Wouldn’t it be great to live with your beloved dog for a long, long time?
Pet owners often dream of spending the rest of their lives with their canines.
Did you know that there are several things you can do to make it happen?
As a dog parent, paying attention to dog health should be your top priority to increase the lifespan of your pet. Here is a short guide to help ensure that your wonderful pet will stay with you for the longest time possible.
How Long Does Dogs Live?
How long can dogs live? Longevity of a dog’s life can vary a lot, and there are various factors that can affect how long your pet can live. From the genetics and breeding of your dog, up to the way you care for pet and your lifestyle as a whole, all of these can affect the life expectancy of your pooch.
Basically, the average life of dogs is 11 up to 12 years. Based on a study of more than 15,000 dogs, it was discovered that 20% of the ones sampled were able to live beyond their 14th birthday yet less than 10% were able to make it to their 15th birthday.
However, not all dogs or dog breeds reached as far as what you can considered as old age. Sadly, dogs’ average life expectancy as a whole doesn’t really help in determining the length of time a certain dog can live. This is because the stark differences between structures, sizes, and breeds of dogs differ a lot.
Most breeds of dogs that die on average at a much younger age don’t really become old. Instead, they died during adulthood because of inherent issues with their genetics or structure. If you like to know how long your particular dog can live, there are many things you have to consider.
When checking the life expectancy and age of a dog, most people are interested to learn how to convert dog years into human years. Most of the time, they look for a dog age chart or dog age calculator that will let them know the specific life stage their pet is at based on human standards, and if their pet can become the oldest dog in the world.
The common belief is that a single dog year is equivalent to 7 human years. It means that a 5-year old dog for instance is equivalent to a human of 35 years old. This makes sense if you will look at the breed who manages to live as much as 12 years. They will already be in early 80s during the end of their life, which is also the average lifespan for humans.
Sadly, even if the system is fun, this doesn’t really make much sense. Canines are different from humans. They mature and grow at different rates, with their longevity associated to their specific background and breeding that can give considerably different predictions.
The calculation is very inaccurate if you will look at a dog whose genetics, environment, and breed have him set up to live up to 16 years.
The age of a dog in human years might be fun but it is not a good way to work out how best to manage and understand your canine companion.
What matters the most is to ensure dog health and happiness, and doing everything possible for him to be in his best level of health.
Improve Dog Diet (Eat Good Food)
Among the best means to improve dog health and dramatically reduce your medical expenses is to feed your pet with higher quality food then feed them less of that food. Yes, you read that right. You have to give them less of the best food for your dog.
You might find it hard to resist giving your furry friend another treat when he begs for it. However, the latest studies have shed a brand new light when it comes to evaluation of the nutritional portion control, its relationship to how soon different chronic diseases can develop, and your pet’s lifespan.
The most common type of diet given to dogs all over the world is commercial kibble dog food that cannot be considered as real food diet. Essentially, commercial kibble is nothing but dehydrated vitamin pellet produced from overcooked ingredients and contains disease-promoting and poor quality additives. Sadly, majority of dog food makers care more about their money instead of the wellness and health of your pet. Even if your pet can survive on that bag of kibble available at your grocery store, there is no way they will thrive. Poor diet can lead to poor physical condition, weaker body, lack of disease resistance, and worst, a shorter life.
Can bad choices in your pet’s diet have an effect on dog health? Yes, it definitely can. On rare occasions, a dog can live a long life without suffering the effects of poor quality diet with kibble but this isn’t the common result. Giving poor quality kibble to your dog is just like eating fast food alone. You will eventually develop disease and illness and live a life of low quality because of poor health directly resulting from your diet. In the same way that you pay the price when you eat fries, milkshakes, and cheeseburgers, your pet pays the price as well.
A real food diet is just how it sounds, a diet composed of real food only. This mean cooked, raw, or combination of the two, without any preservatives, harmful additives, or junk ingredients. Real food diet contains living enzymes, living nutrition, and appropriate food species which promote disease resistance, health, and longevity. Two good examples of real food diet is homemade dog food diet and raw food diet. While these two diets means that you have to personally tackle the nutrition of your pet on your own without the convenience offered by commercial kibble, you can be sure that it will dramatically change the life of your dog for the better.
Real food can promote dog health in the same way that a healthy diet can make a difference in your life. When you eat more vegetables, fruits, lean protein, healthy grains, and avoid fast and junk food, you can find yourself looking better, feeling better, suffering from sickness less often, and of course, living longer. This also applies for your dog. A diet low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and doesn’t contain grains is the secret for your dog to feel better, get stronger, and live longer.
Further read: How to Treat Fever in Dogs
Dog Needs Exercise (Make Them Active)
Try to imagine a canine living in the primitive era. He tracks the wilderness for long hours miles after miles with a hungry stomach. He gathers with family and friends to howl when the moon is full. You are thinking about an animal that belongs to the very same species as your pet cuddled next to you on your couch. You might even be surprised that your dog shares a lot in common with a wolf. After all, your furry friend was domesticated from Grey Wolf itself.
Wolves have the ability to run as much as 35 miles daily in the search for food they can feed their pack or family that often has 40 members. While the food of your dog is probably given by its human family and own pack, the exercise that his ancestors do everyday are one part of primitive hunt which remains embedded in the DNA of your pet. Of course, there’s no need for your pooch to be on the move every day all day, yet the benefits of at least a single walk daily can have a great effect on their health and your four-legged friend’s longevity.
When you don’t exercise your dog adequately, he will surely let you know right away. Your pooch could formulate a variety of attention-grabbing and irksome habits. These can include whining and barking without any apparent reasons, digging holes in your garden, nipping at your socks, destroying items around your house, waking you up at 3 in the morning just to play fetch, and probably investigating that garbage can. These are just some of the examples how your pet tries doing something constructive to use up their excess energy. Similar to wolves, canines need exercise for stimulating their brain. Meanwhile, lack of stimulation can lead to aggressive behaviors.
Even a simple stroll around the community will not just give your pet physical benefits as it also helps them on the mental level. With the hereditary love for the great outdoors, your canine finds excellent satisfaction in the ability to take a sniff around and discover the environment outside the house. If you go for two or three walks every day, it will substantially help establish the self-confidence of your dog, strengthen his social skills, and ease acceptance of new environments and situations.
When you struggle to find time to take your pet out for a stroll, you have to remember that just letting them outside in your backyard will not give the same effects on behavior. Since pets are social by nature, they are probably spending the time standing around while waiting for you. A tug-of-war or fetch game is all your pet needs for physical and mental stimulation and the social interactions might go a long way to promote a healthy and happy life.
Giving your dogs enough exercise doesn’t need to require a physical exertion on your part. Activities that require attention is good for the growth of the mind of your pet. A good example of an easy task can be a food puzzle like determining the ways to retrieve treats from the Kong toy’s inside. Another wonderful game that your dog might love is hide and seek. Hiding from dogs and enabling them to use their retrieving and tracking instincts to find you is surely a great game and exercise.
The most beneficial and complex type of mental stimulation is formal training. Through learning new commands and tricks, the mental capacities of your dog are expanded greatly, growing with obedience and loyalty for the loving owner that is teaching them. Another way to exercise both the mind and body of your pet is an obstacle course.
Daily physical and mental activity is absolutely beneficial for the health of your dog, yet it is essential to know the limits of your pets before pushing them. Short-legged and small breeds do not have to walk as much as bigger dogs as well as breeds with short or flat noses basically have trouble breathing during a vigorous exercise. Sustained jogging or running is not good for the young dog’s growing bones and the bones and joints of the bigger dogs that are often prone to ligament injuries and arthritis.
Breeds including Doberman and German Shepherd must not be exercised after eating for the reason that their narrow body and deep chest makes them prone to bloating. It is essential to consider the dog’s anatomy and age before increasing their physical activity, yet you may always ask your veterinarian to help with creating the best and perfect plan for exercise.
Your bond with your dog will strengthen with the time spent playing and exercising together. Bad behaviors resulted from stress and the solitude will morph slowly into trust and confidence. With this, your dog will be more inclined to cuddle on your couch instead of chewing it up. Healthy dogs are happy dogs and exercising daily promotes weight control, which will keep your dog agile and limber and helping him experience relief from various digestive problems.
When compared to Grey Wolf, the dogs have been known as a man’s best friend after years of companionship and cooperation with their masters. Pets also dedicate their lives to loving and pleasing their owners and the best parents of pets provide their loyal of friends with same compassion and care in return.
Dog Hygiene (Clean dog = Healthy Dog)
Like human beings, pets like dogs may experience skin conditions that could cause odor, itchiness, redness, and wounds. Luckily, most skin conditions can be prevented with regular grooming and bathing. According to animal experts, dog hygiene at home is very important to keep your dog healthy and fit.
On contrary, there are some dogs that don’t typically need a bath to maintain healthy coat and skin. However, there are other dogs that could benefit from bathing to help keep their skin and coat healthy. Other than that, the dogs need regular grooming and bathing with a frequency that basically depends on their coat and skin health.
According to vets, dogs without any abnormalities on their skin may benefit from a bath several times a year or once they get dirty. But, dogs with some skin problems frequently need more bathing and there are cases that they can benefit from particular medicated shampoos. If a dog has skin problems, you must discuss bathing recommendations or suggestions with your vet for you to ensure that you are doing the right thing.
Even if your vet may examine the skin of your pet during a check-up, there are instances that skin abnormalities may develop between appointments. Once you have noticed any abnormalities while grooming or bathing your pet, you must have your dog examined by a vet. Several noticeable changers could increase dander and odor and could lead to itching or discomfort in your dog.
Other than that, dogs with long hair coats are actually prone to matting. This could irritate the dog’s skin and led to wounds once clipped out or removed. Moreover, dogs with long hair are at high risk for a fly strike and having maggots hidden within their mats and under their hair coat. Such creatures may damage the skin further, causing infections, wounds, death, and sepsis. More persistent and severe skin conditions can benefit from examinations done by boarded specialists in veterinary dermatology.
Keeping the dog’s ears clean is another essential part of dog hygiene at home. Many dog owners bathe their dogs on a regular basis to keep their coat healthy, yet cleaning ears are often neglected. So, make sure that it’s also part of the typical dog hygiene routine. When cleaning the ears of your dog, experts recommended saturating any cotton ball with the use of an approved ear cleaner by your vet. Then, place it gently in the ear canal of your dog and massage it to help deliver the cleaner along the canal’s length. Make sure to have an extra cotton ball to wipe out any excess fluid after your dog shakes his head. Q-tips must not be used when cleaning the ears of your dog as this could result to possible damage of ear canals.
Experts also added that ear problems frequently manifest with rubbing and scratching at the ears, discharge, foul odor, and redness. Several animals including dogs that swim often are prone to ear issues than some animals and must be monitored always. Apart from that, pet owners must discuss some appropriate recommendations on ear cleaning with their vet. Poor dog hygiene could result in serious health consequences once not addressed properly.
Even if your dog might seem to hate bath regularly, proper dog hygiene at home is necessary for you to keep your dog healthy. If you have some concerns or problems with the bathing and grooming routine of your dog, never hesitate to consult your vet.
While there are particularly a set of standalone immunizations like rabies vaccine, there are convenience multivalent shots that could protect puppies from a variety of dangerous illnesses. It is also essential to take for consideration of where you reside and what type of regular contact dogs will have not only with some dogs, yet with their environment, can go a long way to know which vaccines are most crucial to well-being and health. Although not every dog is adopted at 8 weeks of age, usually when they’ve been weaned and got natural antibodies from their mother via nursing.
These vaccines are the ones that AAHA or American Animal Hospital Association deems important for every dog, not only for their own longevity and health, yet also as a kind of public safety. In its recent iteration, published in year 2011, the Canine Vaccination Task Force of AAHA determined that the vaccines against parvovirus, hepatitis, distemper, and rabies are very important. Among the available vaccines these days, the one that’s required by law in most places is rabies vaccine.
Regardless if your dog is still a puppy, a senior dog or has reached maturity, any dog with unverifiable or unknown vaccination history must get the core vaccines. These are beneficial for the dog’s own good and to reduce, if not eliminated, the risk of spreading deadly and preventable contagious diseases to others is high. The non-core vaccines are the vaccines against leptospirosis, measles, coronavirus, canine parainfluenza, bordetella or lyme disease are left to the discretion of the vet and dog owner.
Know the Vaccination Schedule That Fits the Needs of Your Dog
A final consideration that you should keep in mind in terms of scheduling boosters and vaccines for senior dogs and puppies is that every vaccine isn’t the same when it comes to effectiveness. There are vaccines that provide a long protection period than others. Leptospirosis and Bordetella vaccines might require jabs yearly. There are also some factors that must be considered. These may include whether you reside in a high-risk area, where you live or your dog is exposed to various diseases can make a big difference.
Consult with the vet to know exactly what diseases can be prevented by vaccines. Vets are the ones knowledgeable regarding the risk factors not just in your area, but also regarding the needs of your dog. Aside from that, it is also important to ask about the survival rate of parvovirus. Through this combination, dog owners will be able to make the most rational and informed decisions regard what shots that dog requires during the course of a healthy and long life.