7 Easy Tips to Increase Your Dog's Lifespan

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

What Can I Do to Increase My Dog's Life Expectancy?

If you just brought home a new puppy, you are probably not too worried about his life expectancy since the average lifespan of a dog is anywhere from 10–15 years. Some dogs live a lot longer than the average, so as your dog gets older, you will probably want to find out what you can do to keep them healthy.

Are there things you can do to increase his life expectancy? A dog's life is partially determined by his genetics. His future is not set in stone, but you can make a difference by how you care for him. The sooner you start some of these changes the better, so get started right away. Here are some important tips:

  1. Limit feeding so that your dog will stay thin.
  2. Feed your dog a homemade diet.
  3. Brush your dog daily.
  4. Examine your dog every week at home and take care of any problem you find immediately.
  5. Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
  6. Have your dog spayed or neutered.
  7. Keep your dog's teeth clean by brushing daily, and have them checked by your vet to see if your dog needs a dental cleaning.

Average Life Expectancy of Some Popular Dog Breeds




Bernese Mountain Dog


Border Collie






French Bulldog


German Shepherd


Golden Retriever


Great Dane


Irish Wolfhound


Labrador Retriever






Shih Tzu


Siberian Husky


Toy Poodle






How Long Is My Mixed Breed Dog Going to Live?

It is difficult to estimate the life expectancy of some purebred dogs and even harder if the dog is a crossbreed. The best estimate you can make is based on your dog's size, weight, and genetic background.

If your dog is a Lab cross, for example, and looks a lot like a Lab, he is probably going to live a little over 10 years. If your dog is a Toy Poodle cross, he might survive a lot longer—maybe around 14 years. If you need help in guessing your dog's probable life expectancy, leave a good description of him in the comment section.

Why Should I Keep My Dog Thin?

  • Numerous longevity studies in humans reveal that thin people live longer. Besides putting less stress on their heart and joints, their insulin levels are lower and this may be what accounts for their longer lives.
  • A British study showed that puppies fed a diet with a 25% restriction in calories lived about 2 years longer than those fed normally. They also had fewer joint diseases as they aged.
  • Overweight puppies stress their joints as they grow and tend to develop arthritis as they get old. An older, thin dog with arthritis might not even show clinical signs, while an obese dog will have problems getting out of the bed or even going outside to pee.

Why Should I Feed My Dog a Homemade Raw Diet?

  • Although there are no studies to prove that a homemade prey type diet is more effective in increasing your dog's lifespan, there was a study done by European researchers and they found that dogs fed any homemade diet lived almost three years longer than when fed a commercial diet.
  • Feeding a good quality commercial diet may help your dog live longer, but there is no proof of this. Pet foods are not regulated like human foods and if a company chooses to make a claim on its food, no one can stop them. None of the dry dog foods sold to keep your dog alive longer have been tested.
  • Some dog breeders and rescue organizations recommend a raw diet since the kibble in dog food is so often made up of corn and other fillers. A raw diet made up of mostly bones and raw meat will meet his needs naturally without the use of grains, which may cause joint disease that will decrease a dog's life expectancy.
  • Feeding your dog raw bones as part of his diet may prevent him from developing dental disease until he is very old. Dental disease is present in most of the dogs fed kibble by three years of age; oral infections, especially when they become systemic, will lead to a shorter life. If your dog has poor dentition he is going to need to have his teeth brushed every day even if fed bones and may still need a dental cleaning once a year.

What About Vegan Food for My Dog?

Since dogs do well on most types of food, it is okay to feed your dog a homemade vegan diet as long as you are meeting his needs. One of the longest living dogs in the UK was a collie cross that was being fed a homemade vegan diet. He lived to 27, but the problem with anecdotal evidence is that we do not know how long he would have lived on another diet. Would he have lived to 29 on a homemade raw diet? (The Australian dog who died at 29 ate mostly raw kangaroo meat and bones.) Would he have died at 25 on a cheap dry dog food? No one knows.

I have seen puppies suffering from malnutrition when fed a homemade vegan diet, so during the rapid growth phase it is a good idea to have them on an animal protein diet. In some areas there are also commercial vegan dog foods available for puppies so if you are morally opposed to providing your puppy with animal protein this may be an option.

What Supplements Will Make My Dog Live Longer?

  • Omega fatty acids: Dogs need the polyunsaturated fats in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and prevent painful joints when they are young. Fatty acids can also decrease joint pain as they grow old. Since omega-6 fatty acids will be present in so many parts of his diet, it is important to supplement omega-3 acids with sardines and good quality fish oil.
  • Antioxidants: These supplements are important since they destroy free radicals that will cause your dog to age. If your dog is on a homemade diet, any of the raw vegetables we feed our dogs contain high levels of antioxidants. I give my dogs acerola. This amazing fruit provides a high level of vitamin C, one of the most effective antioxidants available. Although dogs are known to produce their own vitamin C, it is not enough to meet the needs of the body.
  • Probiotics: These are the good bacteria that your dog needs to stay young. I allow my dogs to consume all of the fresh horse manure they want to keep healthy, but if this is not possible (or you do not want to deal with the smell) give your dog yogurt, kefir, or one of the commercial probiotics supplements.
  • Glucosamine: This supplement will slow your dogs aging by reducing the inflammation in his joints. When fed a raw food diet that includes chicken feet, beef tracheas, or beef tails, glucosamine is already available to your dog. If you do not feed your dog correctly, you will need to buy the commercial supplements which may or may not have the amount of glucosamine that is advertised on the label.

Why Should I Groom My Dog Every Day?

  • Besides making your dog feel good and reducing shedding, daily combing or brushing will also allow you to look for skin problems and catch any small tumors or other diseases early.
  • Part of the daily grooming routine should also include brushing teeth in those dogs that need it. Most dogs over three years old will have oral diseases, and unless the teeth are taken care of, plaque will develop into tartar and pockets of bacteria will develop under the gum line. Those infections will shorten your dog's life expectancy.

Why Should I Examine My Dog Every Week?

  • A good grooming will alert you to most problems before they become serious. A thorough weekly DIY exam should also be done at home since it only needs to take a few minutes of your time.
  • When you spot a problem during the home exam, you should have it looked at by a veterinary professional. Start treatment right away so that your dog will have a better chance of living a long life.
  • Even though you perform a weekly exam on your dog, you should take him in for yearly or twice yearly exams as he becomes a senior. A senior exam and blood screening might catch a problem early that would shorten your dog's life.

Will Exercise Make My Dog Live Longer?

Adequate daily exercise will keep your dog thin, which is one of the most important factors in increasing his lifespan. Going for a brisk walk a few times a day will also extend his lifespan. Mental stimulation when out exercising is also important to keep a dog from developing memory loss in his old age. It may even be important to prevent the development of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (dog dementia).

Other Tips That Might Help

  • Use natural methods of flea and tick control: The topical and oral chemical flea and tick products on the market today have all been tested and approved for use in dogs. Unfortunately, they were tested on few animals and even then it was only for a very short period of time. When dispensed, they are applied for the dog's entire life, and the dog has to work his liver overtime to remove them from the body each month. Natural flea and tick control methods do work, and will also extend your dog's lifespan.
  • Do not over-vaccinate: When given appropriately, vaccines are great and have saved many canine lives over the years. They are not medically necessary every year though, and in some dogs may cause side effects that will limit their lifespan.
  • Dogs that get sick are more likely to die young: Deworm your dog as necessary and give a monthly heartworm preventative.
  • Give heartworm preventative: No one can give you a definitive age if you want to know how long your dog can live with heartworm, nor how soon he will die if infected with the worms. Small dogs have much more heart damage with a small worm burden and larger dogs are able to withstand a mild infection without showing many clinical symptoms. If your dog is infected and not showing many clinical signs, I recommend the slow kill method since it is less stressful and may help him enjoy the years he has left.
  • Consider supplements that may help prevent cancer: If your dog is a member of a breed prone to cancer, you can try to supplement with omega fatty acids and antioxidants. If he does develop cancer, your dog will probably die young even when you follow the treatment recommendations of your local veterinarian. Dogs with hemangiosarcoma usually live only a few months. Dogs with untreated osteosarcoma may only live a few months and even with aggressive treatment will probably die within 6 months; when dogs with lymphoma are treated by a vet they may last a year.
  • Genetics matter: If you have been hoping to own an Irish Wolfhound or Bernese Mountain Dog all of your life, then lifespan will not be your most important concern. If you love all dogs, however, and want to find a companion to be with you for many years, choose a breed that has a long life expectancy. Genetics do matter.


  • Urfer SR, Wang M, Yang M, Lund EM, Lefebvre SL. Risk Factors Associated with Lifespan in Pet Dogs Evaluated in Primary Care Veterinary Hospitals, Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, 2019 May/Jun;55(3):130-137.
  • Wang Y, Lawler D, Larson B, Ramadan Z, Kochhar S, Holmes E, Nicholson JK. Reducing the amount of food available: Metabonomic investigations of aging and caloric restriction in a life-long dog study. J Proteome Res. 2007 May; 6(5): 1846-54

bookpaw on March 27, 2018:

i have two boxers one 5 and one 5 too

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 24, 2018:

bookpaw, about 10, but I have seen much older

bookpaw on March 24, 2018:

how long do boxers live

Bob Bamberg on March 08, 2018:

You are, by far, the cynic's cynic!!

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 08, 2018:

Illegal? Just like driving over the speed limit on the interstate. I bet that is just an internet myth and never happens either.

Bob Bamberg on March 08, 2018:

Just like horse meat, rendered puppy meat and kitten meat are illegal. There are two types of rendering facilities...one for food and the other for things and stuff. Euthanized animals are sent to the non-food rendering facilities where they are used in cosmetics, fertilizers, etc. There have been some recent recalls for pentobarbital contamination in pet food, and how it got into the food chain is unknown. Two irrefutable facts: stuff happens and Internet legends get perpetuated.

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 08, 2018:

But if my protein source is rendered puppies and kittens, AAFCO would consider that just fine, right? Rendered puppies are an okay dog food for all life stages.

Bob Bamberg on March 08, 2018:

Regarding the slap on the wrist, I guess that comes under the "every dog gets one bite" philosophy.

AAFCO does't approve the foods...they set the nutritional standards for puppy/kitten food (lactation/gestation), maintenance (adult), all life stages (must meet the lactation/gestation profile) and large breed puppy (dogs that will be 70 lbs. or more at maturity).

The applicable AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement must appear on all pet foods. Exempted are foods labeled for intermittent feeding only, treats, and supplements, because those aren't intended as complete and balanced rations.

Oddly enough, all recalls are voluntary. I don't know why it is, but the regulators cannot force a recall. But they issue Warning Letters that pretty much say that if you don't get it off the shelves and correct the problem, we'll shut you down.

Because of the 2007 recall, and because pet food companies realize that a large segment of the the public doesn't trust them, companies will pull product even if no illnesses were reported. The phrase, "out of an abundance of caution" became part of the lexicon following that massive recall in '07.

The public does listen to regulators and professional groups. Even though the press may not report it unless there have been dire consequences, social media lights up. In November, 2017 Whole Dog Journal removed Blue Buffalo from it's approved food list and I'm amazed at the number of people who were aware of it, even though it wasn't covered by the media. I wonder if Blue Buffalo's 50 million dollar advertising budget had anything to do with that? See, I can be a little cynical, too!

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 08, 2018:

I just read several news reports about that FTC decision against Eukanuba. Not only did they not fine them anything, they said "If you do it again we will fine you". The fine is equal to the cost of 2.5 seconds of a network commercial. I bet the executives went home and had trouble sleeping over that threat.

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 08, 2018:

Wow Bob thanks for that great statement. I have not read much about the Mars/Eukanuba suit, but that is exactly the kind of claim that dog food companies make without anything to back it up. Do you think that Mars put on an expensive Prime time TV ad campaign to let all of those people know that their food does not extend life? I suspect not. News that their dog food does not extend life is buried on the back page where consumers will never see it.

As far as AAFCO, it is a sick joke. Everything from Ol Roy (made up of corn sweepings, renderings from tumurous animals, and imported bone meal) to high quality foods all have the same approval from that organization.

Great to hear from you, as always. Were those salmonella infected raw foods that were discovered last week voluntary or mandatory recalls?

(I think that is one good reason to feed human quality foods. You can get them just as cheaply and the USDA is monitoring for infection.)

Bob Bamberg on March 08, 2018:

Hi Doc,

We'll never see eye to eye on homemade vs.commercial diets, but I'd like to make a couple of points to correct some Internet myths.

The internet is aglow with anecdotal information, which is subject to the credibility of the "anecdoter" and can reflect biases, preferences, and mindsets. Some, I suppose, will accept anecdotal evidence as irrefutable, but most thinking people will not readily accept it without further investigation.

First point is that, in the U.S. anyway, the manufacture, transportation and storage of commercial pet foods is heavily regulated. Consider that in the supermarket, the USDA tolerance for salmonella in whole, raw chickens is just over 10%, and just over 15% in raw chicken parts, yet one test positive for salmonella in raw dog food triggers a recall.

And health claims are regulated, as well. For example, in 2016 Mars Petcare, makers of Eukanuba dog food, was sued by the FDA over a specific claim on television, in print, and on the Internet, that the dog food could increase the longevity of dogs, based on a 10-year study of dogs that were fed Eukanuba, and implying that the increase in lifespan was 30 percent or more. Mars Petcare simply did not have the evidence to back up the life-extending claims and settled out of court, agreeing to several conditions including compliance and monitoring requirements to ensure the company abides by its terms.

My second point is that in the U.S., pet foods must contain more than 40 required nutrients, and must include the AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement on the packaging. Pet foods are formulated by veterinary nutritionists

To become one in the United States you must first earn your doctorate in veterinary medicine and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam.

Next comes a residency program consisting of one year of internship or clinical experience and two years of residency involving research, teaching and clinical studies in veterinary nutrition.

The application process for board certification requires documentation certifying teaching and clinical experience, completion of at least three case reports, and publishing at least one article in a peer-reviewed journal.

Finally, there's a tough two-day exam; similar to a lawyer taking the Bar Exam. Once board certified, veterinary nutritionists must complete annual requirements for continuing education.

So, unless they're following a diet formulated by a veterinary nutritionist, pet owners who whip up their own homemade diets are, in my opinion, playing fast and loose with their pets' health.

Just in the past few weeks there have been several recalls of raw dog rood, mostly for salmonella. I'll concede that such recalls are MAAN, but when it's for more serious contamination, such listeria monocytogenes, that's a whole other matter.

I know you don't put much faith in government regulators and most professional organizations, but many large companies, not just pet food makers, are more than willing to take advantage of a trusting and unsuspecting public. The regulators and professional groups are all the public has for protection. Just sayin.'

Service Dogs 101—Everything You Need to Know

Our dogs are integral to our daily lives . They follow our commands, work with us in various capacities, and act as faithful companions . Dog ownership has increased dramatically over the last 100 years , and t oday , dogs as companions and working partners are valued by more than 80 million U.S. owners.

Studies have shown that dogs provide health benefits, a nd can increase fitness, lower stress, and improve happiness. Service dogs encompass all of these abilities, combined with training to perform specific tasks fo r individuals with disabilities. During the last decade , th e use of service dogs h as rapidly expanded .

A s service dogs have become more commonplace, however, so too have problems that can result from a lack of understanding about service dog training, working functions, and access to public facilities . In response, AKC Government Relations is working with members of Congress, regulatory agencies, leading service dog trainers and providers, and transportation/hospitality industry groups to find ways to address these issues.

The benefits service dogs can provide also continue to expand. In the 1920s, a service dog was a Seeing Eye Dog and a Seeing Eye Dog meant a German Shepherd Dog . In 2019, service dogs are trained from among many different breeds, and perform an amazing variety of tasks to assist disabled individuals.

What Is a Service Dog?

A service dog helps a person with a disability lead a more independent life. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service dog is “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.”

“Disabilit y” is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including people with history of such an impairment, and people perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.

A service dog is trained to take a specific action whenever required, to assist a person with their disability. T he task the dog performs is directly related to their person’s disability.

For example, guide dogs help blind and visually impaired individuals navigate their environments. Hearing dogs help alert deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to important sounds. Mobility dogs assist individuals who use wheelchairs , walking devices, and who have balance issues . Medical alert dogs might also signal th e onset of a medical issue such as a seizure or low blood sugar , alert the user to the presence of allergens, and myriad other functions.

Psychiatric service dogs assist individuals with disabilities such as o bsessive- c ompulsive d isorder, p ost – t raumatic s tress d isorder, s chizophrenia, and other conditions . Examples of work performed by psychiatric service dogs could include entering a dark room and turning on a light to mitigate stress -inducing condition , interrupt ing repetitive behaviors , and reminding a person to take medication.

The ADA considers service dogs to be primarily working animals that are not considered pets.

Common Service Dog Breeds

Service dogs can range from very small to very large. The dog must be of a size to comfortably and effectively execute the tasks needed to help mitigate a disability. For example, a Papillon is not an appropriate choice to pull a wheelchair, but could make an excellent hearing dog .

Breeds like Great Danes , Saint Bernards, and Bernese Mountain D ogs possess the height and strength to provide mobility assistance, while Poodles , which come in Toy , Miniature , and Standard varieties, are particularly versatile. A Toy Poodle puppy can begin early scent training games in preparation for the work of alert ing on blood sugar variations, while a larger S tandard Poodle puppy may learn to activate light switches and carry objects.

Canine Companions for Independence, Inc. (CCI) maintains breeding program of Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. CCI states, “ Breeder dogs and their puppies are the foundation of our organization.”

The predictability of dogs in a breeding program yields improved results. According to CCI, “Our breeding program staff checks each dog’s temperament, trainability, health, physical attributes, littermate trends and the production history of the dam and sire. Only then are the ‘ best of the best ’ chosen.”

NEADS World Class Service Dogs maintains a breeding program and also obtains puppies that are sold or donated by purebred breeders. Using primarily Labrador Retrievers, NEADS “ works closely with reputable breeders to determine whether their puppies are appropriate for our program based on the temperament, health and behavioral history of both the dam and the sire . ” NEADS also selects alert, high-energy dogs from animal shelters and rescue groups as candidates for training as h earing d og s .

Regardless of breed or mix, the best service dogs are handler-focused, desensitized to distractions, and highly trained to reliably perform specific tasks. They are not easily diverted from their tasks at home or in public and remain attentive and responsive their owner s wh ile working.

Is A Dog in a Vest a Service Dog?

Although some service dog s may wear vests, special harnesses, collars or tags , th e ADA does not require service dog s to wea r vests or display identification. Conversely, many dogs that do wear ID vests or tags specifically are not actual service dogs.

For example, emotional support animals (E SA s ) are animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. B ut, b ecause the se dogs are not trained to perform a specific job or task for a person with a disability , they do not qualify as service dogs under the ADA.

The ADA makes a distinction between psychiatric service dogs and emotional support animals. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, “If the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal. However, if the dog’s mere presence provides comfort, that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA.”

ESAs are not allowed access to public facilities under the ADA . However, so me s tate and local governments have enacted laws that allow owners to take ESAs into public places. ESA owners are urged to check with their state, county, and city governments for current information on permitted and disallowed public access for ESAs.

O w ners of ESAs may be eligible for access to housing that is not otherwise available to pet dog owners , and t ravelers may be permitted bring ESAs into the cabins on commercial flights under specified conditions. The requirements for access to housing and air travel for ESAs can vary by location and destination, and these rules are subject to change.

Therapy dogs provide opportunities for petting , affection , and interaction in a variety of settings on a volunteer basis. The rapy dogs and their owners bring cheer and comfort to hospital patients, assisted living center residents , stressed travelers in airports , college students during exams, and in other situation where friendly, well-trained dogs are welcome . Therapy dogs are also used to relieve stress and bring comfort to victims of traumatic events or disasters. Many groups that train therapy dogs or that take dogs on pet therapy visits have matching ID tags, collars, or vests.

Therapy dogs are not defined as service dogs under the ADA , do not receive access to public facilities, are not eligible for special housing accommodations , and do not receive special cabin access on commercial flights.

Courthouse dogs are another category of dogs that sometimes wear vests or display other ID, but are not service dogs. Several states have enacted measures that allow a child or vulnerable person to be accompanied by a court house , facility, or t herapy dog during trial proceedings. The rules and requirements for use of these dogs vary by state , and ad ditional states are considering enacting similar laws . Courtroom dogs are not protected under the ADA and are not eligible for special housing acco mmodations or cabin access on commercial flights.

Where to Find a Service Dog

Professional s ervice dog training organizations and individuals who train service dogs are located throughout the U.S. They work to train d og s t o perform a skill or skills specific to a handler’s disability. As part of their training, se rvice dog s are taught public access skills, such as house training, settling quietly at the handler’s side in public, and remaining under control in a variety of setting s .

Professional s ervice dog trainers have hig h standards for the ir dogs , and the drop-out rate s for service dog candidates can run as high as 50 to 70 pe rcent. Fortunately, t here are often long lists of available homes for dogs that don’t make the cut.

Both n on – profit and for-profit organizations train service dogs. The cost of training a service dog can exceed $25,000 . This may include training for the person with a disability who receives the dog and periodic follow-up trainin g for the dog to ensure working reliability. Some organizations provide service dogs to disabled individuals at no cost or may offer financial aid for people who need, but cannot afford, a service dog. O th er organizations may charge fees f or a trained dog .

Persons with disabilities and those acting on their behalf are encouraged work with an experienced, reputable service dog organization or trainer. C arefully check out the organization , ask for recommendations, and make an informed decision before investing funds or time to acquire a trained service dog.

How to Train Your Own Service Dog

The ADA does not require service dogs to be professionally trained . Individuals with disabilities have the right to train a service dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog trainer or training program.

A service dog candidate should:

  • Be c alm, especially in unfamiliar settings
  • Be a lert, but not reactiv e
  • Have a willingness to please
  • Be able to learn and retain information
  • Be capable of being socialized to many different situations an d environments
  • Be reliable in performing repetitive tasks

I ndividuals who wish to train their own service dog s should f irst work with their candidate dog on f oundation skills . Start with house training, which should include eliminating on command in different locations. Socialize the dog with the objective of having it remain on task in the presence of unfamiliar people, places, sights, sounds, scents, and other animals. Teach the dog to focus on the handler and ignore distractions. The AKC Canine Good Citizen program can provide guidelines and benchmarks for foundation skills.

In addition to socialization and basic obedience training, a service dog must be trained to perform work or specific tasks to assist with a disability .

Under ADA rules, in situations where it is not obvious that a dog is a service animal, only two q uestions may be asked : (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

The reply to question ( 2 ) must affirm that the service dog has be en trained to take specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability.

The Epidemic of Fake Service Dogs

F ederal laws provide special acco mmodations to the disabled and limit the questions that may be asked about disabilities. Unfortunately, too often t hese laws are abused by people who fraudulently misrepresent their dogs as service animals.

This harms the truly disable d , confuses the public , and affects the reputation of legitimate service do g users . Even worse, a poorly-trained fake service animal can be a danger to the public and to real service dog s . In response to this growing problem , the American Kennel Club in 2015 issued a policy position statement on Misuse of Service Dogs .

In 2016, the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans created “CGC Plus” , a minimum standard for training and behavior for the service dogs their members provide to veterans. CGC Plus requires dogs to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen , Community Canine , and Urban CGC tests , plus demonstrate proficiency in performing three randomly selected specific services for a disabled person. The 2016 federal PAWS bill incorporated the AKC CGC into service dog requirements for Veterans’ Administration-funded dog.

S tate and local governments continue to introduce and pass law s that make it an offense to misrepresent a service animal. In 2018, 48 measures were introduced to address fake service animals.

The AKC also work s with the American Service Dog Access Coalition, a charitable not-for-profit organization comp rised of m ajor service dog groups, service dog access providers, advocates for the disabled , service dog trainers, and policymakers seeking to improve access for legitimate service dog teams while incentivizing high q uality behavioral standards for all service dogs, and educating the public about the crime of service dog fraud.

Service dogs are more than pets, and more than companions. The important work they do enhances independence for children and adults with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities, and improves the everyday lives of thousands of people across the country.

7 Essential Commands Your Dog Needs to Know

Teach your dog these basic obedience commands for a well-behaved pup.

When you get a new dog, whether it's a puppy or an adult rescue, she probably needs some obedience training. More specifically, a well-behaved pup should respond to seven directions in order to become a good canine citizen: Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Heel, Off, and No. Expert trainer Brandon McMillan, Emmy Award–winning host of Lucky Dog and author of Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days, calls these the "seven common commands" because they're the ones most people will use with their pets on a routine basis. He teaches these training lessons to all of his rescue dogs, in order to help them stay safe and well-behaved, whether they spend most of their time in the backyard, at the dog park, or walking the neighborhood with their human companions. With several 10-to-15-minute practice sessions each day, most pets can master these core skills in just a week or two.

Behavior Changes

Your six-month-old puppy is an adolescent now, and his behavior may show it. He may have an increase in energy and willfulness. The dynamic between other dogs may also change adult dogs can now tell he is old enough to know better and will not go as easy on him if he steps out of line.

Just because your puppy is past the optimum socialization window, it doesn't mean that socialization should stop. Your puppy is still exploring his environment and learning new things. Continue to expose your puppy to new experiences, people, places, things, and sounds. Reward for calm behavior and ignore fearful behavior.

It is common for adolescent puppies to exhibit some destructive behavior in this stage. This is often caused by boredom due to the increase in energy and confidence. Continue to provide plenty of exercise for your puppy.

Puppies between six and 12 months of age may sometimes act like they "forgot" their training. Be consistent and firm. Continue to have regular training sessions, covering the old basics again, and mixing in newer, more difficult tasks.

How to Change Dog Food

Last Updated: October 27, 2020 References

This article was co-authored by Brian Bourquin, DVM. Brian Bourquin, better known as “Dr. B” to his clients, is a Veterinarian and the Owner of Boston Veterinary Clinic, a pet health care and veterinary clinic with two locations, South End/Bay Village and Brookline, Massachusetts. Boston Veterinary Clinic specializes in primary veterinary care, including wellness and preventative care, sick and emergency care, soft-tissue surgery, dentistry. The clinic also provides specialty services in behavior, nutrition, and alternative pain management therapies using acupuncture, and therapeutic laser treatments. Boston Veterinary Clinic is an AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) accredited hospital and Boston’s first and only Fear Free Certified Clinic. Brian has over 19 years of veterinary experience and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.

This article has been viewed 24,023 times.

It might appear very simple to change a dog’s food. Buy a bag of dog food and offer servings to your dog. In reality, if you don’t want a sick or unhealthy dog on your hands you will need to make a gradual change and be cautious when you do. Use some wise decisions when you change your dog’s food and your dog won't experience any negative effects.

Watch the video: Scientists Reveal the Exercises Thatll Make You Live Longer

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