We all love our furry friend, sometimes more than the non-furry ones in our lives! And that means we want them around for as long as possible. As dog owners it’s our responsibility to give our pups the best chance of a long and healthy life and here are 5 ways to do that:
1. Maintain a healthy diet
Common-sense tells us that – just like humans - a dog with a healthy weight is more likely to live a longer life. Obese dogs are more likely to develop heart disease and debilitating joint problems, too. The proper balance of nutrients is essential. Our pups need a certain combination of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water every day in order to function normally. Balanced nutrition is no accident. Good food manufacturers work hard to determine the right formula for their products in order to provide everything your dog needs on a daily basis. However, the quality of the food you feed your dog matters, so do your research and avoid generic “meat byproducts,” sugars, excess sodium, and unnecessary fillers. Look for whole ingredients and responsible sourcing practices from your dog food to help extend your dog’s health. As you know, we’re big fans of the raw food diet and would be happy to drop a sample into you to see how your pup takes to it. We've also started stocking Frozzy's frozen yoghurt for dogs, which has all the benefits of yuoghurt with none of the nasties. Let us know if you'd lke to try it!
2. Keep them fighting fit
Diet is just one way to help your dog stay in shape – exercise is as – if not more – important and it also keeps you in shape too! As humans, we all know the benefits of exercise – it lowers stress, increases endorphins and balances moods. Dogs are no different to us and need all of these things too. So whilst regular exercise is definitely good for helping maintain a healthy weight and muscle mass for your dog and keeping their cardiovascular system in shape, regular physical activity will also help keep them happy. For more active dogs, consider extending some of their walks, maybe even turning up the speed to a jog if you have the stamina! It's also vitally important to let your dog run around off the lead, ideally with a furry friend or two. Socialisation is another way to reduce a dog’s stress and improve their overall quality of life, which is why our clients love sending their dogs to daycare so much. It's not just about keeping them looked after while you’re busy, it's about giving them that all important freedom to roam in the country air with their pals as well.
3. Keep them mentally sharp, too
Again, just like us humans, dogs need mental stimulation to keep them happy. Bored dogs can become depressed, anxious, and even ill – we sadly saw this with some of our pack in lockdown unsurprisingly. But thankfully there are ways you can tackle it - by keeping them busy, especially as they age. Keep their mind active with things like games and one-on-one attention. Finally, training is not just for puppies, in fact it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks. You could sign up for advanced obedience lessons, or try a dog sport like agility like flyball. Your pup will love the additional stimulation, and it will strengthen your bond as you learn new skills together. If you’re short on time but want to ensure that your dog’s mind and body are kept active while you’re away, we are experts in dog activities and stimulation! Our two new play areas are full to the brim with toys and activities to keep our beloved pup pack occupied all day long.
4. Follow your vet’s advice
Regular vets visits are an absolute must. We recommend Cuffes on Abbevile Road in Clapham. Your dog should see their vet at least once a year for a general check-up, increasing more frequently as they age. These routine exams help maintain optimal health, but also provide a record of your dog’s health history as they get older and give your vet the chance to spot potential problems early on. Sticking to a regular preventative care routine will give your pup the best shot at a long, healthy life.
5. Don’t forget to brush those gnashers
Oral hygiene is an often-overlooked aspect of caring for your dog. Many of us simply forget to brush your dogs’ teeth on a regular basis, or can’t actually get in there due to the dog not liking it (more common than you’d think!) Sadly, poor dental hygiene can lead to plaque, gingivitis, and eventually periodontal disease, a bacterial infection of the mouth that has been linked to heart disease and organ damage in dogs. If you can, brush their teeth regularly and provide safe chew toys and dental treats, If you struggle to get a toothbrush in there, let us know and we can arrange for this to be done during grooming.