When your dog is your best friend, you want to prolong their life as much as you can. Labs make great life companions that everybody adores. The sad part is that unlike humans, one cannot be sure to extend their years too long past their lifespan. Heck, there is no plastic surgery or robot plugs for your dog’s limbs.
A Labrador retriever has a lifespan of 10-14 years. If you want to enjoy more days with your lab, here are some tips that reveal the secret.
1. Feed them the right portions
2. Choose to feed your dog a homemade diet.
3. Brush your dog’s teeth daily.
4.Exercise your lab regularly
5. Provide mental stimulation options
6. Give supplements
7. Vaccinate your dog
8. Use natural flea and tick control methods
9. Neuter your Lab
10. Proper grooming
Feed them the right portions
Labrador retrievers are very prone to gaining weight fast and growing overweight. They hog onto food left, right, and center. When not keen, you will have a heavy partner lazing around your home. Not only does excess weight limit the dog’s ability to exercise, but it also exposes it to many diseases.
Diabetes, cancers are but some of the illnesses that could affect the poor dog. As a keen owner, you need to put your dog on a strict feeding diet. If using your busy schedule as an excuse, invest in an automatic food dispenser. This will make work easier for you by limiting the portions your dog gets at every moment in time. You can also opt to be weighing your dog’s food before serving it. You can read more on why Labradors gain weight so fast here. Be sure to check for the tell-tale signs on your dog being overweight.
Choose to feed your dog a homemade diet
Many commercial foods are not keen on calories as your homemade diet. You should embrace doing it yourself when it comes to dog food. Often, pet food is not as regulated as human food. This means you are robbed of being 100% sure of the contents and health benefits the food gives.
You can have a diet where you balance the grain intake, protein, and fats at home. Labs thrive with a low-fat diet, which involves lean meat. Offering more carbohydrates is also not fit. Be sure to add some protein by adding some plant protein. Dogs are not so choosy with foods. You only need to know which foods to avoid as you mix through. Attach this to a strict diet plan that you can comfortably control.
Brush your dog’s teeth daily
Don’t be surprised. Dental hygiene is not only applicable to humans. You need to be a responsible dog parent by brushing the lab’s teeth on a daily basis. This routine will prevent developing gum diseases and plaque. When your lab has gum diseases that come from poor dental care, it becomes an entry for bacteria. With bleeding gums that are vulnerable, you never know the entry point of your dog’s death threat. Diseases like heart and kidney diseases are the possibility of poor dental hygiene.
Be keen not to use human toothpaste when doing this. It contains some toxins that are quite harmful to the pooch. As part of your vet visits, the lab should receive professionally done brushing once a year.
Exercise your lab regularly
You’ve got to encourage your dog to be active if you want another day added to his life. You can encourage this by the following tips:
- Add some treats around the house and encourage the lab to find them
- Take them for walks. A lab needs an optimum walk of up to an hour.
- Buy lots of toys to engage the dog. Some toss balls and ball launchers can be a great exercise booster.
When short of ideas for games to play with your lab, check out our list for added fun and assured exercise. Remember not to strain your lab during exercise. They are prone to getting hip dysplasia, which affects the young active puppies the most.
Provide mental stimulation options
A bored dog is a destructive dog. What happens with a destructive lab? They will cause havoc here and there and can get injured. From their playful nature, labs always want to be under a series of activities.
Don’t be afraid to give it many puzzles, try new games, and show new tricks. You will love how intelligent labs seem to be. They are easy to train and will hop onto any new adventure. This will excite them a lot and increase their life.
Supplements boost a dog’s immune system and able to maintain its health. With many diseases kicking hard on dogs, you need to invest in this buy. Some of the supplement options to consider are:
- Omega fatty acids: Dogs need fats in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. This reduces inflammation and prevents painful joints when puppies. You can supplement omega-3 acids with sardines and good quality fish oil.
- Antioxidants: They destroy free radicals that will cause your dog to age. Raw vegetables provide vitamin C from its homemade diet. Although dogs produce their own vitamin C, it is not enough to meet the needs of the body.
- Probiotics: These are the good bacteria that your dog needs to stay young. They are in yogurt, kefir, or one of the commercial probiotics supplements.
- Glucosamine: This slows your dog’s aging by reducing the inflammation in his joints. Commonly present in chicken and beef.
Vaccinate your dog
Do not skip your vet’s vaccination appointments. Your dog requires them, especially in its first year. It prevents some diseases from shortening its life. Be sure not to over-vaccinate as it could flip the script. Your dog should also go low on vaccines as they grow older. You would not want to have it experience side effects that can render its life threatened.
Use natural flea and tick control methods
You will be saving your dog’s liver from excess toxin digestion by going natural. Even with the many oral commercially available control methods, many dogs react badly. They are sometimes unsafe to use. Choosing a natural way is a better-assured option. Rather be safe than sorry.
Neuter your Lab
Removing the testes of your male lab has benefits to reduce cancers that are of the testes. Since cancers are a top dog killer, you will have done yourself a huge favor. Be warned and don’t castrate your male lab until past a year. Due to their big build, Labrador retrievers need testosterone to grow well. When fixed early, a male lab will not grow well and may experience unbalanced joint growth.
You also increase the lifespan of a female lab by neutering it. You can avoid the risks that come during birth and the stress of it.
Proper grooming will ensure you are able to spot any arising issues. You can observe the change of its coat, skin infections, injured limbs, and paws amidst others. Check our Labrador grooming guide here.
Aside from weekly grooming, take your lab to a vet once a year for a professional groom. Your vet should be able to spot any off occurrences that could save your dog’s life. It’s also advisable to report anything you suspect as abnormal to your vet.
Adding on to your dog’s life is not a one-off event. It will need a lot of consistency and care. It will feel more like polishing your silverware. A routine that, when done well, can lead to you having such a top-notch gem.