Unfortunately, dogs don’t live as long as we’d like them to. In fact, the lifespan for dogs has decreased by an average of six years in the last four decades. A whopping 90% of that is due to environmental factors, so what can you do to help your dog live his or her happiest life?

Lead a healthy lifestyle

Did you know that in 2018 56% of dogs were overweight? That’s a lot of dogs. So what can you do?

  1. Whether it’s walking or playing catch, be sure to give your dog more exercise.
  2. Decrease the number of treats you give your dog (or be sure to include treats in the overall calories you feed your dog every day.
  3. Use brain puzzles and feeder toys to keep your dog stimulated.

Reduce exposure to toxins

There are toxins everywhere. From herbicides to smog, what can you do?

  1. Use footbaths when you and your dog return home. That way you remove any chemicals he might have picked up outside.
  2. Don’t use toxic herbicides and pesticides. Traces of pesticides have been found in the urine of dogs whose owners don’t even use pesticides on their lawns.
  3. Reduce your dog’s sun exposure if he has a short coat.

Perform regular exams

Just as people perform self-checks, you should do the same on your dog. Here’s how to do that.

  1. Learn what your dog feels like. Pay close attention to lumps and bumps on his body and if they change over time.
  2. Notice changes in digestion, bowel movements, eating habits and tiredness. These are often beginning signs of cancer.
  3. Report any changes to your veterinarian and get regular exams.

Add whole foods

“30-40% of cancers can be prevented by simply implementing dietary changes.” – Canine Nutrigenomics

Wondering how to do that?

  1. Try switching to a raw food diet with brands like Primal or Northwest Naturals. Even if it’s not in your budget to feed your dog raw both morning and night try using it for just one meal a day.
  2. Add whole foods, like green leafy vegetables, to your dogs’ kibble.
  3. There are some great raw freeze-dried toppers that you can use for training treats. (Warning: Your dog may not want to eat his kibble after trying these.)