Max died in 2013. He was a 29-year old dachshund, a feat which earned him the World’s Oldest Living Dog. Max wasn’t a super-dog, but he had an unusually long life compared to regular dachshunds who live for an average of 12-13 years.
Max’s case is proof that your Belgian Malinois can also live a long and happy life, with the right care. While it is true that different dog breeds live longer than others, it’s possible for your Malinois to live above the average, and this piece will give you some ideas on how to make this happen.
Diet is key
According to a 2011 study, researchers found that dogs that eat less live longer. The study revealed that dogs raised on a diet that provided 25 percent fewer calories than the recommended calorie intake lived two years longer on average than dogs who had more.
In 2002, another study found:
“Results suggest that 25% restriction in food intake increased median lifespan and delayed the onset of signs of chronic disease in these dogs”
This doesn’t mean that you should starve your Malinois without your vet’s advice, rather, it points to the fact that weight is crucial to the health of a dog and how long it can live. Belgian Malinois that are overweight are at an increased risk of developing health-impairing joint problems and heart disease.
Research also suggests that the quality of your K9’s food is an important factor in its health status. Foods that contain too much sodium, salt, meat-byproducts, and fillers should not be fed to your Mal. Instead, feed your Mal plenty of natural foods.
In addition to a quality diet, you can also prolong your Mal’s lifespan with a well-balanced exercise regimen appropriate for its age and health condition. Plus, when you exercise your K9, you’re also getting your own workout, so it’s a double win.
Studies show that exercise helps to relieve stress, balance the mood, and increase endorphins in people and dogs. It also helps your Malinois stay trim by increasing muscle mass and controlling weight as well as improve cardiovascular function.
If you want your Belgian Malinois to live beyond its prime, engage more in quick jogs in the mornings and evenings, and more intense activities on the weekends. These activities will help reduce stress, increase fitness, and enhance the Mal’s quality of life.
Belgian Malinois require some form of mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Without mental exercise, your Malinois could develop anxiety and depression, and even get sick. Keep your Mal mentally active with games, socialization, training, companionship, and so on. Age shouldn’t prevent you from teaching your Mal new obedience lessons or sports. With increased mental stimulation, you keep your Mal’s mind sharp, and this can help improve its longevity.
Most Mal owners often downplay the importance of their dog’s dental hygiene, but the mouth is a huge window into what’s happening inside. Improve your Mal’s health by giving raw bones (under your supervision) that will naturally clean its teeth. A Mal with poor dental health is likely to have plaque, gingivitis and may later develop periodontal disease, an oral bacterial infection which may lead to organ damage and heart disease. Sugary food like the low-quality commercial kibble found in grocery stores is one main cause for unhealthy teeth.
You can maintain your Mal’s dental health by brushing its teeth regularly, giving it natural dental treats, raw bones to nibble on, and regular dental checks.
Visit a Holistic Vet
Your Malinois may be as fit as a fiddle, but you should still take it to a holistic vet for a general checkup at least once a year and twice a year when he becomes a senior. Vet visits ensure that any potential health problems that could negatively impact your dog’s health are discovered on time for proper care to be administered successfully. It also provides a solid record of your dog’s health as it grows older. Maintaining natural health care for your Malinois is one of the best ways of ensuring it lives to old age. Important to put emphasis in a holistic vet… they are less likely to push harsh treatments or vaccines unless they are necessary. A holistic vet will try to use alternative health protocols that are natural before resorting to more conventional approaches.
Life IS All But Guaranteed
The reality here is that a Belgian Malinois has a much shorter lifespan compared to us, humans…and there’s no magic wand to extend their lifespan over what biology permits. But you can help them live longer and give yours an enriched life through conscientious care, regular holistic treatments, and other preventative options. Meanwhile, enjoy every moment of your time together because tomorrow is not guaranteed.