Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Vegetable-Eating Dog Lives to Ripe Old Age of 27
Also: How to Make Your Dog Live 1.8 Years Longer

SOMERSET (UK) — Remember 1977?  I think I spent most of the year waiting in line to see Star Wars.  Meanwhile, a two-year-old Collie was narrowly escaping a disastrous flood at a shelter in West Wales.  That dog, “Bramble”, not only lived to see the release of Star Wars but is still around to see the 4th sequel Attack of the Clones (that is, if she can handle another dose of that Jar Jar Binks character).

“Is it snack time, or are we going to playing fetch?”
Scoop staff Chocolate Labrador (recently adopted from an Atlanta shelter) demonstrates the latest canine diet which has been known to extend the life of dogs far beyond expectations.  An exclusively vegetarian diet of “rice, lentils and organic vegetables every evening,” coupled with good exercise, has propelled “Bramble” the Collie into her 28th year.  Guinness World Records is currently considering whether that makes her the oldest living dog in the world.  (Photo:

According to the Sunday Telegraph, Bramble, living in Bridgewater, Somerset, has just celebrated her 27th birthday, possibly making her Britain’s oldest living dog and a contender for the oldest dog in the world.

Luck of the Dog

How exactly does a pooch live to be 189 (in dog years)?  Anne Heritage, 43, describes how Bramble survived at least one near-death-experience right at the outset in February 1977:

“The day after we brought her home, the [New Quay rescue centre] kennels flooded and the other dogs drowned,” says Ms. Heritage.

“So she’s been incredibly lucky.”

No Bones About It

Aside from luck, Bramble’s secret to longevity is a vegetarian diet.  Ms. Heritage is a vegan and has brought up her pooch on the same diet regime she herself follows (although Bramble does wear a fur coat—but don’t go pouring buckets of red paint on her for that little violation).

“She has a big bowl of rice, lentils and organic vegetables every evening,” says Ms. Heritage.

Hairball in the Pool

In addition to healthy eating, exercise is a must.  Last year while recovering from a back injury which doctors said could have paralyzed her, Bramble began taking swimming lessons at a canine hydrotherapy pool in Stolford.  She now enjoys a weekly dip every Friday for half an hour.

Says Ms. Heritage: “She’s an inspiration and just goes to show that if you do eat the right things and keep on exercising, you can extend your life.”

How to Make Your Dog
Live 1.8 Years Longer

An extensive 14-year study has just been completed, stating that a calorie-restricted diet results in dogs living a median 1.8 years longer than the average dog.

The study was conducted by University of Pennsylvania and published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (May 2002).

In addition, these same dogs are also slower to develop chronic diseases, such as osteoarthritis, implying that not only the quantity but the quality of life is extended.

“Dogs in the calorie-restricted group didn’t require treatment for osteoarthritis until a mean age of 13.3 years, fully three years later than the dogs in the control group,” says Gail K Smith, professor of orthopedic surgery at Penn.  “Because osteoarthritis is painful, this deferral represents a substantial boost in quality of life.”

Of course, Scoop senior editor “Wags” has his own opinion about boosting the quality of life.  It has something to do with leaving the refrigerator door open

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