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Dogs that misbehave more likely to die young

Issue: 10/05/2019

New research has revealed that dogs with undesirable behaviours, such as aggression, running away, fighting, over-excitability or barking are more likely to die at a younger age.
The study by the VetCompass programme found that 33 percent of deaths in dogs aged under three (around 21,000 dog deaths in the UK) are caused by undesirable behaviours.
Male dogs and smaller dogs are more likely to die from these behaviours than female or larger and that certain breeds are predisposed to this behaviour.
The most common undesirable behaviours that led to death were aggression (54% of deaths) and road traffic accidents (39%), which often have a behavioural aspect to it such as straying and poor recall. Crossbreed dogs are more likely to die from an undesirable behaviour than a purebred dog. 
They used the Labrador Retriever as the baseline breed for the study as it is a common and well-known breed.
Compared with the Labrador Retriever the breeds with the highest risk of death from an undesirable behaviour were the Cocker Spaniel (eight times the risk), West Highland White Terrier (5.7 times the risk), Staffordshire Bull Terrier (4.5 times the risk) and Jack Russell Terrier (2.7 times the risk).
Only just over a tenth (12.9%) of the owners of dogs that died from an undesirable behaviour sought veterinary behavioural advice. A similar figure (12.2%) had been previously rehomed.
Just over three quarters (76.2%) of the dogs that died due to this behaviour were euthanised.


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