15 Mistakes That Shorten Your Dog’s Life

We all want our beloved furry friends to live full and healthy lives. 

Unfortunately, some common mistakes dog owners make can have an incredibly detrimental effect on our pups’ well-being.

Mistakes that might even shorten their life span.

In this article, we share 15 crucial mistakes that shorten your dog’s life and how avoiding them can help ensure a long and happy life for your four-legged companion.

Feeding Your Dog Processed Foods 

white dog food bowl from near

Providing your four-legged friend with a diet that includes processed food can have dire consequences.

Not only have studies found that dogs on a processed food diet live an average of two years less than dogs on healthier diets, but these foods can also increase the likelihood of dogs developing gastrointestinal problems.

Processed foods often contain preservatives, additives, and synthetic ingredients, which can negatively affect canine health and reduce their lifespan if they are fed such food over a long period.

Supplementing their diet with fresh ingredients is the best way to ensure that your puppy remains healthy and enjoys a long life full of energy and vitality.

Not Providing Enough Exercise

Exercise is critical for any dog’s health, particularly dogs since it allows them to be active and fulfill their instinct as working animals. 

Unfortunately, not providing enough exercise can have serious consequences for our four-legged friends and can even result in early death from cardiovascular issues.

Regular and varied exercise is necessary to keep a pup’s heart healthy.

Too little activity can contribute to many other health conditions and weaken the immune system.

Therefore, we might be shaving precious years off our dog’s life expectancy by not providing regular exercise.

Allowing Your Dog To Roam Free 

light brown dog at the vet

Allowing your dog to roam free can come at the cost of shorter life expectancy.

Without supervision, dogs may enter hazardous areas and ingest items or substances that can harm their health.

Wandering dogs are at higher risk for injury due to lack of protection and run the chance of encountering another animal or person who could cause harm.

Therefore, it’s important to keep a close eye on your pup, giving them supervised exercise and playing outside when appropriate rather than allowing them to wander unsupervised.

Keeping your dog safe is essential if you want them to live a full and healthy life.

Not Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth Regularly

Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is important for their overall health and well-being.

Unfortunately, many dog parents neglect to brush their fur baby’s chompers regularly, which comes with a hefty cost.

Without proper dental hygiene, plaque and tartar build-up around the gums and can cause painful infections.

These infections can spread to other body parts if left untreated, eventually leading to organ damage.

Regular brushing also reduces bad breath, which can be embarrassing and detract from your pup’s quality of life. 

If your dog hates teeth brushing, try another thing to clean dog teeth instead.

Neglecting To Give Your Regular Dog Checkups With The Vet 


Taking your dog for regular checkups with the vet can mean the difference between a long, healthy life and one that is cut short.

Don’t neglect your pup – take them in for those checkups!

By catching potential health issues before they become more serious, vets are able to prevent illnesses from progressing and severely impacting a dog’s life.

In addition, dogs should have their vaccines regularly updated and be on heartworm and flea protection to maintain optimal health.

Regular exams also help dog owners learn how to properly care for their dogs to give them the best life possible.

Giving Your Dog Too Many Treats 

Despite their friendly looks and tail-wags, dogs are carnivores who need healthy food with specific nutritional values to remain strong and healthy. 

Treats can be a wonderful way to reward good behavior or show affection for your pup.

But remember that too many treats can reduce your dog’s life expectancy.

Treats are usually high in fats, sugars, and preservatives, which offer little to no nutritional value.

When consumed in large amounts, these ingredients can lead to obesity and numerous other health risks, including heart problems, diabetes, joint strain, and cancer.

To help your pup stay healthy and happy for as long as possible, always stick with the recommended amount of treats for their size and breed.

Lack Of Mental Activity

light brown dog with a dog puzzle

Dogs are typically known for their seemingly endless energy, but just like humans, they need to stimulate their minds and bodies to stay healthy. 

It’s important to remember that a lack of mental activity can be just as detrimental to a dog’s health and even shorten its life expectancy.

That could include depriving them of opportunities to learn new commands or tricks, not giving them puzzles or games to stimulate their brains, or never switching up their routine.

Regular mental stimulation keeps your pup’s mind active and healthy.

Lack Of Attention

Dogs require attention just as much as any other living thing, and overlooking that need can have serious consequences.

A lack of attention or companionship can cause dogs immense emotional distress, leading to depression and other issues that can shorten their lifespan.

Anyone considering getting a dog must understand their obligation to the animal: they must be willing to provide it with love and care throughout its life, not just when it is convenient.

Doing so will ensure the dog’s health and happiness and make them a part of the family.

Missing Out On Vaccinations

Vaccines help keep canine populations safe from dangerous diseases like parvovirus and rabies, both of which can be potentially deadly if left untreated.

Not vaccinating can also make it impossible to know the status of a dog’s health or if they have been exposed to any infectious illnesses. 

Furthermore, many countries still require vaccinations to be administered for pups to go on outdoor excursions or even receive medical care. 

Without doing so, not only will a pup miss out on some fun activities but also risk their life due to contracting illnesses that could have been easily prevented with a trip to the vet.

To safeguard your furry friend, staying up-to-date with their shots and giving them the best chance at living a long, healthy, and happy life is important.

Ignoring Signs Of Illness Or Injury In Your Dog 

brown dog laying in front of a white couch looking sad

Many of these symptoms are shared with other issues, so not paying close attention may result in incorrect diagnosis and treatment.

Some early signs can be easily overlooked.

For instance, panting, restlessness, or a lack of appetite could indicate serious health problems. Ignoring these small nuances in behavior can lead to complications such as infections, organ failure, and even death. 

You must be aware of the warning signs of sickness or injury in your pup and contact the vet when they arise.

Taking the necessary steps to keep an eye on your furry friend’s well-being can make a whole world of difference in its longevity.

Not Neutering Or Spaying Your Dog

To keep your pup healthy and safe, it is highly recommended that you get them spayed or neutered as soon as possible.

Not neutering or spaying a dog can have serious repercussions on its longevity.

While it is true that dogs tend to live longer than cats if a canine isn’t sterilized, it could mean an earlier passing.

Unspayed female dogs may develop breast tumors along with uterine infections that can be potentially deadly.

Male dogs are just as vulnerable: it’s not uncommon for unneutered males to develop cancer around their testicles or prostate as they age. 

Even if these physical ailments do not occur, the lack of sterilization also increases a dog’s risk of wandering and exposure to fights, accidents, predation, and contagious diseases from which they may not recover quickly due to their weakened immune system from the reproductive cycle hormones.

Keeping A Dog In An Environment That Is Too Small Or Chaotic 

When owners bring a dog home, it is important to take into account how the environment will impact their dog’s life.

Puppies require exercise and stimulation in order to grow into happy, healthy adults. 

however, if the space they call home is too small or chaotic, these needs may not be met – with serious consequences.

This can lead to a shorter lifespan for the dog as they lack proper exercise and living conditions.

Ensuring your dog grows up in an environment that stimulates their activity level and gives them enough room to move around is essential for providing them with a comfortable, quality life.

Failing To Socialize Your Puppy

little white brown and brown dog playing together on grass

Without proper early socialization, puppies can be prone to fear reactivity, aggression, or separation anxiety later on in life – issues that can cause undo stress and even shorten a dog’s expected lifespan. 

Research shows that those puppies who are exposed to various people, animals, and experiences through positive reinforcement develop healthier and happier personalities than those who are not adequately socially integrated.

So it is best to start introducing your pup to different people and situations as soon as possible in order to ensure they live long, healthy and happy lives!

Not Giving Heartworm Medication

Heartworm is a very serious and sometimes fatal condition that affects dogs and is contracted through mosquito bites.

The good news is that heartworm disease can be prevented with medications.

Failure to give your dog preventive medication on a regular schedule can dramatically shorten its life by allowing the parasites to cause permanent damage to the lungs, heart, and other organs.

In order to protect your furry friend from this dangerous condition, it’s important to make sure that they receive their heartworm prevention medicine on time each month.

Both you and your pup will be glad you did!

Pushing Certain Dogs Too Hard

little black grey puppy jumping with a ball in his mouth

We all want to train our dogs and improve their behavior, but it’s important to remember that they are living beings with limits.

Too much pressure or pushing them too hard can shorten your dog’s lifespan if they become overworked or ill from the stress.

By understanding how to work with and motivate a pup in a positive, effective way, we can make sure that our furry friends stay happy and healthy into their senior years.

Setting clear boundaries and being conscious of the physical demands you place on your pup is the best way for them to lead long healthy lives.

Before You Go…

You now know the mistakes that shorten your dogs life.

If you want to learn more, read the following article too!

Mena Emad, DVM
Mena has a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. His expertise, passion for animal welfare, extensive knowledge, and experience in the field of veterinary medicine make him an excellent resource for our readers.