Keep Your Dog Healthy Through Middle/ Senior Age

I am super excited to introduce you to a guest blogger, Mark, who loves dogs (and all pets) just as much as we all do! He has taken time out of his busy schedule to write about how to keep your dog healthy through middle/senior age. Want more information regarding dogs? Check out his site: ourdogsworld101.com or his Facebook page. It is definitely worth the read!

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How to Keep Your Dog Healthy Through Middle/Senior AgeHow to Keep Your Dog Healthy Through Middle/Senior Age

Dogs experience age-related problems and challenges as they get older. Usually, a dog is considered senior when it reaches seven years of age. Thinking about such changes begs the question, how to keep your dog healthy through middle/ senior age.

Consider taking these amazing steps to improve their health. By doing your part to keep your senior dog healthy, you will allow them to give you many years of companionship. Follow these tips and your middle-aged/ senior dog’s health will be assured.

Dog Food, Dog Bowl, Dog Kibble, Dry Dog Food, PawsHealthy Food and Nutrition

Diet is a very important point that contributes to the overall health of your fur buddy. For senior dogs, the nutritional requirements usually change and evolve. All middle age/ senior dogs have specific nutritional needs based on breed, age, weather, metabolism, and activity level.

The middle-aged/ senior dogs are prone to many health issues including arthritis, weight gain, cognitive issues, and appetite loss. Their diet greatly affects the quality of their life. These health problems can be affected or improved by the daily diet you feed.

Healthy seniors need more protein to maintain muscle mass. Many middle/ senior dogs need more protein, fibre, or other nutrients to ensure their bodies are well taken care of. You should give middle age/ senior dogs a diet that is tailored to meet their needs. You can consult your vet to select the best diet for your middle-aged/ senior dog’s specific needs.

Regular Vet VisitsMedicine, Veterinary, Equipment, Ear Examination, Dog

You should take your middle-aged/ senior dogs for regular check-ups at the vet’s office. Regular vet visits give your vet the chance to evaluate the overall health of your senior dog. You will also get the chance to discuss any unusual behavior your senior dog is displaying. Your vet will identify irregularities in case your fur buddy has any issues.

The vet will assess the general health of your middle-aged/ senior dog. These vet examinations can detect problems in older dogs before they become life-threatening. Regular vet visits improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your dog.

Pill, Gel Capsule, Medicine, Health, Cure, DrugIntroduce Dietary Supplements When Appropriate

If your senior dog is not getting a complete and balanced diet, it may develop dietary issues. You can introduce supplements into your dog’s diet. Dietary supplements will not take the place of a healthy diet but will be an additional support to a healthy life.

You can give joint supplements to help keep your dog’s joints from hurting. Also, omega-3 fatty acids help with brain, skin and joint health.

Be cautious about giving human supplements to pets. Your senior dogs need dietary supplements if they’re suffering from arthritis, hip dysplasia, neurological problems, or poor coat conditions. Your vet can also assess whether your middle-aged/ senior dog needs a supplement or not.

A Comfy Place to LiveDog, Pet, Bed, Animal, Border Collie, Sleep, Cute

Arthritis and hip and elbow dysplasia are common issue for older dogs. These dogs deserve a comfy place to relax and sleep. A quality orthopedic dog bed can ease their arthritic joints while helping them stay cozy and comfortable. These beds are designed to provide extra support to your dog’s joints and bones.

You must provide a warm, comfy, and quiet place for relaxing and sleeping. Choose a low-traffic area in your house for your senior dog to relax and sleep. During winters, provide them cozy blankets to keep them warm. Also, keep their space clean and free of germs.

Dog Bath, Resigned, Wet, Soapy, Grooming, AnimalRegular Grooming

Regular grooming and careful weekly examinations are essential for your aging dog’s overall well being. Regular grooming can help you to spot bumps, lumps, wounds, and potential health problems on your senior dog’s skin.

Grooming also helps to remove any loose fur due to shedding, dirt, debris, or ticks and fleas. You should arm yourself with the right grooming tools for your senior dog. Make grooming a positive experience for your senior dog, filled with praises and rewards.

Regular Exercise and Mental Stimulation Strength, Dog, Golden Retriever, Strong, Exercise

Senior dogs should be given regular exercise and mental stimulation to avoid health issues. Regular physical activities will strengthen your aging dog’s muscles, enhance circulation and improve their heart and brain function. Always choose a physical activity that is appropriate for your dog’s age and stamina.

Mental stimulation also plays a big role in keeping your dog healthy. Try to provide ample opportunities for mental challenges to keep your dog young at heart and prevent boredom.

Pit Bull, Senior Dog, Senior, Portrait, Dog, MuttMaintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining your senior dog’s weight is one of the easiest ways to increase his life expectancy. Healthy weight is a major factor that contributes to your dog’s overall well-being.

Obesity in senior dogs increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, difficulty breathing, skin problems, and other conditions. It can shorten your dog’s life expectancy and decrease their quality of life.

Sudden weight loss in a senior dog is also a source for concern. Hyperthyroidism, diabetes and kidney disease are common causes of weight loss in senior dogs.

What are Physical Signs of Aging in Dogs?Dog, Pet, Old, Old Age, Elderly, Gray

Dogs show a variety of signs of aging besides a graying muzzle. Some hallmarks of aging in dogs include:

    1. Slowing down or difficulty getting around
    2. Increased barking
    3. Cloudy eyes or difficulty seeing
    4. Stiffness
    5. Awful breath due to gum disease or tooth decay
    6. Weight fluctuation

It’s important to note that physical signs of aging might look different in dog breeds.

Quick note: Contrary to the popular belief, dogs do not age at a rate of 7 human years for each dog year.

What problems are more common in senior dogs?

It’s easy to spot the outward signs of aging in dogs. Here are a few common health problems in senior dogs:

    • Hearing loss causing varying degrees of deafness
    • Vision loss due to tissue degeneration in the eyes
    • Joint problems
    • Dementia/Cognitive Dysfunction: When dogs lose cognitive function as they age
    • Cancer: It accounts for almost half of the deaths of dogs over 10 years of age
    • Heart disease
    • Kidney problems
    • Obesity
    • Gastrointestinal issues

Aging should not be painful for your furry companion. For your senior dog’s health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian. They can make the best recommendations for your dog.

Final Thoughts

Just like us, age is not a disease for dogs. Although senior dogs may develop age-related problems, good care allows them to live healthy lives in their senior years.

Remember, when you bring home a furry companion, you are committing to a long-term relationship. As a loving dog parent, these tips will help your middle-aged/ senior dog to stay healthy.

You can’t make your senior dog live forever, but you can help your furry pal live the healthiest life possible. A healthy senior dog can save you from a lot of stress and vet visits. All you need is to make some effort to support a healthy life for your senior dog.

What’s In a Name?

So…after my last postPet Memories, I felt it necessary to lighten up the mood slightly, and talk about the term “fur babies”. (I heard that groan!) In recent years, there has been an uproar on how people treat their pets, and whether they should be a major member of the family. This has led to the debate on the type of nicknames given. So…What’s In a Name?

Humans started domesticating animals thousands, if not tens of thousands of years ago; however, their purpose was to work with humans, or to provide meat or fur. For example, cats were used to keep mice out of silos, and dogs were used to assist in hunting. Pets then moved into becoming status symbols (think King Charles Spaniel), and in most recent years, they became a part of our families; i.e. kept inside the house, cared for more than we care for ourselves…(who’s with me?!)

What's In a Name

What Does Fur Baby Mean?

According to the Urban Dictionary, “fur baby” means a pet for someone who doesn’t have kids or a usually over-spoiled/pampered pet. I find this quite interesting because I never thought of this nickname in that sense. Now, don’t get me wrong… before I had kids, I definitely spoiled my pets, but I didn’t consider them overly-spoiled or as a replacement for my own child. I just felt that they were a part of the family and they were greatly loved. Once my kids came into the picture, my pets became more important because they cared deeply for my kids.

The Debate

Now, I can see both sides of the debate. Those who feel their pets are solidly a part of the family may be more willing to consider the term “fur baby”, but those who feel like the term baby takes away from the human aspect feel it can be disrespectful. Let’s break it down.

There are many reasons a family may consider their pets as babies. Examples could be that a couple is unable to bear children or don’t want children, and their pet is considered their baby, or maybe empty nesters decided to adopt a fur baby now that their house is missing…something. It could be a family who really, really loves their pets, and considers the pets to have a similar connection with them that human babies gives.

On the other hand, I understand that we have domesticated pets to benefit our lives in terms of necessities. Calling them a silly nickname causes us to see our pets as paedomorphic beings (think teddy bears) or we humanize them. We can see examples of this in cartoons and stuffed animals – how their eyes are much bigger than in real life and their features have been softened. They are not humans, and most pets were bred for specific jobs. In class settings, dogs treated like over-pampered pets in training will be more difficult to handle, or will not believe their parents/owners are the leaders.

There is so much debate over whether pets should be treated more like humans or should be kept isolated to working animals. I am of two minds on this. I agree with the pro-fur baby crowd as pets provide far more to a family than they used to. They provide comfort, solace, happiness, and better health. There are animals out there that can sniff out cancer, or alert to seizures, but there are also some who can understand over 200 words, and pick out certain named toys. They can read our body language and tell when we are happy or sad. That’s pretty amazing!

From a personal perspective, my Alaskan Malamute, Roc, had a huge impact on my own healing from a complicated miscarriage and the following surgeries. He was the one there when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, but also there when I was going through the miscarriage, and after the D&C. He was my comfort, solace, and helped me get through an incredibly heartbreaking time.

I have also taught basic obedience training where humans treat their pets as heavenly creatures. This is most difficult when the dog has more clout than their human counterpart, and is able to get away with anything they want to. This is not a case of “fur baby” syndrome, this is called “Our pet rules our lives completely” disease. There is no benefit towards this type of relationship as it only benefits one side.

Let me explain. Animals were domesticated to provide a service (think a Horse, Cow, or even an Australian Shepard). We utilized their strength and abilities to benefit our lifestyles. I believe as times go by, and our hearts grow softer, we consider our pets through a paedomorphic lens, not necessarily what they are capable of or what they were bred for. We are leaning more towards the Urban dictionary definition rather than a broad term of fur baby.

Once we can find a happy medium between these extremes, I believe the term “fur baby” can become more acceptable in society. We won’t have so many arguments on who is right or who babies their pets too much or who doesn’t like pets.

Offended?

How many times have you overheard conversations where people getting offended? Maybe you have been offended by something said regarding your pet… Well, stop. We need to remember getting offended is something that we choose.

Let’s look at this example –

Mary considers her Chihuahua as a fur baby in the Urban Dictionary sense, and John considers his German Shepherd as a partner or a working pet. They start to debate sides and things get a little heated. Now, this can go two ways…the argument can escalate to where both parties are yelling that each is wrong, or they can stop and take a breath.

Being able to open your mind and accept that someone is (most likely) going to have a different view on this subject is the first step. But…we need to expand on this thought. If someone disagrees with you, don’t write them off just yet. Ask questions. The other person may have some insight you have not considered yet and vice versa. The point is not to just agree that everyone has their own reality, but to debate cordially and without malice.

So… Fur Baby or Not?

Pets are a part of our families. As time goes on, our relationships with our pets will become more valued. For example, we are starting to see laws being enacted to protect the abused animals in certain states. The term “fur baby” will continue to evolve, and Urban Dictionary might have to update the definition.

My hope is that we find a meeting point where fur baby just means a part of the family, not necessarily a spoiled-rotten pet or a replacement for a human baby. I hope that our pets can still do the jobs they were bred for, but also hang out with the family on the couch. I want the stigma of “fur baby” to go away and for people to understand that it is ok for a pet to be called a fur baby…but these “fur babies” need to be ambassadors for their breed (and not nippy little brats).

I want people to take a deep breath. The term “fur baby” is not something to get worked up over unless the pet is doing harm. I want people to have a good discussion without negative outcomes. I want people to learn the why behind other’s reasons.

As for me, I have 2 very large fur babies. and 1 small fur baby…(I am not sure if I should consider my husband a fur baby based on the size of his beard…but that’s another conversation for another blog.) My dogs, Beckham and Nuka, and my cat Hunter are part of my family. They are able to hang out with us, go places, eat good food, but they are not allowed to run the house. Like all family members, they have rules to abide by too.

About Kelly

Hello everyone, and welcome to my site “Keeping Your Pet’s Spirit Alive”. My love for animals started at a young age. I have shared my home with cats and dogs for as long as I can remember, and the one thing that always stood out was how difficult it was when my pet passed away.

As hard as it was to lose a pet, I was consistently reminded that “it was just a pet” or “you can get another one”. I didn’t understand this sentiment because when I lost a human family member, no cost was spared to keep them in remembrance; through flowers, donations, keepsakes, and even obituaries. There were not many options for keepsakes or communities where I could continue to remember my pet family members.

We are now in an age where pets are truly considered a part of the family (and in some cases they are considered more of a family member than our blood relatives)! Over the years, I have been through the loss of mine and my family’s pets, and I have learned very valuable lessons from each loss. As we move forward into 2019/2020, I am excited to share some insight and ideas on how you can keep your pet’s spirit alive even when they are no longer physically with you.

My Story

My life has always been intertwined with pets in one form or another. When I was young, my family either had dogs or cats who we doted on daily. Whenever we would see a stray animal on the side of the road, we would stop and see if we could help the animal and find if they had a home. When I moved out of my parent’s house, I adopted a Maine Coon named Harley from the Humane Society and then introduced a little 4 week old female DMH to the family, whom we named Aprilia.

When my husband and I moved from Washington State to Arizona, I needed to find something to do with my time while my husband was in school, so where did I turn? Animal welfare became my life! I volunteered at a cat rescue where I was introduced to animal behavior and my love for pets grew from there.

I trained under a top Animal Behaviorist and learned how to read body language, train volunteers on how to handle pets, and taught dog obedience classes, but also did some hard tasks like shelter intakes and help out when a dog or cat was to be euthanized.

Euthanasia was difficult, but regardless of the reason(behavior or illness), I was there to help show them they would not die alone. They were loved, and each one took a piece of my heart with them.

A New Generation

Now as I have grown my family by 3 little boys, 2 Alaskan Malamutes, and 1 DSH cat, I want to return to my love of animals by helping their human counterparts. I want to help people go through the mourning process with no judgment. I want people to be able to share their stories in hopes of helping others. I want to provide ideas and helpful tips to get through these difficult moments.

The times have changed from the days when pets were only used for work. They are now our comfort, our confidants, our lives… Let’s build a community to remember them.

 

Let’s Build a Strong Community

The goal of this website is to teach, be taught, and to lend a shoulder for those who are experiencing or have experienced the loss of their beloved pet. My hope is that the website will be interactive where everyone can share their thoughts, ideas, and dreams.

Let’s work together to remember our fur babies!

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Kelly

Beckham and Nuka Love

berniersmith.com