There’s nothing as heart-warming as the bond between dog and owner, especially if that dog is living life to the fullest. Our four-legged friends are so special to us that we’d probably like them to outlive us. While that might be a bit unrealistic, there are steps you can take throughout your dog’s life to give them the best chance of living a long and healthy life – much longer than the average lifespan for their breed in some cases.
We’ve all heard the saying to ‘kill with kindness’, and in the case of over-feeding our dogs, it really is true. A lifelong study of labradors found that those fed 25% less than their siblings lived on average two years longer. Reward your dog with what he really wants – your attention, and save those treats for when Fido is really good.
FEED ONLY THE BEST
You really do get what you pay for when it comes to dog food, so to give your faithful friend the best chance of living a long and active life, don’t scrimp on what you put in the tank. Whether it’s kibble, wet food, raw, freshly prepared meals or a combination of all of these, make sure you choose foods with high quality ingredients from known sources that offer superior nutritional value.
Premium dog food brand EUKANUBA just completed 10 years of observations to help unlock the secrets of highly successful ageing in dogs. It showed that nearly 90% of the dogs fed on an all EUKANUBA diet went on to live longer than the typical lifespan for their breed. While the typical lifespan of a Labrador is 12 years, some dogs in the group went on to live as long as 17, 30% more than their typical lifespan. Meet these inspiring dogs in the video below!
Exercise is not only essential for weight management, but also for physical and mental stimulation – which is vital for your dog’s overall wellbeing. You can’t beat a good old fashioned walk for a bit of fresh air (great for you both!) but if you want to mix things up a bit, why not try swimming – around 15 minutes water play can be similar to an hour’s walk. If your dog is new to the water, check out our guide to introducing dogs and puppies to water. Agility training and running with groups like CaniX are also a great way to get fit with Fido.
If you are struggling to meet your dog’s exercise needs, consider getting a dog walker to ‘top up’ those times when you can’t get out – your dog will thank you for it!
CLEAN THOSE PEARLY WHITES
Your dog might not care if they have a Hollywood smile, but dental health in dogs is more important than you think. Without treatment, gum disease can lead to heart disease, kidney disease and other health issues. A bit of oral maintenance – including brushing with special (meat flavoured) dog toothpastes, giving your dog a fresh bone (always raw, never cooked) or chew to gnaw on could save you a lot of expense and heartache in the long run.
It’s easier than ever to monitor your dog’s health and fitness with a number of new pieces of wearable technology. Gadgets like Fitbark, Voyce and Whistle give you the tools to track your dog’s exercise, weight, food intake and even respiratory rates – which can all be displayed on a handy dashboard on your phone or tablet. Pick up problems early and stay on top of your dog’s wellbeing the easy way.
DITCH THE HUMAN FOOD
We all love our pets to death, but we may be literally loving them to death with some human treats that are not only calorific, but can also be toxic. Big no-no’s for dogs are chocolate, grapes, dried fruit, onion, avocado, and anything that’s high in sugar and salt.
DON’T FORGET CHECK-UPS
We all live busy lives and it can be easy to forget important dates for your dog’s check-ups. Simplify things by putting all your important pooch related appointments and reminders into a dog app like WonderWoof.
How could we leave this one out? Dogs are emotional beings and thrive in a loving environment. Make some quality time for your dog everyday – for a walk, some play or just a nice long cuddle.
*This post is sponsored by Eukanuba
Image credit: flickr.com