The average dog lives 10 to 13 years, but there are many things you can do to boost your pet’s health.
Here are six tips to help your dog live longer.
1. Don’t feed your dog too much
You need to be vigilant about how much your dog eats. A lean dog is a healthy dog, as obesity can cause many health problems including diabetes, cancer and arthritis.
"It's totally in our control, how heavy they are," says Dr Elizabeth Murphy, author of How to Age-Proof Your Dog.
"We choose dog foods for our dogs, we choose how much we feed them, we choose what treats to give them, and we govern a lot of their energy expenditure."
2. Don’t give your dog too much or too little exercise
While younger dogs can cope with a lot of physical activity, you need to be careful with older dogs, from around seven years of age. Too much exercise, or running and jumping after balls, can impact on their joints and cause arthritis.
Playing with your dog is a different ball game, as it helps to keep their brain active.
"It helps engage their mind and keep them active," dog instructor Alice Symons says. "People tell me that their dogs, once they go home from their nose work classes, they're completely exhausted and they just sleep."
3. Keep your home safe
According to Tim Norris, dog healer and founder of Both Ends of The Lead, you should ensure your home doesn’t have slippery floors which can cause falls in older dogs. Place plenty of non-slip surfaces around your home to keep your dog safe.
4. Brush their teeth
Keep your dog’s teeth free clean by brushing them twice a week. When plaque builds up, bacteria can spread to the kidney, liver and heart.
5. Spend time with your dog
Boost your dog’s health and wellbeing by showering it with affection and treating it like a member of your family.
"It's very very important to take your dog out every day, even if it's just to the post box or for a ride in the car, because it's stimulating," explains Dr. Madeline Yamate, founder of the Center for Integrative Animal Medicine
"Dogs are pack animals – they want to go places with you and be with you."
6. Provide a calm environment
Stress can affect dogs, just like humans. The key is to identify the triggers and try to eliminate them.
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