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4 Simple And Effective Ways to Add Years to Your Dog’s Life

4 Simple And Effective Ways to Add Years to Your Dog’s Life

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day…” – John Grogan, author of Marley and Me.

When put into perspective (considering the popular belief that one human year is approximately equivalent to seven dog years), at the end of a working day your pet may have spent the doggie equivalent of three days waiting for you to come home, and still felt exuberant about your return. Puts the situation with the spouse in a whole different light doesn’t it! In addition to the well-documented health benefits of owning a dog, this is one more reason to keep your canine companion around for as long as possible. Read the list below for four ways to contribute to your dog’s longevity.

1. Diet

Your dog isn’t for eating, so don’t fatten it up.

In a 14-year, life-span study on dogs, PURINA found that dogs that consumed 25% fewer calories than their littermates during their lifetime had a life span 15% longer than those who had no restriction on their diet. That translated to an average life extension of 1.8 years! As with humans, obesity remains the number one nutritional problem among dogs, and what you can do about it is to evaluate your pet’s physique and adjust its diet accordingly.

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As a general guide to healthy form:

  • Underfed. Ribs highly visible.
  • Ideal Body Condition. Outline of ribs is visible and can be felt. Dog’s waist is visible from above, and belly is tucked up when viewed from the side.
  • Overfed. Dog’s waist is indistinguishable from chest when viewed from above, and rounded belly is seen from the side.

Remember that obesity in your pet could put unnecessary strain on its organs and eventually shorten the dog’s life!

2. Stress

Relax your dog.

Dogs are highly excitable creatures and can react visibly to any new stimuli. While this isn’t necessarily bad stress, being consistently excited can cause your pet to have increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline—hormones naturally produced by stressful situations. This could eventually manifest itself in a physical symptom such as diarrhea.

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Other situations that can present psychological stress to your dog are confinement, loneliness, insufficient exercise, and excessive noise. Considering their shorter life spans, the impact of stress is more evident on them than on humans, and can translate to a decreased life span.

Ways to decrease your dog’s stress levels, then, are to engage with them regularly, bring them on walks, and to be aware of how excitable they are. Enforcing commands to relax on them such as, “Sit!” can also help them desist in their excitable state.

relax

    3. Oral Health

    Recognize the early signs of tooth decay.

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    While oral hygiene doesn’t necessarily seem to be a factor for prolonging your dog’s life, the importance of what goes on in their mouth cannot be emphasized enough. Periodontal disease affects almost 90% of adult pets and can produce bacteria that spread infection to the rest of the body.

    It is therefore important to recognize oral disease in dogs when you see—or more likely, smell it!

    Perform a breath test. If your pet’s breath is extremely offensive and accompanied by symptoms such as vomiting or loss of appetite, it would be prudent to consult a vet. Your dog might have periodontal disease, that is, infection and swelling between the teeth and gums, symptoms of which may be loose teeth, sneezing, and a nasal discharge.

    Chew toys and regular brushing can also assist in keeping teeth clean by scraping away soft tartar.

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    4. Drugs

    Pay attention to the drugs your dog ingests.

    Dogs are prone to poisoning too. When considering the toxicity of the cleaning products that you use, also consider that their mouth is closer to the floor than yours. A good guide is that substances that are not safe for children are also not safe for your dog.

    Don’t be too hasty about vaccinations.

    Vaccines are not harmless, and unnecessary side effects can be minimized by avoiding unnecessary vaccinations. Consult your vet and do some research, but in the same way you don’t get vaccinated every year, your dog probably doesn’t need a vaccine every year too. Excessive vaccination can cause an increased risk of autoimmune disease and allergies in your dog, which may be troublesome as it gets older.

    Hopefully, by addressing these details in your dog’s life you may have a faithful companion for a long time yet.

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” – Roger A. Caras.

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    Last Updated on June 13, 2019

    5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

    5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

    Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

    You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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    1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

    It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

    Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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    2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

    If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

    3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

    If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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    4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

    A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

    5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

    If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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    Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

    Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

    Reference

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