Just like humans, dogs can suffer from mental decline as they age. It’s often uppermost in our minds that dogs need physical exercise to stay healthy. What we often forget is that dogs – particularly senior dogs – need mental stimulation as well.
As dogs age, they can experience mental deterioration which is referred to as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS). Think of it as “pet dementia”. It is so prevalent that signs of cognitive dysfunction syndrome are found in 50 percent of dogs over the age of 11, and by the age of 15, 68 percent of dogs display at least one sign. The signs may include:
- Excessive licking
- Lack of desire to play
- Loss of appetite
We have all heard the adage: “with age comes wisdom.” If you already have an older dog and are introducing a new pack member, much can be learned from the senior dog. Just like older siblings teach the younger kids both good and bad habits, so too do dogs.
Dogs often mimic the behavior of other dogs. According to Psychology Today, this is called allelomimetic behaviors by the scientific community. In other words, when you bring a puppy into your home with an older dog present, this can greatly reduce the training time. It is a well-known fact that dogs watch the behaviors of other dogs and try to gather useful information from their observations. Dogs will often model the behaviors of other dogs when there seems to be advantage to be gained.
Remember when we were young we had to call everyone Mr. or Mrs? We were never allowed to use the first name of anyone older than us out of respect. When we received a present? We had to write a hand-written thank-you note.
As our parents would say: “we taught you manners”.
As the holidays are upon us, we often think about those who may be less fortunate, out in the cold, need a warm meal or just a little help. Many people “adopt a family” through their church or a charitable group, providing the family with some basics and much-needed help.
It’s also important to consider this for animals. If you have the chance or means, please consider fostering a dog. Many pets have been relocated because of the floods and hurricanes we experienced earlier in the year and now find themselves in shelters through no fault of their own. This is particularly true for senior dogs who are less desirable than puppies. Rescue groups are in desperate need of foster parents who can provide temporary homes until a “forever” home can be located.
As you go through the pet department and see all the treats and bones, you may be tempted to buy some for your dog. Different vets have differing opinions on feeding your dog bones, but we all know that most dogs love bones. There are a lot of misconceptions about dog bones so it is important to know the facts versus myths.
If you are going to give your dog a bone, it’s very important to your dog’s health to give him the right type of bone. First let’s discuss the pros and cons.
Many of us will be hitting the road for the holidays with our dogs in tow. After all, our dogs are part of the family and many of us wouldn’t dream of leaving them behind. With the hustle and bustle of car rides, check in and unfamiliar places, HelpEmUp offers these tips for a safe and serene adventure:
As the holidays approach, many people have to board their dogs. Like a child exposed to all the germs at school, senior dogs can be extremely susceptible to kennel cough. Unlike a child that can cover their mouth when they cough, this is a highly contagious illness for dogs.
The statistics are startling … over half of all American dogs are overweight or obese. That’s 35 million dogs! That goes right along with three out of every four Americans are overweight.
Unfortunately, if you’re in this group, you could be cutting your own life and your dog’s life short.
According to PetMd, obesity is common in dogs of all ages, but it usually occurs in middle-aged dogs, and generally in those that are between the ages of 5 and 10. Neutered and indoor dogs also tend to have a higher risk of becoming obese.
Halloween is a spooky holiday, full of children screaming “trick or treat”, strange noises and dog owners who want their pets to dress up. Chances are if you have a senior dog, he’s way over the whole dress up thing.
Who doesn’t love a puppy? They are cute, adorable and full of fun. You can’t help but smile when a puppy is around, complete with adoring eyes that follow you everywhere you go. Their faces are so sweet!
However, puppies are not for everyone. This true story tells the tale of how a puppy can be a disaster if placed in the wrong hands.
My mother-in-law is 84 years old and lives on her own in a senior community in California. She is in relatively good health but has a bad back and mobility issues. Six months ago she lost her beloved labradoodle Hannah and was devastated. As she has had dogs ever since she was a child, she decided she was ready for another dog.
I encouraged her to get a senior dog, one that was already trained. However, she was insistent the dog be a labradoodle. I called animal shelters and rescue groups throughout California and was told these dogs are rarely abandoned because they are “designer dogs”. Instead, she decided to get a puppy who was lovingly delivered to her at 12-weeks-old.
My mother-in-law has brand new white carpeting and a white couch. She was having trouble housebreaking the dog because ”stern” is just not in her personality at this age. Even though she could give us the “stink eye” over the years, the dog did not respond to this type of discipline. It’s now been 4 months and “Lucy” is still pooping all over the house. “What are you going to do?” I ask her. “No worries”, she says. “I’ll just buy new carpeting.” “I leave the patio door open every night with the light on in hopes she’ll go outside on my patio.”
Does she think there are no burglars? She leaves the lights on – might as well invite the thieves in for a cup of coffee!