Dogs’ lives are too short so let Increase Your Dog’s Life Expectancy. Their only fault, really. Agnes Turnbull wrote that quote in the 1950s, and it still remains true today. You love your dog – you wouldn’t be reading this page if you didn’t. You want to do whatever you can to help your dog live as long as possible.
While some health issues are the luck of the draw and can occur despite our best efforts. You can take steps to maximize your pup’s odds of living its most extended life possible.
Feeding well and maintaining a healthy weight
Feed your pet a balanced, high-quality diet, and ensure you are feeding the correct amount. (For more details about this, please see [Link to the weight management article].) Commercially available dog foods must be balanced in vitamins, nutrients, and minerals needed for good canine health. If you choose to feed your pet a custom diet, consider adding the Balance. It supplements to ensure the menu includes the necessary vitamins and trace minerals required for good health.
Increase Your Dog’s Life Expectancy
As important as feeding high-quality food is, feeding the correct amount of food for your dog is equally important. Helping your dog maintain a healthy weight is critical for long term health. Just like in humans, overweight individuals are at higher risk of metabolic and endocrine disorders.
Additionally, the added weight adds stress to joints and can cause or exacerbate osteoarthritis as your dog ages. This causes pain and can reduce your dog’s mobility. Both of which can be limitations on the quality of life and hence the length of life for older dogs.
Finally, limit your dog’s human food intake. Extra snacks cause your dog’s weight to creep up. Some human foods are too high in fat for dogs, putting them at risk for pancreatitis. A potentially fatal inflammation of the pancreas. Not to mention that some everyday foods are highly toxic to pets.
Increase Your Dog’s Life Expectancy with Exercise
You could have predicted that this would be on the list! But that is because this is such a critical element to healthful longevity. In addition to helping your pup control its weight, everything you know about the benefits of exercise on human health is beneficial to animals.
Exercise strengthens muscles, including the heart, and keeps dogs fit and limber. Animals naturally lose some strength and muscle as they age, so starting its senior years with the most robust body possible is essential for active, healthy aging. As with people, exercise is also thought to stave off mental decline by supporting the body’s efforts to supply oxygen and nutrients to the brain. As an added brain bonus with our dogs, typical exercise activities like walking and playing at the dog park are among their primary mental stimuli, helping keep their minds sharp.
Be vigilant about household safety.
Keep your dog safe from hidden dangers and accidents. Of course, unintended situations are always a risk for both our pets and us, but doing whatever we can to prevent such occurrences is key to giving your dog the best shot at the most extended life possible. The trick is to not only know what things are dangerous to your dog but to also consider the world from your dog’s point of view to imagine how hazards might be encountered.
For instance, you may be aware that grapes are toxic to dogs, and their consumption can result in acute kidney failure. But in addition to knowing that fact, you must foresee ways your dog might accidentally ingest them, such as remembering that you left a box of raisins in your child’s diaper bag, and so must ensure that the bag is entirely out of your dog’s reach.
Increase Your Dog’s Life Expectancy by Street safety
No matter how well-behaved your dog is, never allow your dog to be off-leash near traffic. Instincts can get the better of even the most obedient and trustworthy dogs. Your dog may be outstanding at heeling by your side, but if a dog sees a rabbit or squirrel across the street, even those with the most reliable recall might instinctually dart towards the prey. Hit-by-car tragedies in these scenarios happen in a matter of seconds.
Similarly, using extendable leashes near roads can have the same result. Many extendable straps are 16 feet long when fully extended, and offer enough lead to reach traffic if your dog suddenly becomes enticed to chase something.
Finally, when you take your pup somewhere in the car, leash your dog before you let it out of the car in the parking lot. Like with small children, dogs are difficult for other drivers to see between cars or when backing up and accidents can happen quickly.
Take care of those pearly whites.
OK, so actual deaths associated with dental disease are pretty low, although it can happen as bacteria can migrate from rotted teeth into the bloodstream. But even without that occurrence, dental disease is more than just a cosmetic issue for your dog. What begins as unsightly teeth and lousy breath eventually can become a quality-of-life limiting factor for a dog as the bone around the teeth resorbs and teeth become loose, decayed, and painful. As this process continues, multiple extractions may be the only option for treating the disease, making treatment much more expensive and painful for the dog.
Dental cleanings seldom seem urgent and are, therefore, often postponed. But keeping your dog’s mouth clean and healthy is an essential factor in helping it enjoy the sunset years.
To Increase Your Dog’s Life Expectancy Risk breed
Know the risk factors associated with your breed. Sometimes subtle signs of disease are more easily recognized when you know what to expect. For instance, boxers are notorious for mast cell tumors, so if you see a skin lump on your fighter, you should have it seen more urgently by a veterinarian than you might for less-susceptible breeds. Heart problems are common for Dobermans, English Bulldogs, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, so subtle signs of heart disease such as coughing or belly distention are essential to pay attention to. Rottweilers and Greyhounds are highly prone to bone cancer, so limps in these breeds should never just be watched. Deep chested dogs like Great Danes and Saint Bernards get gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV or bloat) at higher rates than other breeds, so swelling of the belly or unproductive vomiting should never be ignored.
Being familiar with the risks associated with your specific breed of choice may help you seek veterinary care sooner than otherwise. This gives your dog the best chance of being cured or surviving longer with the condition.
Increase Your Dog’s Life Expectancy By Catching problems early
You know your dog best. Trust yourself; if something doesn’t look right or doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. Noticing and treating problems the best way to give your dog a beating to any health issues it experiences. In addition to a healthy lifestyle and accident prevention, that is the key to spending the most years possible with your best friend.