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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 December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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