Dog, Dog Behaviour, Dog Nutrition, Petchef

My Dog Is 8 Years Old, Here Are 6 Things I’ve Done To Make Sure She Lives As Long & Happy As Possible

Sarah Enxhi

PetPal Contributor

You’d be forgiven for thinking that she’s still a puppy. Many others have thought so, and it’s not surprising because she looks like she hasn’t aged in 5 years.

This is my dog, Sitas, back in 2015.

And this is my darling now, she’s actually already 8 years old.

Despite how she looks and acts, I’m still reminded occasionally that she is no longer the same dog as 5 years ago. For example, she stopped jumping up on the bed a few years ago. She stumbled during one of her jumps and didn’t manage to make the full height of the bed.

Since then her confidence was shaken and she dare not jump onto the bed as often as before. After some time, she stopped trying completely.

Being more acutely aware of the fact that she is getting older, few years ago I knew that I had to make some changes immediately to her lifestyle and diet. Because who doesn’t want their baby to be happy and healthy for as long as possible?

Here are some of the things that I’ve started to do for Sitas (not all at once, but in stages since few years ago). Since then I have seen differences in her health, coat colour, and even fur softness. So hopefully these dog care tips below may even help you and your furkids too.

1. Changed her water from tap to filtered drinking water.

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been feeding Sitas tap water all her life up till end of last year when I switched it to filtered drinking water. I didn’t realise that the difference would be significant between the two. But I came to realise that if tap water isn’t good enough for me, why should I be feeding that to my furkid?

A few months after the switch, I noticed that even the fur around her mouth is whiter and there is much less discolouration. It used to be really brown and stained, but now it’s clean and stained no more.

I also made it a habit to wipe her mouth after every meal, first with a cloth that’s damped with filtered water, and then with a dry cloth.

2. Started her on swimming lessons.

Since we moved into a condo, my poor dog hasn’t been getting as much exercise as before due to a smaller space. So to make sure that she gets some active workout, I started Sitas on swimming lessons at 88 Pets Mart, located at Aman Suria.

Swimming or hydrotherapy is a great form of exercise because the movement in the water puts less stress on the joints while still working all the major muscles. It also enhances the metabolism, strengthens the dog’s heart and lungs, and burns a lot of calories in the 20-30 minute time frame.

Initially I was worried about her being afraid of the water, and she did panic a little on her first try. But thanks to the life jacket and also constant supervision from a team member from 88 Pets Mart, she was in a safe environment to get used to the water and learn how to swim.

Also, swimming in this pool is different from just bringing her to a normal human swimming pool. The pool water here is chlorine-free, salt-free, tasteless, odourless, and the temperature is monitored in real-time to be within 25 – 28°C . Therefore it does not give her any allergic reactions, red eyes, and is gentle to her skin and fur.

3. Completely stopped giving her any processed snacks and treats.

I used to give my dog the usual processed snacks from the pet shop. She can’t tell what’s healthy and what’s not, either way she still gets excited and happy. However processed snacks have a lot less nutritional value, plus the preservatives are not good for her in the long run.

So I’ve completely sworn her off any processed dog treats or snacks, and only give her the good and fresh stuff. This means that she’s only given home baked or dehydrated treats and snacks that have no additives, colouring, or chemical preservatives.

Fortunately, there are a lot of pet home bakers and local businesses who sell these healthy treats online so there is no shortage of options.

If I want to make something at home for her, I boil chicken legs (cut off the nails first) and make a chicken broth for her. Chicken broth is rich in collagen, marrow, amino acids, and minerals. This low calorie soup protects the digestive tract, improves sleep quality, and supports joint health.

4. Made sure she has her annual check-ups.

I’m leaving nothing to chance so even if she looks and acts completely fine, every year I send her to the vet for her annual check-up. The vet gives her a physical, blood test, and any shots that are necessary.

The general rule of thumb is that I don’t want to wait for something to be wrong or for any illness/condition to get worse, before finding out about it.

5. Potty trained her to pee at a designated “toilet” in the house.

Sitas is toilet trained so she knows to hold her pee before we come home and bring her out. When dogs are younger, they’re able to hold their bladder better. But as the age, their bladder won’t be as strong as before and making them wait several hours before bringing them to pee can potentially cause urinary diseases.

To ensure that Sitas does not have to hold her bladder for long and cause any damage to her organs, she’s been trained to use the guest shower as her own “toilet”. She pees there whenever she needs to and it’s cleaned when I return home.

This way she no longer has to wait for someone to bring her out and she can relieve herself anytime she needs to.

6. Subscribed to Petchef for her daily meals.

I’ve kept Sitas on a mixed diet of pet pellet food and fresh cooked food in the past. Usually kibble would be the main source of food, and the fresh cooked food is the backup or occasional supplementary food. I figured a mix of both would be cost effective and she still sometimes gets good nutrients from the fresh food.

However, after educating myself on the cons and dangers of kibble, and knowing that I only want the best for her, I knew what had to be done.

Now Sitas is 100% on freshly cooked and nutritionally balanced meals from Petchef. The meals (like her current snacks) are free of any additives and preservatives. Since she doesn’t have any underlying conditions, the meals have all the nutrients that she requires.

Cost is always a concern, of course. But surprisingly it isn’t too expensive and I was able to get a good salmon substitute for her. Instead of salmon which is a great source of protein but is pricier, her meals include pollock. Pollock is another fish meat that has great benefits, good for maintaining a dog’s weight, and is affordable too.

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I’m glad that I’ve made decisions that are keeping my furkid healthy and happy. I’ve already seen the positive differences in her, so I’m motivated to keep it going for our happiness. I would encourage you to also consider changing your own dog’s lifestyle and diet, because consistent small changes would definitely show results that you’d be pleased with.

As for your dog’s diet and nutrition, the good news is that Petchef has a lot of options that you can choose from based on your dog’s preferences, allergies, or budget. If you want more information or if you just want to get a free sample for your furkid to try, contact Petchef Advisors here.

Sarah Enxhi

PetPal Contributor

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