5 TIPS TO HELP YOUR DOG LIVE LONGER

Healthy Dog Food

With vets and websites promoting everything from homemade dog food to the latest puppy supplements how can you weed out the valid advice? Nothing is worse than the feeling of losing a loved one, and for many people their dog is right up there. If you could easily extend a loved one’s life by five or ten years would it even be a question? Well your dog should be no exception. It’s a tragic misconception that dogs can’t live past 20 years old. Don’t forget, for millions of years our own lifespan was less than 35-years. Aren’t you glad someone came along and cleared that one up? It’s no different with dogs, it just takes some knowledge and a small change in the way we’re used to doing things. By following these five simple tips you can help your dog live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

Nutrition

This is the main culprit shortening your dog’s life. Raising a puppy on homemade natural dog food from birth is the best health advantage you can give it. What your dog eats may be the difference between 5 to 10 years based on a report published by the American Journal of Veterinary Research.

Unfortunately, commercial dog foods are generally low in nutrients and lacking many of the vitamins your dog needs to stay healthy. If cooking homemade dog food isn’t an option you’ll need to add a vitamin supplement to it’s diet (buy one that’s specific to your breed). Avoid giving your dog any fatty foods. Always cut the excess fat off meat or poultry.

A dog has no concept of becoming unhealthy. Monitoring their diet and general well-being is your responsibility.

Annual Vaccination Boosters

Horribly misguided. Research has shown vaccination boosters for pets to be unnecessary, harmful, and potentially fatal. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s (WSAVA) Guidelines for the Vaccination of Dogs and Cats note that “…duration of immunity is many years and may be up to the lifetime of the pet.”

If you’re concerned your pet’s vaccinations may be out of date you should have your vet run a “Titre” test to check their current immunization status before you consider opting for any boosters.

Proper Grooming

Proper grooming is essential. Keeping your dog well groomed isn’t just about appearance. Dog’s forced to go long periods without grooming are at a high risk for infection and disease, taking years off their life and adding unnecessary vet bills.

Always brush your dog well before bathing. Keep an eye out for any debris stuck in the coat that could rub against your dog’s skin and cause abrasions. Bathing your dog regularly will cut the risk of illness significantly, as well as give you the perfect opportunity to check for fleas and ticks.

Check your dog’s eyes and ears regularly for dirt and signs of infection. If you notice a bad smell coming from inside the ear, or any redness and swelling in the ears or eyes, you should make an appointment with your vet right away to start your pet on the proper antibiotics.

Dental Care

Regular dental care is vital to your pet’s health. Try to brush your dog’s teeth and gums every other day, before plaque gets a chance to build up and harden, but at least once a week. If you don’t keep up on this you will eventually be forced to have your dog’s teeth “scaled” by a vet. This is the same costly procedure people go through requiring them to be anesthetized, and your dog won’t enjoy it any more than you would.

You can use a rubber finger brush, a small handheld brush similar to a humans toothbrush, or a tiny brush that fits over the end of a “ring” (great for brushing smaller dog’s teeth). You’ll also need to pick up some doggy toothpaste at the pet store, just dab some of this on the end of your finger when you begin and your pet will lick it right off!

Neutering/Spaying

Neutering/Spaying is a widely misunderstood practice that few people realize the consequences of. A study by David J. Waters, DVM, PhD, shows dogs that are never neutered or spayed live 2 years longer on average. Research proves the health benefits of sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone) throughout a dog’s life. If you must neuter/spay your pet there are some basics you should follow to minimize the risks.

Females have shown decreased brain function an increase in cognitive disorders when spayed before sexual maturity. Also, never neuter a male less than a year old (two years for large breeds). They require the extra testosterone production that shuts down after neutering for proper muscle development. Male dogs grow up to 20% larger than females and they need the extra muscle mass later to support their heavier frames.

Neutering and Spaying your pet can cause a range of unintended consequences that most pet owners are simply unaware of. Always do your research prior to making a final decision.