Dog Life Spans
Increasing the life span of your dog is a topic we love to read about and write about. We firmly believe that being healthy and fit will help your dog live a longer and happier life. But how long should you expect your dog to live and what can you do to give them a longer life? There are life expectancy charts that we have published previously that give you an average life spans by breed of dog that you can review. But increasing their longevity is within your control, so we wanted to give you some insight and tips on increasing the odds that your dog will live a longer, healthier life:
- Healthy weight: We know that “healthy” is subjective and what many people think is healthy is usually about 5lbs too heavy. A dog is better off on the slender side rather than on the heavy side, so err on the side of being too slim. If you feed your dog a healthy diet you likely won’t need to supplement their vitamin intake, but you must read the label and know what you are giving your dog. Our rule of thumb is too feed your dog the highest quality food you can afford.
- Exercise: we can’t talk about the importance of exercise enough. It’s critical for your health as well as your dog’s health. Even if it’s just a 15 minute walk two times a day – movement is life.
- Social interaction: It’s important for dogs to interact with their own kind. It builds a healthy well-rounded and stimulated dog as well as gives them time for play. Play is as important to your dog’s mental state as vacations and Sunday football games or outings to the beach are to yours. Be sure to indulge in both!
- Mental stimulation: Sitting in front of the TV watching reruns of Seinfeld can be good, mindless entertainment on occasion. But doing it all the time, turns your brain into mush. The same holds true for dogs, the same toy, the same game of fetch, the same walk become boring and routine and their brain starts slowing down. Keep your pup stimulated by changing the routine – try a different route for your walk – buy new toys once in awhile, use some brain stimulating treat dispensing toys to really give their brain a workout.
- Regular Vet Checks: You are the best monitor of your dogs health, but regular physical checkups to detect underlying problems that you can’t see is also critical to keeping a healthy pet. Don’t wait till it’s an emergency.
- Meet your dogs needs: Adjusting the routine to meet the dog’s needs is an item not talked about enough. We’ve started to notice Jack is slowing down a tiny bit and while he is still strong as an ox we know it is time to adjust our routines with him. That means shorter runs, a little less food to keep his weight down and arthritis at bay and most of all a heightened awareness on our end for signs of stress, discomfort or illness. Dogs are naturally stoic. They try hard not to show signs of pain or discomfort, so you have to be able to read them in order to identify small problems before they become big problems.
I know that’s a long list, but if you are looking to increase your dog’s life span then it’s something you have to work at to attain. Just as it takes work to keep yourself healthy, it takes work to keep your dog healthy too.
Tell us what YOU do to give your dog a longer life.
Thoughtless Thursday By Ruckus the Eskie and co-host Love is being owned by a Husky
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