Why do small dogs live longer than large ones? Here's a simple scientific explanation.

Dogs aren't like the rest of the animal kingdom.

big dogs, small dogs, dog longevity

A Chihuahua and a Great Dane

A basic rule throughout nature is that larger animals tend to live longer than smaller ones. Elephants saunter into their sixties and whales can cruise the ocean for centuries, whereas mice live about a year or two and the common house fly won’t make it past a month.

The major reasons for the discrepancy are slower metabolisms and reduced risks from predators. However, there is a disconnect when it comes to man’s best friend. On average, smaller dogs tend to outlive larger ones.

For instance, petite Chihuahuas can live up to 15 years, outliving their significantly larger counterparts, Great Danes, by a solid 8 years. What’s to account for the huge difference in lifespan?

Dogs diverge from the rest of the animal kingdom regarding longevity primarily because of how they mature as puppies.

According to Discover Magazine, larger breeds suffer from more physical ailments when they age because they expend more of their early resources for growth instead of maintaining their bodies. This can lead to more damage on the cellular level that doesn’t manifest until the dog has reached adulthood. This lowers a larger dog's defenses against cancer while also raising the possibility of DNA replication damage that can lead to cancer at a later age.

To put it simply: Larger dogs grow up fast, which leads to a faster decline.

"There's a body of robust theory in evolutionary biology—what we call 'life history theory' – about the way animals allocate their resources to different functions," evolutionary biologist Professor Mark Elgar of the University of Melbourne's School of Biosciences told Phys.org. "The bottom line is, there is no free lunch.”

"We conclude that large dogs die young mainly because they age quickly," Elgar says.

It appears that all that wear and tear on a large breed dog’s body as they rapidly grow can harm its health in the long run. A group of undergraduate students from Colgate University in New York found that as puppies, large breed dogs have significantly more free radicals in their cells, which can lead to damage that has long-lasting effects.

Free radicals steal parts from other molecules, which causes damage and can lead to aging and disease.

Being a dog lover is bittersweet because you know that you and your furry friend will have to say goodbye one day. I guess that’s what makes the time together so special. Your time together is finite, so it’s best to enjoy it together while you can.

The good news is that, as pet owners, if we take good care of our dogs, they can have the best chance of living a long and happy life. The American Kennel Club offers this list of tips to promote your dog’s longevity and quality of life:

  • Feeding a healthy diet
  • Helping maintain a healthy weight
  • Encouraging breed- and age-appropriate physical and mental exercise
  • Taking our dogs for annual veterinary checkups and vaccinations
  • Providing preventive dental care
  • Administering heartworm, flea and tick preventatives
  • Keeping them safe from accidents
  • Giving love and affection


This organization is revolutionizing food supply chains to minimize waste

Spoiler Alert pairs CPG manufacturers with discount retailers to keep food out of landfills

Members of the Spoiler Alert team volunteer at Waltham Fields Community Farm in Waltham, MA

Nearly 120 billion pounds of food go to waste in the U.S. each year. This waste not only contributes to food insecurity, which millions of Americans are impacted by, but also has a detrimental impact on our climate. In large part, this comes down to a misallocation of resources.

We need to bridge the gap between food waste, the planet, and those in need. By doing so, we can drive sustainable food systems and get food to those who need it most. In fact, Project Drawdown has found that reducing food waste is the number one most impactful solution to climate change.

The foundations of Spoiler Alert were laid during my time at MIT Sloan in 2013 when I met my soon-to-be co-founder Emily Malina. With my consulting experience with brands and retailers on carbon, water, energy and waste initiatives and Emily’s background in supply chain transformation and technology adoption, we knew there was a supply chain solution that could help businesses better manage their food waste. That’s when we started Spoiler Alert.

Ricky Ashenfelter & Emily Malina, Co-founders of Spoiler Alert

Spoiler Alert is a B2B waste prevention software that helps CPG brands better manage excess and short dated inventory. This inventory arises from various sources, whether that’s overproduction, unsuccessful innovations, seasonal items, or promotional packaging.

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Dr. Teresa Irwin says that we shouldn't be peeing in the shower.

One of the odd things about being human is that the sound of running water makes many of us feel like we have to go pee. Research has proven that the sound of running water can create the urge to urinate, but it hasn’t pinned down the exact reason.

The most common thought is that we are conditioned to go to the bathroom in the presence of running water, whether from a toilet or a faucet. So, much like Pavlov’s dogs salivated after hearing a bell, we are conditioned to need to use the restroom when we hear running water.

An alternative theory is that humans evolved to pee in running water because it was more hygienic than peeing on the ground. The running water carried the urine away from the communal living space, preventing the spread of diseases such as polio or norovirus. Finally, some think that the sound of running water makes us want to pee because it’s relaxing and facilitates the activity of the “parasympathetic nervous system,” which relaxes the bladder.

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Parody of 'Living on a Prayer' about the pile on the stairs has parents jamming out in agreement

The dreaded pile is literally halfway there, just take it the rest of the way...please.

Parody of "Living on a Prayer" about stair laundry is so relatable.

Parents who live in two-story houses know the struggle of clutter on the stairs all too well. It doesn't seem to matter how tidy someone keeps their home, things pile up on the stairs. You start cleaning, and as you move through the rooms on the lower level an odd number of items that belong on the upper level continue to appear. The things don't belong to you, so you put them on the staircase to be begrudgingly put away by one of the small humans you care for.

Eventually, the pile grows and becomes a tripping hazard. But there's something parents who suffer from stair piles didn't know they needed until now, and that's a song about their plight. Kim and Penn Holderness are always coming up with creative ways to make parents laugh and this parody of "Living on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi is just chef's kiss.

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Wife says husband's last name is so awful she can't give it to her kids. Is she right?

"I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything, and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c’mon."

A wife pleads with her husband to change their child's name.

Even though it’s 2023 and schools are much more concerned with protecting children from bullying than in the past, parents still have to be aware that kids will be kids, and having a child with a funny name is bound to cause them trouble.

A mother on Reddit is concerned that her future children will have the unfortunate last name of “Butt,” so she asked people on the namenerds forum to help her convince her husband to name their child something different.

(Note: We’re assuming that the person who wrote the post is a woman because their husband is interested in perpetuating the family name, and if it were a same-sex relationship, a husband probably wouldn’t automatically make that assumption.)

"My husband’s last name is Butt. Can someone please help me illuminate to him why this last name is less than ideal,” she asked the forum. “I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c'mon. Am I being unreasonable by suggesting our future kid either take my name, a hybrid, or a new one altogether?"

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Noah Roche, 12, and his brother, Weston Woods, 8, save Griffin Emerson, 7, from a pool in Michigan.

Shocking footage out of Fenton, Michigan, reminds everyone never to take their eyes off a swimming child—especially one who is using floaties and is not an experienced swimmer.

Griffin Emerson, 7, was swimming in the shallow end of an apartment pool wearing floaties when he decided to remove them and play in the deeper end of the pool. "I just wanted to prove myself. Like, yeah, I can actually swim and stuff," Griffin said, according to Good Morning America.

After struggling to keep his head above water, Griffin sank to the bottom of the pool.

"I saw him, and I just knew that he wasn't OK," Noah Roche, 12, said. "I saw him at the bottom of the pool, and then I didn't know if he was just playing down there or something. So I just told Weston to get in and dive down to see if he's OK."

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James Barlow shares his story on TikTok.

A dad is sharing his first encounter with a transgender woman in his small Texas town, and the simple lesson he taught his son is inspiring hope in others.

James Eric Barlow (oddragon226 on TikTok) shared a video from his car describing how he and his son saw a trans woman in real life for the first time. "We all know that there's people that are disgusted whenever they see a trans person," Barlow begins. "And we all know of the people who don't care if they see a trans person.

"But apparently, we're a third type of person (or at least I am, I can't speak for him)," he says, indicating his son in the backseat who chimes in with "I am, too!"

Barlow then goes on to explain how they had just had their first experience with a trans woman. It wasn't anything major—she just walked through a door behind them and Barlow held the door for her, just as he would any other person. He didn't even notice she was trans at first, but once he did, his immediate reaction was one we can all learn from.

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This amazing personal growth app teaches you key ideas from bestselling books in minutes

Start your free trial today, and see how Blinkist provides curated learning for the 21st Century

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