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Candy's Secret To Long Labrador Retriever Life

Dog's That Eat Well, Live Long & Look This Good!

Chocolate Lab, Candy, on her 14th birthday wearing a pink party hat and holding a cheeseburger in her mouth.
Candy's 14th Birthday Portrait

Candy turned 14 this past May. When she came into my life as a pup, I had hoped to have her for at least 13 years! The age the sweet, petite black lab, Cindy, who I grew up with, lived to be.

Candy is a Labrador Retriever.

The AKC classifies Labs in the Sporting Group. They're known for their active, outgoing and friendly demeanor, with a life expectancy of 11 to 13 years. They are high energy, learn quickly and thrive when included socially. Labs want to please their owners and family members! There's a reason Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds!

As any mom, or dog mom, will tell you - they want their child (dog children too) to thrive, grow strong and remain happy and healthy for as long as possible. It was maternal instinct and a lifetime of caring for animals (my story growing up with animals coming shortly), that inspired me to delve into the nutritional aspect of pet food production. If you've ever shopped with us in person, you're well aware that most of the conversation we have pertains to the health of your pets, questions you might have regarding nutrition, allergies or weight loss. If there's anything I can pass on to our followers, it would be to consider what's in the treats you feed your pets and how you're using the treats. Pick up the treat bag right now and read it. What's listed for ingredients? Do you recognize the ingredients? Has the manufacturer shared anything about how the treats are prepared? Have they shared about how often the treats should be fed?

I love raw feeding and so does Candy! One of the best ways to introduce your pets to raw feeding, and even just to amp up the quality of their health through good nutrition, is by changing the treats you're feeding. Little bits of single ingredient, raw foods here and there can become larger portions as kibble is tapered out of the diet. In my home, treating is part of my dogs' meals. I keep jars of beneficial organ meats on my counter for ease of handing them out. I also keep a jar of light chews, usually poultry feet or beef ribs, available to ensure my babes teeth are being scrubbed regularly.

"Treating" our pets with nourishing whole foods instead of highly processed foods that are prepared at temperatures that damage nutrients and invite carcinogens into the body, can alter your pets' lifetime and overall wellbeing signifigantly. Better weight control, healthier skin and coat, and reduced allergies are all benefits of choosing to feed a raw diet.

A few months back, I had a customer tell me their lab lived to be 19! It is something I think about every day! As Candy celebrated her 14th birthday, and surpassed the AKC's life expectancy for Labs, I felt led to share some of my tips and tricks to keeping her young, energetic and thriving.

  1. Making the simple switch to a cleaner, less processed treat, and if possible, switching to raw or gently cooked diet all together, can lead to bonus years with your most favorite "person"! We are living in an era where we have access to better foods for our pets - please take advantage!

  2. Provide your pets with enrichment that caters to their breed. Tricks, games, toys, socialization and bonding activities that bring you closer together, like playing fetch, practicing nosework, or taking pack walks!

  3. Show LOVE to your companion without distractions. Put down your phone, look into your baby's eyes, hold their face and say "thank you for being a part of my life". Stop reading this and do this right now so you won't regret not doing so later on. Do this every day!

  4. If you're at all spiritual, say a prayer of thanks to the God you serve for providing you with a companion who has modeled selfless love for you. Ask to be provided with all the tools, knowledge, and time necessary to ensure your pets' best health, ultimate happiness and highest purpose every day of their lives. If you're not spiritual, tell your pet you will commit to ensuring these things for them.

  5. Last, be mindful of what you ask of your dog as they age. They will still think they're a pup, so make good choices for them. Help them into and out of the car, the bed, the steps. Don't push exercise, let them enjoy sniffing things. Naps will become progressively longer, but make sure you're getting them moving every day!

Happy Birthday to Candy and all the 14 years young labs around!

P.S. Yes, she is eating a cheeseburger! A special treat is ok if it's accompanied by a consistently clean diet!

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