LIKE ANYONE who has lived with a dog knows that often it is like we don’t have enough time with our furry friends. Most dogs live an average of 10 to 14 years.
Although some naturally live longer, others may be predisposed to certain diseases that can limit their lifespan.
What many don’t know, however, is that humans and dogs share many genetic similarities – including a predisposition to age-related cancer. That means many of the things that people can do to live healthier and longer lives can work for dogs too.
Here are just a few ways you can help your dog live longer, healthier lives.
1. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR WAIST
One factor that has been repeatedly linked to longevity in a number of species is maintaining a healthy weight. This means that dogs are not overweight and carefully manage their caloric intake. A lean, healthy weight is not only better for your dog in the long run, but it can also help limit the effects of certain health conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Carefully monitor and control your dog’s body weight by regularly weighing and using feeding guidelines. Knowing exactly how much to feed your dog is also an important weight management tool – so weigh their food instead of scooping it up.
More generally, good nutrition can be linked to a healthy aging process, suggesting that what you feed may be just as important as the amount you feed.
2. MANY HIKES
Exercise has many psychological and physical benefits, both for our dogs and for us humans! Exercise can help control a dog’s body weight and has also been linked to antiaging effects in other genetically similar species.
While exercise alone won’t extend your dog’s lifespan, it can protect both of you from carrying excessive body weight. Indeed, research suggests that “happy” dog walks result in happy dogs as well as happy people.
3. TEACH YOU NEW TRICKS
Aging isn’t just physical. Keeping your dog’s mind active is also helpful. Contrary to the popular saying, “Old dogs can’t be taught new tricks,” it could only keep their brains and bodies younger, and human benefits too!
Even if physical activity may be restricted, explore alternative, gentle games and pursuits that you and your dog can do together.
Like many pets, dogs develop a clear bond with their caregivers. The human-dog bond is likely to keep company – and dog lovers often describe them as family members.
A stable caregiver-dog relationship can help maintain a happy and mutually beneficial partnership between you and your dog. It can also help you spot subtle changes in your dog’s behavior or movements that could signal potential concerns.
When there is predictability between the carer and dog, it leads to a better relationship and even benefits for the owners, including stress relief and exercise. Sharing positive, fun experiences with your dog, including playing, is great for building your bond.
5. DO NOT SKIP THE VET VISIT
Modern veterinary medicine has seen significant improvements in the prevention and management of health problems in dogs. Successful vaccination and parasite control programs have been effective in reducing the incidence of disease in dogs and humans.
Having a good relationship with your veterinarian allows you to customize treatments and discuss your dog’s needs. Regular health checkups can also help identify potential problems at a treatable stage, such as: B. Dental problems or osteoarthritis which can cause pain and affect the dog’s wellbeing.
At the end of the day, it’s a combination of our dog’s genetics and the environment he lives in that affects his longevity. While we cannot change their genetics, there are many things we can do to improve their health that can only help them live longer, healthier lives.
After all, our dog belongs to the family!
A healthy dog.