What is one thing that we all wish for our dogs? Many pet owners will respond that they want their dogs to live longer. I too, have that same wish. I have written on how to cope with the loss of a pet because it truly is heartbreaking but it is part of being a pet parent. Knowing you will reunite with your dog again at the Rainbow Bridge brings some consolation. But you know what would bring some joy? Proactively doing things to help increase your dog’s lifespan. I am constantly reading news articles and studies about how you and I can form habits to live a longer life, but what about our dogs? Forming healthy habits for your dog is a new focus of mine, and I am excited to share with you how to accomplish that.
Habit #1: Food
I read a fascinating article featuring Dr. Marty Goldstein, one of America’s top veterinarians, who says, “Unfortunately, most commercial dog foods are full of artificial preservatives, additives, heavy grains, and low-quality proteins. Even foods that claim to be ‘healthy’, ‘organic’, or ‘natural’.” He recommends removing these three items for your dog’s diet: preservatives, fillers, and meat by-products. What should be in their diet? Dr. Marty says some ingredients to include in a healthy dog diet are organ meats, omega-3 fatty acids, and prebiotics like pea flour, flaxseed, carrots, and ginger. My dog, KoKo, eats very well with food prescribed from her breeder. Do your homework before you give your dog just any food! Remember the saying “You are what you eat!” This applies to your dog, as well!
Habit #2: Exercise
Every dog is different and so should be the lengths of their walks! My 3-lb. KoKo shouldn’t be going the same distance as an adult Golden Retriever, but yes, they both should have owners who know the benefits of exercise! This is a good guide on determining how often to walk your dog. I can’t stress enough the importance of being aware of the temperature this time of year. It is hot. So, if the surface of the ground is too hot for you to walk barefoot, it is too hot for your dog. Keep this in mind, as well as making sure your dog takes water breaks while getting their exercise!
Habit #3: Veterinary Visits
Find a veterinarian you trust. This might mean you have to go to a few different offices before you find “the one”, but it is worth it because you want someone whom you truly love and trust as they will help you make the most important decisions for your dog. If you travel abroad, you must take your dog to a veterinarian to get the proper documents to allow you to bring them on the plane, so KoKo goes to the vet exactly when we must before our trips! I have a veterinarian in California where I reside, as well as in Paris and NYC, where I often travel. I recommend to everyone if you are traveling, do your research months before going and connect with a veterinarian so you have someone to advise you for all the requirements to travel. If you have been reading my blogs, you know I am a believer in being prepared! Be well prepared in advance for your veterinarian needs.
I will continue to look at building healthy habits for dogs and share them with you as my focus on expanding the longevity of dogs continues. My wish for KoKo is for her to live longer and I am determined to find a way!
Gayle Martz is the SilverDisobedience Pet Ambassador who will be sharing her insight on a variety of pet-related topics. Gayle is the founder of The SHERPA Pet Trading Company, where she single-handedly designed, manufactured and marketed the iconic SHERPA Bag you see everywhere! This carrier, which millions have bought for their dogs, cats and other animal companions, continues to be THE top-selling, prize-winning, globally-popularly soft-sided pet carrier. Further, it is because of Gayle’s advocacy and entrepreneurship that pet travel on airlines is now possible and common. Gayle’s the author of “IT’S IN THE BAG”, which is part memoir and part business book.