Pet owners often seek information on how to help their pet enjoy a long, full, healthy life. As the world’s only veterinarian certified in anti-aging medicine, there is no better authority on this subject than Dr Carol Osborne. In an effort to answer many of the most commonly asked pet longevity questions, we’ve decided to share a question and answer session.
Q: Are there any diets that will keep a dog from aging?
A: Feeding your dog a good, organic diet is a great start, along with adding a high quality, balanced supplement so that he or she is getting all the vitamins and minerals essential to great health.
Q: My dog is very picky and snubs most dog foods. What commercial food should I try?
A: Many dogs enjoy the taste of Newman’s Own Organics and Prairie by Natures Variety.
Q: Do you recommend a raw food diet for pets?
A: Issues with salmonella contamination are a definite draw-back to feeding pets a raw food diet, though some pets do well on raw foods. My personal recommendation is for a homemade diet.
Q: Are joint supplements really necessary for older dogs? If so, what kind do you recommend?
A: Providing joint support for older dogs is about as important as providing joint support for older humans! Just as human joints stiffen and wear out, so do the joints of our pets. PAAWS is a wonderful joint support supplement that can help reverse the aging process.
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about PAAWS?
A: PAAWS is an all-natural patented longevity supplement for dogs and cats. It is made in the USA.
Q: When should I start my dog on PAAWS or any joint supplement for that matter?
A: Dogs become seniors at age seven. A good diet and proper supplementation throughout life makes for healthier pets as they age, but it’s never too late to start supplements.
Q: What are some signs I might notice that my dog is aging?
A: Signs of aging in pets can be difficult to notice if you’re not watchful. Like humans, dogs slow down with age, gain some extra pounds, and just become less energetic and playful overall. Shedding excessively and difficulty with climbing steps and stairs is also are also signs of aging.
Q: Will my dog’s appetite change as he gets older? Will he eat more – since you said something about weight gain …
A: Your dog will likely gain weight because he isn’t as active, not necessarily due to eating more. Some older dogs do consume a little less food than when they were younger. Again, this restates the need for proper supplementation.
Q: My dog is not yet a “senior citizen”, so what preventative care do you recommend. How often should he see the vet? He’s currently five years old.
A: Visit your veterinarian at least once a year. At age five, he is only two years shy of being a senior!
Q: How can I weigh my dog accurately?
A: The easiest way to get an accurate weight on your small or medium sized dog is to first weigh yourself on regular household scales, and then weigh again while holding the dog. Subtract your weight from the combined weight of your dog to determine his weight. For large dogs, visit your veterinarian and ask them to weigh your dog, or go to a truck stop and use their scales!
Q: How do I know if my dog is overweight?
A: Your dog should have a waist, a tucked in area just above his hips that is easily visible. When running your hands along your dog’s sides, you should easily feel each rib; however, the dog’s ribs should not be visible. If you can’t easily feel the ribs, or you can pinch more than an inch of fat in this area, your dog is overweight.
Q: What should a homemade diet include?
A: For healthy pets, a homemade diet should be balanced to include 1/3 lean protein, 1/3 vegetables, and 1/3 long-acting carbohydrates. Examples of lean protein can include chicken, eggs, turkey, beef, salmon, etc. For vegetables, you may be surprised at the things your pet will like, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and even green beans. Long-acting carbohydrates can include potatoes, pasta, rice, and oatmeal. When cooking a meal for your dog, use a little extra virgin olive oil to not only add omega-3 fatty acids, but also to enhance the flavor and smell. Add other seasonings you think your dog might enjoy. Sauces like barbeque, pasta, and tamari can also be added.
Q: What can I do for excessive shedding? We’re already brushing the dog, but I’m wondering if she’s not missing something in her diet?
A: A weekly bath with an organic oatmeal shampoo is an easy step to help reduce shedding. I carry a product called Dermaluster that works well for skin and hair issues – including dandruff – that is all natural. PAAWS works well to supplement the diet. If you want to only bathe your dog once every two weeks, try adding a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil to every meal and give your dog quality dietary supplements.
Q: Is there an easy way to tell if my dog is suffering from a condition? Like, on your site, you list products for things like allergies. How can I tell if I my dog has an allergy, or must I take him to the vet?
A: If you suspect that your dog suffers allergies, something must be making you suspect this. A change in behavior is often the first sign of an internal or medical problem. You should always be seeing your veterinarian at least once a year. If your dog seems fine, overall, go with your gut.
Q: As a runner, I’d like to take my dog with me. My dog is about one and a half years old. What distance should she be able to run?
A: If your dog hasn’t been running with you before, she will need to gradually adjust to long distances. Without knowing the fitness level of your dog, I can’t offer any specific distance. However, monitor your dog’s behavior while running. When she is tired and has had enough she will begin to slow down, pant, and stop running.