Anti-Aging for Dogs: A Longevity Program For Man's Best Friend

Anti-Aging for Dogs: A Longevity Program For Man's Best Friend

by John M. Simon D.V.M., Steve Duno

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You love your dog. Don't you want to keep him around for a good long time?

You take steps to slow down your own aging process and stay as healthy and fit as possible-- now you can do the same for you beloved dog. Learn Dr. John Simon's amazing program for canine longevity in Anti-Aging for Dogs, and your best friend can live years beyond his normal life expectancy. Simple but effective changes in your dog's lifestyle, diet, exercise program, environment, and behavior can yield astounding results. In this invaluable manual-- the first of its kind-- well-known and respected veterinarian Dr. John M. Simon tells you how to put this powerful program to use, with essential advice about:

* Ensuring that your dog gets the right exercise, grooming, and dental hygiene
* Creating a safe, healthy home environment for your dog
* Avoiding common canine behavioral problems
* Programs for assuring optimal nutrition, digestion, and detoxification
* Plus: helpful appendices on first aid, toxic substances, and health maintenance

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466886896
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/09/2014
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
File size: 327 KB

About the Author

John M. Simon, D.V.M., has over twenty-five years of experience in conventional and alternative pet care. He owns a private practice, Woodside Animal Hospital, in Royal Oak, Michigan, and has a regular column in Detroit's Daily Tribune. His books include Anti-Aging for Dogs, What Your Cat is Trying to Tell You, and What Your Dog is Trying to Tell You.

Steve Duno is a freelance writer in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Last Dog on the Hill and has coauthored several books. He has also published fiction and appeared on television and radio.

John M. Simon, D.V.M., author of What Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You, has over twenty-five years of experience in conventional and alternative pet care. He is the owner of his own private practice, Woodside Animal Hospital, in Royal Oak, Michigan, and has a regular column in Detroit's Daily Tribune.
Veteran pet behaviorist Steve Duno is the author of many books, including Last Dog on the Hill. He has trained thousands of dogs, and a good number of cats. He lives in Seattle with his family and an ever-changing assortment of rescued pets.

Read an Excerpt

Anti-Aging for Dogs

A Longevity Program for Man's Best Friend

By John M. Simon

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 1998 The Philip Lief Group
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-8689-6


What Is Aging?

Aging can best be defined as a natural progression and irreversible impairment of bodily functions that result in a reduction of an organism's ability to adapt to both internal and external stress. As an animal ages, she becomes progressively more vulnerable to disease and injury due, in part, to an increased inability to renew or repair tissues throughout her body. As a dog ages, her organs lose their functional reserves and regenerative powers, and so they begin to function less efficiently. Because an older animal has less reserve strength, her recovery from illness is markedly slower. The animal in question gradually experiences a reduced capacity to cope with environmental concerns such as walking, running, finding food, and self-defense. She gradually experiences a progressively decreasing mental capacity; memory often suffers, as does overall neuromuscular response. Degenerative changes occur in the organs and tissues; the various systems of the body begin to suffer increasing losses in performance. The lungs do not process oxygen as well, the liver cannot detoxify metabolic waste as efficiently, and the heart does not pump blood as powerfully.

Are all of these symptoms of aging inevitable or might they be delayed, or perhaps avoided, indefinitely? Are all animals, humans and dogs included, unavoidably programmed to slowly wind down like the mainspring of a pocket watch, eventually losing the race of time? Or, could much of aging be a disease from which we all suffer, one that awaits a treatment or cure, as did malaria, scurvy, glaucoma, and whooping cough?

Most of us have experienced the delight of a frisky young puppy around the home, cavorting, playing, and getting into all sorts of mischief as she grows and learns about her world. The strength and vigor of such a young companion is captivating and motivating to us all, making us all feel young. Puppies help us enjoy life to the fullest, adding a healthy, exuberant perspective to everyday tasks.

As that puppy grows into adulthood, she takes on the appearance and size of her parents, and in varying degrees reflects their temperaments and personalities. During her physical prime, the dog enjoys countless hours of play and a wide spectrum of activities. The combination of an active, athletic body and sharp, curious mind makes our best friend one of the most endearing characters imaginable. Few can resist a happy dog's charms, and fewer still wish to see their beloved pet lose even an iota of vitality or mental sharpness.

Unfortunately, most dogs do begin to slow down significantly by the time they reach 7 or 8 years of age. The first signs most of us notice are a gradual increase in weight and a slight graying of the coat, particularly around the face. A slow, almost imperceptible clouding of the lenses of the eyes often begins at this time, a result of protein buildup and its resulting thickening of each lens. That 7- to 8-year-old dog, although beginning to show the first signs of aging, nevertheless remains quite active and alert, participating in nearly all her favorite activities without interruption.

As she continues to age, her metabolism begins to slow, which contributes to a gain in weight and a decrease in activity. The dog may begin sleeping more, and could begin experiencing gradual losses of hearing and vision. Also, joint problems, such as arthritis, may appear, making running and jumping more difficult or even painful. A once-athletic pet, capable of leaping a five-foot fence, may now have to take the long way around. Sprains, muscle pulls, ligament tears, and other injuries become more likely as the dog approaches the decade mark. Dental problems surface, including cavities, lost or broken teeth, and periodontal disease. Lungs, once able to process oxygen at an amazing rate, begin to suffer reduced efficiency, resulting in less stamina and quicker exhaustion during exercise and play.

As the dog continues to age, other signs become prominent. The digestive process may begin to lose its efficiency, resulting in bouts of constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, or vomiting. All internal organs, including the heart, begin to operate on a diminished level, making overall functions less effective. Your once-frisky companion begins to feel the effects of age creeping up. As an owner, you must learn to come to terms with that.

Humans, living an average of seventy to eighty years, tend to show signs of age very gradually; we often don't notice our family members or friends getting older unless we are separated from them for an extended time. Dogs, who have a more abbreviated life span of ten to fifteen years, show signs of aging proportionally much later in life, and go downhill much more quickly. This may catch owners by surprise, leaving them little time to deal with the situation.

Anti-Aging Defined

This book's definition of anti-aging, or life extension, is quite broad, referring to any approach that enhances both the quality and length of life of our canine friends. More than just long lives, we want good health; perhaps the term "health span" is more appropriate here than "life span." Our goal is to help our canine friends enjoy more time in their healthy and happy middle age, rather than in sickly, uncomfortable old age.

One way of looking at changing life spans is to compare the meaning of mean life span to maximum life span. Mean life span refers to the average life span of a certain breed of dog, whereas maximum life span refers to the maximum age limit of an individual dog within that breed.

Causes of Aging

Understanding what the aging process is, what causes it, and how it works helps us establish strategies for the "war against aging." Basically, an aging animal gradually loses the ability to replace old or damaged cells with new ones. This deficit eventually wipes out functional organ reserve, and results in the appearance of chronic diseases that are commonly associated with aging, such as arthritis, senility, or loss of sensory capabilities.

The aging process can be divided into two basic types. Genetic aging refers to the animal's genetically programmed life span. Although genetic aging is not thoroughly understood, one theory maintains that cells have a limited number of times that they can replicate; another theory is that the brain reaches a point when it shuts off certain vital functions. Because this area of knowledge is limited, this book focuses on preventing, or reducing, the other type of aging: random aging. However, the book draws attention to what type of aging is genetically programmed or predetermined by the dog's breed.

Random aging has numerous causes, from sources both inside and outside the body. Sources include toxins in the air, soil, water, and food; damage from ultraviolet light and depletion of the ozone layer; nutritional deficiencies; free-radical damage; physical trauma; psychological stress; and bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. The effects from any or all of these sources accumulate through an animal's lifetime, taking their toll on her immune system, antioxidant defense system, and detoxification system. The accumulated failures of these protective mechanisms result in cellular death, tissue destruction, and organ damage. Cumulated damage to vital organs reduces the organs' functional reserves. When these reserves are exhausted, clinical disease, with its many symptoms, becomes obvious.

A slowing of the biochemical response to toxins and diminished organ reserve function are consistent characteristics of aging. Although damage to one organ may be more apparent, illness in older dogs is rarely limited to just one disease. In all likelihood, aging organs are at various stages of dysfunction. Thus, aging and disease create a circular, snowball effect: Aging increases the body's susceptibility to disease, while disease increases the rate of random damage that leads to aging. For this reason, we must do all we can to limit any unnecessary damage to the body's systems, while building up its reserves. Nevertheless, we also must acknowledge that the results will ultimately be limited by the programmed aging tendencies that are dictated by our pets' genetic heritage.

Four Theories of Aging

A number of theories exist to explain the hows and whys of aging. Interestingly, findings from numerous studies show that the biochemistry of aging is similar among all animals. Therefore, much of the information gained through research on humans can be, and has been, applied to dogs (although making note of the metabolic differences is necessary).

Ultimately, the cause(s) of aging may be explained by a combination of theories, just as aging is a result of a number of degenerative process. Following are four of the most common theories used in designing approaches to slowing the aging process.


This theory postulates that, after a preset period of time, the body's cells are genetically programmed to end their innate repair-and-maintenance functions. In short, aging is coded into our (and our pets') DNA, and is additionally impacted by toxins in our environment such as radiation or viruses. Diagnostic tests are now available to detect accelerated DNA damage in humans. By providing the cells with the basic building blocks of DNA (through diet and herbal, vitamin, and mineral supplementation), this type of damage is more easily repaired.


This theory blames aging on cell and organ damage that results from overuse and abuse. One approach to handling this situation is to stimulate the immune system's innate ability to prevent disease and repair damage.


According to this theory, aging is caused by a reduction of those hormones that are responsible for helping the body regulate certain critical functions. Dietary supplementation of these hormones attempts to slow the aging process by returning hormonal regulatory control to the body.


The term oxidation refers to what happens to metals, foods, animals, and plants when exposed to oxygen for extended periods of time. Metals rust. Foods tend to spoil, their fats becoming rancid. Living tissue that is exposed to prolonged periods of oxidation ages prematurely and develops disease. Oxidation in our dogs' bodies occurs as a result of the formation and presence of free radicals, extremely reactive and highly unstable charged atoms and molecules that attempts to combine with the normal atoms and molecules of the cells. In the process, these free radicals damage the cell's membrane as well as its DNA, causing major health problems in the animal.

In a healthy dog, free radicals are routinely neutralized by the body's antioxidant defense system, which consists of specific enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that combine with the free radicals, neutralizing them and preventing cellular damage. Your dog's antioxidant system consists of antioxidant enzymes synthesized in the body, and antioxidant nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals) taken into the body. The antioxidant enzymes are the most potent, and consist primarily of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and coenzyme Q10. The antioxidant nutrients consist of:

• Vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E

• Beta-carotene and bioflavonoids

• The minerals selenium, zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, and iron

Next to a fresh, nutritious diet, pure water, an unpolluted environment free from stress, and an abundance of love and companionship, providing your pet with antioxidants may be the most effective way to slow down the aging process. Besides retarding the aging process and preventing disease, antioxidants can also be used to treat degenerative organ diseases such as congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, allergies, immune deficiency disease, autoimmune disease, and arthritis. Antioxidants treat disease conditions directly by combining with and neutralizing toxic free radicals before they have chance to injure or kill cells. By putting a halt to this cascading process, organ failure and disease is prevented.

If a dog's antioxidant defense system becomes stressed (a condition often resulting from an overload of bacteria, viruses, chemical food additives, pesticides, deficient diets, allergies, prolonged drug use, stress, cancer, ultraviolet light, and pollution), the number of free radicals in her body goes up tremendously, eventually exceeding the ability of her antioxidant defense system to neutralize them. Whem this occurs, free radicals create physiological havoc, destroying tissue all over the dog's body. This process is at the root of the processes we refer to as aging and disease.

By supplementing your dog's diet with antioxidants, you can replenish and strengthen her antioxidant defense system. This will aid in stemming the tide of disease, and help delay the aging process. In addition, antioxidants function as anti-inflammatories and immune stimulants, further helping to stem the onset of illness, disease, and aging.

Cellular Regeneration

Your dog's body is constantly generating new cells to replace the ones that die. A natural process, this repair-and-replace function remains fairly constant throughout your dog's life. When the number of damaged or dying cells begin to outnumber the quantity of replacement cells and the efficacy of repair, the dog begins to slow down and, in our eyes, age. A dog suffering from excessive tissue damage, combined with inadequate repair, ages faster than one who is able to repair and replace cells at the preferred rate.

Your dog may suffer degenerative damage to his various internal tissues in many ways, some more obvious than others. These include injury, illness and infection, improper diet, toxins, allergies, stress, free-radical buildup, malfunctioning inflammatory system, inadequate rest, and overactivity. The basics of preventing excess cell damage and encouraging the regenerative process involve minimizing damaging conditions and avoiding harmful substances, while supporting any and all conditions that might help cell repair. By preventing the buildup of damaged and dying cells, you can help extend your dog's life span—and quality of life. Ways to avoid cellular damage and improve cellular regeneration include:

• Make your dog's environment as safe as possible by avoiding potentially harmful situations.

• See the vet at least once a year to detect, prevent, or treat illnesses that could accelerate cell degeneration.

• Ensure that your dog receives all essential nutrients to support her ability to repair and replace damaged and dying cells.

• Ensure that the formation and accumulation of damaging free radicals is kept to a bare minimum.

• Remove as many toxins as possible from your dog's environment and food.

• Identify and remove any allergic substances from the dog's diet and environment.

• Reduce stress in your dog's world to create less fatigued immune, regulatory, and inflammatory systems.

• Provide your dog with good hygiene, grooming, and dental care to reduce the stress placed on the immune system by bacteria.

• Ensure that your dog gets enough sleep and rest, which provides the time for regeneration to occur.

• Exercise your dog to promote strong bone and muscle development; improve digestive, cardiovascular, and respiratory functions; lower blood pressure; avoid obesity; and generally enhance metabolism—all of which contribute to a more efficient repair-and-replacement process.

The Relationship Between Disease and Aging

Everyone accepts that aging is accompanied by illness. However, we often overlook that the reverse is also true: Illness may permanently damage tissues, which depletes the organs' functional reserves and accelerates aging. Whether occurring as a single episode or as a chronic condition, disease brings increased free-radical production that damages cells. This cellular damage, in turn, brings further free-radical production. The body's antioxidant defense system comes to the rescue and neutralizes the free radicals—as long as its reserves hold out. Meanwhile, the immune, detoxification, and inflammatory systems attempt to repair the damage that has already occurred. If the dog's body is overstressed—whether emotionally or due to toxins, physical trauma, allergens, or pathogens—the body's systems become exhausted, functional organ reserves become depleted, symptoms of disease appear, organ failure occurs, and aging is accelerated. This book focuses on how preventing disease prolongs life.


Excerpted from Anti-Aging for Dogs by John M. Simon. Copyright © 1998 The Philip Lief Group. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
General Disclaimer,
PART I: Understanding the Process,
What Is Aging?,
Medicine's Role in Life Extension,
Aging's Effects on Your Dog's Systems,
PART II: Understanding the Plan: Step-by-Step Explanations,
Step 1. Stay in Touch with Your Dog's Health,
Step 2. Ensure Exercise, Grooming, and Dental Hygiene,
Step 3. Create a Safe, Healthy Home Environment,
Step 4. Avoid Behavioral Problems,
Step 5. Optimize Nutrition,
Step 6. Manage and Improve Your Dog's Internal Processes,
PART III: Seeing the Big Picture,
The Plan: A Sample Year in the Life of Your Dog,
Therapies for Common Age-Related Disorders,
A Time for Letting Go,
Appendix A: Canine First Aid,
Appendix B: The In-Home Canine Pharmacy,
Appendix C: Toxic Substances,
Appendix D: Health Maintenance Information,
St. Martin's Press Titles by John M. Simon, D.V.M. (with Stephanie Pederson),
About the Authors,

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