Tips to Help Your Pet Live a Longer and Healthier Life

In Animal Health, cat behavior, cat cpr, cat first aid, Cats, Dog Behavior, Dog CPR, Dogs, pet care professional, Pet Food Industry, Pet Safety, senior pets, veterinarian by Cara Armour

By Arden Moore

Four of my six pets qualify for senior status. Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday, Kona, my terrier mix, was a youngster enrolled in canine obedience classes and Casey, my orange tabby, was finishing the steps needed to qualify as a therapy cat with Love on a Leash. Both are now nine.

The senior statesman in our home is Mikey, a 19-year-old black cat who sometimes gets confused and meows in a corner. We also have Baxter, a black-and-white fluffy cat we rescued from the streets and we estimate his age to be about 12. The two youngsters are four: Rusty, an orange tabby and Emma a poodle-chihuahua mix.

One Out of Every Three Dogs or Cats Is 7 Years or Older

The simple fact is that the graying of America is not limited to people. Leading veterinary studies report that one out of every three dogs or cats is 7 years or older. That qualifies them as seniors.

That’s why a pair of books just released by Dr. Gary Richter, DVM, a leading veterinarian, are quite timing and resourceful. Check out his credentials: voted America’s Favorite Veterinarian, named Holistic Practitioner of the Year, founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition and medical director of the Holistic Veterinary Care center in Oakland, CA.

His latest books are entitled, Longevity for Dogs and Longevity for Cats. In each book, he dives into specific ways to help our cats and dogs live longer and healthier lives.

Cat Aging Advice

Let’s start with what you can do for your cat right now, according to Dr. Richter.

“Longevity begins with putting the right fuel in the biological machine that is your kitty,” he says. “When cats are fed the wrong fuel, over time it causes their bodies to age faster and develop more medical problems than they otherwise would.”

His nutrition tip: “The best foods to feed your cat for longevity are balanced, fresh, whole foods. You can buy prepared frozen meals that are lightly cooked or raw. Freeze-dried raw diets are great, too, because the freeze-drying process occurs at low temperature and pressure.”

In one section of his cat book, Dr. Richter discusses the value of quality supplements to aid a cat’s diet. He highlights 30-plus supplements that he deems safe and effective. He encourages people to always discuss supplements with their veterinarians.

One of his favorite supplements: CoQ10, formally known as Coenzyme Q10. He says, “CoQ10 is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and it plays a role in cellular energy generation. It has been shown to help control diabetes and improve cardiovascular, liver and kidney function.”

Longevity Tips for Dogs

Dr. Richter says that the average life expectancy for our dogs ranges between 10 and 14 years old. Beyond providing your dog with well-balanced, properly proportioned meals, he encourages you to provide your dog with an appropriate amount of exercise.

“We know that a lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, muscle loss, joint pain, and in many cases, poor health,” he says. “When it comes to exercise, evaluate who your dog is from the perspective of breed as well as his personal tendencies and energy levels.”

To boost his cognitive skills, consider putting your dog’s nose to work. Take a small piece of cloth and dab it with cedar oil or some other aromatic compound. Allow your dog to sniff it and reward him with a treat and praise. The goal is to gradually move this scented cloth out of your dog’s sight and encourage him to find it.

Dr. Richter is also an advocate of the emerging field of technology for dogs. Specifically, he champions the wearable devices now available that alert pet parents to early warning signs that their dog may be in pain or have heart disease or other condition.

“In the near future, biometric monitoring in the form of wearables for dogs on a collar or harness will become standard of care for people who want to be proactive with their dogs’ health,” he says. “Biometric wearables will actually become more effective the longer they are used, because the software and artificial intelligence will learn your dog’s patterns and be event better able to predict problems with the slightest indication of change.”

Thanks to longevity experts like Dr. Richter, there are more tools available now to help us make our pets’ senior years truly golden ones.

Tune In And Learn More

I interviewed Dr. Gary Richter on my nationally syndicated show called Four-Legged Life. Here are two clips from the episode featuring him sharing ageless advice for our pets: and

Learn Pet First Aid

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