Bad dog! Many die young, mostly from euthanasia, study finds
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.
Excessive barking is one of the reasons that young dogs are put down, says a British study of 264,000 dogs.