We all love our dogs, but for anyone who has owned more than one dog in their lifetime knows eventually, dogs will pass. That’s why it’s so important to enjoy every moment and keep your dog in good health. Just like humans, dogs need to maintain their health to live a comfortable life until the end.
Thankfully, there are plenty of easy ways to help your dog live longer.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Dogs need to maintain a healthy weight to get the most out of their lives. Obese dogs have a shorter life expectancy. To start with, make sure your dog is eating good-quality food and healthy snacks in moderation. If your dog is already overweight, stop giving them treats. Some dog owners like to supplement dry food meals with healthy poached chicken and other lean meats. That’s fine, as long as you get it approved by your vet first.
As a general rule, avoid low-quality food by looking for these ingredients on the bag:
- Meat byproducts
- Lots of sodium
None of these ingredients should be in your dog food. They can cause health problems in otherwise healthy pets.
Lots of Exercise
After diet comes exercise. This crucial part of your dog’s day helps their bodily health and behavior. Plus, if you exercise with your dog, you’ll feel better too!
Dogs who exercise experience less stress through increased endorphins. Exercise helps your dog build muscle, burn fat, and keep her heart healthy. If you don’t already exercise with your dog, start by taking daily walks. Prolong them slowly over a matter of days and weeks to increase her endurance. If your dog is good with other dogs, take them to a dog park for some socialization and off-leash time.
Exercise the Brain, Too
As much as your dog’s body needs to be worked out, their brain does too. Your dog needs games, stimulation, socialization, and your attention for proper brain development. One great way to truly challenge your dog is through obedience activities. No matter what their age, you can teach a dog new tricks. If you’re not sure how to go about training your dog, there are plenty of free resources online. However, there are also inexpensive classes available through park districts and pet shops. So, do some exploring locally. It might also be a good way to meet other dog owners in your neighborhood.
Keep Up with Your Regular Check-Ups
Your vet is your greatest ally to help your dog live longer. Vets have tons of resources you need to keep your dog healthy. It’s important to keep up with all your dog’s vaccinations to prevent diseases. Heartworm medication should be administered regularly, as well. Whenever you have questions about your dog’s health, talk to your vet.
Brush Those Pearly Whites
Dental hygiene is really important for dogs. Many dogs don’t get to chew on bones and eat hard foods that really do a good job cleaning teeth. And no, those dental treats aren’t enough to take care of your dog’s teeth. Your dog should have their teeth brushed regularly. Poor tooth hygiene leads to plaque and can escalate to periodontal disease which has been tied to heart health.
According to VCA Hospitals, “The best way to prevent tartar build-up is through daily tooth brushing using a toothpaste that is specifically formulated for dogs and is designed to be swallowed. Unfortunately, even though it is the best form of plaque control, most dog owners do not brush their dog’s teeth daily.”
Show Your Dog You Love Them
Lastly, your dog needs attention and shouldn’t be left home alone for too long. Dogs are pack animals and need lots of socialization. Both your mood and theirs will improve by spending more time together. If you work all day, be sure to secure a dog walker or some other type of care when you’re away. Dogs left alone too long may struggle to cope and can develop behavior issues like excessive barking and destructive habits. These are all due to the stress and anxiety your dog is experiencing when you’re away.
If you follow these basic tips, you’ll be doing a whole lot in helping your dog live longer.