Prolong Your Pooches Life With These Proven Methods

Dog waiting to play puppy games

There’s a reason why dogs are hailed as ‘man’s best friend.’ They’re incredibly loyal, sweet and silly- they make us laugh, keep us company and fulfill our lives in the most special way. The sad thing is, our dogs don’t live for all that long and when they pass it can be truly devastating. However, there are things you can do to help prolong your dog’s life, so they stay happy and healthy well into old age.

Don’t Smoke In The Room With Them

Just like humans, our animals can be affected by passive smoking. There have been many cases of dogs and cats developing lung cancer where their owners constantly smoke with them in the room. This can be a massive source of guilt, as it’s something that most people don’t give a second thought to. Now that you know be sure to leave the room when you smoke, so your pets aren’t breathing in the harmful fumes. You get to decide what you do with your body, and it’s your choice. Just don’t allow them to be affected by it.

Feed Them a Good Quality Dog Food

A good quality dog food will be higher in protein and nutrients that dogs need. Cheaper brands often bulk out their food with wheat which a lot of dogs are intolerant too, causing digestive issues and yeast overgrowths. These present themselves as itchy, smelly skin with a musty odor and infected ears. Better brands will use things like sweet potatoes instead of grains which are much kinder to your pooches system. You will pay extra for good quality dog food, but it’s so worth it to keep your best friend happy and healthy. You can find out more about the right foods to pick here.

Go For Regular Vet Visits

It’s recommended that dogs between the ages of one and ten years visit the vet annually. This allows them to take their weight and check things like their eyes, joints, and teeth to make sure everything is as it should be. It means any problems are picked up early, saving trouble later down the line. Even if your dog is healthy, make sure he’s scheduled in for a yearly appointment.

Make Sure They Get The Right Amount of Exercise

There’s no set amount of time that dogs need to be walked each day. It will vary depending on size, age, breed, and personality- some dogs are naturally more energetic and will need longer and brisker walks. Maybe they are prone to chewing or destructive behavior if they’re not drained of their energy. Other dogs are lazier or just more placid and require less so work out what’s best for your pooch. As your dog gets older they will naturally slow down a little, don’t push them too far as this can be bad for their joints. Your dog should be tired after a walk, but not so exhausted they can barely move or in any kind of discomfort.

Leave a comment with your own ideas on how do you make sure your dog stays happy and healthy?

Give Your Pets the Creature Comforts They Deserve

Dog snoozing in his basket

Us humans, we like to be comfortable, don’t we? We like being able to fall into a comfy bed after a long, hard day at work; we like to have the comfiest cushions squashed behind our backs as we sit on the sofa; and we like to dry our faces with towels made of the most luxurious cotton known to man after stepping out of the shower. So if we like such comforts, why wouldn’t our pets like them too?

Over half of pet owners consider their four-legged friends to be a member of the family, so it’s only natural that to feel a sense of guilt when you see them sleeping in a wicker basket with a few old blankets thrown in. You wouldn’t let your children sleep in those conditions, would you? You wouldn’t let your spouse, would you? Well, maybe you would on that last one, especially after an argument. The point is, it’s okay to feel bad about providing your pet with a makeshift sleeping area, and not silly at all to want to make them comfier.

But now it’s time to stop worrying about it, and doing something about it! Now, we could allow for our pets to share our beds, of course, but this isn’t recommended. So what’s the comfiest alternative? A few options to consider are a memory foam dog lounger for dogs (or spouses), or a jolly moggy cat radiator bed, for, yep, you guessed it, cats: more to the point, for cats that love to be cosy and next to a radiator at all times.

Another point of worry for pet owners across the land is that dreaded separation: that moment when you have to say goodbye to your four legged friend and go to work in the morning. And when this is combined with a fear that your pet isn’t cosy enough, it can be sometimes unbearable for the owner. Sometimes it even forces them to up and leave right in the middle of an important conference call in order to go home and tend to their pet’s every need (although there are yet to be any actual reports of such a thing happening). To the point, it’s okay to feel guilty when leaving your pooch or moggie locked inside all day with nobody or nothing to entertain them but their tails. A tip to help keep your pet as content and comfortable as they can be in your absence is to leave lights on for them. Their heartache at being abandoned will only be made worse by darkness, so when the evening starts drawing in and the day slowly turns to night a light would be comforting for them. There are obvious pitfalls with this idea: your electricity bill being one. However, with advances in technology, such as Samsung SmartThings, you have the power to remotely switch on the lights in your house, even when you’re not there.

So, there you have it. A comfortable pet is a happy pet; a happy pet makes a happy house; and a happy house most importantly means you’re happy. But don’t let your pet steal all the cosiness, humans need to be cosy too!

Is length the most important thing? (Day -160)

Quality vs Quantity of life in dogs

I’ve recently spent some time within some of the top oncology (cancer) referral vets within the UK and been in consults with people who have to be told that the biopsy says it is cancer. One of the most difficult questions that pet guardians will then ask is how long a loved pet has left – this is an awful question that has to be answered so carefully because we just do not know.

We try to use evidence based studies looking at different treatments when discussing the options – however these studies over use statistics to give averages. Unfortunately within veterinary research many studies only have a small amount of patients which is caused by the way the veterinary industry works. This means that when looking at a study with average life duration from start of treatment of 3 months that some dogs may have died at 1 week whilst others lived until 9 months or a year. I am personally starting to believe that statistics should be limited to use only in sample sizes over a defined minimum limit to improve reliability (I wrote about statistics here).

However what is missing from most of these studies is perhaps even more important and is the second question that most pet guardians ask. That is what the quality of life is like. It is something that may sound strange however it is much easier to quantify quantity of life (i.e. days) than it is quality (i.e. happiness) of a pet.

This is still something in it’s infancy within veterinary medicine – with humans we can explain that it will hurt now but it will mean that they are good later. The first time I saw this discussed was within surgery decision making in the AWSELVA journal in 2014 (J. Yeates & S. Corr) to evaluate treatment options based on the amount of painful time vs the amount of pain free time.

This is something that is difficult though as we need to define how we recognise the quality of life. For example if we consider movement as an indicator as recently there have been studies using accelerometers (step counters) to monitor the activity of an animal. A study just published used this to measure the physical activity in dogs receiving chemotherapy as an oncology treatment which may be acceptable.

However if we look at dogs with neurological problems that may have abnormal circling or pedalling movements then activity may not be the best quality of life. Here is where other techniques may come into play with things such as a seizure diary being kept to record frequency and duration of seizures to allow comparison of good time vs bad time.

Hopefully soon we will have better measures for the quality of life – and be able to apply these when making decisions that may impact animal welfare.