By : Nelson Ansah
This very minute in Florida, there’s a 21-year-old chihuahua named TobyKeith lying on his owner while they watch TV. Yes, a 21-year-old dog, and he’s the oldest dog alive as of March 2022. Now, how’s that possible?
When questioned about her dog’s longevity, Gisela said “I believe TobyKeith’s continued health is helped by regular exercise and a healthy diet, consisting of vegetables, rice, and chicken, and no sugary treats.” Her answer implies that you can indeed help your dog live longer.
However, achieving this longevity goes beyond exercise and a good diet. In this article, we’ll provide you with essential tips that boost your dog’s lifespan so you can enjoy some time together.
Let’s get this out of the way though: all dogs have different lifespans and genetics. But these tips will help your dog live a while longer, no matter the breed. Let’s begin, shall we?
Keep Your Dog on a Healthy Balanced Diet
The first step towards a longer life for your dog is a healthy diet. In most cases, a healthy diet translates to less food for your dog. Here’s what I mean.
A study by the American Veterinary Medical Association revealed that breeding your dog on a restricted diet plan expands its lifespan by two years. The study further explains that a restricted diet is about 25 percent less of the recommended food intake.
While a healthy diet is an excellent way to help your dog live longer, it doesn’t mean you should starve your dog. You‘ll need guidance from your vet on the right amount of food for your dog.
Additionally, you need to consider the quality of your dog’s food. One way to know your dog’s food quality is to look out for the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) tag on the labels. It’s also advisable to prioritize whole foods over generic dog feed.
Give Your Dog Regular Exercises
Regular exercise is another way to help your dog live longer. It boosts your dog’s mobility and strengthens its muscles, thereby increasing its lifespan. It’s just as Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, says, “Strong dogs stay young”.
Aside from the physical benefits of exercising, the routine keeps your dog happy. Exercises help release certain sensory stimulants that prevent boredom in your dog and groom them into the perfect companion.
There are several ways to exercise your dog. You can go for extended walks in the evening, go for a swim or even put treats in their favorite play toys so they can hunt for them.
Remember to be creative about the exercises too. Mixing your workoutsup with socialization, for instance, gives your dog something to look forward to after an exercise.
Maintain a Good Mental Health
Cognitive functions in dogs are more vital than you’d imagine. A dog with a sharp mind is energetic, happy, and bubbly. These are all attributes that can boost your dog’s longevity.
There are several ways to keep your pup’s mind active always. Some of these ways include:
- One on one attention
- Training toys
- Walking sessions
Even chasing after frisbees is an excellent mind stimulator for your dog.
Of course, you may have a dog who is just too lazy for any sort of exercise. What you do in this situation is to trick your dog into exercising. It’s quite simple.
You can put aside a part of your dog’s meal and use it as a treat for your dog later. For instance, you can stand across the room and beckon your dog to come for a treat. Once he eats the first batch, you can move to the other side of the room and call him over again. Repeat this for a while and you’ll see that you’ve exercised your dog a bit.
Additionally, you can put some dry kibble in his favorite toys. Ensure that he’ll have to work for the treat instead of simply cracking open a container. It’s a good idea to stuff the kibble into a hard rubber toy for increased effort.
Seek Preventative Care
Wouldn’t it be nice to whack out your dog’s health problems before they emerge? Well, there’s a way to do it; preventative care.
With preventative care, you’ll be visiting your vet or groomer for checkups on your dog. It’s likely your vet has known your dog for a long time and can spot when something is wrong. Even if your vet is new, a routine checkup allows him to identify your dog’s medical issues before they escalate.
Moreover, your vet can prescribe exercises or some recommended supplements that can help your dog live longer.
Regular Dental Care
Providing dental care for your dog is an essential part of being a dog owner. Every food your dog eats produces some residue which aids in tartar buildup. Tartar, in turn, calcifies and harbors bacteria that destroy your dog’s teeth.
Consequently, you need to regularly brush your dog’s teeth to prevent these bacteria from forming. Bad dental hygiene results in plaque, gingivitis, or periodontal disease.
These bacterial infections are serious in dogs as some of them are known to cause heart problems. Luckily, you can keep these problems at bay with simple activities. These include
- Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth
- Providing chew toys that help clean the gums
- Dental treats
Additionally, you should visit your dentist for regular dental checkups on your dog. It’s recommended that humans visit the dentist every 6 to 12 months for dental hygiene checks. Its the same for dogs.
You can’t change your dog’s genetics, that’s true. But there are ways through which you can extend its lifespan. Luckily, it’s not difficult.
You can help your dog live longer by providing a healthy balanced diet and taking regular physical and mental exercises to bolster its system. You can also seek preventative care and visit your vet regularly for dental checkups.
If you can put these tips to use consistently, you’ll boost your dog’s longevity for sure.