Bad dog! Many die young, mostly from eu­thana­sia, study finds

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Nation & World - As­so­ci­ated Press

Bad dogs tend to die young, ac­cord­ing to a Bri­tish study that says ag­gres­sion, ex­ces­sive bark­ing and dis­obe­di­ence are among be­hav­iors that can doom ca­nine pets to an early demise.

One in 3 deaths in U.K. dogs younger than 3 years old was from “un­de­sir­able” be­hav­iors, a dis­pro­por­tion­ately high num­ber, the study found.

Eu­thana­sia was the most com­mon cause of those deaths — 75 per­cent over­all.

Traf­fic ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing dis­obe­di­ent dogs were an­other com­mon cause.

The study in­volved data on 264,000 U.K. dogs, and the re­sults un­der­score the im­por­tance of train­ing dogs and ed­u­cat­ing own­ers, the re­searchers said.

They said the large num­ber of mis­be­hav­ing dogs eu­th­a­nized also high­lights a need for im­proved be­hav­ioral ed­u­ca­tion for vet­eri­nar­i­ans, so they can bet­ter as­sist pet own­ers.

The study was pub­lished in the Bri­tish pub­li­ca­tion An­i­mal Wel­fare.

Mak­ing sure own­ers are aware of traits in breeds they se­lect is im­por­tant, as is so­cial­iza­tion for young dogs, “to en­sure that the lives of dogs and their own­ers are ful­fill­ing for all par­ties in­volved,” said study su­per­vi­sor Dan O’Neill, a se­nior lec­turer at the Royal Ve­teri­nary Col­lege.

So­cial­iza­tion is most ef­fec­tive when pup­pies are 4 to 12 weeks old, ac­cord­ing to Part­ner­ship for An­i­mal Wel­fare, a U.S. non­profit an­i­mal res­cue and adop­tion group.

The re­searchers an­a­lyzed 2009 to 2014 records from 127 U.K. ve­teri­nary clin­ics to de­ter­mine what por­tion of early deaths were linked with un­de­sir­able be­hav­ior.

The study didn’t re­port other causes.

Males, mixed-breed dogs and small dogs weigh­ing less than 22 pounds were more prone to early deaths from mis­be­hav­ior than fe­males, larger dogs and pure­breds.

LEO COR­REA/AP

Ex­ces­sive bark­ing is one of the rea­sons that young dogs are put down, says a Bri­tish study of 264,000 dogs.

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