Dakota’s story is one of my favorite ones. This beautiful American Eskimo reminds me in some ways of my grandmother, who at 101, is still going strong. Today i want to share some of Dakota’s secrets to longevity with you.
For a 16 year old pet his size, Dakota has a very good quality of life. I’m impressed how little he’s changed over the last three years, and how much strength and stamina he continues to demonstrate during exercise. Senior health outliers like Dakota tend to benefit from a combination of a good genetic foundation, as well as an environment that minimizes the negative effect of time on the tissues. Since there is currently little we can do to control the genes themselves, I am going to focus on some of the important environmental factors that are working in Dakota’s favor.
Dakota’s owner, Adina Newman, has been very diligent over the years in taking care of him, keeping up with regular vet check ups, and taking good care of his dental health. Over the years, Dakota has developed some of the expected problems associated with senility, including irregular sleeping patterns at night, and moments of arthritic discomfort. Even though he sleeps during a big chunk of his day, however, Dakota is still very strong and active.
Enjoying his weekly therapeutic swim with Jean Marie
One important component of Dakota’s high quality of life is that he has adhered to a routine that keeps him engaged with other pets and people on a regular basis, attending daycare often and enjoying a weekly exercise routine at Water4Dogs. He loves his 30-minute sessions in the pool and treadmill. I have no doubt that maintaining his muscular strength and conditioning has played a big roll in his overall health profile. To see a video of Dakota during one of his workouts, click here.
Snuggling in a bed of towels post-workout
Dakota receives a combination of injectable glucosamine, fatty acids, milk thistle and other supplements to help with the oxidative changes in the brain and body associated with age. If Dakota has an arthritic flare-up, we may use acupuncture or laser therapy to alleviate the tissue inflammation and pain. These alternatives allow us to rely minimally on chemically-based anti-inflammatory pain medications.
Dakota’s health care regimen exemplifies the integrative methods that we exercise to maintain quality of life in our senior pet population. The rest is up to him and his owner, and we commend them for putting in their best effort at all times. Way to go, Dakota, keep strong!
Francisco DiPolo, DVM