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What Causes Aging in Dogs?

We all want our four-pawed best friends to live forever.  I often get asked what the life expectancy of a particular breed is.  I hate this question, because there are so many different factors that go into aging and lifespan.  It is especially hard when the pet is older and close to that number, and that little guy is running around my office like a 3 year old.  In this blog post, we will discuss what aging is and what we can do to increase the life expectancy of our beloved dogs.  So, here is the chart that no one wants to see:

life-expectancy-breed

(PetMD 9/13)

The Cause and Effect of Free Radicals on Dogs

Well cellular aging is just a fact of life, the body is not designed to last forever.  Aging is the physiological changes a dog experiences during its lifespan.  Cells replicate and die, they are damaged by external factors, and some just lose their function.  Many theories exist about why we age, but most will say that it is a multitude of factors and not just one thing that causes aging.  Let’s talk about a few:

Environmental factors: Reactive free-radicals in the environment have been shown to damage cell DNA, contributing to health problems in animals. Antioxidant nutrients include Vitamin A, B, C, E, Beta carotene,  bioflavonoids, selenium, zinc, copper, magnesium, and iron.

Genetics: Life expectancy is pre-programed based on the genetics from the parents

Wear and tear: All machines wear down over time, and the more that you use that machine, the faster this occurs.  But, this doesn’t take into account the body’s ability to repair itself.

Nutritional: keeping the body in optimal condition with diet is important, overweight dogs have more issues than healthy body conditions.  Just like people, a quality diet is providing the body with the proper fuels it needs to perform in the optimal way

These are just a few of the theories that cause aging.  So what can I do to help my buddy live a longer life?

7 Anti-Aging Habits for Dogs

  1. Weekly/Monthly Home Checkup: Coat, Skin, Eyes, Nose, Ears, Mouth, Feet, Limbs, Back, Weight, Respiration, and Temperature. Keep their water and food bowls clean daily and if necessary, keep a log.
  2. Behavior Training & Stimulus: Teaching obedience to your dog is good for his health, hygiene, and psychology. From housetraining to positive reinforcement, bonding with your dog will help with his overall happiness.
  3. Hygienic Practices: regular grooming and dental care reduce the stress placed on the immune system in warding off harmful bacteria. A weekly/monthly brushing, nail trimming, and ear inspection, as well as daily teeth cleaning, are all good practices to adopt.
  4. Diet & Nutrition: receiving essential nutrients is critical to replacing damaged and dying cells. Keeping your canine hydrated with clean water will keep the health of his internal organs, flush out toxins, and contribute to longevity. Providing a dietary supplement such as NatrixOne to help boost your canine’s immune system will greatly improve his chance of fighting diseases.
  5. Remove Environmental Risk: removing as many toxins as possible from food and living environment will help with longevity. Providing a dog house and safe yard conditions from other dogs or wild animals will reduce the risk of serious injury. Reduce stress in your canine’s world to create less fatigue and inflammatory responses.
  6. Exercise your Canine: promote strong bones, muscle, and cardiovascular growth which help create a more efficient bodily repair process. Fetching, walking, hiking, swimming, herding, pulling, or agility competitions are all great forms of canine recreation.
  7. Regular Veterinarian Screenings: Consulting routinely with a veterinarian will contribute positively to your dog’s longevity. Seeing a vet at least once a year is recommended. A good vet will be your dog’s health detective and adept at providing a proper examination.  Keeping your dog on a regular heartworm/intestinal parasite/external parasite prevention and vaccination schedule will greatly reduce their risk of contracting a disease from another dog, insect, or wild animal.

Dogs are living longer with each passing year.  Better foods, better veterinary care, and the increase in the human/animal bond over the last 100 years has allowed our dogs to live their best lives.  Continue to love them everyday, provide good nutrition for them into their old age, listen to your veterinarian, and give them a supplement like NatrixOne to help them live as long as they can.

Dr. Rich

About the Author

Rich Coleman
Dr. Rich Coleman grew up in Fairfield, Ohio and began his journey into veterinary medicine as a kennel attendant at the age of 15. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Cincinnati before graduating from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. Dr. Rich took over Plum Veterinary Clinic in December 2006, changed the name to Four Paws Animal Hospital in 2007, built a new facility in 2012 and began a remodel in March 2019 to allow for more growth and opportunities for our community. Dr. Rich Coleman is the Chief Veterinary Officer for NatrixOne™ and completed our 100 dog study in 2018. After seeing results firsthand, he joined the NatrixOne team!
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