When your dog is young and healthy, it is easy to forget about or ignore the fact that as they age, they may well become more prone to a range of health conditions and problems in later life. Keeping your dog fit, healthy and well into old age is something that you should begin while your dog is still young, and there are several ways that you can invest in their long-term good health and wellness without breaking the bank or taking up too much of your time.
Read on to learn five really simple tips that can ultimately lengthen your dog’s life, and ensure that they stay healthy well into old age.
All responsible dog owners know that it is not appropriate to allow their dogs to roam free in the streets, but how much attention do you really pay to your dog when they are out and about?
If your dog goes out into your garden on their own or you let them run freely in fields and parks when you are out and about, can you ensure that they stay safe?
Dogs that spend a lot of time roaming freely without supervision are at risk of a whole range of problems, including exposure to pathogens and diseases, road accidents, and fights with other dogs. Even a minor illness or accident when your dog is young and healthy and can shake it off can cause problems as your dog ages; for instance, injuries to the limbs and joints pose an increased risk of joint stiffness and conditions such as arthritis in the affected area as your dog gets older.
A fit, healthy, active dog needs a good quality diet to support their health, both while they are young and to ensure that the body and mind stay healthy into old age. If your dog is fed a good quality diet, their skin will be healthy, their coat shiny, and their eyes and nose will be bright and clean. Their breath will not be offensive, their stools will be firm and healthy, and their immune system will be strong.
Good nutrition and ensuring that your dog eats a balanced diet with all of the trace elements that they need when they are young will set them up for a healthy old age. A good quality balanced diet can also help to support brain aging, joint health, and long-term wellness.
Steer clear of foods with a lot of bright colours in them, or that are heavy in grains and fillers; instead, pick a complete diet that is rich in good quality protein and essential vitamins.
If you asked most dog owners to pick out a healthy-weight dog from a line-up, the majority of them would actually pick a dog that is slightly overweight.
The healthy weight dog should be lean and fit, without a layer of fat padding over their bodies. You should be able to feel the dog’s ribs with gentle pressure, and not a layer of fat!
Being obese or even just overweight can significantly shorten your dog’s lifespan, and place them at risk of developing a whole host of weight-related conditions. Obesity in the dog can lead to problems such as diabetes, additional strain on the joints, heart problems and many others, so ration your dog’s food, and ensure that they get enough exercise!
A healthy mouth, teeth and gums are as important for dogs as they are for people, but sadly, this is often overlooked! Get your dog used to having their teeth cleaned while they are still young and willing to accept it, and get into a routine of cleaning your dog’s teeth two or three times a week.
Your dog’s breath should not smell foul, and black, decaying gums are not the norm; your dog’s teeth too should not be covered in plaque deposits. Poor dental hygiene in the dog can lead to a range of problems including dental disease, pain when eating and failure to get the full benefit out of their meals.
Significantly poor teeth and gums left unchecked long term can even have more serious implications, by causing digestive infections and upsets and even leading to kidney disease or heart problems.
Your dog should visit the vet a minimum of once a year, in order to get their booster vaccinations and receive a thorough health check. While your dog is young and healthy, it is easy to forget the importance of these visits, or delay them and put them off until a problem arises.
Ensuring that your dog sees the vet regularly is important, in order to catch any developing problems quickly and so that your vet becomes familiar with your dog’s healthy norms. Don’t dodge your routine vet visits, and of course, ensure that your dog sees the vet promptly if they become ill in-between check-ups.