The other greying population: it’s not just people living longer in Japan, so are pets

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2016, 3:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2016, 3:11pm

The average lifespan of pet dogs and cats in Japan hit record highs at 13.2 years and 11.9 years respectively, results from a survey conducted in 2014 showed Wednesday.

The figure grew by 1.5 times for dogs and 2.3 times for cats in 25 years, as better preventive measures against infectious diseases such as a vaccination were implemented, according to the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and Japan Small Animal Veterinary Association.

The longevity increase is also attributable to more pets being kept indoors, given better food and having their medical issues treated, they said.

Hideki Hayashidani, an associate professor at the university said: “The lifespan of cats may increase as the rate of vaccinated cats is still low at the moment.”

Aged pet care a growth industry in greying Japan

Previous surveys of pets’ life-expectancy were conducted in 1990, 1994 and 2002. The latest survey covered 5,977 dogs and 3,288 cats which died in 192 veterinary hospitals in Japan.

In 1990, the average lifespan of dogs stood at 8.6 years while that of cats was 5.1 years.

According to Haruka Yanagawa, a student at the university who analysed the survey, mixed breed dogs live longer than purebred ones while female cats had longer lives than males.

The death rate caused by infectious diseases fell to about 2.5 per cent in 2014 from around 30 per cent in 1990 for dogs and to about 12 per cent from roughly 25 per cent for cats.

Vaccination coverage of dogs was at about 82 per cent while that of cats stood at around 54 per cent.