The way you raise your dog can have a real impact on his health and longevity.
Your dog’s genes are, of course, important. Some breeds, for example, are more likely to have cancer than others. But you can go a long way towards helping your dog to overcome his genetic predispositions.
We all know that children are healthier if they avoid junk food and are given lots of fresh wholesome food. It’s the same for dogs.
Dogs are essentially carnivores. They’ve thrived for millions of years by eating what they can catch. Rabbits, fish, sheep, birds … dogs would catch small to medium-sized prey and eat the lot, including bones, fur and feathers. When dogs came to live with humans, they were given bones and leftover human food (and in those days, human food didn’t come in a can or packet, and didn’t contain additives, flavourings, preservatives or any other chemicals).
I went through the processed pet food craze for a while, and noticed that my dogs simply didn’t thrive on this diet. But when I fed my dogs naturally – the way my own grandma used to feed the dogs – they rarely needed to see a vet, and my vet bills were infrequent and low. My naturally-fed dogs lived long and healthy lives.
I also noticed that when I followed my vet’s advice and vaccinated my dogs every year, my friends’ health suffered, and they died far too young. My healthiest dogs were never vaccinated at all, but given natural alternatives.
If you want a healthy long-lived dog, avoid the processed food and avoid too many vaccines. Give your dog plenty of exercise, and make sure there’s lots of fun and laughter in your house.
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