And why you don't need to stress about tiny details
It is human nature to worry about things. We worry about our dogs and our children, our parents and our friends. We worry about health, security, money, climate change, and our planet.
Worry is the other side of love.
If you have ever adopted a puppy, you know how amazing and wonderful it is to be starting off fresh, knowing we have many years together ahead of us. But bringing a new dog of any age into your home makes most people worry about giving them everything they need to grow strong, and remain healthy for as many years as possible. We naturally ask ourselves:
When it comes to the choices we make, I love the 80/20 rule (the Pareto principle) because it even works with decisions about health.
The concept of this rule is that 20 percent of our choices make 80 percent of a difference, and that is what we should ideally focus our energy on.
Forget about measuring every single ingredient and nutritional value in meals. Rather, focus on a small number of well targeted steps to accomplish 80% of your health and longevity goals for you and your dog.
There are countless articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos on the topic of health and how zooming in too much leaves people feeling overwhelmed and confused. Doing everything is not the answer to better health. Knowing what to focus on is much more important when it comes to increasing our dogs' and our own healthspan.
We also need to leave some space for new knowledge and discoveries without necessarily jumping onto every new fad that pops up.
The difference the 80/20 rule can make in your dog's life:
That is 24 - 36 months of extra life on average.
This means that if we output 20% of our efforts on making the most important changes we will add 20 - 29 extra months of life on average (80% of the above range).
Of course these numbers are just estimates, but I think it is fair to suggest that knowing what to focus on is more important than trying to get everything right and getting lost in the minutia of relatively insignificant details. Believe or not, this happens very often.
Those who try to get everything right often end up stressed and overwhelmed with their kitchen cabinets and pantry shelves overfilled with too many supplements.
One the other side of the spectrum are people who think that a bag of kibble is the only thing that is needed and see probiotics, minerals, vitamins, or Omega-3 oil supplements as unnecessary. 20 years ago I was that person, but today, I would never stop taking supplements or giving them to Pax because I have seen the difference they make.
Here are the key areas that will help you achieve 80% of your goal:
You can also add more specific support:
- If your dog has been diagnosed with a specific condition
If your dog’s genetics have shown a predisposition towards a particular condition - let's say kidney disease, heart disease, spleen tumours, or liver disease.
I also take Pax through a detox once every 6 months. When he is about 5 years, may plan is to supplement with NAD+ boosters, such as NMN, and focus on slowing down aging. For more details on NMN click here.
To summarize, the above will make a big statistical difference without stressing yourself out and getting overwhelmed with details.
And if you are worried about providing your dog with the exact amount of nutrients needed, remember that the body is a super intelligent system which allows for relatively wide margin of nutrients and natural supplement levels. Elephants, deer, and apes don’t measure their nutrients and vitamins, because their bodies know how to store them and also how to get rid of anything in excess when needed.
As always there are a few exceptions, for example fat soluble vitamins, where an overdose is possible, but rare.
If you do catch yourself worrying, I suggest taking a deep breath and remembering that putting 20 percent of your efforts into a few key areas will make 80 percent of the difference, and stressing about the rest may even erase any benefits.
Take care and be well. ❤️