The average lifespan of a dog is between 10 and 13 years, though some breeds live much shorter. Great Danes, for example, have an average lifespan as short as 6 years. However, strengthening the quality of your pup’s life, through a good diet and by having a happy relationship with him, can do wonders for his life expectancy.
In fact, there are many things you can do to ensure your four-legged furbaby leads a happy and healthy life for as long as possible. Here are 7 ways to boost your dog’s health and happiness:
1. Happy Dog Equals Healthy Dog
Just like for humans, stress is one of the biggest detriments to your dog’s health and can cause all kinds of mental and physical diseases. Understanding what makes our canine friends happy is the first step in keeping them healthy and stress-free.
You are the center of your pup’s universe. If you’re not spending enough time with her, she will be sad. And, just being in the same room with her might not be enough. Various studies have shown that dogs’ bodies secrete endorphins (the happiness hormones) when they have physical contact with humans, so keep up the cuddling!
Also, even though you’re the most important person in your pup’s life, you two aren’t the same species. Your dog needs to spend some time with her own kind. Playing, running and socializing with other dogs is not only good for her emotional life, but is guaranteed to keep her physically fit and healthier.
2. Keep Your Dog Fit
Another critical aspect of health we have in common with our pups is exercise. Depending on where you live and how much space your dog has to run around, he may or may not be getting enough. If your dog is not getting enough exercise, he can become lethargic, overweight and unhappy.
Being overweight puts your dog at much greater risk for cardiovascular problems, diabetes, kidney issues, and more. Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems dogs face is that dog owners are often unaware of how much their pups’ lack of fitness is hurting them.
To determine if your dog needs to go on a diet, you can perform the so-called rib test. If you can spot the ribs under his skin, he is most likely at a good weight. Of course, if his ribs are showing too much, he might be too skinny. If you’re unsure whether his weight is in a healthy range, check with your vet.
Do your best to get your dog out at least once a day for a walk or run. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent disease and keep his tail a-waggin’.
3. Feed Your Dog the Best Food
Controlling what and how much your dog eats is another big factor in keeping her healthy. Because dogs are omnivores, they can eat almost any kind of food, which means it is not always easy to determine their ideal diet:
- Feeding her too much meat could cause kidney problems
- Giving her too many carbohydrates could mess up her blood sugar levels
- Basing her diet on fats and oils could wreak havoc on her cardiovascular system
So, what kind of diet should your dog have? The simple rule is: the more variety of foods, the better. You need to ensure that her diet is packed with different nutrients if you want her to live a long and healthy life.
The simplest way to make sure your pup gets the right amount of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals is to buy canned dog food or use granules. Unfortunately, not all products on the market are equally nutritious, which is why we advise sticking to reputable brands like Royal Canin and Pure Balance Dog Food.
4. Consider Adding Supplements to Your Dog’s Diet
If you’re not convinced that your dog is getting all the nutrients he needs from his food, consider adding some natural supplements to his diet. Talk to your vet about which supplements are right for your pup. You can find multivitamin pills in almost every pet store. Supplements such as fish oil, CBD oil, and others may also be helpful.
Adding natural supplements to your dog’s diet can especially help those over 10 years old or who have gone through serious health issues. Puppies and pregnant dogs can also benefit from supplements.
5. Get Your Dog a Good Bed
You may think that your dog can sleep anywhere, which might be true, but that doesn’t mean that you should let him sleep anywhere. What he really needs is a warm, cushioned, quality dog bed.
A good dog bed will keep your furbaby warm in Winter, cool in Summer and comfy all year round. When your pup is comfortable and able to get a good night’s sleep, his stress level stays low.
6. Keep Your Dog Well-Groomed
Grooming and washing your dog is also essential for her health. In addition to maintaining general good hygiene, grooming is important to prevent her hair from getting into her lungs which can cause serious issues. Excess hair or fur can also lead to parasites and infections.
Besides the medical reasons for keeping your pup clean, grooming calms her down and makes her feel good. In her eyes, it means you’re giving her permission to relax and enjoy the moment.
7. Take Your Dog to the Vet Regularly
Lastly, the best health advice we can give is to take your dog to the vet for his regular check-ups. No matter how well you think you know your dog, your vet will likely be able to spot if something is wrong sooner than you. He or she should also be able to provide you with other valuable tips and tricks on how to keep your pup healthy and satisfied.