensive experience with aging animals or a first-time owner, watching your pet pass away is excruciating. Luckily, the US National Institutes of Health has funded research into old age for both humans and dogs, particularly focused on bone cancers that affect larger canines. They're called a man's best friend for a reason, so why wouldn't we search for ways to extend our time with them?
While studies are currently being conducted on how to give our pets some extra years, it's important to understand the basic facts of why certain dogs live longer. Larger dogs, likely due to their bones growing faster, which increases their chance of bone cancer, simply live shorter lives. However, to give any dog the best chance at a long life, you can take certain steps, including giving them annual dental cleanings, healthy diets, annual vaccines, and, of course, lots of love and affection.