When asked about the one impossible thing they wish was real, people would often say eternal life or unlimited food or to have enough money to last till death without having to work for anyone. But there are those whose one great wish does not directly involve them: for their pets to live as long as them.
According to the World Health Organization’s 2015 records, Japan has the highest average life expectancy at 83.7 years. But as we all know, no dog has ever lived for eight decades, not even five. The oldest dog ever, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, was Bluey, an Australian cattle dog. Bluey was 29 years old and 5 days when he passed away.
The sad thing is, not all dogs are like Bluey. Most dogs only live for 7 to 14 years. But there are things you can do to help your dog live longer—and better.
Things You Can Do to Help Your Dog Live Longer
From doing exercises to following a healthy diet, here are simple things you should start doing to help your dog live longer.
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1. Make sure your dog gets enough exercise
Dog exercises like simple running and walking should not be something you do only when you feel like going out and basking in the sun with your pal—it is a necessity. So you might want to make some changes in your routine and spare a significant amount of time doing more exercises, if you want your furry friend to live a few more years.
A lot of health issues result from not having enough exercises. Clinical obesity is one, which in itself can be the cause of several physical threats. So it’s high time you get moving! If possible, create an exercise program that both you and your pet can benefit from. If you have a yard, let your pet loose and let him run around, although it is preferable that you go out there with him and play coach.
You can use this time to do some basic training too. Teach them new tricks, anything that will help keep their mind in shape, as it is just as important as keeping them physically fit. You can also invite your neighbor’s dog to play with your pet to improve their socialization skills.
2. Encourage a healthy diet
Speaking of obesity, another thing owners should pay attention to is their pet’s weight and what they consume. To help your dog live longer, you have to come up with a diet that is healthy and vet-checked. Most of us live believing that a healthy weight means longer life, but it’s not always true. Just like us humans, obesity in dogs puts them at risk for health problems.
Avoid fatty foods. Observe calorie restriction. A 2011 study on Labrador retrievers showed that dogs who eat less live years longer. Of course, make sure you don’t reduce their calorie intake drastically. To make sure you’re doing it right, pay your vet a visit and wait for them to give you the greenlight.
Also, feed your dog food of good quality. You don’t buy dog food based on the brand or price, check the label, do some research. Each ingredient of the food you have them consume can have effects on their health, so it pays to be knowledgeable and careful, more than anything.
3. Know the basics of proper pet hygiene and grooming
If you want to help your dog live longer, giving them good food is not the only way you can achieve that. Proper dog grooming plays a big role too.
Keeping your pet clean can be a challenge, considering how much they love to play in the dirtiest places and with the dirtiest things. But just like anything else, enough knowledge and a little hard work will help you pull through.
Bathe them, but remember not to do it too often, as it it can cause their skin to go dry. Don’t take bathing as a task, you can turn it into an opportunity for you to bond with your pet; make it fun. When you bathe your dog, make sure every part of their body is checked, from their skin and coat to their ears. Getting rid of the bacteria or any type of dirt that might have built up is how you protect your dog from life-threatening skin conditions.
Dental care is important too. Neglecting your dog’s dental needs may cause them to develop periodontal diseases. Use the right toothbrush, make sure it fits comfortably in their mouth. Use toothpastes that are especially made for pets. If you’re unsure what to use, consult your veterinarian.
4. Pay the vet a regular visit
Nobody can ever love your pet as much as you do, but you can’t deny the fact that nobody knows better when it comes to their health than your vet. So if you want to help your dog live longer, you would need their help too. After all, there are health problems that are not easily recognizable for a layman and only your vet can explain. Your vet can also help you detect problems as early as possible, when they are still treatable.
These and a lot of other factors make regular checkups important, so always make time for it. Also, remember to have your dog vaccinated. Puppies should get checkups as often as four times a year, while full-grown dogs can visit the doctor once a year.
5. Let them enjoy every moment with you
Or enjoy every second you have with them. It goes both ways. A dog can only be considered truly healthy when their mind, body, and heart are healthy. Give them more freedom, allow them more time to play around, just let them enjoy life as it goes.
As much as we want our pet to live as long as we do, we can only do so much to extend their life. Tips you find on the Web or hear from the experts can extend their lifespan by two years on average, which is not much, if we think about it, so it is important that you live every day with your pet to the fullest and make every single day a memory worth keeping.
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