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HomeGrowth Maltese dogFive causes that shorten the life of our Bichon Maltes

Five causes that shorten the life of our Bichon Maltes


As pet parents, we like to think that we are providing a healthy, happy life for our dogs. We feed them quality food, give them lots of love, and throw the ball in the backyard whenever we have the time. But there is much more that goes into raising a healthy puppy. And sometimes our busy lifestyles cause us to overlook some simple steps that could help extend the lifespan of our canines.

The good news, however, is that all of this is fixable and it’s never too late to step up the level of care we put into raising our pets. The following points are drawn from the minds of various experienced veterinarians across the country to get their input on ways we may be inadvertently shortening our dog’s life.

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Letting your dog gain too much weight

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According to the Association for the Prevention of Pet Obesity, an estimated 53 percent of dogs became overweight last year. And on top of that, the association found that 95 percent of the owners of these obese dogs incorrectly identified their pets as being of normal weight.

As Dr. Shari Brown, a veterinarian in Chesapeake, Va., notes, letting your dog be too intense can not only reduce the length of his life, but also his quality of life. “People don’t realize that dogs don’t process or break down food like we do,” he explains.

For example, when a dog eats 1 ounce of cheddar cheese, it is equivalent in calories to a human eating 1.5 hamburgers or 3 chocolate bars. And it’s not just people feeding the issue and so many dogs are simply being fed too much dog food or treats. “I tell owners to treat each treat like a candy bar. Would you give your child 8 candy bars a day? I’m not guessing,” Brown adds.

Solution: Brown’s solution is to limit the amount of food people give his pup and to make sure he is properly monitoring his food intake. He also recommends that pet parents increase their obese pet’s exercise routine, even if it means getting creative. “If it’s cold outside or the owner can’t exercise as much, put their dog on a leash and take them for a couple of laps around their backyard or house. Or put them on a leash and take them on a tour inside their home,” says Brown. “Anything to get you moving.”

If the weight is still not coming off, consult your vet, as they may want to put your pet on a diet program. Your vet may also be able to help identify an underlying disorder such as hyperadrenocorticism or hypothyroidism that may be contributing to the weight gain.

The neglect of canine dental care

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Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a common problem in dogs. As the American Humane Society reports, veterinarians estimate that 85 percent of dogs over the age of five suffer from the condition, which develops after meals and bacteria accumulate along the gum line. and the plaque shape in a dog’s mouth. A buildup of oral bacteria can ultimately lead to all sorts of health problems for your pet, including heart valve problems as well as kidney infections.

Solution: Dr. Jeff Werber, owner of Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles, recommends grabbing a toothbrush and brushing your dog’s teeth as often as you can. It’s not that hard to brush your dog’s teeth (finger brush works great) and there are chew toys and bones that aid in plaque reduction, as well as water additives that help maintain oral health,” he explains. It’s also a good idea to schedule a visit with your vet for a professional cleaning session at least once a year, Werber says.

Skip annual checkups

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While it can be a pain to buy your dog to the vet once a year, doing so can save his life. “Simply getting your dog seen once or twice a year by a vet can help improve life expectancy,” says Brown, who stresses the importance of annual physicals, even for apparently healthy dogs. “Even if your dog is acting normally, something could be brewing on the inside,” he explains. And in the case of a dog’s health, time is of the essence. “In some cases, by the time the symptoms appear, there’s not much we can do. But if we get the treatment Treatment started early, which can help improve the quality and quantity of a dog’s life,” adds Brown.

Solution: Experts, including Brown, recommend taking your pup for an annual or physical biennial (especially for dogs older than 7). If there have been underlying conditions in the past, pet owners should order annual blood tests to monitor for these types of ailments. Werber also urges dog owners to keep their pets up to date on vaccinations to protect them from rabies, canine distemper, parvovirus adenovirus, parainfluenza and Bordetella.

Not providing daily exercise

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Just because your pet plays hard at the dog park on Monday doesn’t mean you can forgo giving him any exercise until Thursday. According to Dr. Kim Smyth, Petplan personal veterinarian, exercise not only helps maintain weight, but provides mental stimulation for your pup. He also explains that routine maintenance of your pet’s fitness gives him a healthy way to expel energy.

Solution: “Find an activity that you and your dog both enjoy and work it into your daily routine,” says Symth. “As an added bonus, people who exercise with their pets tend to lose more weight themselves – it’s a win-win!” And if you don’t have time to go to the dog park five days a week, mix up your routine. Take your dog for a walk around the block, throw a ball in the backyard, or play a game of hide and seek around the house.

Exposure of your dog to secondhand smoke

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Just like humans, canine lungs aren’t equipped to handle the smoke blown into them all day. According to Werber, secondhand smoke can be very harmful to pets, causing all kinds of ailments such as an increased risk of cancer, as well as harmful respiratory problems.

Solution: Clearly the ideal way to deal with this situation is to refrain from smoking yourself. But if the habit is important to your lifestyle, then it’s a good idea to make sure you do it away from your dog. Keep your dog in the house while you go outside in the yard to have a breath.

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