The 8 Ways You’re Cutting Your Dog’s Life Short
The time we have with our fur babies is incredibly precise, but unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as long as we want it to be. This is why it’s important we take steps to ensure that they have a long and wonderful life. Here are 8 ways you might be cutting your dog’s life short.
Here are some startling numbers; the majority of dogs are overweight (53%), and 95% of their owners think they are a healthy weight. Obesity not only cuts your pup’s life short, but it will also reduce the quality of the little life they have left. This is hard to hear, but after you realize that just an ounce of cheese translates to 1 ½ hamburgers, you understand the harshness.
The easiest way to see if your dog needs to lose some weight is to check their ribs. You’ll want to see a clear definition between the individual ribs and most should show. As well, their stomach should have a slope going up. Lighting can throw you off, so make sure to take them outside to get a better view. The last thing you want is to take them to the vet and witness how they double in size because of the lighting.
Now we all know diet and exercise are the best ways to lose weight and keep it off, and dogs are no different than us in this regard.
But here are some tips to help with them:
- Avoid table scraps
- Commercial dog food is great just make sure the first ingredients are proteins, by-products are fine, but watch foods with a lot of grains.
- Weight loss is calories in/calories out — if they get in exercise that day, don’t feel bad about giving them a higher calorie treat.
- For those with an insatiable appetite check out CBD oil to help regulate appetite — check out innovetpet.com for all things CBD.
2. Dental Care
“They’re not drinking soda and ingesting sugar why should I care about my dog’s teeth?” Easy, how does a $500-1000 dollar vet bill for teeth cleaning or repair sound? At some point in your dog’s life, your vet is going to bring up their teeth and recommend cleaning. Well, that is if you never clean them in the first place.
Now, depending on your dog and their breed, you might not hear this until they are seniors. For smaller breeds, you may be recommended to have your dog’s teeth clean when they are just 2-3 years old.
Keeping your dog’s teeth clean doesn’t take a lot of work, nor does it have to be a costly thing. You have three great, easy, and affordable options and you’ll just want to weigh the pros and cons accordingly to your dog.
- Toothbrush - cheapest, great for cleaning, but takes the most work and hassle
- Bones - takes zero work, good for cleaning, but costs more and has high calories
- Purbreath® No Brush Pet Oral Care - easy to give, great for cleaning, no calories, but costs more.
3. Heartworm and Flea & Tick Prevention
Heartworms - passed to your dog by mosquitoes - can stay dormant in your dog’s system for years causing internal damage without your pup showing any symptoms. Heartworms are potentially deadly and not to be taken lightly, but fortunately, prevention is easy. The same can also be said for flea and ticks - man, the summer can be rough on a dog, can’t it?
Heartworm medicine is prescription only, but most veterinarian offices’ now have online stores where you can purchase it, the vet approves it, and they shipped to you. For heartworm medication, your only option is man-made medication, but the medicine is very safe, and there is no effective natural option - remember worms can kill your dog.
Common heartworm medication: Heartgard, Interceptor, sentinel, and Revolution
There are both synthetic and natural remedies for fleas, as well as, for ticks, and this time natural solutions are usually enough. Before you rush to buy anything, however, your best bet is making sure your house is clean, you avoid tall grasses, and give them baths every couple weeks (more so if they are outside a lot).
Now, sometimes those solutions aren't enough depending on a number of factors: your environment, whether you have kids, etc. So you’ll want to check out some natural solutions. Fortunately, there are multilayered solutions that will directly kill pests, their eggs & larvae, and provide your pet with additional vitamins that strengthen their defenses against them. This is what the kind of natural remedy you want and need.
Look for these natural and safe ingredients:
- Diatomaceous earth
- Pumpkin seeds
- Beef liver and brewer's yeast
4. Vet Checkups
The best way to find out if your dog has heartworms or other dangerous conditions lying in wait is taking them to the vet for their annual checkups. It’s not uncommon for dogs to have illnesses that show no symptoms even though they are causing damage. As well, annual checkups are important because they get their yearly shots that keep them safe - like the rabies vaccine.
Here are some great tips for finding the best veterinarian:
- American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accredited
- Open Hours - doesn’t need to be 24hr, but emergency hours/options should be available.
- The right medical equipment: x-ray, ultrasound, blood pressure & eye pressure monitoring, dentistry, in-house lab tests, and IV pumps.
- Ask around and check reviews
Dogs and cats face the same issue with second-hand smoke as humans do. This means if you smoke around your pet, they can develop respiratory issues, allergies, and both lung and nasal cancer - cats in smoking households are three times more likely to be diagnosed with lymphoma.
The best solution is to stop smoking tobacco products, but you already know this, and it would be asinine if that was our only solution.
Try to only smoke tobacco products outside, and not around your pet. As well, because cats are more sensitive, make sure they aren’t laying around in smokey clothing, etc.
6. Skipping Exercise
Exercising not only helps keep the weight off, it can also deliver a healthy dose of mental stimulation. For your dog, this means better behavior, and a longer life for you this means less stress.
Exercising! Even if that means just getting in a daily walk or throwing a toy around the house. If your dog is exercising a lot, you might want to check out hemp products to keep down inflammation from wear and tear. As well, CBD has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that can help with any cuts and scrapes they might get.
7. Being Social
Dogs that lack social interactions don’t have as fulfilling of a life compared to dogs that do. This is because they often develop anxiety and other fear-based behavioral issues. This keeps them on edge when they are outside and see other dogs, and this can even move to in the house so your dog never truly feels comfortable.
You’ll want to start introducing your dog to other dogs as soon as possible. This is usually when they around 6 months - after they have had all their shots and vaccines that keep them safe from nasties other dogs might have. Your vet will let you know when this can happen. It’s really important to socialize them multiples times between 6-months to a year. After they are about two years old, you can socialize less without about issues arising - dogs are basically sponges the first two years.
8. Ignoring Behavioral Problems
A behavioral problem is an internalized fear-based condition that will express itself in many different ways: separation anxiety, aggression, fear, etc. The nature of behavioral problems is tricky to put it lightly. They start small where they are difficult to catch unless you know what you’re looking for. From there they increase in severity each time your pup experiences them, finally presenting symptoms after it’s too late.
When we say too late, we mean behavioral training must be undertaken to rid the issue - this may or may not require professional help depending on how the condition presents itself. For example, if your dog is aggressive, you’ll probably want professional help. When you see a mean dog, this does not mean they are a bad dog, they simply had an experience in life that made them fearful.
Separation anxiety is another behavioral problem, but this can often be tackled by yourself. CBD oil really helps with this, because it can temporarily keep them calm as training sets in correcting the issue. Training takes time because you slowly introduce your pet to their fear, but a lot of destruction can happen at this time. CBD oil won’t cure their fear, but it stifles if for 6-8 hours allowing your house to remain undestroyed while you’re at work.
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