10 Ways to Help Your Dog Live Longer

Jan 15, 2021     |      Sophie's Circle

A woman hugging her older dog

Have you been searching for ways to improve or extend your dog's life? Although a dog's lifespan is not nearly as long as most humans, there are some simple changes you can make to his routine to help him live a longer happier life. This list of 10 helpful steps could be the key to getting added time to fill with more of those loveable memorable moments together!

1. Feed Him a High-Quality Diet
January is the time of New Year's resolutions, and we know a healthy lifestyle is one resolution all pet owners want to keep! Like humans, better health for your dog begins with the saying, "You are what you eat." But, knowing which brand of dog food to buy can be complicated. For example, does your dog have allergies? Is he getting enough nutrients? Be sure to ask your vet for recommendations on the best food for his ever-changing needs both now and at each annual appointment as he ages.

2. Give Him Loads of Attention!
This tip is great for people as well as pets! For humans, spending time with a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels. In other words he gets your love and you get a healthier heart! It's a win-win!

3. Take Him on a Longer Walk
You probably know by now that every animal requires exercise! Dogs need at least two walks per day. However, before you think that's too much for your busy schedule, remember you should be incorporating a regular exercise routine into your daily life too. So, why not workout together? Generally speaking, properly trained dogs make fantastic walking, running, biking, and kayaking buddies. Talk about your holiday calorie burners! These are some of the best exercises to reduce those extra pounds around!

4. Water, Please!
One easy mistake humans make with dogs is to give them something to drink besides water. Dogs do not process sugar and added calories well. Plus, freshly poured water into a clean dish is the best way to keep your furry best friend hydrated, fit, and ready for the day! 

5. Choose the Right Bed
Another thing dogs have in common with their human companions is achy joints or painful pressure points as they age. An orthopedic dog bed may be just what the doctor ordered to get a good night's rest. For accident prevention, consider a waterproof cover that will keep the bed dry for many more nights of slumber in comfort to come. 

6. Do NOT Skip Regular Wellness Visits
Naturally, the only true way to know your dog is performing at his best is with an annual check-up with his vet. He may be jumping to catch a ball or soft frisbee like he does every morning, but his body could be fighting off an infection without showing any warning signs. Only his vet can tell you if your dog is healthy and the best course of care for the longest life possible.

7. Introduce Training Games 
Physical exercise is important, but so is mental stimulation. Teaching your dog a new skill, allowing him to find training treats or pieces of kibble inside of a food puzzle, or practicing the skills he knows are all part of keeping him healthy. After all, who wants to sit around the house all day and all night without anything interesting to learn?

8. Provide an Engaging Environment While Away
Of course, sometimes, we have to leave our dogs longer than six hours at-a-time. Planning ahead is the key to a healthier pet for such events. Check for local dog walkers, sitters, and playgroups in your area to fulfill his needs when your work schedule, vacation, or fun event keep you from being home.

9. Make Sure He Gets the Nutrients He Needs!
Along with a healthy diet, your vet may suggest certain supplements or vitamins. This is typically the case as he ages and develops more stiffness or soreness in his joints. A note of caution, not all supplements are alike and too much of one can be hazardous. It is critical to keep your vet informed about the brand, type, dosage, and frequency of intake.

10. Offer Pain Management When Appropriate
There are many natural options for sore or stiff muscles and joints. Examples include acupuncture, massage, certain herbal remedies, and CBD oil products. Moreover, your veterinarian may suggest medications or supplements to try. Working together with your vet as a team is the best way to keep your dog moving and comfortable. 

Ready to Find Your New Best Friend?

Have you been thinking about adopting a canine companion of your own? You can view our adoptees on our "Adoption" page under "Resources" or apply to become a canine foster parent on our "Become a Foster" page. Each of these dogs would love to be with an owner like you who wants to see him live the healthiest happiest life possible!