What Can Someone Do to Make Their Dog Live as Long as Possible?

When was the last time you thought about where your dog came from? If it’s been years since you’ve considered your pooch’s pedigree, we’ll explain why this might be so and how knowing exactly who your dog belongs to may affect his health.

If you own a purebred (or “pedigree”) dog, chances are he has one lineage meaning all members of his immediate family share the same ancestors. But if you own a mixed-breed (or “mutt”), then there may be several different breeds represented within your household. You probably know some of those breeds well, but what other characteristics define your mutt?


It’s not uncommon for people to think that because dogs are living creatures, they should live forever. In fact, just like humans, dogs come down with illnesses and diseases that require medical attention. And just like us, they also need veterinary care to heal and prevent further illness.


That said, many veterinarians and experts believe there are certain things that can be done to make sure your dog lives longer than most others even purebreds. It’s up to you whether these measures are worth the effort.


This article will explore what makes purebred dogs healthier than mutts, as well as what you can do to encourage longevity. We’ll look at how diet plays such a vital role, and examine how food affects life span. Finally, we’ll talk about how exercise and socialization affect your dog’s overall health. By learning more about the factors that contribute to your dog’s happiness and health, you’ll be better prepared to take care of her properly.


We’ll start by exploring the differences between purebred and mixed-breed dogs. Then we’ll compare two popular diets on which most purebred dogs get their daily nutrients. Afterward, we’ll learn about the importance of regular vet visits and preventive medicine. Next, we’ll discuss how exercise and socialization affect your pupper’s emotional state.


Purebred vs. Mixed Breed Dogs


There are three types of dogs: carnivores, herbivores and omnivores. Purebred dogs fall into the first category. These animals eat meat exclusively and rely heavily on supplements and vitamins for energy. Carnivores include such popular breeds as Dobermans, German shepherds and chihuahuas. Herbivores consume mostly vegetables, while omnivore dogs munch on both fruits and veggies. Terriers, huskies and Boston terriers are examples of such pets.


Mixed-breed dogs tend to fit into either of the other categories. They usually don’t deviate much from the basic dietary needs of their respective families. For example, Border collies and Labrador retrievers primarily eat grass, hay and treats. Chihuahuas and miniature schnauzers prefer dry kibble.


So where does this matter when it comes to your dog’s lifespan? Well, although certain purebreds may enjoy a slightly higher quality of life than mixed-breeds, they still die young. The American Kennel Club reports that purebred female dogs typically live four to six fewer years than similar mutts. Male purebred dogs die even younger, often around age 5. This isn’t always due to hereditary issues. Some purebred males simply aren’t taken care of properly.


Some vets blame poor breeding practices and genetic defects for the shorter lifespans of purebred dogs. Others say it’s merely a result of market forces. Since purebred puppies must compete against each other for sale, breeders sometimes cut corners in order to bring home the highest price. As a result, they pass along unhealthy traits to future generations.


However, regardless of its cause, the shorter lifespan of purebreds doesn’t mean they don’t deserve love and affection. On the contrary, many purebred owners consider their dogs to be among the best pets in the world. There are several reasons for this. First, purebreds tend to be easier to train and less prone to behavioral problems than mutts. Second, purebreds are generally calmer and quieter, making them ideal companions for families with children. Third, purebreds usually have very few physical flaws. Many of them exhibit beautiful coats, intelligent eyes and strong physiques.


Food for Life

Your dog enjoys a high standard of living partly because of what you feed him. It’s therefore essential to choose foods that provide maximum nutritional value. The right combination of ingredients helps maintain your pup’s strength, vitality and general health.


The most common problem affecting purebred dogs is obesity. Obesity occurs when your dog consumes too much fat and calories. A large appetite combined with limited activity levels leads to weight gain. When this happens, your dog’s metabolism slows down. He loses muscle mass, burns fewer calories and becomes lethargic.


As a result, his body produces excess cortisol, which causes inflammation throughout the body. Overweight dogs also suffer from diabetes, heart disease, liver damage and arthritis.


To combat obesity, try feeding your dog a low-fat, high-fiber diet. Look for canned dog foods without preservatives, additives or fillers. Avoid fatty cuts of steak and whole milk products. Instead, serve him wholesome meals made of fresh vegetables, lean meats and poultry, eggs and dairy. Make sure your dog gets enough protein, calcium and phosphorus. Don’t forget to give him bone meal, brewer’s yeast and vitamin C tablets.


Dogs benefit greatly from raw bones. However, avoid giving your pooch uncooked chicken necks, feet, spines and viscera. These parts contain lots of bacteria that could harm your pet. Also steer clear of raw eggs, unpasteurized cheese and any product containing gelatine. Gelatine is a fibrous substance found in connective tissue.


Although gelatinous additives boost flavor and texture, they pose serious risks to your dog’s health. Raw eggs can lead to salmonella infection, kidney failure and pancreatitis. Bacteria inside cheeses can trigger E coli infections and other intestinal disorders. Pasteurizing kills harmful germs, ensuring your pup stays safe.


A variety of commercial diets exist to meet the varying needs of various dog breeds. Two of the most widely used brands are Science Diet and Purina Pro Plan. Both offer excellent nutrition programs and boast impressive ratings on consumer review sites. Other popular choices include Iams and Nestlé Healthy Choice. Consult your veterinarian before choosing a new diet. He can recommend the best diet for your particular animal based on his knowledge of your dog’s lifestyle and medical history.


Proper Nutrition for Your Dog


Nutritional deficiencies can cause your dog to become ill, weak and listless. Fortunately, modern science offers effective solutions to correct almost every type of disorder. One such breakthrough is the discovery of enzymes called superoxide dismutases. SOD converts dangerous free radicals into less toxic substances. Free radicals attack cells, causing cancer, aging and other degenerative diseases.


The enzyme exists naturally in our bodies, but ingesting sufficient quantities through food prevents free radical formation. Thus, eating antioxidant-rich food reduces the risk of developing conditions like cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and macular degeneration. Unfortunately, not all dogs receive adequate amounts of antioxidants.


Another deficiency condition is feline hyperthyroidism. FHTS results in excessive production of thyroid hormones that disrupt normal thyroid function. Left untreated, the disease can wreak havoc on your cat’s internal systems. Symptoms include increased appetite, urination, aggression, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea, enlargement of the thyroid gland and weight loss.


To treat FHTS, your vet may prescribe radioactive iodine injections, thyroid blocking drugs, anti-thyroid antibodies or surgical removal of the entire organ.


Unfortunately, many dogs lack sufficient amounts of omega-3 oils and selenium. Omega-3 fats protect skin and cardiovascular tissues from oxidation and build strong immune systems. Selenium promotes antibody response to viral and bacterial infections, protects against cancer, improves circulation and strengthens muscles and nerves.


Low concentrations of selenium occur in older dogs, obese individuals and during periods of stress. Supplementing your dog’s diet with fish oil capsules, selenomethionine powder and organic selenized corn may cure or alleviate such ailments.

Exercise and playtime are just as crucial to your dog’s mental and physical wellbeing. Read on to find out how your pooch benefits from a balanced exercise routine.


­Exercise is especially beneficial for senior dogs. Not only does exercise improve mobility, strengthen muscles and organs, but it also stimulates thyroid function, helping your pet regulate metabolic rate and keep cholesterol levels lower. Regular exercise also promotes healthy sleep patterns and increases confidence levels. Senior dogs can remain active and mobile longer than smaller pets thanks to a slower resting and digestion cycle. Exercise also boosts self-esteem.