It’s true when they say “a dog is a man’s best friend,” however, this can also be said when referring to the connection between dogs and women, too. Everyone loves dogs, and we all know someone who either has or had one in the past. Owning a dog comes with major responsibilities that I’ve witnessed firsthand just being around them at my friend’s house. Additionally, losing a dog can be a huge emotional downer and can take a toll on your mental state for several months afterward. I asked my friend how much he spends on his dog a month, and he mentioned it varies depending on its food, medical bills, toys, etc; it’s hard to put a number on the total amount, but the cost can go up quickly.
Recently, another friend of mine lost his dog, and it was hard on him. After that loss, I wanted to find out which factors determined the lifespan of a dog. I did some research, and was able to put some factors together.
First, here’s a quick overview of dog’s age in human years:
Image Source: healthypets.mercola.com
Just like your genetics make you prone to more health problems, the same can be said for pets. For example, some dog breeds are prone to certain health problems like dysplasia, spinal issues, respiratory problems, and cancer. Poor breeding can also lead to genetic defects which, over time, can have a major toll on the overall health of the dog. Many of these health problems are only seen as the dog matures, which increases medical bills substantially. Many owners can’t afford those bills, so are unable to provide the care their aging dogs need; this just makes it harder on the dog, and decreases their life expectancy.
If you do a quick search in Google, you can find a list of dogs who have a higher-than-normal life expectancy because of their breed. These dogs are known to have fewer health problems as long as the right nutrition, healthcare, and environment are provided.
If you feed your dog food that is high in fat and low in protein, then they can develop a heart problem just like humans can. Remember, “you are what you eat,” and this holds true for humans and pets because just like a poor diet while growing up affects the way we mature, the same can be said for dogs, too. For example, pets with a poor diet or receiving inadequate nutrition while young may develop a condition as they grow older; this will not only reduce their life span but the quality of life, too.
It’s amazing how so much of this information relates to us humans. Make sure you take your dog out 2-3 times a day for a run or walk. This exercise keeps their cardiovascular activity high, which is great for the heart. Daily exercise is even more important for those dogs who have a pre-existing condition. Do a quick search in Google to find a list of great exercises you can put your dog through, or you can visit local bookstores to find actual guides on this subject.
Frequent healthcare is important to your pet’s well-being. Owners spend thousands of dollars each year getting their dog the best healthcare possible. Think about it this way: imagine if your dog gets a small injury and you decide to neglect the right type of healthcare. This minor injury can become bigger, restricting daily activities the dog can perform; this means the dog can no longer exercise, which will affect their overall cardiovascular health.
Grooming, cutting nails, and removing extra fur is all considered healthcare. By providing the right healthcare for your dog, you’ll also protect them from flea infestation which, unchecked, could become life-threatening.
The Emotional Connection
Having a personal connection with your dog is important for their mental state. Dogs who don’t have an emotional bond with their owners can become depressed, which lowers their overall activity. Dogs with lower activity levels and who are depressed tend to exercise and eat less. So, spend quality time with your dog; this will lower the chance of depression and increase mental stimulation, which is important for them to stay positive in their environment.
Featured photo credit: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog via dogtime.com