I know that animals (and humans) age far more gracefully if they consume a healthy, species-appropriate diet, stay away from annual vaccinations and other medications as much as possible, get daily exercise, have plenty of mental stimulation and live in a healthy environment.
I will be 48 in a few weeks. I feel and look 38.
When I’m out among people with their dogs, I look at most of these dogs and think they are far older than what they really are.
A poor diet prematurely ages all creatures. They cannot remain healthy and vital unless they consume a good diet. Sure, kibble is supposed to be nutritionally complete, but is it? How can it be? Do kibble manufacturers keep their test animals on a particular brand for their entire lives to see how they do on it? Of course not? Feed trials typically last weeks, not years.
I am assuming that I am being called mean-spirited, etc. because of my post on the half-life of a trial dog. It makes no sense to me that a nine or ten year old dog cannot still run an Open-level USBCHA course. Nine or ten seems very young to me. Not too long ago the veterinary community started considering seven year old cats “seniors.” That blows my mind. Cats and dogs should live to be twenty years old which rarely happens any more. Why? Most people will say that dogs, cats and humans are living longer today, and that may very well be the case, but what is the quality of life? Is it okay for a dog, cat or human to be “old” and be on five or six different prescription medicines? Not be able to walk a block without getting exhausted or to be in so much chronic pain that they cannot even walk that block? Conventional medicine does not truly understand health; our modern diet (for humans, dogs and cats) does not support true health.
The sad fact is that a lot of people have too many dogs and as such are prohibited from feeding a proper diet. It’s too expensive and too much work. It’s much easier to stop at a grocery store and pick up a frozen dinner and throw it in the microwave than it is to take the time to shop for ingredients to make a meal from scratch.
So, if this is mean-spirited, then I’m sorry. Go back and stick your head in the sand and stop reading what I write if it’s so upsetting to you. And just so you know, Gel may very well be ten before I’m ever able to figure out running in USBCHA trials, but mark my words, one day he will run in Open.