Dogs Are Living Longer: How to Help Your Dog Live a Long, Healthy, Happy Life

There have been a lot of articles and news programs stating that humans, overall, are living longer lives.

But can the same be said for dogs?

It’s a little harder to gauge in dogs, since dogs have such differing lifespans depending on size. In general, the larger the dog, the shorter the life span. On average, large dogs live to be about 9 years old, whereas medium and small dogs live to be at least 12. Toy dogs have the longest average life-span, living to be 15 or older.

However, most experts seem to agree that dogs are living longer, as much as twice as long as they did 40 years ago. Advancements in veterinary medicine and a better understanding of dogs’ nutritional needs have helped increased the lives of furry friends. Dogs are more commonly fenced or kept inside, lowering the chances of them being hit by a car or otherwise injured.

Dogs are such loyal and loving animals most people want to keep their furry friends around for as long as possible. Here are a few things you can do to help keep your dog healthy and happy for as many years as you can:

Keep him at a healthy weight.

It’s so easy to let your dog get overweight. When he looks at your with those sad, soulful eyes, begging for just a “little, teeny, tiny morsel of that delicious steak,” it’s hard to turn him down. But too many treats and/or too much, or the wrong sort, of dog food can pack on the pounds.

Overweight or obese dogs are at higher risk for a whole host of diseases, including high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Feeding your dog the right food for his age, activity level, breed, and any health conditions can go a long way towards keeping him at his best weight and health.

Exercise Your Dog Daily

Your dog needs at least some exercise every day. Most dogs have fenced yards or live indoors most of the time. While this keeps them safe from many dangers, it cuts down on the amount of exercise your dog would get if he were patrolling the world on his own.

The type and amount of exercise your dog needs should be tempered by his age, overall health, and activity level that is natural for his breed, but dogs should get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. It will help keep him lean, his muscles toned, and will stimulate his mind.

old dog

©istockphoto/Capuski

Give Him Food Puzzles

Speaking of minds, your dog needs to keep his gray matter active, too. Dogs are intelligent animals and they like to have problems to solve. Toys that have food in them that require some thought or work on the dog’s part to get the food out can help keep your dog young at heart, sharp, and keep him from being bored. And a bored dog is often a destructive dog. Just make sure you take into account the extra calories from those treats when you are determining how much to feed him at dinnertime.

Brush His Teeth Regularly

Your dog’s teeth need to be brushed daily, or at least several times a week. There are all sorts of different doggy toothbrushes you can get. Some treats are good for keeping teeth clean as well. Good oral health helps your dog maintain good overall health.

Take Him to the Vet for Regular Visits

Be sure to take your dog for routine wellness checkups. Most adult dogs only need to see their vets once a year if they’re healthy. Your vet can let you know if your dog should come in more often. In many cases, the sooner a health issue is discovered, the easier it is to cure or at least manage and control.

Give Him Love and Attention

One of the most important things you can give your dog is free: your love. Your pooch’s world rises and sets on your shoulder. There is nothing that gives him greater joy than when you spend a few minutes with him, rubbing his favorite spots and telling him what a good dog he is. Giving your dog daily doses of your undivided attention and letting him know how much you love him will help keep him by your side for the longest possible time.

Meet the Author: Pam Hair

Pam Hair is a pet industry copywriter with Fuzzy Friends Writer, where she combines her three passions: a love of animals, a strong desire to help other people, and the joy of writing. She has been a pet parent over the years to dogs, cats, and a variety of rodents. Currently she and her husband share their home with two guinea pigs.

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