Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dog Longevity Survey: How Important Is Disease and Injury Prevention for Longevity?

An ounce of prevention is worth of a pound of cure.



I know I already used that in this series but what better place to reiterate that than here?

You'd think everybody would agree on that but, amazingly, it did not get a full vote. One comment was that the person didn't understand what preventing disease and injury means.


Here is how you voted:

Extremely important74.42%
Important18.60%
Somewhat important  2.33%
Not important  2.33%
I don't know  0.00%
Other  2.33%

Why are disease and injury prevention important to longevity?


To understand that, let's ask the important question of what are the common causes of death in dogs. And the answer is clear - disease or injury. Dogs die of infections, poisoning, heart disease, kidney failure, liver failure, or cancer. Some dogs are still euthanized because of debilitating pain related to arthritis and other musculoskeletal issues. Some dogs die unnecessarily from the craziest things such as suffocating in a snack bag.

Preventing any of these things for as long as possible is the answer to longevity.

How can one prevent disease or injury?


Preventing, or at least delaying, disease or injury is at the core of longevity. It summarizes all the things we discussed through this series.

It begins with responsible breeding.


I don't want to get too much into this topic but let's get real and look at what modern breeding has done to our dogs. Some breeds seem gone beyond the point of no return. Breeding for visual characteristics has put wellbeing and health aside and resulted in breeds plagued with a laundry list of medical issues. Look at the poor Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Dachshunds, Cavalier Springer Spaniels, Basset Hounds ... the list could go on.

I absolutely adore Basset Hounds but I could never ever get one of them. Having a dog with virtually no legs and body completely out of proportion would just break my heart. I couldn't do it. Almost every breed comes with the fallout of our breeding practices.

Responsible breeders try to make sure they're breeding for health.


For example, while I never met her because Cookie was adopted, I consider her breeder a responsible one. Cookie is relatively small for her breed with healthy proportions. She has an amazingly good nature and fairly good hips. Cookie's medical challenges stem from what happened to her later in life, such as a likely untreated pelvic injury, being spayed too young and so on.

Today, there is also a way to screen for most common inheritable disease in almost every breed.

Longevity starts with a dog that is not too big, not too small, not too long, with a face not too smushed ... at least within reason for each respective breed.

After that, it comes to decisions made about their vaccinations, diet, exercise, environment and other aspects of daily care.


It does include good decisions about parasite prevention, preventing toxins, not skimping on wellness exams ...

Not all injuries can be always prevented but some can. No dog needs to suffocate in a chip bag. No dog needs to die from xylitol or antifreeze poisoning, no dog needs to be run over by a car. Weight management, regular exercise, smart timing for spay and neuter, avoiding your dog becoming a "weekend warrior," and many other measures can be taken to prevent injuries.

Any measures you can take to keep your dog healthy will also allow them to live longer and happier lives.


As a final note, I'd like my dog(s) to live a long, long time. But what is even most important to me is that they'd live a happy life.

Related articles:
Dog Longevity Survey Part I
Dog Longevity Survey Part II
Dog Longevity Survey Part I Results
How Important Is Weight Management for Longevity?

39 comments

  1. If there was a way I could prevent all disease or injury in my pet's I'd say sign me up! Not everything unfortunately is preventable, but if I can assure my pet's get the best health care possible and they are the happiest and healthiest they can be then that's important to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, not everything is, unfortunately, preventable. That's for sure. But there are things one can do to prevent as much as possible.

      Delete
  2. Prevention is infinitely better than a desperate sought after cure. There is so much we can do for our pets to stop ill health - just get on with it, DO IT.

    Make sure your pet is healthy with vet visits and good food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cannot prevent everything but sure as hell can try.

      Delete
  3. What a great post! Thank you for spreading the awareness!
    Prevention is the same for pets as it is for people!
    I know vet bills can be expensive but they are A LOT less expensive when you simply take your pet for preventative care!
    Again, just like humans!
    Getting ahead of an illness can cost a lot less than waiting for it to get full blown.
    In addition feeding your pets quality food helps tons!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. Preventive measures or catching things early is less costly as well.

      Delete
  4. The coverage of breeding and how it affects longevity is a great item to discuss. I talk about this with my work with pitbulls because they are so horribly inbred now and that can cause so many issues not just physical - but mental. This is a great post, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jill. Yes, the first step in preventing disease is responsible breeding.

      Delete
  5. It's hard to believe that not everyone voted prevention to be extremely important! Doing what you can to prevent disease and injury to your pets extends their lives and also saves money. Thanks for sharing this info and explaining why prevention is so important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, absolutely. I was most confused by the response saying "I don't know what prevention of disease and injury means."

      Delete
  6. Prevention is definitely important! Mr. N gets a healthy diet and regular exercise and I weigh him weekly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good job. I'm sure you don't skimp on wellness exams either, right?

      Delete
    2. Weighing your dog weekly is key. I've noticed changes and have learned to cut back. I pick up my dog and stand on the scale to weigh her.

      Delete
  7. I totally agree with you, prevention surely has to be better than cure. I too, hope to ensure that my dogs are with me for as long as possible, and that is down to the choices I make for our dogs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, everything in life is about choices, really.

      Delete
  8. Having a dog is like having a kid, you do everything to protect them and prevent them from getting ill or injured, that is why I am such a Jewish Mom when it comes to Layla in every way. She keeps gets an annual twice a year, is the perfect weight and I cook for her. My vet cannot believe how healthy she is for an 11 year old

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It absolutely is like having a kid. Sometimes it's hard to balance between keeping them safe and letting them have a life ;-)

      Delete
  9. How can people not understand what prevention means!?! I'm so thankful I had a reputable breeder who made sure her cats were healthy and didn't breed for the extremes, which are popular in Persian circles now. I love my doll face Persians and do everything I can to prevent illness or injuries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right? I found that quite amazing. Health does start with breeding, that's for sure.

      Delete
  10. Great post and very informative. Prevention is definitely very important in increasing our pets lives (and even our own). Staying on top of things can ultimately save them and catch/stop diseases and injuries early on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I put 10% as much effort as prevention for us as I do for my dogs ;-)

      Delete
  11. I too believe prevention is extremely important. Of course, we can't control everything but the things we can control such as the food we give to our pets, vet visits, dental care etc... That should be something we pay attention to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't ever control everything. But it's important to try.

      Delete
  12. Anything we can do for disease prevention is so important for longevity and happy pets. It's really of upmost importance as a pet parent. We can't prevent everything, however making good practices and choices everyday and annually definitely helps.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Prevention is so important for health. Unfortunately it is not always easy. Kilo gets a healthy diet and lots of short walks and games- he is terrified of the park and other dogs, and going outside his comfort zone which is a problem for longer walks. He hates the vet and is reactive so I need to work on that as he is due for a visit. It is also a problem to brush his teeth or do his nails. He loves food like me and is so much calmer and happier since we rescued him after 3 years of regular training and lots of treats and cuddles. He is not fat and seems pretty fit but we could both stand to lose a pound, maybe two, in his case, quite a few more in mine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can be hard. Listen, you might have some vets who do house-calls. That would make it easier.

      Delete
  14. Prevention is so important. I make sure I do the best I can by having the dogs on the best diet I can afford and keeping them as healthy as I can

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm always amazed at how many people get a dog and don't really exercise them much. I read a long time ago that a tired dog is a good dog - which is so true.
    Analyzing their diet and obedience training are also key. The wait and leave it commands have been extremely useful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean. Where we used to live there were 40 units and almost every unit had at least one dog. Yet, there were about two or three dogs you'd see outside going somewhere with their people.

      Delete
  16. Prevention is the best cure! Irresponsible breeding for cosmetic purposes does cause irreparable harm to dogs, so thank you for raising awareness on that. We have a mutt and thanks to genetic shuffling, we are glad that he comes with sturdy genes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it does. I can't even imagine where some people's heads are at. Or hearts.

      Delete
  17. One of the things I stress most as a canine massage therapist is prevention. Regular check ups, exercise, and portion control make a huge difference in our animal's overall health.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It breaks my heart to read about pets who lost their lives due to something that was easily preventable. We try to provide good nutrition, physical and mental exercise, and a safe environment for our dogs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know if anything really is easily preventable; sometimes the prevention might not work. But one ought to try.

      Delete
  19. I always have prevention of disease and injury on my mind with my dogs, especially my Husky Icy. She has an unusually long back and I'm always concerned about that. I like to get a full blood workup on my dogs once a year or so just to be sure they don't have issues I can't see. Great post, thank you!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that's the way to do it. Try to stay on top of prevention.

      Delete

MINIMAL BLOGGER TEMPLATES BY pipdig