5 Secrets to a Longer Life for Your Dog

These common-sense tips could add 2 or more years to your dog’s life. Expert advice from the editors of Petful (formerly Pets Adviser®).

If you want your dog to live a long time, feed a dog food that offers optimal nutritional benefits.

I wouldn’t feed my dog any food containing GMOs, artificial flavors or artificial colors — or toxic ingredients known to cause health problems.

The following 5 secrets can help your dog live a longer life:

1. Don’t Overfeed Your Dog.

Research shows that dogs fare better when they are fed less food.

The average large dog lives 13–14 years. Small dogs tend to have longer life spans.

Scientists performed a 14-year study showing that a dog can live 15% longer when fed less food. This means your dog has the chance to live 2 years longer when served smaller meals. Mind blown.

An overweight dog is prone to contracting more serious illnesses. Your veterinarian can let you know the ideal body weight for your dog. Your job is to ensure that your pet maintains the ideal weight throughout their life.

Consider investing in a smaller food bowl for your dog to ensure that they do not overeat.

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2. Give Probiotics a Try.

The natural probiotics in yogurt and kefir may be good for your dog’s intestinal flora and help your dog’s immune system combat diseases.

Scientific research appears to back up the belief that probiotics relieve digestive disorders — and a healthy digestive system may help your dog live longer.

According to PetMD, “Giving your dog healthy bacteria may positively impact chronic GI abnormalities, obesity, liver disease, and mood and behavior disorders.”

PetMD adds, “A daily probiotic supplement may also provide some ancillary benefits for dogs such as better skin and coat appearance, a reduction in gas, improved breath, a reduction of allergy symptoms, a reduction in yeast-associated disorders, and help in regulating bowel function.”

In addition to the probiotics found in yogurt and kefir, you can find powders and capsules for dogs that contain natural probiotics.

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3. Provide a Peaceful Home Environment.

Dogs have emotions that make them feel happy, sad, peaceful and agitated. A dog with high stress levels has a greater risk of contracting a serious disease.

So, if you want your dog to live longer, create a peaceful ambiance in your home.

My dog loved listening to Mozart and Vivaldi! Seriously, give it a try. You might also consider decorating your house with soothing colors and furnishings designed to create calm emotions.

A few more tips:

  • Keep your dog’s food bowl and water bowl in an easily accessible place.
  • Take them out for frequent walks.
  • Stimulate their mind with enjoyable games.

Basically, try anything you can think of that helps your dog feel contented and comfortable — all of it could help your dog live a longer, happier life.

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4. Offer Ample Amounts of Love and Attention.

In a few words: Your dog needs love.

If you have a job, your dog is alone during the day while you are at work. Think about your dog’s typical day from the dog’s point of view:

  • Your dog needs shelter but also requires a little excitement.
  • Boredom can make them feel depressed.
  • So, make sure your dog has things to do while you are away.

Unfortunately, you can’t train your dog to do your housework. But you can give them puzzle toys and games to keep their mind sharp.

Most of all, give your dog love. Pet them, speak soothing words and respect the fact that they are perhaps your best friend in the entire world.

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5. Stay on Top of Dog Food Recalls

If you have not signed up to receive Petful’s pet food recall alerts, do yourself a favor and get yours now.

This is a 100% free service, and you’ll know about dog food recalls as soon as we find out about them.

Our recall alerts often arrive in your inbox days — yes, DAYS — before you’ll hear about them anywhere else. That gives you an extra advantage when it comes to a longer, healthier life for your pet. No one wants their pet eating an unsafe — and potentially deadly — dog food.

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(Learn more about our pet food recall alerts here.)

Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Dave Baker, founder and publisher of Petful, is a journalist and editor who has worked at The New York Times and The Nation magazine. He was also part of the Pulitzer Prize–winning team at The Times-Picayune newspaper of New Orleans. After Hurricane Katrina, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Petful is now based. A longtime advocate for pet food safety, Dave has been passionately tracking pet food recalls for the past decade. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Clemson University in his home state of South Carolina. Dave has cared for a number of dogs, cats and other small pets over the years.
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