Longevity – help your dog live longer

My little rescue dog, Foosa, is going grey. Part of me tries to ignore it but I know deep down she is not the same dog she was. She seems achier and a bit stiffer too, if we head on a long walk she is definitely not so keen to go out again the next day.

Foosa (like all dogs!), is part of our family; we absolutely adore her. She’s so much fun, is gentle and loving and we want her to stay with us for as long as possible.  Luckily as a canine nutritionist I have few tricks up my sleeve.  Now, I cannot defy the laws of nature, but I can offer lots of ideas to improve longevity. I thought I’d share them here for you. 

At Phoenix Bark we want to support all dogs to be as  healthy and happy as they can be… all the way through their senior years.

Tips for improving Longevity

Fresh food

There are a few interesting considerations as to why fresh food would be better than dry or canned processed food, when it comes to longevity.


A great indicative test of digestibility is excretion.  The more of the nutrients employed by the dog’s metabolism the less faeces produced.  As an article in ‘The Pet Food Industry’ so eloquently put it “Real Food Equals Less Poop” **. 

Dogs that were fed a fresh diet absorb more nutrients and produce 66% less faecal matter (poop).  Put simply, the dog’s metabolism focuses on evacuating far more of the useless content of kibble, and accepts and puts to use far more of the content of a fresh diet.  So fresh food allows all the wonderful nutrients, antioxidants and  anti-inflammatory nutrients to reach the cells in the body that need them.

We mentioned already in our Complete Dog Food blog that even adding some fresh food to the bowl considerably improves the lifespan of your dog ***. A full fresh diet would have an even greater impact.

A reduction in obesity

Obesity shortens lifespan and processed fed dogs are more likely to be obese.
In dogs and humans alike, obesity is a leading factor in causing and exacerbating inflammation in joints and a contributor to diseases such as arthritis.  Fat tissue is biologically active, it secretes inflammatory hormones, creates oxidative stress on body tissue and further increases the likelihood of disease. 

A study**** done on 1,480 dogs showed 33% of the dogs to be obese. Of this 33% 

Obesity was shown as significantly higher in the dry-fed dogs over fresh-fed.
We will be sharing top ways to rescue obesity in next month’s newsletter, be sure to look out for it in your inboxes!

So fresh food helps the body thrive, keeping it nourished and lean. 
But there are other things we can do as guardians to help promote longevity in our best friends too.

Environmental factors

Avoiding air pollutants, toxic substances found in household cleaning products and toys and even avoiding overuse of veterinary drugs can help your dog live longer.

I am sure other guardians think I am crazy but I will move my Foosa if I see a car starting up near to her, and I try to avoid walking her in busy streets. I always consider she is right there at the car exhaust levels.

There are many wonderful household products that are toxin free, good for your dog and you, we love the Ingenious Probiotic household cleaning range!

They even offer chemical free dog shampoo too.


You can consider filtering your dog’s water, and serving that water in a glass or stainless steel bowl. This avoids the possibility of plastics or their treatment chemicals being absorbed by the water your dog drinks.


Causes ageing in the body and although it is at times inevitable we can reduce stress levels. We recently met Dr. Paul Boland at The Natural Dog Expo and he taught us a breathing technique to help calm your dog. It not only helps our dogs stay calm and relaxed, but also allows ourselves to take some of the stress out of our daily lives 🙂

Making sure your dog has lots to chew, play with and great opportunities to run freely will minimise stress and frustration. Life is busy these days, so it is not always possible to reduce stress completely for our dogs, at least with diet we have something we can easily influence for the better.

* https://www.ukrmb.co.uk/images/LippertSapySummary.pdf – Relationship between the domestic dogs’ well-being and life expectancy
** Nutrient digestibility & faecal characteristics, microbiota, and metabolites in dogs, human-grade foods 
***  Evaluation of the effect of dietary vegetable consumption on reducing risk of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in Scottish Terriers https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16013542/ (2005)
**** https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.01.06.896399v1.full – Risk factors associated with canine overweightness and obesity in an owner-reported survey

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