While our pets can't stay young forever, here are three ways you can extend the life of your best four-legged friend.
Our pets are family. Whether they hike with us, work outside, show, compete, or just keep us company, we couldn’t imagine living without them. So, what should we do to give them the longest, healthiest life possible? Here are the three most important things to do to prevent early aging in your pet.
Pets are living longer, in part, because of the early interventions and diagnostic capabilities of today’s veterinarians. Previously overlooked causes of systemic disease, like periodontal disease, are now primary concerns for many practitioners and their clients. For you, the pet owner, it’s vital to work with your veterinarian to provide care in a proactive fashion. Identifying markers of disease early can keep your pet’s condition from worsening or prevent symptoms from developing in the first place.
One of the most overlooked aspects of our pets’ health is body condition. Obesity in pets is a known risk factor that can contribute to the early onset of disease, shorten lifespan, and raise the risk for procedures that may require anesthesia.
Maintaining a lean body condition is essential to minimizing "premature aging" while also helping your pet enjoy an active lifestyle—something that will keep him both physically and mentally healthy. A diet that provides high-quality protein and minimizes the addition of chemical additives or fillers is ideal. Many commercially prepared diets can meet the needs of your pets, so talk to your veterinarian about the options.
When planning for a new pet, it’s important to screen the health history of the parents to determine if your new pup or kitten may be at higher risk for acquiring disease. If you intend to adopt a rescue pet, this information is likely unavailable. However, once you’re sure of your rescue’s breed, you veterinarian can provide guidance on common health concerns particular to that breed.
Certain purebred breeds have a higher incidence of disease than others. So, if you’re buying from a breeder, be sure to research the family line from which your new pet will come. If the breeder is reluctant to give up this information, consider it a red flag.
So much of how we humans live our lives is directly applicable to our pets. Regular checkups, a high-quality diet, and weight management are the most effective ways to keep your best four-legged friend young for as long as possible.