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Chocolate is he the oldest dog in Canberra?

Updated on March 14, 2013

How long can dogs live?

Chocolate was born in 1989 which means he will turn 24 later in 2013. His mum was a Pomeranian and dad was a crossbred terrier who lived down the road. He was one of a litter of three. Although small dogs often live longer than large breeds he is exceptionally old and his vet tells us he is the oldest dog on her books.

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How healthy is a 23 year old dog

Chocolate goes for a walk twice a day with his owner Bob. They go straight across the road into the park and walk a circuit to the bridge and back, about mile, every morning and evening. It’s not a fast walk but more of a dawdle as Chocolate spends lots of sniffing time at every tree and lamppost, giving Bob lots of time to look around and add to his collection of four-leaf clovers. Chocolate lost his bottom two incisors in 2011 and has trouble picking food up and doesn’t eat bones any more. His bed is on the end of the lounge and he can still jump up and down, and trots in and out of the cat door into the back garden several times a day. He has a dodgy heart valve and has had a couple of drops of Prilium on his evening food for several years now.

What does a 23 year old dog eat?

Chocolate has an evening feed of tinned dog food that is formulated for “senior dogs” and eats the cats dry food throughout the day whenever the cat’s not looking. He likes to share whatever Bob has too and is extremely fond of sausages, and beef with black bean sauce. He has half-a-dozen dog treats daily – beef strips, chicken sticks and his favorite at the moment are milk and chicken puppy sticks! He has milk from Bob’s breakfast cereal most mornings and has plenty of water available both in the house and out in the garden. He sometimes gets cabanossi as a special treat.

How sociable is an old dog?

Chocolate shows little interest in other dogs he meets on his walks although there are a few that he sees almost daily. He doesn’t seem to worry about larger dogs, but is very wary of the cat who likes to ambush him. He loves going for walks and spins around in happy anticipation when his collar is put on. During 2012 I had to bring an abandoned calf home and raise him in the back garden and Chocolate was quite happy to spend time with the calf and keep him company, even when he got quite large.

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The secret for long-life for a dog?

Why has Chocolate lived so long? I suspect genetics are a large part of it, as his father apparently lived a very long time too. Another part is providing him with a comfortable bed and keeping him warm in winter, as Canberra has plenty of cold frosty nights and it snows occasionally. Foodwise his diet is not particularly healthy, but seems to suit him, even though the dog chews weren't enough to save his teeth. He has a very dense coat with an undercoat that sheds constantly, but has never had fleas so has never been exposed to chemical flea control products.

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Signs of old-age in dogs

Many dogs get joint problems as they age although Chocolate is extremely lucky that he is still very mobile. Hearing and vision both deteriorate and for Choc I know he is worse than he was 2 years ago, but his nose still works well. He seems to have become forgetful too. He will go outside and then just stand there as if he forgot what he went out for, or he will stand staring out of the window when there is nothing to watch. At his age I guess he is entitled to his "senior moments."

Reader feedback

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Wow, I've never heard of a dog living this long. Amazing!

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 

      6 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      How lucky you are to have had Chocolate for so long. I think it's quite unusual for a dog to live so long, but it's lovely to read. He sounds like a very contented old gentleman.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thank you for introducting us to Chocolate. He sounds like a wonderful friend.

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 

      6 years ago

      Now I will look out for Chocolate. I often walk with a friend on that bridge.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      wow... oldie

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Here's to Chocolate (should we toast with cocoa?)!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow. He has had a nice long life. I had an Australian Shepard who lived to 13 and a cat that lived to 21. To many more years.

    • GrimRascal profile image


      6 years ago from Overlord's Castle

      That's one old dog. hehe

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow! My oldest lived for 18 years and I thought that was a long time.

    • jolou profile image


      6 years ago

      This is quite a remarkable story. Chocolate is still quite active considering his age. I know pets are like family and we cherish having them.

    • suepogson profile image


      6 years ago

      Ah - lovely. Very difficult when a dog ages but lovely that you are thre to care.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      What a special dog. May Chocolate be blessed for as long as he lives. It can be really hard to watch a beloved animal age. We have some older dogs at the animal shelter where I volunteer that will never be adopted because many people seem to avoid an aging dog or cat. I am always grateful for those who love an animal no matter what his age may be. Thank you for sharing the story of Chocolate.


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