Being a good pet parent, you always have your dog’s best interest at heart.
However, sometimes without even knowing it, you could be doing or not doing something that could impact your beloved fur-friend’s lifespan.
The good news is, it's never too late to bump up the level of care you are providing for your pet.
Learn the 5 ways you could be shortening your dog’s life, and the simple solutions on how you can move towards living a long, happy and healthy life together.
1. Letting Your Dog Gain Too Much Weight
Dogs that are over nourished, lack the ability to exercise, or that have a tendency to retain weight are the most at risk for becoming obese.
When you pet is obese, excess body fat can affect multiple areas of the body, including the bones and joints, the digestive organs, and the organs responsible for breathing.
Obesity is apparent in dogs of all breeds and ages, but particularly middle aged, neutered and indoor dogs.
To ensure your dog stays at a healthy weight you should:
- Walk them daily, or as often as you can
- Play games in the backyard with them
- Feed them a well-balanced diet including premimun pet food, or alternatively cook their meals from scratch
- Avoid feeding them supermarket brand foods as these contain a lot of water and salt and have very little nutritional value
- Avoid feeding them table scraps
Periodontal disease (gum disease), is very common in dogs.
It is estimated that 85% of dogs over the age of five suffer from the condition, which develops after food and bacteria collect along the gum line, and form plaque.
And not just dental issues, oral bacteria can lead to many other health problems for your pet, including heart valve issues and infected kidneys.
To ensure your dog’s teeth and gums stay healthy you should:
While sometimes it may seem like a waste of time, or even a hassle taking you dog to the veterinarian for their routine check, doing so may just save their life.
‘Getting your dog looked at just once a year by a vet can help ensure your pet is ACTUALLY healthy, and increase their lifespan’, says Dr Mark, who stresses the importance of annual checks even if you think nothing is wrong with your pet.
Dr Mark also explains that time is of this essence with your pet’s health, ‘sadly in some cases, by the time symptoms have appeared there isn't much we can do.’
Part of being a good pet parent is ensuring they are happy and healthy, so set a date or month each year that you endeavour to take your fur-friend to the vet, and stick to it.
4. Not Being Consistent with Parasite Protection
Ensuring you provide your pet quality parasite protection is just as important as keeping up to date with their vaccinations.
Keeping your pet safe from fleas, ticks, heartworm and worms is a critical role in pet ownership.
These small but nasty parasites can cause all sorts of problems for your fur-friend – with many being life threatening.
Fortunately, there are many safe and vet-approved protection options available at VetShopMax to keep your pet safe and happy – from collars and topical spot-ons, to oral chews and tablets.
And most protection methods are administered monthly, so a handy tip is to set a reminder in your calendar for when to give your pet their next dose. That way you will never miss a treatment, and have the peace of mind that your pet is protected all year round.
5. Not Socialising Them
Just like us, dogs too need their weekly dose of socializing and ‘chit chat’ with their counter fur-pals.
Dogs who don’t get the chance to interact with other dogs, tend to develop anxiety and fear-related issues, even dermatological issues.
Even going on walks becomes a whole different experience for dogs who aren’t use to interaction with other pets.
Similar, dogs that don’t receive much human interaction, no playtime, cuddles etc. can feel lonely and get depression.
To ensure your dog is happy and socialised you should:
- Take your puppy from a young age (once they are fully vaccinated) to puppy training classes or meet-ups
- Let your dog stop and greet other dogs on walks
- Visit dog parks or beaches where your dog can run free to explore and meet new friends
- Before you get a dog, make sure you have time in your day to spend time and bond with your fur-friend
Is your dog above the age of 7? If so, you may be interested our helpful guide on Caring for an Old Dog.