Let’s start with the bad news: There’s no quick fix for extending your dog’s lifespan. However—and this is the good news—with continued effort and careful care, you can give your pup the best possible chance at a long and healthy life. Here’s 10 things you can do to enjoy a few extra years with your beloved fur baby.
1. Improve Their Diet
Avoiding overfeeding, choosing healthier, more natural foods, and adopting a breed appropriate diet can help improve and extend your pup’s life. In general, aim for diets that are as natural and raw as possible, avoiding fillers like wheat, corn, sugar and generic animal fats. We suggest consulting a vet or holistic vet to address your pup’s specific dietary needs.
2. Exercise Them More
Exercise helps your pup maintain a healthy weight, decreases their stress levels, and curbs behavior issues, along with countless other physical and mental benefits. While the amount of exercise will depend on breed, age and health, aim to get at least one session of aerobic exercise daily.
Check out these 5 Fun Ways to Exercise with Your Dog! 😎 🐶
3. Exercise the Mind, Too
Mental health is just as important as physical health when it comes to you pup’s lifespan. Bored dogs are more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, as well as other mental and physical ailments. Socialization with both people and dogs, training, and daily playtime are essential to keeping your pooch sharp as they age.
4. Pay Attention to Dental Health
It’s astonishing how many pet parents neglect their doggy’s teeth. In addition to pain and reduced quality of life, poor dental hygiene is directly associated with heart disease and organ damage, which means a shorter life for your dog. It might feel intimidating at first, but improving your pup’s oral care isn’t really that hard or time-consuming. First thing’s first, visit the vet for a dental checkup and tips for brushing your pooch’s chompers. Brush daily thereafter and keep annual dental checkups to stay informed about the state of your pup’s dental hygiene.
For more Tips on Brushing Your Dog's Teeth, click here.
Also, check out these 7 Ways to Freshen Your Dog's Breath Naturally.
5. Visit the Vet More
Regardless of how healthy your dog seems, regular vet visits are still very important. Uncovering health complications early significantly improves your pup’s chance of overcoming whatever issue they might face. Plus, as your pup ages, a vet can supply you with tips for keeping them in tip-top shape between visits. Preventive care is one of the easiest and most effective ways to extend your pooch’s life.
6. Pay Attention to Warning Signs
Stinky breath, excessive drooling, a change in appetite or sleeping patterns, lethargy, diarrhea—all could be early warning signs of a serious health problem. If your dog’s mood, energy, or activity levels change suddenly, it’s a good idea to get them checked over by a vet. Consistently monitoring your pet’s health is a big step toward helping them enjoy a longer life.
7. Reduce Exposure to Harmful Chemicals
Chemicals present in household cleaners, lawn & garden products, flea & tick formulas and other pet products can shorten your doggy’s lifespan. Because many of these chemicals are bioaccumulative—meaning they build up in the body over time—even repeated minor exposure is enough to impact your dog’s health. Consider switching out these products for non-toxic alternatives, especially when it comes to lawn pesticides and topical insect repellents. Doing so will lessen you and your family’s exposure, too.
8. Let Them Chill Out
Just like people, dogs age poorly if they’re constantly stressed. Exercise and playtime are crucial to the health of your pet, but there’s a limit and moderation is key. Relaxation and downtime play a crucial role in a healthy and balanced doggy lifestyle. Allow your pup a few hours alone each day to sleep or rest as they see fit. Additionally, do not coerce your dog to play or socialize if they’re simply not in the mood, chances are they need a break.
9. Enrich Their Lives
Introducing new experiences and adding variety to your dog’s life not only improves their quality of life but can actually help extend it, too. Much like humans, boredom and a sedentary lifestyle are counterproductive to a long and healthy lifespan. Up your pet parent game by taking your pooch on more outings—like dog park visits, playdates, even vacations and simple errands. Practicing and learning new tricks also works to keep their mind nimble and engaged.
10. Groom Them More Often
Grooming is about more than vanity. Regular brushing and bathing can help uncover foreign bodies that might be lurking in your pup’s coat. From painful burrs to bacteria to disease-carrying pests, items lodged in your dog’s fur can cause not only pain but also illness, and the sooner you address these hazards the less chance they have of affecting your pooch’s health.Have a senior doggo? Learn How to Care for Your Senior Dog: 6 Tips.