Wouldn’t it be great if our dogs could live as long as we do? We can’t make that happen, but we can make their lives happy, healthy, and pain-free for as long as they’re with us by doing a few easy things for them as they grow up and age.
A Healthy Diet
Talk to your veterinarian about what diet is right for your dog. There are so many choices out there and the quality varies a lot. Age, weight, overall health and lifestyle are big factors to consider. Being overweight can significantly impact your dog’s health, leading to arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Make sure you are feeding at mealtimes only and stay away from sharing table scraps, those extra calories add up fast.
You can use food puzzles to feed every meal, keeping your dog’s brain active and engaged. You can rotate between different puzzles to prevent boredom. These puzzles also encourage physical activity and help prevent eating too fast. You can also hide kibble around the house or stuff some inside a kong toy, making feeding time more of a game.
Just like us, our dogs need regular exercise to keep them healthy and to maintain their ideal weight. Even older dogs enjoy short walks around the block or playing fetch in the backyard. If your dog has achy joints, talk to your veterinarian about options for chronic pain management.
Training doesn’t have to stop when your dog leaves puppyhood. It is never too late to teach an old dog new tricks. Keeping your dog engaged and mentally active will help keep him young at heart. It will also support the human-animal bond and be a fun way to spend time with your dog.
Regular check ups with your veterinarian will help catch illness earlier, which means that long term pain and suffering can be prevented before they start, improving your dog’s prognosis and quality of life. Young dogs should be seen once annually and dogs over seven should be seen every 6 months, even if they appear healthy.
With all of these tips, your dog can have a long, healthy life from puppy hood to the golden years.