If you’re a pet parent, the thought that your dog will live somewhere between 10 and 13 years is not something you like to think about. We don’t ever want to face life without our pups! But did you know your dog can have a longer, happy life simply by adjusting a few things in his lifestyle right now?
Your dog’s longevity depends (largely) on you and the decisions you make for him. Your dog loves you so much, he puts your wishes above his own needs and wants (well, most of the time). Even though he wants a fresh, juicy, raw steak, he’ll eat the bowl of unappetizing kibble you set out for him, and he’ll do with a wag of his tail, thankful for the meal you provide. When he really wants to chase squirrels in the front yard, he’ll settle for watching them intently from the window, with an occasional bark to let them know who’s in charge.
Your dog can’t make the right decisions for his health, and he’ll readily ignore his natural impulses to make you happy. Your voice is his choice. The choices you make for him can determine how happy and healthy his is, and how many years he has left on Earth.
Implementing a few health hacks right now can help add years to your dog’s life. While ideally you should start when your dog is a puppy, it’s never too late to begin improving your dog’s life.
5 Pet Owner Health Hacks that Will Add Years to Your Dog
1. Brush his teeth.
Periodontal disease is a serious health concern for dogs and can lead to a whole host of other health problems. Just like with people, infections in the mouth can lead to cardiovascular disease and other health problems. Three out of four dogs will get gum disease in their lifetime. Professional teeth cleaning appointments are necessary, but you can stretch the time period between professional visits by brushing his teeth at home. Pet dental sprays and doggie toothpastes will help you keep your dog’s mouth clean and healthy between cleanings. “Spray and run” dental sprays can help limit the amount of pup-wrestling it takes as your dog adjusts to having his teeth brushed and his mouth handled every day. TruDog’s SPRAY ME is a great product that bonds with your dog’s saliva to remove plaque from your dog’s teeth.
2. Feed him real dog food.
Real dog food- what your dog was meant to eat naturally- is not the same as commercially sold kibbles. Most kibbles are filled with grains, meat scraps, preservatives, and other “things” your dog wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) naturally eat. Real dog food complies with a species-appropriate diet. The primary component of his diet should be meat- high quality, organic meat. Not grains. Not sweet potatoes. Not vegetables. For optimal health, your dog needs lots of meat and NO chemical-laden unhealthy foods. Many pup parents are feeding their fur-babies what nature intended- a raw meat diet like the Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods diet (BARF) which included raw meats, organs, bones, OMEGA-3 fatty acids, fresh vegetables and fruits, eggs, and limited dairy (like yogurt).
3. Watch his weight.
Is your dog a little on the “robust” size? An estimated 52.7% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. That’s 43.8 million dogs that need to go on a diet. Why are our dogs so fat? One reason is the grain-filled, carbohydrate-rich pet foods we feed them. It’s simply not nutritionally adequate to maintain a healthy weight for the average dog. Another common reason is sharing table scraps or “people food”. Giving Fido a bite of your birthday cake or just one potato chip may seem harmless, but all those extra calories, fat, and sugars add up over time- adding extra pounds to your pup. It may seem harsh, but he really shouldn’t eat what you’re eating. An occasional treat is fine, and healthy treats in moderation are wonderful, but you should control his daily portion sizes and his nutritional intake. Resist the urge to give in to those puppy eyes begging for just one bite. It’ll help your pup live longer.
4. Embrace play.
Your dog loves to play! Certain breeds require more exercise and playtime than others. Be sure to research your breed’s needs and give him enough playtime each day. Go ahead and throw the ball one more time if he asks and enjoy the pure joy he exudes during playtime. If you are physically unable to play with your dog, consider hiring a neighborhood child to come over and play with him on a regular basis. Doggie day care can provide a nice play outlet for your dog, or arranging doggie play dates can serve as socialization opportunities and enough playtime to thoroughly wear him out.
5. Give your dog a purpose.
Not every dog is cut out to be a service dog, but bored dogs can become anxious and destructive. Dogs who don’t have a clear purpose in your home can make up their own jobs, like protecting you from the mailman, bossing the cat around, or cleaning a paw obsessively. Teach your dog new tricks (even old dogs), give him puzzle toys to solve, teach him to help with small things around the house like fetching items or picking up his toys. If he feels useful and stimulated, he’ll be happier and experience less doggie-stress.
Healthy, happy dogs live longer. Changes you make in your dog’s life today can affect the number of tomorrows you have to spend together.
This Article Was Brought To You By The Fine Folks At TruDog.com
About The Author:
Lori R Taylor lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and is the founder of TruDog. After losing her beloved Great Dane, Truman, to cancer, Lori was devastated and determined to help dogs live longer. She created the TruDog Nutrition System (TDNS), an amazing suite of veterinarian approved, all natural products, designed to help your dog live longer. This article is dedicated Truman and all the dogs who heal our hearts and make us whole. May your legacy be the light that saves the world.