Dogs are part of the family and anyone that is lucky enough to have one in their life will understand how important their happiness is.
Not only is their happiness important, but these creatures have the ability to make us so happy, and we would probably do anything within our power to extend their lives, making them as happy and as healthy as possible.
Here are the top tips on how to best help your dog live a long, happy life.
Feed Your Dog a Sensible Diet
Studies have shown that restricting what your dog eats can help it to live much longer and, by keeping them lean, you will keep their insulin levels low and avoid putting stress on their joints as they age.
This can save a dog from developing diseases such as arthritis as they grow older, whereas puppies that are fed too much and end up overweight are far more likely to develop arthritis due to additional stress on their joints.
One study has shown that reducing a puppy’s calorie intake by 25% can increase its lifespan by around two years, and they also suffer fewer joint issues as they age.
Restricting a dog’s calorie intake can certainly increase its lifespan, but further studies have shown that the food you give to your dog can also have a significant impact.
Feeding your dog homemade food is considered the best way to prolong your dog’s life, since researchers have found that it can help the dog to live up to three years longer than a dog fed on a commercial diet.
This is probably because there are fewer regulations with pet food as opposed to human food and therefore, no one can stop pet food companies from marketing their product as ‘healthy’ or ‘good quality’ when in actual fact, no effort has been made to support these claims.
A raw diet, including bones and raw meat, has been recommended by some dog breeders and rescue organizations since this is very natural and provides the dog with almost all the nutrients necessary.
Feeding your dog a raw diet will not only prevent him from ingesting unnatural fillers found in commercial dog foods, but will also help to prevent him from developing any dental diseases which can often contribute to a shorter lifespan.
Give Your Dog Supplements
If you are going to be feeding your dog a homemade diet, you should also include fruits and vegetables to give them their daily dose of nutrients.
However, some dogs can be fussy when it comes to their five-a-day, so you can fulfill their needs with organic dog supplements.
One supplement that dogs should absolutely be given is Omega fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation and prevent painful joints when they are young, along with decreasing joint pain as they age.
Omega-6 fatty acids may be already present in a homemade doggy diet, so it is important to supplement Omega-3 which can be found in fish oils.
Another supplement to consider are probiotics which help your dog to maintain a healthy digestive system and to stay young by providing them will all of the good bacteria they need.
You can find high-quality probiotics from Native Pet’s organic dog supplements section on their website where the products are completely natural and never contain more than seven ingredients, ensuring that unhealthy fillers are never added.
Other supplements that you could give your dog are antioxidants and glucosamine.
Antioxidants are necessary for dogs since they help prevent and destroy free radicals that lead to premature aging.
However, most can be found in the food your dog consumes if they are fed on a homemade, raw diet.
Nevertheless, it is always beneficial to give your dog additional vitamin C since they are able to make their own but not enough to meet their needs for ideal bodily function.
Glucosamine is a supplement worth giving to your dog for reducing inflammation in his joints and can help to slow down aging, but your dog may already be getting enough of this if they are fed a raw, homemade diet.
Examine Your Dog
Grooming your dog is a great way to connect with him and make him feel good by removing shedding hair as well as giving you the opportunity to examine him for any abnormalities or skin problems such as tumors.
On top of brushing your dog, you could also check inside your dog’s mouth and brush his teeth daily for those breeds that might need it, since you could help prevent an oral disease that shortens their life, especially if it turns into a bacterial infection.
This daily grooming practice will help you to understand what is normal for your dog and catch any abnormalities before they become too problematic.
You may also want to do a more in-depth weekly exam.
This could include checking their, eyes, ears, mouth, abdomen, chest, temperature, and overall condition.
Any dramatic changes in these areas over a week can be easily spotted so that you can then refer your dog to be looked at by a professional if something is found.
Even if you have been conducting weekly examinations on your dog, you’ll want to also book them in for yearly examinations with a professional vet, or twice yearly as the dog becomes older.
Here the vet can perform blood screenings that might be able to catch a problem and treat it before it’s too late.
Give Your Dog Daily Exercise
Getting your dog to do more exercise will prolong not only their life, but also yours, since you’ll have a reason to get outdoors and walk, run, hike, or even swim with them.
Exercise is proven to help lower stress, increase endorphins, and help to balance mood that all lead to a longer, more happy life.
Exercise for dogs should last at least 30 minutes to get their body moving enough and raise their heart rate.
The amount can usually be adjusted according to his age since younger dogs might seem like they could run around for hours without getting tired.
This is absolutely fine if they have been given an adequate diet and time to rest.
Not only will your dog benefit from better physical health after taking daily exercise but it will also help to relieve boredom and keep their mind active and lead to better behavior.
Let Them Relax
Dogs are less stressed when they receive adequate relaxation time, so give them at least an hour a day where you do not disturb them or force them to do any activities if they’re not interested.
This will help to prolong their life and leave them with enough energy to get more exercise when they are ready for it.
If your dog doesn’t receive enough relaxation, they will be in a constant state of stress which can lead to them suffering from anxiety in the long term, so you’ll want to learn what the perfect balance between exercise and rest is for your dog.
All these tips will help to give your dog the happiest and healthiest life possible.
However, unfortunately, dogs do not outlive humans and you therefore should be realistic with your expectations.
Most of all, enjoy every moment with your dog and treat them as part of the family, without letting them overindulge too much.