Yes, you can help your dog live longer by implementing these 4 steps.
Anyone can do this, and it works!
It’s a universal desire, isn’t it? We all yearn for our loyal canine companions to enjoy a life of longevity, potentially outlasting their general lifespan. Drawing from personal experience and reinforced by the collective evidence gathered from 5K participants in my extensive research programs, I assure you that such a possibility is not a far-fetched dream.
This article is written by me, “The Animal Naturopath,” aka Thomas Sandberg CAN, a board-certified animal naturopath who has researched longevity in dogs for more than 20 years.
I have narrowed it down to 4 easy steps anyone can implement to experience a longer life for theair beloved dogs. Observational data from my lifetime study with more than 5,000 dogs (all implementing these steps) show that dogs can live longer, healthier lives. There are no exceptions that I have recorded. Not one dog did not benefit from my approach.
Here are the 4 steps you can start implementing today.
Step 1: Feed a species-appropriate diet.
Feeding your canine companion the right food is the most crucial step towards ensuring your dog’s long, healthy life. The food to consider is a raw food diet. If you disagree with or are afraid to switch to this diet, please read on.
Why a raw food diet?
Dogs are carnivores because of their evolutionary history. They are descendants of wolves, which were primarily carnivorous. Over thousands of years, dogs have retained their carnivorous traits, including sharp teeth and short digestive tracts. These adaptations are designed to consume and digest meat efficiently. Some claim that dogs have adapted to a more omnivorous diet due to domestication. I’m afraid I have to disagree with that, and I get criticized for this. There is no scientific evidence that this change has taken place.
Many veterinarians and commercial dog food companies claim that dogs have evolved into omnivores. When you ask them for the evidence they cannot provide it.
One undeniable reason why dogs are considered carnivores is their dental structure. Dogs have sharp, pointed teeth, including canines and carnassial teeth, specifically designed for tearing and shearing meat. These teeth are not well-suited for grinding or chewing plant material. Additionally, dogs have a strong jaw and powerful muscles that aid in tearing apart and consuming meat. The motion of the jaw makes it impossible for them to grind their food. Their jaw moves like a scissor, straight up and down, and their function is primarily to bite, tear, cut, and crush. There is no nutritional benefit for a carnivore to chew their food. In the wild, among other pack members, eating is a competition, and the one who eats the fastest gets the most food. They are gulpers, and the only reason for them to chew is to cut a large piece into smaller pieces to swallow.
Another reason why dogs are classified as carnivores is their short digestive tract. Carnivores have relatively short digestive systems compared to herbivores or omnivores. This is because meat is easier to digest and requires less fermentation and breakdown compared to plant matter. Dogs have a relatively short small intestine, which allows for quick absorption of nutrients from meat-based diets.
Furthermore, dogs possess specific biological characteristics that are common among carnivores. For instance, dogs produce enzymes, such as amylase, in limited quantities. Amylase breaks down carbohydrates, which are abundant in plant-based diets. This indicates that dogs are better equipped to digest and utilize animal protein and fats rather than plant-based carbohydrates.
In conclusion, dogs are considered carnivores due to their evolutionary heritage, dental structure, digestive system, and biological characteristics. While they have adapted to some degree to a more omnivorous diet, their anatomy and physiology still reflect their carnivorous nature. Understanding the carnivorous nature of dogs can help pet owners make informed decisions about their nutrition and overall health.
Note: Remember, always consult a canine health professional before making significant changes to your pet’s diet.
Benefits of a Raw Food Diet
- Improved Digestion: Raw foods are inherently more natural and easier for dogs to digest since this is what their digestive system is designed for. This also results in smaller, less odorous stools. Raw food consists of about 70% water, and the body will absorb this, and the result is smaller size poops. Another thing you will notice is that your dog will drink much less water for the same reason. Dry food like kibble drains the body from water and causes a need to drink more water.
- Better Coat Health: Feeding your dog a diet rich in raw foods will result in a shinier, healthier-looking coat. This is primarily due to the higher levels of natural oils found in raw foods. You will notice this within days.
- Increased Energy: Many owners report an increase in their dog’s energy levels after switching to raw food. This is due to the diet being richer in nutrients than processed foods.
- Lowered Risk of Disease: Processed dog foods often contain large quantities of additives and preservatives, which some studies suggest may lead to an increased risk of certain diseases. Raw food, meanwhile, does not contain these harmful substances, potentially reducing the risk of these ailments. But the main reason is the the body can absorb vital nutrients in their original form, not ruined by the process of making it. Raw meat comes straight from nature.
|Raw Food||Improved digestion, better coat health, increased energy, lowered risk of disease.|
|Processed Food||Often cheaper and more convenient but potentially detrimental to long-term health|
The most important reason: a strong immune system
A raw food diet can boost the immune system for dogs due to its high nutritional value. Raw food, such as raw meat, bones, and organs, contains essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are easily absorbed by the dog’s body. These nutrients help strengthen the immune system, making it more effective in fighting off diseases and infections. Additionally, raw food diets lack artificial additives and preservatives, which can have a negative impact on the immune system. By providing a natural and nutrient-rich diet, a raw food diet can support the dog’s immune system and promote overall health and longevity.
Raw food diets for dogs also promote a healthy gut microbiome, which plays a crucial role in immune function. Raw food contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes that aid digestion and support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. A balanced and diverse gut microbiome helps regulate the immune system, preventing overreactions to allergens and reducing the risk of autoimmune diseases. By nourishing the gut with raw food, dog owners can help maintain a healthy immune system for their pets.
Furthermore, raw food diets often eliminate common allergens and potential inflammatory ingredients found in processed dog foods. Many commercial dog foods contain grains, fillers, and artificial additives that can trigger allergies and cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation can weaken the immune system and make dogs more susceptible to various health issues. By feeding a raw food diet, dog owners can reduce the risk of allergic reactions and inflammation, thereby supporting a more robust immune system for their dogs.
The result is a strong immune system that can fight off pathogens and other diseases that all dogs are exposed to.
If you are new to raw feeding and still have questions and maybe even experience an element of fear, you willbenefit from reading my book on how to start a dog on a raw food diet: It is available here
Step 2: Plenty of Exercise
The proverb ‘A tired dog is a good dog’ is not just a saying. It’s a fundamental truth backed up by veterinarians and pet experts across the globe. Regular physical activity is good for your dog’s waistline and plays a critical role in their overall health and longevity. Exercise is essential for your furry friend in several ways.
Benefits of Regular Exercise
Just like with humans, exercise offers countless health benefits to dogs. These include weight control, muscle toning, cardiovascular health, and improved mental well-being. In addition, adequately exercised dogs are less likely to display destructive behavior, such as chewing on furniture or digging holes in the yard.
Promoting a Healthy Heart and Mind
One of the most significant benefits of exercising your dog regularly is promoting a healthy heart. Brisk exercise helps to strengthen the heart muscle, increase blood circulation, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, plenty of physical activities also have a positive impact on your dog’s mental health, helping to prevent disorders like anxiety and depression, much like in humans.
The most unknown but, in my opinion, most important benefit of exercise is the activation of the Lymphatic System.
Exercise plays a crucial role in activating the lymphatic system in dogs. The lymphatic system removes waste, toxins, and other harmful substances from the body. When dogs engage in physical activity, such as running or playing, it stimulates the contraction of their muscles. These muscle contractions create pressure on the lymphatic vessels, promoting the movement of lymph fluid throughout the body. This movement helps to flush out toxins and waste products, enhancing the overall functioning of the lymphatic system.
Additionally, exercise increases blood circulation in dogs, which further aids in activating the lymphatic system. Improved blood flow allows for better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells while also facilitating the removal of waste products. As the lymphatic vessels are closely intertwined with the blood vessels, the increased circulation during exercise helps to enhance the lymphatic system’s efficiency.
Regular exercise also promotes a healthy weight in dogs, essential for optimal lymphatic system function. Obesity can impair lymphatic flow and lead to a buildup of toxins and waste in the body. By engaging in physical activity, dogs can maintain a healthy weight, reducing the strain on their lymphatic system and ensuring its proper activation.
It’s important to note that the intensity and duration of exercise should be appropriate for your dog’s age, breed, and overall health. Consulting with a veterinarian can help determine the right exercise regimen for your dog. By incorporating regular exercise into your dog’s routine, you can effectively activate their lymphatic system, promoting overall health and extending their lifespan.
Step 3: Limit Vaccinations to a Minimum
This is the most controversial part of protecting your dog against potentially dangerous diseases.
But first, let me share the concept of natural immunization vs
Many do not agree with me here. I believe natural immunizations play a vital role in preventing numerous deadly diseases in dogs. Natural immunization is a process by which an animal’s immune system develops disease resistance through exposure to natural pathogens. When a dog is exposed to certain viruses or bacteria, its immune system produces antibodies to fight off the infection. This exposure helps the immune system recognize and remember these pathogens, allowing it to mount a quicker and more effective response if the dog reencounters them in the future. Natural immunization is a natural way for dogs to build immunity and protect themselves against diseases.
Unlike artificial immunization, which involves administering vaccines containing weakened or killed pathogens, natural immunization occurs through natural exposure to environmental pathogens. This exposure can happen when a dog comes into contact with other animals, feces, or contaminated surfaces. It allows the dog’s immune system to develop a specific immune response to the pathogens, leading to long-lasting immunity.
Natural immunization is an integral part of a dog’s overall health and well-being. It helps strengthen the immune system and provides protection against various diseases. However, it’s important to note that natural immunization may not provide complete protection against all diseases in dogs with compromised immune systems (those that do not follow my 4 steps), especially those that are highly contagious or potentially life-threatening. In such cases, additional protection through vaccination may be necessary.
When it comes to dogs with a robust immune system, I see much better protection against all diseases, even the severe ones. There is, however, no research to back this up. I observed this from the participants in my study. I don’t see anyone ever creating a scientific study with unvaccinated raw fed dogs. I leave it up to you to decide on your vaccination protocol for your dog(s)
However, there is a growing concern that over-vaccination can harm your dog. Just as with any medical intervention, vaccinations also come with their risks and side effects. In my opinion and many others care must be taken not to vaccinate more than necessary.
Risks of Over-Vaccination
Over-vaccination can lead to potential health risks such as autoimmune diseases, allergic reactions, and even cancer at the injection site. Instead of following a typical vaccination schedule, it should be personalized based on the specific needs, size, and health status of your furry friend. I personally only vaccinate what the law requires me to do it and that is rabies where I live. I have never done anything else. As I mentioned, I do believe and I have seen it many times that a healthy dog can kick any virus.
I like to emphasize that this is my personal opinion and I’m not telling you to not vaccinate. I also believe vaccinations are good for the life of the dog as it is with humans. Somehow we have been programmed to belive that yearly vaccination is required to keep your pets healthy and safe. I leave it up to you to do your own investigation into this sensitive topic.
Step 4: Limit Exposure to Toxins and Chemicals
The world we live in today is fraught with harmful toxins and chemicals that can negatively impact your dog’s health. Limiting exposure to these toxic substances is essential for increasing your dog’s lifespan.
Dogs can be exposed to various chemicals and toxins in a home environment. One common source is household cleaning products. Many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, and phenols, which can be toxic to dogs if ingested or inhaled. It is essential to keep these products securely stored and use pet-friendly alternatives whenever possible to minimize your dog’s exposure to these harmful substances.
Another potential source of chemicals and toxins in the home is certain types of plants. Some common houseplants, such as lilies, azaleas, and philodendrons, can be toxic to dogs if ingested. It is crucial to research the toxicity of plants before bringing them into your home and ensure they are placed out of your dog’s reach.
Additionally, certain human foods can be toxic to dogs. Foods like chocolate, grapes, onions, and garlic contain substances that can be harmful or even fatal to dogs if consumed in large quantities. It is important to be aware of which foods are safe for dogs and to keep potentially harmful foods securely stored and out of your dog’s reach.
Lastly, household products such as pesticides, insecticides, and rodenticides can pose a significant risk to dogs. These products are designed to kill pests and can be highly toxic to dogs if ingested. It is crucial to use pet-safe alternatives or keep these products securely stored in areas inaccessible to your dog to prevent accidental exposure.
The worst ones, in my opinion, are the use of flea, tick, and heartworm medications.
Flea, tick, and heartworm medications for dogs are commonly used to protect them from parasites. However, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers associated with these medications. One of the risks is the possibility of adverse reactions or side effects. Some dogs may experience allergic reactions to these medications, which can range from mild skin irritations to severe allergic reactions that require immediate veterinary attention. It is crucial to carefully monitor your dog after administering these medications and consult with your veterinarian if you notice any unusual symptoms or behaviors.
Another concern with flea, tick, and heartworm medications is the potential toxicity they can pose to dogs. These medications contain chemicals that are designed to kill or repel parasites, but they can also have harmful effects on your dog’s health. In some cases, dogs may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or lethargy as a result of ingesting or being exposed to these medications. Additionally, certain breeds or individual dogs may be more sensitive to the chemicals used in these medications, making them more prone to adverse reactions. It is essential to follow the recommended dosage and application instructions provided by the manufacturer and consult with your veterinarian to ensure the safety of your dog.
Furthermore, overuse or misuse of flea, tick, and heartworm medications can contribute to the development of drug resistance in parasites. When these medications are used excessively or incorrectly, the parasites may become less susceptible to their effects, making them less effective in preventing infestations or infections. This can lead to a cycle where stronger medications or alternative treatments are needed to combat the resistant parasites, potentially exposing your dog to even more risks and side effects. It is crucial to use these medications as directed and consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate frequency and duration of use based on your dog’s specific needs and the prevalence of parasites in your area.
In conclusion, while flea, tick, and heartworm medications can be beneficial in protecting your dog from parasites, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers they may pose. Adverse reactions, toxicity, and the development of drug resistance are all risks associated with these medications. By being vigilant, following proper dosage and application guidelines, and consulting with your veterinarian, you can minimize these risks and ensure the well-being of your dog while still providing protection against parasites.
Natural alternatives to flea tick and heartworm medication
There are several natural alternatives to flea, tick, and heartworm medications that can help protect your dog without the use of harsh chemicals. One option is to use essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, or cedarwood, which have natural insect-repelling properties. You can dilute these oils with a carrier oil and apply them to your dog’s collar or bedding. Another natural alternative is diatomaceous earth, a fine powder made from fossilized algae. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth around your dog’s living areas can help control fleas and ticks by dehydrating them. However, it’s important to note that while these natural alternatives can be effective, they may not provide the same level of protection as conventional medications, so it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes.
Additionally, there are herbal remedies that can help repel fleas and ticks. For example, neem oil, derived from the neem tree, has insecticidal properties and can be mixed with carrier oil and applied to your dog’s skin. Another herbal option is rosemary, which can be steeped in water to create a spray that can be used as a natural repellent. However, it’s important to remember that herbal remedies may not be as potent or long-lasting as conventional medications, so regular monitoring and reapplication may be necessary.
When it comes to heartworm prevention, there are natural alternatives available as well. One option is to use herbal heartworm preventatives that contain ingredients like black walnut, wormwood, and garlic, which are believed to help repel mosquitoes and prevent heartworm infection. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of these natural alternatives may vary, and regular testing for heartworms is still recommended. Additionally, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian before using any natural alternatives to ensure they are safe and suitable for your dog’s specific health needs.
A little-known remedy for the prevention of heartworm.
A raw food diet promotes a healthy immune system that can, from my experience, control heartworms very well. I almost never see raw fed dogs with heart worms. They are, with doubt, better protected.
Oh here he goes again with the raw food, I hear some of you say. But I can’t emphasize it enough. Food is medicine and can prevent and heal. So it works here, too…
The process of becoming infected with heartworm is complicated and requires several factors to come together.
Dogs get infected with heartworms through the bite of an infected mosquito. When a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites a dog, it injects the larvae into the dog’s bloodstream. The larvae then migrate to the heart and nearby blood vessels, where they mature into adult worms. This process takes several months to complete. It is important to note that worms cannot be transmitted directly from one dog to another; they require a mosquito as an intermediate.
Once the heartworm larvae have matured into adult worms, they start to reproduce. Female adult heartworms release their offspring, called microfilariae, into the dog’s bloodstream. These microfilariae circulate in the blood and can be taken up by a mosquito when it feeds on an infected dog. Inside the mosquito, the microfilariae develop further, becoming infective larvae. This sets the stage for the mosquito to transmit the heartworm infection to another dog when it bites and injects the larvae into the dog’s bloodstream.
When a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito carrying heartworm larvae, the larvae enter the dog’s body and migrate through the tissues. As they travel, they undergo several molts and develop into larger larvae. Eventually, they reach the heart and blood vessels of the lungs, where they mature into adult worms. The presence of these adult worms in the heart and blood vessels can cause significant damage over time, leading to heartworm disease.
To sum it all up
In conclusion, ensuring your beloved dog enjoys many healthy, vibrant years doesn’t have to be a complex task. It is integral to incorporate these four pivotal steps in your pet’s lifestyle: firstly, feeding them a raw, species-appropriate diet; secondly, scheduling regular exercise sessions; thirdly, being judicious about the number and frequency of vaccinations; finally, limiting exposure to potentially harmful toxins and chemicals.
A species-appropriate, raw food diet empowers your pet’s immune system to ward off diseases and boost overall health. Regular physical exercise not only guarantees a healthy heart and mind but also stimulates the lymphatic system, often overlooked but vital for draining toxins and preventing illness.
Over-vaccination can lead to unnecessary health risks. It’s important to take a more diligent approach and administer only necessary basic vaccines to avoid overtaxing the dog’s immune system. The last step is minimizing your pet’s contact with harmful substances, particularly insecticides for fleas, ticks, and heartworms. There are plenty of natural remedies available that are as effective but much kinder on your dog’s health.
It is also worth mentioning that aside from these preventative measures, regular visits to the vet, and attentive observation of your pet’s behavior and overall wellbeing remain paramount. Remember, you hold a significant role in their life; by promoting these healthy habits, you can significantly impact your furry friend’s lifespan. You certainly want your pet to be around for as long as possible; these steps can help make that a reality.
Thank you for reading this and as always I welcome any comments.
If you need help with implementing these steps please contact me, see below.
Thomas Sandberg CSAN, CCNC, AADP
Thomas Sandberg is a board certified animal naturopath and carnivore nutritionist. He founder of Long Living Pets Research Projects, a 30-year observational study into raw-fed dogs and cats. Thomas also consults in animal naturopathy, including the prevention of chronic diseases and longevity using all-natural modalities. With more than 20 years of experience with hundreds of cancer cases, he has a deep understanding of why so many dogs and cats get cancer today and how we can lower the risk significantly.
Need help with your pet?
Do you have health issues that you cannot resolve with conventional therapies? Are you looking for a natural approach to help your pet live a long healthy life?
This is possible, and what I do. My approach is to restore the immune system in dogs and cats so they can achieve homeostasis. That is the best protection against pathogens that can lead to diseases.