We all wish that our dogs could live forever. Those fluffy, four-legged friends that expand our hearts and enrich our lives are with us for much too short a time. While we can’t wave a magic wand and give them everlasting life, we can make some lifestyle adjustments that may help us to enjoy a few more ‘golden years’ with them.
It’s important that your dog visits a veterinarian regularly. All dogs should visit the vet once a year for a regular check-up. This may need to be more frequent when they are puppies or as they enter old age. This will allow your vet to keep an eye on their general health and be able to flag up any causes for concern.
Dental hygiene is a really important factor in your dog’s health. Untreated cavities can lead to an increase in bacteria which can cause infections, leading to much more serious health issues such as organ failure. A quick way to check their general dental health is to take a good sniff of their breath. Bad breath is key indicator of poor dental hygiene and could be a sign of periodontal disease. Be sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly and provide them with chew toys which will help keep teeth and gums clean and healthy.
Having a clean home will reduce the number of dust mites, mould and pollen floating in the air and can prevent your dog from developing allergies. Using more natural cleaning products will also reduce the number of chemical toxins in your home that can be harmful to pets. It’s important that any cleaning products are stored carefully and kept well out of reach of inquisitive noses!
People have a tendency to take it easy on their older dogs when it comes to exercise. While your dog may not be able to manage the long, adventurous hikes of their youth, they still need to get out and about regularly. Not only is this important to keep their muscles active and moving but a walk in the park is also a great chance for your dog to socialise with others.
Make sure that your pet is a getting a healthy, balanced diet full of all the vitamins and minerals it needs. Dog food company Purina carried out a study that lasted for 14 years about the effects of diet on dogs. It found that dogs that consumed 25% less calories than their brothers and sisters lived 15% longer (an average of two years). Being overweight can effect your dog in many ways. Not only will they be less active and able-bodied, but being overweight can also put unnecessary strain on their internal organs too.
This is a great way to keep your dog’s mind active well into later life. You may need to adapt some tricks to be more suitable for older dogs and their ageing bones and joints. For example, instead of playing catch, which might involve fast running and jumping, you could try a game of hide and seek instead. It’s important to keep your dog mentally stimulated whatever their age.
While it’s important that your dog stays active well into later life, they also need to have time to relax. Stress can effect your dog in many similar ways to humans. Being consistently overly excited can lead to higher levels of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol which can eventually manifest into symptoms such as diarrhoea.
By keeping your dog’s lifestyle active and healthy, you may be able to increase the time you get to spend with them. Make sure they eat well and are mentally stimulated and you should enjoy many years of fun together.
Fri Mar 12 2021