Do you want your dog to live forever? Well, forever might be a stretch, but you can often add years to your dog's life just by taking a more holistic approach caring for your dog. Even small changes can make a big difference and can even save you money. I adjusted my own dog's care after two years of research and interviews with experts taught me that many "facts" about dog care are really myths and outdated information or commercial advertising. Do you want your dog to live a long and healthy life he or she deserves? Try these five simple steps:
Help Your Dog to Relax: stress kills, and your dog may be under more stress than you think. Loneliness, insufficient exercise, confinement, impure water, obesity, extreme temperatures, excessive noise and tormenting by family members (humans and otherwise) are all potential sources of deadly stress. Due to their shorter lifespan, dogs succumb to the effects of stress much faster than we do.
Stave Off Cancer: Dog cancer is an epidemic, not just in older dogs. Because some cancers are associated with toxins, select safe floor and carpet cleaners, fertilizers and herbicides. Unsafe products for children are unsafe for dogs. Neutralize or spay your dog, schedule a vet exam and blood tests annually, twice a year for older dogs. Wash contaminants from your dog's foot after walking on public lawns and grimy roads. Always investigate sores that do not heal, lumps and swelling, unexplained lameness or weight loss, bleeding from orifices and other strange physical or behavioral changes.
Just say no: Resist the desire to suppress the symptoms of the disease with drugs. Although some problems may require pharmacological intervention, many can be solved, even cured, with better nutrition and environmental changes, without serious side effects. If you decide to go the "drug route", personally verify the medications. Innumerable dogs have died from popular "cures.”
Think Fridge, Not Cupboard: commercial pet food is fast food. It can legally contain "4-D" meat (from dead and dying, disabled and diseased animals), as well as corn contaminated with high levels of pesticides. And do you know that "complete and balanced" means minimum, not optimal nutrition? Dogs giving a balanced diet of fresh, healthy foods have the best chance of longevity.
Be smart about shots: most of us over-vaccinate our dogs. We give the wrong vaccines and re-vaccinate too often. The result can be autoimmune dysfunction, organ damage, allergies and even death. Did you know that your adult dog may already have lifetime immunity to the most important diseases and that there is a simple way to confirm it? How long, and how well, your dog's lives depend on you. A little education along with timely action can give your dog the best chance at a safe and healthy life!