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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 August 12, 2019

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark Chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko Biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and Black Tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

    More About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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