By John Ostapkovich

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Maybe, as the movie title goes, All Dogs Go to Heaven, but for their owners it’s often too soon. But there are some things they can do about it.

When author Ted Kerasote’s dog Merle, died, he decided to rethink the whole process before getting a new one.

The result is Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, part memoir, part canine life-extension manual.

Step one: pick a hardy breed, something with a long nose and legs, but no exaggerated physical features. If you have it sterilized, trade up for a tubal ligation or vasectomy.

“The results, reproductively, are the same (no puppies), but they don’t take out the ovaries and testes and so the dog has the beneficial sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen,” which Kerasote says play an anti-cancer role.

Use stainless steel or glass bowls rather than plastic.

Kerasote and your vet may disagree because he says vaccinate the dog less frequently, once every three years for many shots.

Avoid corn and rice-based food and, of course, plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to fill those extra years with fun.

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