Anyone who has loved and lost a pet knows firsthand that one of the hardest things about pet ownership is that pets have shorter lifespans than their humans. We all would like our furry family members to live a full, happy, healthy and long life. The general belief that the way to determine a dog’s age in human years is to multiply by seven. This 7:1 ratio was based on the determination that humans lived to about seventy years and dogs to about ten. This has been determined to be inaccurate, yet there is disagreement among professionals as to a more accurate method. What we all know in our hearts however, is that it is never long enough. We can help extend the lives of our pets by giving them a certain level of care, and we can improve the quality of their lives by supporting their physical and mental wellbeing.
Some professionals believe that dogs reach the equivalent of twenty-one years in only two human years and that aging then slows to an average of four years to every human year. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates the first year of a dog’s life as equal to fifteen human years, the second year equal to nine human years and after that, each human year would be approximately five years. One thing they all agree on is that smaller pets have longer lifespans than larger ones. While the cause remains unknown, large dogs age at an accelerated pace after age four and succumb to age-related illnesses sooner than smaller dogs. For some pets, unfortunately, bigger isn’t always better.
Dogs have a special ability to bond with their owners, providing unconditional love and companionship, combating feelings of loneliness, and lowering stress levels. Studies have shown pet ownership provides a number of proven health benefits, including physical, emotional, and mental health improvements. Opening your home to a pet or pets can increase fitness, improve immunity and decrease depression and anxiety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) heart-related studies’ findings suggest decreases in stroke and heart attack risk associated with pet owners, who also typically exhibit lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Additionally, according to these studies, heart attack survivors who live with a dog or cat have consistently better recovery rates. Children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems and have a lowered risk of developing related allergies.
Dedicated pet parents can ensure their pet’s health and happiness and support healthy aging.
Weight maintenance – Be careful that you don’t allow your pet to become obese. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces a pet’s risk of disease and injury, contributes to a better quality of life, and supports a longer life expectancy. Dog owners who walk or run with their pets several times each day are more likely to lose or maintain their own weight, as compared to those who don’t have pets.
Exercise – Walking not only supports a pet’s physical needs, it provides mental stimulation as well. Daily walks support muscle maintenance, joint health and a healthy weight. If your pet is recovering from an injury or surgery, speak to your vet about low-impact exercise options. Aside from the obvious reasons to walk your pet, allowing some time for sniffing makes the walk more enjoyable for them. While pets need to go out in all kinds of weather, during summer avoid walking on hot asphalt, and be sure your pet is adequately covered during winter walks. It’s best to time walks to avoid the hottest or coldest time of day.
Nutrition – In addition to good quality, highly nutritious and age appropriate food, pets can benefit from supplements that support joint, digestion, immune and skin health. Provide access to water at all times and watch that your dog doesn’t get dehydrated during warm weather or long walks.
Playtime – This is good advice for both dogs and cats. Indoor cats need opportunities to climb, chase, stalk and pounce. Playing with your cat regularly and providing entertaining toys can help to satisfy the stalking instinct and provide the exercise they need to maintain health. Provide mental stimulation by taking your dog out to play catch or to teach them new tricks. Heading to dog park allows dogs to have fun, get additional exercise and socialize with other dogs when appropriate.
Routine care – Flea and tick control, as well as heartworm and parasite prevention, are a must for pets’ health and quality of life. Annual wellness visits for routine care and dental exams can detect problems in their early stages, making them more easily addressed and treated. Regular grooming is imperative for certain breeds, and others can be bathed when needed. Watch for common health problems such as ear and urinary tract infections. If you pet is showing signs of illness, see your vet as soon as possible.
Enjoy the moment – Time with pets is precious. Maintaining a balanced healthy diet, keeping your pet active in mind and body, regular preventive care, and lots of love and attention can ensure that our best friends live out their natural lifespan in the healthiest possible way.
Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality nutritional supplements to support your pets’ health and wellness needs:
Healthy Aging by Animal Necessity: Healthy Aging Vet™ provides natural nutritional support for aging pets. Specific ingredients support overall wellbeing, stress resistance, mental concentration, healthy vision and reduced oxidative stress. Designed to support the health of large breed dogs beginning at age 3, and smaller breed dogs beginning at age 4.
Inflammation Support Curcumin 97%™ by Ayush Herbs: Used traditionally for centuries, this 97% pure curcuminoid product helps maintain a healthy inflammatory response, supports hepatic function and natural detoxification, and provides important antioxidant benefits. Free of milk, soy, eggs, and wheat.
Frontier Cat Multi by Nutritional Frontiers: These comprehensive multivitamin and mineral bite-sized chews provide key nutrients for overall health, omega-3 essential fatty acids, and taurine, an essential nutrient necessary to maintain eye health in cats.
Daily Multi for Dogs by Pet Naturals® of Vermont: This once daily multivitamin and mineral supplement provides over 21 healthful nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids in support of healthy skin and coat, normal brain function, cellular metabolism, and immune, bone, and nerve health.
ArthroPet® Wafers by NeoCell: This innovative formula provides a natural source of collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, MSM and manganese in support of strong and healthy joints. Gluten, soy, wheat, lactose, yeast, starch and artificial flavor free.
Pets Joint Support for Dogs and Cats by Now® Foods: This veterinarian formulated supplement supports normal joint function and healthy joint aging in both dogs and cats. Specific ingredients help to alleviate occasional joint discomfort associated with routine daily activity. The formula includes glucosamine, MSM, curcumin, hyaluronic acid, yucca and cayenne.
How to Calculate Dog Years to Human Years. http://www.akc.org/content/entertainment/articles/how-to-calculate-dog-years-to-human-years/
10 Tips to Keep Your Cat Happy Indoors. http://m.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/cat_happy_indoors.html
5 ways to keep your dog happy and healthy. https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/routine-care/5-ways-to-keep-your-dog-healthy-and-happy
7 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Pet Healthy. https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/pet-health.aspx
Healthy Pets, Healthy People. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html