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senior dog care

November is National Adopt a Senior Month.  In honor of our senior dogs, and the special attention they so richly deserve, this blog is dedicated to our furry elders.

Senior dogs are often surrendered to shelters due to owner lifestyle changes. If a guardian has not been appointed for them in advance, these otherwise healthy and happy dogs are now relegated to a shelter environment hoping for another loving home albeit in competition with their fellow inmates. Most of them are used to a pampered life and will not show well in a shelter as they adapt to a dramatic change of circumstances.

While puppies are adopted more quickly, there are many advantages of adopting a senior dog. Not only are they house trained, but they are past their chew-on-everything stage, so it’s a safe bet that your shoes and furniture will be spared with a senior, if not the ease of housekeeping in general.

With a senior dog you know exactly what you are getting as they are fully grown, so there aren’t any surprises about unexpected height and weight later.

Older dogs require less exercise so if you’re not interested in marathon walks or long hikes to tire out your furry companion, you can enjoy leisurely strolls together at a comfortable pace for both of you. Older dogs have calmer temperaments, an added bonus for families with active children. Giving them an amazing home for their remaining years is a reciprocal exchange of heart-felt love and personal fulfillment.

Not all senior dogs have senior conditions, yet all dogs develop age-related nuances at some point. There are many ways to promote their comfort that do not involve a lot of effort.  Exercise is still important for your senior dog. This helps maintain a healthy body weight as overweight dogs will suffer from more health problems beyond “senioritis.” This goes for us humans as well!

A common “elderly” issue is joint stiffness or arthritis. Adding a quality dog joint supplement to their diet is a first starter.  We recommend Good Boy for their high-grade ingredients and custom care plans, including their “Shining Senior” product.  PetWellbeing also offers all-natural pet supplements for effective treatment of over 120 dog and cat ailments. Both are sold in our Pet Store @ https://doolittlesdoghouse.com/shop/ in the pet food and treats “aisle”.

In addition to a proper dietary supplement, for dogs who struggle to gain purchase from a laying down position you can slip-proof the floors with a few extra rugs and also add a comfy pet bed just for them.

Massage can increase relaxation, oxygen flow and provide added joint flexibility as well. You don’t have to be a certified massage therapist to give your dog (or cat) a good rub down.

For dogs that develop calloused elbows because they rest more than youngsters, a little Vitamin E oil will help (cut the toes off a sock and slide onto the anointed area for absorption).

Some hearing loss may occur over time, yet dogs are very good at reading our body language and hand signals and some pet parents may tell you their dogs pretend they can’t hear at all (even though they can!). Vision loss may occur yet does not mean your senior dog will go blind.

Kidney function and urinary control may lessen over time. This is not a big deal.  Do you piddle when you giggle? “Depends” for dogs are available and medications are available to effectively control it.

Certainly there are a myriad of ailments that we will encounter with our pets (if not ourselves) in our lifetimes.  No one is immune to sickness, illness or unexpected surgery.  Therefore, it’s important to consider your dog’s age and schedule a regular well exam; if not annually, then semi-annually. Early diagnosis of any underlying condition will help determine treatment options to extend your dog or cat’s longevity and vitality.

If you haven’t considered pet insurance, it’s worth the peace of mind today for your financial protection down the road. Pet insurance exists for the same reason that automobile and homeowner’s insurance does: to protect you financially if something unexpected happens. Check out our link to Embrace Insurance. Dogs can be insured for accident and illness plans up to the age of 15. Discounts are available for multi-pet households and military. For a custom plan and free quote, see Embrace Insurance featured @ http://www.doolittlesdoghouse.com/shop

We host many senior guests who defy their ‘dog years” and continue to romp with delight.  Just because your adopted-dog-to-be is older, or your own dog is aging, does not mean we withdraw from our long-term care obligations nor assume that chronic care will be required.  According to Guinness World Records, the oldest dog was an Australian cattle dog “Bluey” who passed at the age of 29 and 5 months. Now that’s worth celebrating!

Doolittle’s Doghouse share’s the lifetime obligation to your pets, at all ages and stages, and thanks you for your special commitment to our very special seniors.

Hugs,

Tori

 

photo attribution: Chris Cooper on unsplash.com

Affiliate marketer disclosure: we represent pet merchants we feel are the cream of the crop in each category featured on our site.  Should you buy through our links, we will receive a small commission; at no extra cost to you.  It helps us keep our boarding rates as low as they are!

 

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