Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to prolonging your dog’s life. While each dog breed is different in terms of lifespan, making the right choices for your dog will help maximize your time together. From food choices to hygiene, learn six tips to help your dog live longer.
1. Keep your dog active
Just like for people, getting exercise is an important part of keeping your dog healthy and increasing their lifespan. Not only are walks and playtime in the park a great chance to bond with your dog, but are also great ways to keep them in good shape. Between 20-40% of all adult dogs seen by veterinarians in the US are considered overweight or obese, so regular exercise is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight.
Regular exercise can prevent obesity which can be linked to diseases such as high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. Keeping your dog in shape mitigates these risks and promotes a longer happier life.
2. Feed your dog a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet works in tandem with exercise in maintaining a healthy weight and preventing diseases. Feed your dog healthy, natural dog foods and make sure to read pet food labels so you don’t give them excess sodium, sugars, or unnecessary fillers. It is important to limit how much food your dog eats so that they do not overconsume food or gain too much weight. In fact, studies show that dogs who are put on calorie-restricted diets tend to live longer than dogs who are fed more.
3. Never miss a vet appointment
Just like how visiting the doctor for a checkup is how people stay healthy, regular visits to the vet ensure that your dog’s health is in check. Going to the vet for regular checkups can help identify underlying health issues your dog may have before they become more serious.
You should also be prepared for emergencies by knowing the location of the closest 24-hour animal hospital in your area and how to get there. Learning emergency basics like the Heimlich maneuver for dogs can save your pet if an accident happens.
4. Keep them mentally stimulated
It’s important for your dog to be happy as well as healthy. Keeping your dog mentally stimulated by playing with them, taking them on walks, meeting other animals, chewing on bones or toys, etc. can prevent problems like anxiety and depression. Involving your dog in a variety of activities allows their mind to stay active.
5. Brush your dog’s teeth
You brush your teeth every day, why should your dog be any different? While often overlooked, dental hygiene for dogs is an important aspect of overall health. Regular teeth-brushing prevents plaque, gingivitis, and periodontal disease – and expensive trips to the vet for a cleaning! Regular teeth-brushing also helps with bad breath.
6. Filter your dog’s water
Tap water can contain contaminants that aren’t good for your dog to drink. Substances like heavy metals, chlorine, pharmaceutical runoff, and more can go straight into your dog’s water bowl if you don’t use a filter first. Additionally, your dog’s water bowl should be made out of stainless steel or glass, as plastic can leach into water over time. Washing your dog’s water bowl at least once a week will help prevent a buildup of bacteria.
Keeping these tips in mind will help your dog lead a longer, healthier life. As each dog and breed is different, talk to your vet about the best health choices for your pet.
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