How old is old? How fast do pets age and how can I be sure mine will live as long as possible to keep me company for as many years as I can? Many people say a dog or cat ages 7 years for every one year of a human’s life. Well, there are many different formulas for calculating the lifespan and age of a dog or cat, but no one really has ever come up with one that truly covers all breeds and all sizes of dog or cat. We don’t know how old they really are in relation to their human family members, but we do know there are many factors in the aging process of pets that we can have a big influence on.
Some authors theorize that feeding a pet a truly natural diet formulated from fresh, wholesome ingredients that is equivalent to one which would be consumed by a wild creature of the same size and species will actually double the life expectancy of a domestic dog or cat! Some scientists have proven that giving too few vaccines endangers the life of a pet by increasing the risk of acquiring a deadly disease, while other researchers feel that giving too many vaccines can damage the immune system and cause shortening of a pet’s life. More and more questions are being asked about what goes into the foods we eat and those we feed our family pets, to try and determine which nutrients are healthful and essential and which additives are potentially harmful and can cause disease. How do you figure out what to feed your pet? When do you defer vaccinating and when does she need that shot? How can you find the answers to these questions? And who do you trust to give you the right answers?
The Internet can be a great source of answers, but one must use a LOT of common sense and a great deal of caution. Almost anyone can post information on a “Bulletin Board” or chat room, and there isn’t really a good way to determine whether or not the information is correct, or just an opinion. Research textbooks are hard to access unless you live near a good science institute library, and sometimes the data is hard to interpret. Your veterinarian or medical doctor is often an excellent source of information, but may not have time to answer all of your questions during the course of a short office visit.
Not infrequently, your vet or doctor may have to do research of their own to find the answers (although they do have access to many sources you might not be able to reach). If your question is about herbal or alternative medications, your doctor or vet might not have enough experience to feel comfortable answering you immediately without taking a chance to consult with a specialist or read up on the medicine or procedure before replying.
Your pet’s health care is not worth taking a gamble on. The companionship, love and comfort he or she can offer is well worth investing the time and effort to really get educated about your options in helping your 4-legged family member to live a very long and happy life in the best possible health. Read, study, and listen to the news. Be prepared for the fact that information comes available continuously that changes our previous beliefs and sheds light on new products, new medicines, and new protocols of pet health care. Work together with your veterinarian and give him or her a chance to advise you. Write down your questions, leave them with your vet, and call back later to follow-up. You are a very important part of your furry friend’s health care team! Let’s work together to find the answers and make these little guys stick around for longer, healthier lives!!”
Compliments of Dr.Rebecca Vernan, D.V.M Healthy P.A.W.S.M Medical Center 703-754-4416