Considering Lifespan When Choosing A Pet

Older dog lying down

Owning a pet can be highly therapeutic but bereavement following the death of a cherished member of the family is a real and painful experience, even when that loss is of a furry friend.

For this reason, many pet owners choose an animal breed that generally faces relatively few health issues and possesses a long lifespan. This may also serve to reduce (or at least delay) veterinarian bills.

In this article, we rank the five most popular pets in the United States (by the number of owners) according to their respective lifespans. Also, bear in mind that bereavement isn’t the same in all situations. The extent of bonding between owner and animal is the main determinant and so having a close relationship with your pet inevitably leads to feelings of loss and sorrow upon their death.

If you are currently coping with this kind of loss then this article by the Humane Society offers helpful strategies for coming to terms with your loss.

1. Horses

Most popular breed: Quarter horse

Lifespan of most popular breed: 20-25 years

Horses make wonderful companions but they are also expensive and labor intensive. Luckily, the average Quarter horse lives for more than 20 years and the rewards owners get in terms of emotional closeness and enjoyment are more than worth it for many across the country.

Caring for your horse well and co-operating with a good veterinarian can increase your animal’s life expectancy even more. In many cases, the demands placed on horse owners in terms of time, money, and space are too great to make the option a plausible one. In fact, many horses across the United States are used occupationally and many others are utilized in the domestic horse-racing industry.

Those living in urban areas will find it particularly difficult to meet the needs of a horse and may find themselves needing to commute considerable distances to find appropriate stable space.

It’s also important not to underestimate the cost of owning a horse. All horses require love, attention, and commitment to thrive, but they also don’t come cheaply! Even if you’re able to meet the modest expense of purchasing a horse (~$1,500) you aren’t anywhere close to the lifetime cost of upkeep.

Wonderopolis estimate the cost of annual upkeep of a horse to be at least $2,500 before even taking into account the considerable amount of money that must be spent on stables. A horse, therefore, is not a good choice for casual pet owners unless they have the means and the devotion to give their animal the correct care.

2. Birds

Most popular breed: Parakeet

Lifespan of most popular breed: Approx. 15 years

It’s number two, and we’re already in the domain of a pet that is much more accessible for the average American. But before rushing out to purchase a bird, keep in mind that every animal, no matter how accessible, still requires a lot of love and time to reach its full potential.

A Parakeet can be expected to live for around 15 years and in some cases even more. A bird that is inadequately cared for may live for much less time, however.

Parakeets are such a popular choice because of their beautiful green coloration, their space efficiency, and their role as interesting companions. These birds can be highly social and are even known to be able to acquire and repeat words they hear in their household.

3. Cats

Most popular breed: The Exotic

Lifespan of most popular breed: 12-15 years

Cats are a polarizing pet that elicits a combination of both love and distrust depending on who you ask! But we can’t fail to see the appeal, after all, cats are both cute and majestic in equal measure. Perhaps best of all though, they are typically lower maintenance than their canine counterparts.

The Exotic breed has exploded in popularity in recent years thanks to its affable nature, low shedding, and striking appearance. It’s also a relatively long-lived animal at an average lifespan of approximately 12 to 15 years.

4. Dogs

Most popular breed: Labrador retriever

Lifespan of most popular breed: 10-14 years

Dogs are the quintessential companion pet and a favorite of Americans throughout the centuries for good reason. There is no friend more loyal than a dog and it’s for this reason that most of America’s 45 million dog-owning households see their dog as more than just a pet. Rather, their pet becomes a full-fledged family member and an animal with whom they can etch virtually endless unforgettable memories.

No breed better embodies the loyalty and friendship dogs can offer than the Labrador retriever. This beautiful animal tends to be healthy and energetic, typically living for well over ten years in a loving home.

Veterinarian bills are generally somewhat higher for dogs than for cats but this shouldn’t make canines unaffordable for the majority of households. It’s worth remembering that the Labrador is a highly active breed and requires space and regular walks to unleash their full potential!

5. Fish

Most popular breed: Betta fish

Lifespan of most popular breed: 3-5 years

A classic pet for families of all sizes, fish are beautiful and therapeutic to watch and can live for a surprisingly long time. Contrary to popular opinion, household fish aren’t devoid of intelligence, in fact, they come to recognize their owners relatively quickly and will eat from your hand once they learn to trust you.

Although fish are a great choice for people with limited space and time, it’s vital to feed them regularly and offer proper upkeep in maintaining healthy tank conditions. In the right environment, a Betta fish can be expected to live for over 3 years!

 

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