6 tips to help your pet live a longer life
There are times when you hear about certain pets beating the odds and living longer than the average life expectancy. You then ask yourself, "What secrets are those pets' parents hiding?" ...
Well, a long life isn’t always a given with pets. Although we can’t promise your pet will be a world record holder, we’re sharing plenty of tips you can take to ensure your furry friend lives a long, happy life.
Tip #1: A Healthy Diet
Everything you feed your pet should be nutrient-dense. Research labels and avoid generic "meat byproducts." Look for whole ingredients and responsible sourcing practices. Whole, human-grade foods are known to be naturally rich in nutrients.
The quality of the food you feed your pet is important, but so is your pet's calorie intake. Obesity is one of the most common issues pets deal with, especially since the number of obese pets has been rising steadily in recent years. Excess weight increases the risks of conditions like diabetes, breathing problems, some cancers, and joint problems. To know whether or not your pet needs to drop some pounds, ask your vet! And, to keep your pet at a lean body weight, measure their food at each meal (no free feeding!) and adjust the amount they receive based on their body condition.
With PawPots, we tackle these very issues, ensuring pets are getting human-grade meals made with fresh ingredients and the correct portions based on their unique traits and characteristics. Do you want to know how many calories your pet should consume per day? Ask your vet or fill out our quick form! Not only does changing your pet’s diet help avoid and/or control excess weight, but there are plenty of other things you can do along with that, such as exercising and limiting treats.
Tip #2: Engage in Regular Physical Activity
In addition to helping your pet maintain a healthy weight and muscle mass, as well as keeping their cardiovascular system in shape, regular exercise is a key component to prolonging your pet’s life, as it’s proven to lower stress, increase endorphins, and balance mood and emotions in people and dogs alike. Not only that, but exercise also ensures your pet gets some quality time with you, their beloved guardian. This quality time automatically improves their mood and reduces their anxiety. Overall, it helps keep your pet happy!
For your cat, invest in toys that focus on cardio, like laser pointers, perches, or catnip-infused toys. For your dog, encourage play dates with no leash (in safe spaces!) and prolong those evening walks; maybe even kick it up to a jog!
Tip #3: Ensure a Healthy Mind
Just like physical exercise, mental exercise is equally as important.
In the same way humans do, pets thrive on mental stimulation to keep them happy. A bored pet can become depressed, anxious, or even ill. As your pet ages, keep their mind active with training, socialization, games, and one-on-one attention. You can even employ puzzle toys that require your pet to manipulate them to get to the goodies inside. A happy pet is a healthy pet.
Tip #4: Heed the Doctor’s Orders.
Even if your pet looks like the healthiest pet, you should still take them to the vet at least once a year for a general check-up and twice a year as they become seniors. Wellness exams are meant to maintain optimal health, and they provide a concrete record of your pet’s health history as they age. The immune system can weaken with age, and a titer test can determine if your pet needs any booster vaccinations to help protect them against any diseases. Wellness exams also give your vet the chance to spot potential problems early on, and a problem detected in its early stages is more likely to be treated and resolved successfully—and usually at a lower cost! Sticking to a regular, preventative care routine will give your pet the best shot at a long, healthy life.
Have a quick question you'd like to ask a vet? Visit our VetConnect page!
Tip #5: A Healthy Smile
Dental hygiene is an often-overlooked aspect of pet care, and unfortunately, poor oral hygiene can lead to plaque, gingivitis, and other diseases.
On the bright side, it’s not hard to keep your pet’s teeth in shape! Simply brush their teeth regularly, provide safe chew toys and dental treats, and have the vet check their teeth at annual visits. You should also get your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned during your annual visits to the vet.
Tip #6: Enjoy Every Moment
The sad reality of pet parenthood is that we outlive our pets. Unfortunately, there are no miracle products that will extend our pets’ lives far beyond the natural lifespan of their breed or natural conditions.
Giving them proper care, however, such as conscious watchfulness and regular veterinary attention, you may be able to give your pet a few extra, happy years. And don't forget to spend quality time with your furry friends. Just like humans, pets thrive on love and connections. So it is important to maintain that connection to make your pet feel extra loved and secure. The most important thing is giving your pets a comfortable life all the way to the very end.
That being said, our time with our pets is precious. Maintaining healthy habits, keeping our pets active, and savoring every minute we have with them is the most important thing we can do.