3 Ways You Are Killing Your Dog Without Realizing It

I suppose each day we live we are one day closer to death.

I always like the philosophical thought process of that way of thinking.

But we also want to have quality of life.

And, we want our best friends to live happily and healthily for as long as possible.

But there are things that I see working in the dog world where the majority of people are not helping their dogs to age gracefully.

And, as you know bad habits can not only age you; it can also take time off the end of your life and make old age painful and difficult.

The same can happen to your best friend.

There are 3 major things I have noticed that contribute to the decline of a majority of pets.

#3.  Lack of Stimulation and Training

Okay, okay I know I am an obedience trainer and of course I spend a majority of my time working and training with my dogs.

But I think the majority of people don’t devote enough time exercising and training their dogs; especially older dogs.

It seems people are in a hurry to train young dogs and puppies but they think once the dog is trained or no longer a problem that he doesn’t need training.

Nothing is farther from the truth.

Your dog may not NEED training for his bad behaviors anymore but he does NEED training for his mind!

Your dog can’t read a book, he can’t write or draw, he can’t spend countless hours on social media… his mind needs something to do so that it stays healthy!

Old dogs suffer from dementia.

And, I fear that the majority of these dogs suffer because they have just been laying around the house for so long that their brain gets very little activity.

Working dogs’ bodies wear out but I find that their minds are typically stronger into old age because they spent a lifetime using their minds.

The same goes for physical exercise.

We tend to exercise our young dogs because they demand it.

But we typically get lazy as they sleep more and demand it less.

However the truth is that middle and old dogs also need physical exercise.  They can’t “run” like they once did but regular walking helps with arthritis and builds much needed muscle.

#2.  Poor Dental Hygienevet checks the teeth of a dog

Imagine never brushing your own teeth…

I mean it sounds pretty ridiculous to most of us right?

I have OCD when it comes to hygiene, especially teeth.

It doesn’t matter how sick I am, I HAVE to brush my teeth and shower at least daily; sometimes more.

I want to keep my teeth.

And, dental pain is some of the worst pain EVER.

But when I recommend and I hear my vet recommend daily tooth brushing for your dog, most people balk.

Ever since I started working in the vet world and heard about doggy daily tooth brushing and I started brushing my own dog’s teeth daily; I have never had to have them anesthetized to get them cleaned.

And, I think we can both agree that avoiding anesthesia is best when you can.  But don’t fall for those “anesthesia free dentals” they are a joke at best.

But the majority of dogs, especially older dogs, have horrible teeth.

I saw a Lab a few weeks ago whose teeth were so bad and infected that you could smell them from across the room.  She ended up having to go on antibiotics prior to a dental cleaning and then lost the majority of her teeth.

She must have been in such horrible pain!

And, the infection from the mouth spreads to other vital organs.  It doesn’t just stay in the mouth.

In fact, in 2007 a 12 year old boy in Maryland died when the infection from an abscessed tooth spread to his brain.

Vets say 85% of dogs over 4 have some form of gum disease.

That is a HUGE number!

And, although it is inconvenient; the truth is that brushing your dog’s teeth daily is a simple way to help him live longer and actually save you money!

I simply put my dog’s tooth brush and tooth paste near my tooth brush and when I brush my teeth I also brush my dogs!

The nice thing about brushing your dog’s teeth is that it is not painstaking or difficult.  You don’t have to brush for a minute or more; you simply have to get the toothpaste (C.E.T. you can get from your vet only) on the dog’s teeth.  It is slightly abrasive and it has an enzyme in it that breaks down bacteria and tarter.  And, it comes in chicken flavor which my dogs LOVE!  I even give them a biscuit afterwards so now they DEMAND that I brush their teeth first when I get out of the shower. Usually I have two faces at the sink excitedly waiting.


It isn’t hard!

#1. Killing Your Dog with Food

I think the #1 thing killing a large majority of our dogs early, is over feeding.

I would say 90% of the adult dogs that I see (pets) are over weight.

Being overweight is hard on the body.

It breaks down joints and connective tissues and most of our big dogs are already prone to some joint disease and dysplasia.

Imagine being over 600 #fat dog

Imagine how hard life would be, how sore you would be, and how much sooner you would meet an untimely death.

When dogs are 10 to 20# overweight it is like being obese for a person.

Admittedly they don’t complain and they still are more active than the typical obese person but the breakdown of their bodies physically is still very real.

Diabetes is also a very real disease.

And animals with diabetes are hard to maintain… because of course they can’t tell us when they don’t feel right.

I like a thin pet.

It decreases their health problems and helps them live longer.

And, quite frankly my pets never, ever, ever live long enough for me as it is, so I will do whatever I need to, to extend the time I have them in my life!

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  1. Agnes OSullivan says:

    Are the tooth brushing treats any good?


    Minette Reply:

    I suppose better than nothing, but nothing like brushing


  2. Glorua says:

    I use store pet toothpaste – my dogs love it. Is the vet one better?


    Minette Reply:

    CET brand has the enzyme store bought doesn’t have so yes, it is hands down better


  3. k bowron says:

    Never had dental problems with dogs as they get bones regularly.They have never been overweight as though they get well fed on Human grade meat etc, they get generally 2 to 3 Hours of walking ,running and playing every day,so as a result they settle down and behave better.


    Minette Reply:

    yet, being overweight is killing them! Consider a diet and more REAL exercise


  4. ManuB says:

    My dog does not allow anything to be put up inside his mouth. Instead of brushing I give him a chew stick (hard one) after his morning walk and he loves it. I think this also exercises his gums and keeps his teeth healthy.

    But if any other thing is there to keep his teeth healthy then do let me know of it.


  5. Brenda says:

    ManuB, raw (must be) bones are the best dental health care a dog can have, I use raw chicken wings, wing bones are like rubber, and soo enjoyed, never ever had a dog with teeth problems in 40 years.


  6. Doris Brannon says:

    Dear Brenda,
    I’m curious about how you described cleaning your dogs teeth — I had always heard “they always says that _____ (fill in the blank), particularly since there is never any hint regarding just who the ‘they’ are! Keeping t5hat in mind, I apologize for saying that I was always under the impression that any chicken bone was a big NO for dogs, and I wondered if there was any issue with any raw chicken parts (for pups or people) due to the bacterial, etc. issues with raw chicken. However, your method sounds like something my babies would tolerate (a very short list!), and I can’t always afford the cost of anesthesia and procedures for a vet to clean their teeth. Could you please be more specific in how you do this and if there is any basis to my questions – I’m excited to hear of a reasonable solution to the doggie teeth and intrigued with what solution you have been kind enough to share! Thanks so much and look forward to further information from you!


    Minette Reply:

    raw chicken is scary for the same reasons we don’t eat raw chicken and cooked bones can splinter. The best thing is to brush teeth.


  7. I have been dealing with one sweet but very overweight mini doxie for about eight years and know what a risk it is to be overweight, especially with their breeds’ propensity for back problems! My boy and girl are from the same litter (obtained from a non-professional breeder rather than a puppy mill, and have seen their mother and father who had good proportions and weight, etc. My boy is sleek, good Doxie body shape and has always had practically perfect weight at 16 or so pounds; however, his sister is a butterball at 26 pounds (terribly overweight for her). I feed them both about 1/2 cup of a good brand of ‘weight control’ dry food, with a small (about 2 teaspoons each of a good soft weight control wet food mixed in. I always watch as they eat to make sure she stays only in her bowl, and the only ‘treats’ they get is an occasional Dingo bone (and I always manage to make sure she gets less than her brother). No table food or other treats. I am disabled so they don’t get a ‘walk’ very often, but I have a large very open floor plan that they spend a lot of time running, chasing and playing on, either with each other or with me joining in. I have had her on prescription diet food, and still no different results. She has undergone multiple blood tests to rule out thyroid and other problems. Their vet just feels that I have to be feeding her too much, apparently because there is no more of an explanation, but I love my dog way too much to not follow the rules (and for several other reasons, I am changing vets). Anyone have any comments or suggestions that might be helpful? I love this baby (8 years old) and want nothing but the healthiest life for her. Does anyone have any comments or suggestions that might be helpful


    Minette Reply:

    You are feeding her too much. I give my 50# dog 1/2 of a cup of food twice a day. Although it hurts my soul that she gets so little food and is usually hungry; it is better than having an overweight dog.


  8. Sophie says:

    My three dogs don’t let me get near their teeth, and I’ve tried toothbrushing but they just swallow the tooth paste (it’s meat flavoured :0).
    Also would you say two small trays of dog food a day is too much for a small terrier? (You know, the little square tin trays)… They don’t seem to be putting on weight, but they don’t get a huge amount of exercise either.


  9. Crystal says:

    I have been told that my ten year old dog has very good teeth for her age. She chews bones and on toys. I recently got some stuff from the pet store to put in her water that is supposed to help her teeth.


  10. Mary Campbell says:

    How much to feed a 6 month old golden retriever? When do we transition off puppy food?


    Minette Reply:

    ask you vet, each dog is different


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