If you want to make your dog live longer, take cues from some of the world’s oldest pooches. They are living testaments to what it takes to go beyond and above the average dog lifespan.
A Stress-Free Lifestyle
A relaxed dog is one with low cortisol levels in his system. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone and is usually high in senior canines.
Dr. David Waters, a veterinarian studying longevity among Rottweilers, found all twenty-two of the elderly Rotties in his research had low cortisol levels. Their current ages were well over the average Rottweiler lifespan.
‘If you don’t handle stress well, your cortisol levels stay up,’ explained Dr. Waters. ‘It does bad things. It’s not healthy. With ageing in dogs and people, cortisol levels go up. The better you handle stress, the healthier you will be.’
How do you help your furry friend lead a stress-free life?
- Don’t unload your personal stress on him.
- Don’t break your ‘promise’ to play, walk, or spend quality time with him.
- Be attentive to his needs.
- Don’t keep him home alone for more than 4 hours at a time.
- Avoid keeping him locked in a cramped space for long periods.
- Keep yourself from scolding your pooch for doing things that dogs normally do. This applies to misbehaviour that is actually due to a lapse on your part.
- Set clear boundaries and rules and enforce them consistently.
- Allow him to enjoy his favourite things or activities.
A Lot of Exercises
This not only applies to physical exercise but also mental stimulation. A happy and healthy dog is a busy and mentally sharp dog.
Exercise not only keeps your pet’s weight in check, but it also helps lower stress and balance moods. Obesity is a real scourge for modern canines, although it is something that is very much avoidable.
It is important that you exercise your dog daily. Depending on his breed’s energy level, however, an hour’s exertion is ideal. This does not need to be spent entirely on a long walk, though. It can be divided into two or three sessions and set at different hours of the day. One session can be all about mentally stimulating activities, whilst the other involves lead walking or running.
You could also give him time to explore the outdoors freely. It is worth noting that three of the oldest canines in the world, Maggie (a kelpie), Bluey (an Australian cattle dog), and Bramble (a Border collie), were farm dogs. They thrived in the outdoors doing farm work. As such, allowing your pooch to safely enjoy the world outside your front door will benefit him.
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Bluey and Bramble, which were mentioned above, have diets that are polar opposites. Bluey is famous for being a vegan canine, whilst Bramble is a meat-eater through and through. Both lived to be 29 and 27 respectively. What they have in common diet-wise is the fact that they both ate fresh food. No processed food for these pooches.
Interestingly, a study done by Dr. Gerard Lippert showed that canine pets fed industrial food lived 10.4 years on average. The ones fed home-made meals lived 13.1 years on average. This information strongly implies that fresh food is key to extending a dog’s lifespan.
A number of pooches who lived beyond their breed’s average lifespan have other canine companions in their households. A second dog ensures that your dog never gets lonely, thus enhancing their quality of life. Also, the dog-to-dog interaction serves as a natural mental and physical exercise outlet for your dog.
One owner, for example, testified that the company of younger female dog ‘made a big difference’ to his senior pooch, Genghis. Her playfulness and energy got Genghis to chasing sprees and thus rejuvenated him.
One More Thing to Help Your Dog Live Longer
Although some of the oldest dogs in the world never really had annual health checks, better care undeniably extends pet lifespans. In fact, ‘dog life expectancy has doubled in the past 4 decades’ due to a better diet and health care.
As such, bring your dog to the vet once a year. This avoids canine health crises that may otherwise arise. Maintaining your dog’s oral health is especially important as dental issues are very common among canines. When left untreated, such problems can affect other parts of the body, such as the kidneys and heart.