Our pets bring so much joy to our lives. In return, they only ask that we take care of them as best we know how. Not only do we want them to have a good life, but also a long one: a life filled with many years, and many years filled with life. Here are the top six ways to help your pet live longer.
1. Maintain a reduced calorie, healthy diet.
Nutrition is the center for all well-being, in both humans and animals. While you don’t need to spend $150/month on super fancy pet food, it is important to do your research and find food that is free of the most harmful fillers. Your vet is also likely to have some great recommendations.
Also, moderation matters. A recent study (with dogs) shows that reducing your pet’s calorie intake by 25% from the “normal” amount, can extend their life up to two years. It also showed that the dogs with reduced-calorie diets developed fewer chronic diseases – such as osteoarthritis – and when they did, it took place much later in life. That’s a big win. It’s definitely worth consulting with your vet to see if they would recommend a small dietary shift like this.
2. Take care of their oral health.
This is often neglected, but vitally important. Keeping your pet’s mouth clean and healthy can extend their life two to five years. That’s a big difference! Some owners choose to brush their pet’s teeth – which can be very helpful, but also time consuming, and you often have to work your pet up to being comfortable with teeth brushing. Another option is to use a vet-recommended water additive (like ours!). It’s important to choose one that is odorless and tasteless so your pets will actually drink their water. Here’s the difference our Pet Dental Water Additive makes, with just one capful a day.
3. Give them plenty of exercise.
Movement is so crucial for good health and a long life. Help your pet stay active by playing games with them, taking them on walks and runs, and letting them swim when it’s warm enough. Exercise also releases endorphins which will help boost the mood of your pet!
4. Keep their mind active.
Old dogs (and cats) can learn new tricks. The brain is like a muscle: if you don’t use it, you will lose it. Or at least … lose its sharpness. Continue to teach your pet tricks, take them to new places, introduce them to new people, and add variety to their life. Both human and pet brains tend to get lazy when we do the same things over and over again. Add some spice to life, and you will help them keep some of their youthful spark.
5. Support their joints.
As we mentioned in our post about “4 Secrets to Helping Your Older Dog Feel Young Again,” you can make life easier on your pet by adding assistance steps or making some simple homemade ramps to the high places where your pets are allowed. It’s also a great idea to supplement with joint-healthy treats. Make sure you find a supplement with glucosamine and MSM that is made in the U.S.A.
6. Get those regular checkups.
It’s also a great idea to stay up to date with your pet’s vet check ups. Your vet will be able to give you a heads up about any warning signs and hopefully help you make changes before it’s too late. It always helps to know sooner, rather than later.
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