As anyone who has ever lived with a dog will know, it often feels like we don’t get enough time with our furry friends. Most dogs only live to be 10 to 14 years old on average, although some may be able to live longer naturally, while others may be susceptible to certain diseases that can limit their lifespan.
But what many people don’t know is that humans and dogs have many genetic similarities—including a predisposition to… age-related cancer. This means that many of the things people can do to be healthier and live longer can work for dogs too.
Here are just a few ways you can help your dog live a longer, healthier life.
1. Watch their waist
A factor repeatedly associated with longevity over a period of time range of species is to maintain a healthy body weight. That means making sure dogs aren’t overweight and carefully managing their calorie intake. Not only is a lean, healthy body weight better for your dog in the long run, it can also help mitigate the impact of certain health conditions. like osteoarthritis.
Carefully monitor and manage your dog’s body weight by weighing regularly or score body condition – where you look at your dog’s physical shape and “score” them on a scale to check if they are overweight or healthy. Using both methods together will allow you to identify weight changes and adjust their diet if necessary.
Use feeding guidelines as a starting point for how much to feed your dog, but you may need to change the type or amount you feed to maintain a healthy weight as your dog gets older, or depending on how much activity he is taking gets. Knowing exactly how much you feed your dog is also a crucial weight management tool – so weigh their food instead of: scoop in it on the eye.
More generally, good nutrition may be linked to a healthy aging process, suggesting that what you feed may be just as important as how much you feed. “Good” food will be different for every dog, but be sure to look for foods that are safe, tasty and contain all the nutrients your dog needs.
2. Lots of walks
Exercise has many physiological and psychological benefits, both for our dogs (and we). Physical activity can help to body weight of the dog, and is also associated with anti-aging effects in other genetically similar species.
While exercise alone won’t extend your dog’s lifespan, it can help protect both of you from carrying excess body weight. And indeed, research suggests that “happy” dog walks lead to both happy dogs and people.
3. Teach Them New Tricks
Getting older isn’t just physical. It is also helpful in keeping your dog’s mind active. Contrary to the popular saying, you can teach old dogs new tricks – and you can just keep their brains and bodies therefore younger.
Even with physical activity may be limited, explore alternative low-impact games and pursuits, like scent work that you and your dog can do together. Using their noses is an intrinsically rewarding and fun thing for dogs to do, so training dogs to find items by scent will exercise them both Mentally and physically.
A stable bond between caregiver and dog can help create a happy and mutual beneficial partnership between you and your dog. It can also help you spot subtle changes in your dog’s behavior or movement that could indicate potential problems.
where there is compatibility between caretaker and dog, this leads to a better relationship – and even benefits for owners, including: pressure relief and practice. Share positive, fun experiences with your dog, including play with them, are great for strengthening your bond.
5. Don’t skip vet visits
Modern veterinary medicine has seen significant improvements in the prevention and management of health problems in dogs. Successful vaccination and parasite management programs have effective reduced the incidence of disease in both dogs and humans – including toxocariasis, which can be transmitted from dog feces to humans, and rabies, which can be passed from dog to dog or from dog to human.
If you have a good relationship with your vet, you can tailor treatments and discuss your dog’s needs. Regular health checks can also be helpful in identifying potential problems at a treatable stage – as dental problems or arthrosis – which can cause pain and negatively affect the dog’s well-being.
Ultimately, it is a combination of our dog’s genetics and the environment they live in that affects their longevity. So while we can’t change their genetics, there are many things we can do to improve their health that may help them live longer and healthier lives.