Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    More by this author

    3 Ways to Save Money on Dog Food 4 Simple And Effective Ways to Add Years to Your Dog’s Life

    Trending in Lifestyle

    1 Face Adversity with a Smile 2 Does Weight Loss Cleanse Diet Work At All? 3 How to Cope with Anxiety at Work: 5 Psychology Techniques 4 How to Practice Meditation for Anxiety and Stress Relief 5 11 Ways to Handle Stress Wisely

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on February 25, 2020

    Face Adversity with a Smile

    Face Adversity with a Smile

    I told my friend Graham that I often cycle the two miles from my house to the town centre but unfortunately there is a big hill on the route. He replied, ‘You mean fortunately.’ He explained that I should be glad of the extra exercise that the hill provided.

    My attitude to the hill has now changed. I used to grumble as I approached it but now I tell myself the following. This hill will exercise my heart and lungs. It will help me to lose weight and get fit. It will mean that I live longer. This hill is my friend. Finally as I wend my way up the incline I console myself with the thought of all those silly people who pay money to go to a gym and sit on stationery exercise bicycles when I can get the same value for free. I have a smug smile of satisfaction as I reach the top of the hill.

    Advertising

    Problems are there to be faced and overcome. We cannot achieve anything with an easy life. Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to gain a University degree. Her activism and writing proved inspirational. She wrote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

    One of the main determinants of success in life is our attitude towards adversity. From time to time we all face hardships, problems, accidents, afflictions and difficulties. Some are of our making but many confront us through no fault of our own. Whilst we cannot choose the adversity we can choose our attitude towards it.

    Advertising

    Douglas Bader was 21 when in 1931 he had both legs amputated following a flying accident. He was determined to fly again and went on to become one of the leading flying aces in the Battle of Britain with 22 aerial victories over the Germans. He was an inspiration to others during the war. He said, “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

    How can you change your attitude towards the adversity that you face? Try these steps:

    Advertising

    1. Confront the problem. Do not avoid it.
    2. Deliberately take a positive attitude and write down some benefits or advantages of the situation.
    3. Visualise how you will feel when you overcome this obstacle.
    4. Develop an action plan for how to tackle it.
    5. Smile and get cracking.

    The biographies of great people are littered with examples of how they took these kinds of steps to overcome the difficulties they faced. The common thread is that they did not become defeatist or depressed. They chose their attitude. They opted to be positive. They took on the challenge. They won.

    Featured photo credit: Jamie Brown via unsplash.com

    Advertising

    Read Next