Is it possible to add years to your dog’s life?
Unfortunately, I don’t know of any magic bullet or secret recipe, as much as I wish I did.
But I can tell you how we’ve used the most natural approach possible with our own dog. He’s now nearly 16 years old, based upon the information we were given when we adopted him from a shelter. He was at least 3 1/2 years old at the time.
I need to stress that I can’t promise your dog will live as long as our has, if you do the same things we did. It appears as if our Buddy was born with a healthy constitution. So, in that regard, we just got lucky. But we’ve always taken pretty good care of him, while trying not to obsess about his health.
Can You Add Years to Your Dog’s Life?
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Please understand I’m not an animal healthcare expert. So, everything written here is for discussion purposes only. If you have medical questions, please discuss them with your own vet. Hopefully, your vet has a holistic mindset. Actually, this is my very first suggestion on how to keep your dog healthy.
- Find a Holistic Vet – The veterinary practice we’ve used does advertise holistic dog care. I haven’t seen much evidence of this, but I think they’re probably among the best vets in the area. However, we do have an incredible homeopath we can use, if the need arises. She’s bailed us out on more than once. For example, or dog developed conjunctivitis. I was ready to bring him to the vet. We had an appointment scheduled for later in the evening. (I booked the last slot of the day, in the hopes our dog-aggressive pet wouldn’t run into other canines.) However, I cancelled the appointment. That’s because our homeopath gave us a remedy that cleared up the problem quickly. A veterinary trip wasn’t necessary. More recently, it seemed as if our dog was nearing the end of his life. Not so fast. A few well-selected remedies apparently turned things around. Much to our surprise, our dog made an amazing recovery.
If you want to learn more about natural dog care, I highly recommend you read the book A Healer in Every Home. The authors are experienced homeopaths and holistic healers.
- Chemical Flea Products – Never once have we used a chemical flea product on our dog. Nor have we needed to, thank goodness. These products contain very questionable chemicals, including compounds known as pyrethroids. These have been linked to seizures and even brain damage. At least 1,600 pet deaths within a five-year time span have also been reported. There’s also evidence that family members are exposed to some of these insecticides intended for pets. I wish more pet owners knew that natural flea control products exist. These are made with essential oils instead of harmful chemicals. The active ingredients in Vet’s Best Anti-Flea Easy Spray Shampoo are clove and peppermint oils.
- Vaccination Schedule – Vaccine schedules for dogs are fairly fluid, unfortunately. Some vets adhere to the practice of annual “boosters,” while others call for a more conservative schedule, based upon more recent recommendations that shots every three years are more appropriate. You should know that some shots are mandatory, depending upon the state you live in, while others are not. This is yet another reason to find a holistic vet, who can guide you through this process.
- Heart Worm Medication – This is a good thing to discuss with your holistic vet.
- Grain Free Dog Food – When our dog was younger, we fed him a high-quality brand of dried kibble. But we could have done better. Once he became elderly, he apparently had trouble digesting grains. So we had to switch to a grain free kibble, which contained anti-oxidants and probiotics, as well as herbs. It is grain free, but not carbohydrate free, since it includes peas and sweet potatoes. Our dog did very well on this for awhile, until the kibble lost its appeal for him. Now, because he’s so old, we feel him a lot of organic people food.
- Reducing Stress – Stress is bad for dogs, as well as for people. Although we can never totally eliminate stress in our lives, or in our dog’s life, we can reduce it. My husband and I made a decision not to get another dog, at least while our present dog is still living. I know our dog can’t live forever. Having another dog would lessen the sting when the inevitable happens. But I worry that introducing a new animal into the house would create too much stress for our older dog. So this is something we decided not to do, in an effort to keep him around longer. Yes, it would probably be easier on us to get another dog. It wouldn’t be easier for him.
- Natural Ear Care – When our dogs ears became itchy and inflamed, we used natural essential oils instead of a popular pharmaceutical, which contains a steroid. Throughout his life, we’ve always tried to use the most natural approach possible.
- Not Letting Our Dog Sleep Too Much – Older dogs like to sleep. But our dog has to “work” a little during the day, which cuts into his nap time. I believe this is a good thing. Here’s how we get him to “work.” When he gets up, he’s hungry. But I don’t feed him right away. Instead, he has to “work” a little. This means waiting, pacing and trying to get my attention. When he eats is somewhat unpredictable, which makes him work a little harder. Eventually, he gets what he wants, a nice meal of organic people food, sometimes cooked to order.
- Feeding Our Dog People Food – This would not have been practical years ago. It still wouldn’t be, if we were on vacation, and someone else was watching our dog. Until last Christmas, our dog ate mostly dog food, supplemented with a lot of healthy table scraps. Then, as I mentioned earlier, it appeared as if we wouldn’t have him much longer. Much to our surprise, he bounced back. As he was recovering, we switched to people food. At his age, we want him to enjoy the time he has left. We don’t worry about “spoiling” him. His appetite is definitely better than it was a year ago. I think it has something to do with the food he’s being offered.
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