Even Japan’s pampered pets are breaking records for living longer

Japan is well-known for its huge number of senior citizens – it’s now home to over 65,000 centenarians with over 27 per cent of the population aged 65 and over. That’s a massive 34.6 million people.

Now their pets’ lives are setting records too.

The average lifespan of dogs and cats has hit record highs of 13.2 years and 11.9 years each, according to a study conducted by the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and the Japan Small Animal Veterinary Association.

The average longevity of cats was just 5.1 years and 8.6 years for dogs back in 1990.

The researchers have put these extra years to an increased rate of vaccinations, improved veterinary care, better quality pet food and more pets living indoors with their owners as well as a decline in the number of infectious diseases.

Dogs and cats have become a popular option for companionship in a country where the birth rate has dropped to historic lows – in 2010, about 34 per cent of households had at least one furry friend.

We’d say that’s a win for the pets and their owners alike.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.