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We've all had those thoughts about wishing our dogs could live longer lives and not wanting another pet because their death is too painful. Should you be in the market for a new pet, following is some information from that could help in this decision making process.

Like it or not, and it varies from breed to breed, the average life span of the North American or European dog is only about 12.8 years. The good news is that over the past 100 years there has been an increase in life span thanks to better medical care, and better foods. But within this 12.8 year range for all dogs, certain breeds live longer than others.

The fact is that larger dogs like the Bernese Mountain dog, live shorter lives than smaller dogs because physically, the bodies of larger dogs must work harder and are more stressed than the bodies of smaller dogs. Medium pet lossdogs reportedly live to be between 11 to 14, while very large breeds live only 8 to 12 years. Some small dogs can live up to 22 years of age, but the average is from 14 to 22.

And just as with humans, the life expectancy of any particular dog is also determined by the stresses in its everyday life. This includes physical and psychological stresses, what it eats and how well you  take care of your pet.

While a Labrador Retriever may live an average of 12.6 years, some people report their Labs having lived much longer. The same thing goes for smaller breeds such as a Shi Tzu or Miniature Poodle, whose life expectancy is about 14.8 years of age. Yet there are some that live to be 18.

Some people find it of interest to add up how old their dog is in "human' years. But in reality, the  seven years to one human year is a myth, and a dog that is 20 would be 140 years old. Even basing the lifespan on 100 years, a small dog's age would roughly be five years to every human year, so five times 20 would be 100 years. It just doesn't work and no one formula for a dog to human age conversion is scientifically agreed upon.

A one year old dog has usually reached full growth and is sexually mature, although it might still need to fill out, just like human teenagers. A two year old dog is equivalent to about another 3 to 8 years in terms of mental and physical maturity, while each year thereafter is equal to around four or five years in a human.

Most importantly however, as a dog gets on in years, is taking good care of the animal, and making it comfortable as it approaches its last days. You will know when your dog stops eating, breathing becomes difficult, and other pets begin to ignore or snap at it. The time may have come to plan a pet memorial

And as sad as it may seem, when your dog dies, you can help your dog live forever in your heart by doing some simple and rewarding rituals as a pet memorial.  Purchasing a dog urn, to put cremains is one way to remember your friend. Pet urns are each as unique as your pet, and can fit nicely into a home, or be used in an ash spreading ceremony.

Just remember, your pet will live long in the memories of those who loved it.   

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