We’ve said it before, and we’ll undoubtedly say it again: Your assistance dog takes great care of you, and you owe it to your assistance dog to take great care of her. It’s your responsibility to do whatever you can to help your hearing, guide, or service dog have the longest, healthiest, happiest possible life.
Here are 20 of the most important steps to take to maximize your assistance dog’s lifespan.
How to Extend Your Dog’s Life Expectancy
- Make sure your service, hearing, or guide dog gets at least one annual veterinary checkup.
- Conduct regular home health exams of your dog and have any possible concerns evaluated promptly by your veterinarian.
- Talk to your vet about any sudden changes in your assistance dog’s behavior, habits, appearance, or ability to perform her tasks.
- Brush your dog’s teeth regularly and get her veterinary oral checkups and professional teeth cleanings at least once per year.
- Provide your assistance dog with daily physical activity; arrange for someone to help out if you aren’t always able to do so yourself.
- Remember that your dog needs some intense exercise every day in addition to her regular walks and accompanying you on trips out of the home.
- See to it that your dog always has access to enough fresh drinking water.
- Feed your dog a high-quality diet.
- Avoid dog food with artificial ingredients or ingredients unfit for human consumption.
- Don’t get in the habit of feeding your assistance dog table scraps.
- Refrain from giving her fatty, salty, and processed people foods.
- Consult your vet for nutrition and exercise advice if your dog is starting to become overweight.
- Keep up with the recommended vaccination schedule.
- Talk to your vet about proactive heartworm prevention.
- Be informed about the risks posed by ticks and how to properly remove them.
- Ask your vet whether your guide, hearing, or service dog might benefit from any nutritional supplements.
- Use natural, pet-friendly cleaning products in your home.
- Remember to use sun protection on your assistance dog.
- Doll out lots of love and affection every single day!
That’s arguably the most important general health advice for lengthening your assistance dog’s life expectancy. Inform yourself about how to feed her the best diet, be vigilant about weight control and watching for possible signs and symptoms that something’s wrong, and always err on the side of caution when it comes to providing healthcare.
Early detection and intervention is so often the key to successfully treating health conditions and preventing them from turning into something debilitating or unmanageable. It can also spare you lots of veterinary visits and expenses, as well as having to deal with your dog’s extended inability to perform important tasks.