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 Hygiene
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 #
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!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.