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Montana dogs live the longest, healthiest lives

Published On: Aug 14 2013 09:54:24 PM MDT   Updated On: Aug 15 2013 09:23:09 AM MDT

Dogs in Montana are just as active as their owners.

"My dog rides the chairlift," says Dave Marten of Havre.

Martin's dog, Tommy, enjoys skiing and also likes to chase down a ball at the dog park in Whitefish.

"We don't stay in the house in the wintertime here," Marten explained. "We're out and about so the dogs come with us."

That's just part of the reason why dogs are living longer lives here. Banfield Pet Hospital's State of Pet Health report reveals Montana dogs live an average lifespan of 12.4 years, compared to an average of 11 years nationwide.

"We don't have as big a burden of infectious diseases like some other parts of the country," said Dr. Mark Lawson.

Dr. Lawson of Glacier Animal Hospital credits a high spay and neuter rate as well as our climate for keeping our furry friends disease free.

"Heartworm disease is spread through mosquitoes. Because we have a very short mosquito season that helps keep heartworm rate down," said Dr. Lawson. "Lyme Disease is carried by the deer tick and we don't have that kind of species here in Montana."

Lawson also said constant exercise cuts back on canine obesity.

"Out here in Montana with our rural background everyone likes to get outside and hike. I think we take our dogs with us and the dogs are in good shape, too," explained Dr. Lawson.

South Dakota ties with Montana for the top spot of 12.4 average years. Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, and Florida round out the top 6.