By: Sarah Southers
Vetinary Assistant/ Dog lover/ Dog mom of 5
Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee in a household where both my parents were veterinarians, I spent a lot of time being around dogs, taking care of them, and nursing them back to health. I have had several dogs of my own and I always made it a priority to make sure that my dogs lived a healthy and happy life.
When I was about 9 years old, a dog that my parents had adopted when I was just a toddler that quickly became a part of our family had developed severe kidney failure and eventually died. As a kid and not knowing exactly the meaning of life and that it inevitably entailed death, I was very distraught, confused and straight up just overwhelmed by the entire experience. I remember crying my little 9-year-old eyes out for weeks. I was not able to eat, sleep, and even communicate with others.
Ever since that experience, I always wondered to myself what things could dog owners do to ensure that our dogs would be able to reach their full life expectancy.
Let’s just face it, dogs have a generally short life span which is anywhere between 8 to 13 years and I believe that making sure a dog could see their way through life would make their journey so much more peaceful.
After spending well over half of my life working with dogs and undertaking extensive research on the lifespan of the canine, I have developed a list of the most important factors in lengthening the lifespan of a dog. Without further a due here’s a list comprising 10 things you can do to extend your dog’s life.
Daily exercise is extremely important for a dog’s life. Exercising often ensures that your dog will be able to develop and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Going for a jog once or twice a week will work wonders on your dog’s life span.
Usually, dog owners that live rather active lifestyles and included their dogs in them could expect to see anywhere between 15 to 35% increase in their dog’s life compared to dogs of similar breeds.
2 – Pet Health & MultiVitamins
Just like us humans, dogs need their daily doses of vitamins as well. It is crucial for your dog to maintain strong bones, teeth, joints, and heart health.
It is your responsibility as a caring dog owner to make sure that your dog’s health is your #1 priority. A trusted Multivitamin for the overall health of your dog is 10 in 1 Dog Multivitamin with Glucosamine by PetHonesty (link to Amazon) recommended by veterinarians and trusted by pet owners everywhere for decades. These snacks have also been able to improve your dog’s digestion.
3 – Play More
Are you playing with your dog? A study conducted by Pedigree.com has determined that playing with your dog often has some serious benefits not only on you but on your dog as well.
Physical health, mental health, social skills, bonding, and even your health, just to name a few are just some things that playing with your dog can help to improve. Playing has shown to be the #1 way to remove some of the stress out of your dog’s life and it can also help to considerably remove some stress out of the owners’ life as well.
4 – Lots of Sleep
The importance of sleep should never be taken lightly. Sleep is vital and essential to a dog’s health.
A dog’s quality of sleep has been found to be an underlying cause in dogs that develop loss of fur, bald patches, deteriorating mental and physical health as well as common drowsiness. Getting lots of sleep will prevent your dog from many illnesses and also avoid stress.
5 – Hygiene
A dog’s teeth are a part of their identity. There is little that they can do on their own to protect their teeth and ensure that it remains tough and sharp for years to come.
Chewing and cutting through tough objects is essential for maximum oral and dental health. GREENIES Treats for Dogs (link to Amazon) are veterinarian recommended and VOHC accepted (Veterinary Oral Health Council). Perfect for cleaning your dog’s teeth as well as freshening your dog’s breath.
6 – Stay Hydrated
A dog’s body, as well as a human’s body, needs water in order to function. Water is so important because a dog’s body will use it in its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and also maintain other bodily functions.
Dogs will lose water almost twice as fast as humans simply through breathing, sweating, playing, and digestion. Your dog needs to constantly rehydrate throughout the day. If you live a life similar to mine, you will notice that that remembering to feed or hydrate your pup will sometimes slip your mind or may become a bit of a hassle.
Using a Self-Dispensing Gravity Pet Waterer (link to Amazon) has made it possible for my dogs to basically feed or hydrate themselves whenever they feel hungry or thirsty.
I would normally refill my dog’s bowl about 1 or 2 times a day. Now, its more like 2 or 3 times a week.
7 – Never Miss An Appointment
It is extremely important for owners to regularly schedule appointments with their dog’s vet. Dogs typically only need to take a trip to the vet about once a year.
If your dog has some serious illness or prior health problems then scheduling a visit once every six months will be much more appropriate. Dogs develop heart and kidney problems considerably easily and unintentionally. These problems can go unnoticed until it is usually way too late to either reverse, resolve, or even treat the issue at hand.
8 – Nutrition
Just as people watch what they eat we must also watch what our dogs eat. What dogs eat on a daily basis is a huge contributor to their overall health both physically and mentally. You get out what you put in.
If you feed your dog trash then, needless to say, their health would not be on the more optimal side of things. Although it can be a quick and easy fix by just throwing our dogs a slice of pizza this is not recommended. As dogs get used to eating human food they will tend to neglect the foods you give to them.
Also, opting for the cheap option dog foods found in “on the run” gas stations are also not recommended food choices for your dog. Blue Buffalo dry dog food (link to Amazon) is what I can 100% recommend for dog owners everywhere. Dog’s love the taste of the blue buffalo formula and it is good for them.
9 – Watch TV Together
You may have asked yourself, how does watching TV extend my dog’s life? Although it does not specifically need to be watching television it is simply to say that it is imperative to spend time with your dog doing something both of you may enjoy doing.
Whether it is watching tv, cooking, exercising, going fishing, going bird watching, etc. Dogs are creatures that are usually prone to suffer from separation anxiety from owners. They really find a great deal of joy, fun, and pleasure by just spending some time together, regardless of what you guys are doing.
10 – Training
Training your dog can increase your dog’s mental abilities tremendously. Canines are extremely intelligent creatures and it is for us as humans to help our dogs to unlock their ultimate potential. It is our duty to ensure that our pets are properly trained in order to operate as functioning and helpful member of your household.