Preparing Your Senior Dog to the Vet

Many of us fear going to the doctor or dentist. The office can have an antiseptic smell and we often associate the visit with shots.

It’s no different for dogs. Although taking them to the vet is essential for their health and well-being, a visit can be distressing for our canine companions. Not only will they encounter hundreds of new smells, slippery floors, and strange people, but they may also hear barking dogs, meowing cats, and strange voices. The experience may be overwhelming for even the most mellow dog.

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Choosing the Right Vet For Your Senior Dog

After you and your family, one of the most important individuals in your dog’s life will be his/her vet.  He will be the one helping you with your dog’s nutrition, health and care. As many of us have senior dogs, there needs can be quite different than puppies or even middle-aged dogs. Therefore, it is important to choose a veterinarian wisely.

Get a Reference
The best place to start is with your friends and family, local rescues or shelters, groomers, dog trainers or pet sitters, particularly if they live in your neighborhood and feel the same way about your pet as you do. The worse time to introduce your dog to a new vet is when he’s not feeling well. Consider making a “get to know you” appointment so you can see if it is a good fit.

Friendliness
Just like children and doctors, many dogs and cats are afraid to go to the vet. Was the front desk staff nice? Is the vet calm with a good bedside manner? Is it fairly easy to get an appointment if there is an emergency? A full waiting room can be good, because that means your vet is well liked. However, no one wants to wait an hour before even being seen! Continue reading

Protect Your Dog or Cat From a Hot Car

Chances are the first thing you do when you enter your car during the summer is turn the air conditioner on full blast. Otherwise it’s an oven!

A recent study found that 62% of dog owners say they would never leave their pets alone in a car on a warm day. That means 39% would!

Every year, too many dogs suffer and die when their owners make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car—even for “just a minute”. If the temperature outside is 78 degrees, that means the inside of the car is between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes! If the temperature is 90 degrees outside it can be a staggering 160 degrees in the car.

At these temperatures, a dog can suffer from brain damage and heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Why? Because dogs have a harder time sweating than humans because they can only sweat through their paws.

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Ready To Go Swimming With Your Dogs?

Summertime means barbeques, trips to the pool or lake, and plenty of family and friend time.  As summer temperatures begin to soar, there is nothing more refreshing than a dip in the pool or lake. Because your dogs go most of the places you probably go, it’s important for you to know whether they can swim or not.

Some dogs LOVE to swim, for others it’s a learned behavior, and still others will NEVER want to swim. Just because their breed is identified as one that loves to swim, never assume your dog knows how to swim. Never toss a puppy or newly adopted dog into a lake or pool unless you are there to save him in case he panics or gets tired. This could traumatize the dog and lead to a quick end to your water sports!

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Do Your Dogs Display Sibling Rivalry?

When you were a kid did you have siblings? Inevitably you probably fought with them. Maybe you both fought for your parent’s attention. Or possibly one of you was bigger and beat up on the littler one.

In both humans and dogs this is caused sibling rivalry. Sibling rivalry occurs when two dogs living in the same household fight repeatedly and aggressively. It may start with snarls or growls, but can then progress to vicious, prolonged fights. We are not talking here about short arguments. Sibling rivalry that is disruptive to your household or to the lives of your dogs is when the problem needs to be addressed.

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How to Prevent Dog Bites

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs each year with one in five requiring medical attention. We’ve all read stories where people are disfigured or even killed by a dog attack which is tragic.

In fact, more than 6,500 mailmen are bitten by dogs each year! No wonder they are afraid to get out of their trucks.

Children are the most likely victims, often bitten by a dog in their own home or a friend’s home. Children (particularly boys ages 5 – 9) are three times more likely than adults to be seriously bitten (mainly in the face or neck), because kids are around the same height as a dog and because they can crawl into small, low places where dogs can reach. Unfortunately, 50% of children will be bitten by a dog before their 12th birthday. Men are also more prone to dog bites than women.

In addition to being physically and emotionally scarring, dog bites can be costly as well. State Farm Insurance, paid nearly $1 billion in accident-related claims involving a dog over the last decade.

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Mutt Vs. Pure Bred?

erent breeds of unknown ancestry. Mutts are also known as “mixed breeds” or “Heinz 57” (mongrel is such a derogatory term).

A “pure bred” is a dog whose mother and father derive over many generations from a recognized breed. Newer hybrids, or designer dogs, don’t qualify as pure breds. A Goldendoodle mating with a pure bred Golden Retriever would not be considered a pure bred. The puppies resulting from two Goldendoodles would also not be considered pure breds, since their parents are considered mixed-breed dogs, even though both were mixes of the same two breeds.

It can get very confusing.

Is it true that mutts are healthier than pure breds? Are puppy mill dogs a health disaster? Let’s separate fact from fiction.

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Fun Facts About Dogs

Think you know everything there is to know about dogs? Here are some fun facts about dogs that may come as a surprise!

Puppies

  • Both wolves and dogs are essentially blind until they are about a month old. Even so, wolf puppies begin to walk and explore when they are about two weeks old while dog pups don’t show these behaviors until they are four weeks old.
  • Even as puppies, breeds show large differences in behavior. For example, beagles and cocker spaniel puppies almost never argue over food, while shelties fight like crazy for five weeks and then suddenly quit. Basenji litter mates are aggressive and continue to fight with each other for a year.
  • Dalmation puppies are born all white and they develop their spots as they get older.
  • One female dog and her female children could produce 4,372 puppies in seven years.

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Helping Your Senior Dog Recover

Is your dog recovering from an illness, surgery or an injury? It can be an anxious time for pet parents as we feel sorry for our dogs. The veterinarian will give you a list of instructions but it can be difficult to process the overload of information at this stressful time. From knowing what exercise your dog can handle to possible complications, the details can make the difference between a speedy recovery and lingering side effects.

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Physical Therapy For Senior Dogs

If you have ever had a hip or knee replacement, you know that physical therapy is in your future. It is an integral component of the rehabilitation process, one that will help restore your mobility and strength.

What is Canine Rehabilitation?
Actually canine rehabilitation often mirrors that of humans. According to the Whole Dog Journal: “Veterinary rehabilitation uses many of the same modalities and techniques for animals as physical therapy does for humans.”

The onset of Flyball, Frisbee golf and agility trials have made canine therapy more popular than ever before. Introduced in Europe in the 1980s, it is known as Animal Assisted Therapy or AAT here in the United States. It is not exclusively for senior dogs, because younger dogs may be facing an injury or recovering from an accident. And it’s not just for dogs but horses, cats, rabbits and even birds as well.

Physical therapy is often advised for pets suffering from joint, spinal cord, and soft tissue injuries, osteoarthritis and pain, inflammation, hip and elbow dysplasia, and other conditions from old age. It combines physics, biomechanics, anatomy, physiology and psychology.

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