DOG HEALTH: HOW TO KEEP YOUR DOG YOUNG

Pawsh-Magazine-How-to-keep-dogs-young-1Any pet parent can attest that dogs are always young at heart – it is one of their most lovable and endearing qualities. But there are a few extra things we can do to help our canine sidekicks stay healthy and live longer. Here are six simple tips to keep in mind!

1. Stay active
Just like humans, a dog who stays active will generally stay healthier and fitter than a dog who sits on the couch all day. Regular exercise not only helps to keep muscles and joints limber, but it can also avoid health concerns related to pet obesity and keep their digestive situation on track. So be sure to get your dog out for a nice long walk or run every day!
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-keep-dogs-young-22. Play!
Did you know that playing can help to keep a dog young? Playing is vital to any dog’s happiness. Whether they like fetch, tug-of-war, rough house or simply chasing after squirrels, all manner of play encourage a dog to develop social skills, use their brains and stay active. Play is also a way for older dogs to stay connected with their ‘inner puppy’ if you will. Try this DIY Thinking Dog Game or this At-Home Seeking Dog Game to add more play to your dog’s day, no matter what their age!
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-keep-dogs-young-33. Eat well
A healthy diet is important to any dog’s well being. Not only can eating right offer all sorts of health benefits, but it can also improve a dog’s coat quality and help them fight the common signs of canine aging. Consider adding these 5 dog-friendly human foods to your dog’s snack list or these nutritious dog foods to help keep Fido in tip-top shape.
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-keep-dogs-young-54. Embrace old age
This might sound the opposite of keeping a dog young, but some of the most common injuries that inflict older dogs occur when they try to do things beyond their physical abilities. If your dog has difficulty moving up and down stairs, consider building a ramp or keeping them restricted to the main level of the house so they avoid the risk of falling.

If your dog is slowing down but insists on dashing off like crazy after a Frisbee, consider modifying a game of fetch to gently rolling a ball on the ground instead so they can better avoid potentially tearing something. Prevention of injury is always better than recovering from an injury, so be mindful of your dog’s stage of life and create activities that will keep them busy without pushing them too hard.
Pawsh-Studio-how-to-keep-dogs-young-45. Teach them new tricks
Contrary to the popular saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” you can – and actually should – teach your dog new tricks to help keep those doggie brains sharp and youthful. New tricks reinforce focus and mental process for a dog, while also reinforcing their bond with you and allowing them to have fun!

Consider training your dog how to crawl, or how to play ‘dead dog,’ or how to ‘seek’ their toys. Each new skill or trick that is learned and thus requested of a dog on a regular basis helps to keep them engaged, active and stimulated.
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-keep-dogs-young-66. Visit your vet often
Regular check ups at the vet are a must no matter what your dog’s age, but as they get a little older it is important to make sure you don’t fall behind on those vet visits. Should your dog develop a medical issue it is always better to catch it sooner than later, so keep in touch with your vet, ask questions and be aware of any changes in your dog. True, your dog is not going to LOVE going to the vet more frequently, but they will thank you in the end.

{Huge thanks to my incredible friend and talented artist Tonya Pet Photography for photographing this delicious installment of the “Pet Wellness” column.}

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This article was made possible by DogTrot Fitness — Canada’s exclusive distributor of the PetRun line of dog treadmills — the ideal solution if your dog doesn’t love dog parks.
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