8 Tips That Could Lengthen Your Dog's Life

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Do you want your dog to live a long, healthy, happy life? Of course you do! Here are 8 things you can do to make sure your dog gets the most out of life.

1. Get them neutered or spayed.

Spaying or neutering your dog will help them lead a longer, healthier life, according to the ASPCA. Spaying your female pup will help prevent uterine infections and breast tumors. In males, neutering prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems. Besides the medical benefits of spaying and neutering, your dog will likely behave better. And here's another important reason to spay or neuter your dog: you won't be contributing to the homeless animal population.

2. Give your dog proper identification.

One in three dogs gets lost in their lifetime, and you need to be prepared. Make sure your dog's collar is outfitted with an ID tag, complete with your contact information. You should also have your dog micro-chipped: it's a quick, painless procedure that can be done in your vet's office, much like a vaccination, according to the American Kennel Club. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice, and when it's scanned by a vet or at a shelter, the chip transmits a unique ID number that helps find the dog's owner.

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3. Make friends with your vet.

Your vet is your best friend when it comes to helping your dog live a long, healthy life. Routine vet appointments are key to helping your vet assess your dog's health. Your vet will be able to see changes and identify underlying conditions that you could easily miss.

4. Don't neglect your dog's teeth.

Did you know that 2/3 of dogs have some form of dental disease? Yikes! Left untreated, bacteria can enter your pup's bloodstream and potentially cause liver, kidney and heart disease. Be sure you know how to brush your dog's teeth. Keep up with their vet appointments, and take your vet's advice when it comes to their teeth.

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5. Get your hands on him or her.

When you brush your dog, or when she's snoozing in your lap, run your fingers over your dog's body. Check for injuries, lumps, and bumps. You can even give your dog a physical exam at home! If you find anything that feels suspicious, make an appointment with your vet.

6. Watch your dog's diet.

Your dog may look cute begging for table scraps and treats, but extra pounds on your pup is bad news. Obesity in dogs contributes to arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. When it comes to pugs and other short-nosed breeds, obesity leads to breathing conditions. Since obesity is easy to prevent, you owe it to your dog to watch their diet. One in four dogs are obese, is yours?

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7. Take your dog's behavioral changes seriously.

If your dog suddenly starts acting strange (like snapping at you, or hiding under the bed), make a vet appointment. Behavioral changes in dogs should be taken seriously.

8. Make sure your dog gets adequate exercise.

Not only is exercise good for your dog's body, it's good for his brain! According to the SPCA of Florida, regular exercise helps hip joints, reduces digestive problems, and keeps your pup at a healthy weight. As for their brain, exercise helps control behavioral problems. A dog without an outlet for energy is a bored and destructive dog. Bad habits like chewing, scratching, digging, jumping on people and digging through the garbage can be mostly avoided by getting some exercise. Not to mention, exercising your dog is a great way for you to burn some calories!