6 Reasons Your Senior Cat Will Thank You

dogandcatDid we ever mention our mobility harnesses can be used on cats as well? At Help ‘Em Up, our harnesses have been used on many types of pets!  With October 29 being National Cat Day, we decided to turn our focus to our aging feline friends this month.

Like dogs, cats can get older and develop issues that require a change in their routine. They experience physiological and psychological changes just as their pet parents do. Their appetite may wane. They may not be able to jump around on their scratching post. And they may sleep more.

Cats are considered to be elderly when they reach 11 years old with senior cats being between 11 and 14 years. They tend to lose their ability to smell and taste food, digest fat and protein, and maintain elasticity in their skin.

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Maligned and Misunderstood: Pit Bulls

helpemuppitbullAt Help ‘Em Up, our dog harnesses are often used on pit bulls who have lost their mobility or have hip dysplasia. These dogs are not the dangerous monsters often portrayed in the media. As a dog parent myself and as a business owner involved in the pet industry, I can tell you that pit bulls get a bad rap – in fact, all the breeds labeled as “bully breeds” do.

Pit bulls are usually a combination of American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, and American Bulldogs. They have been misidentified as the “bully breeds” and are thought by many to be overly aggressive. Some of the most loyal and friendly dogs I have met and owned are pit bulls.

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What Your Dog’s Paws Tell You

dreamstimedogpawsJust as we communicate with our dogs through body language and voice tones, they too communicate with us through their body language. A wagging tail often tells you they are happy. A certain stance means they are aggressive.

And pawing often means they want to play or want attention. Have you ever noticed that when puppies want to play, one usually paws the ground or paws at the other animal?

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10 Surprising Facts About Rabies

helpemuprabiesThink you don’t have to worry about rabies? Unfortunately, you do!

As recently as this month, two cases were reported in Utah after exposure from a rabid, dead bat. Although the prevalence of rabies has declined dramatically in the United States, there are an estimated 55,000 human deaths annually from rabies worldwide.

Many of us just know that we vaccinate our pets for rabies. However, what is rabies, really? How is it contracted and what are the symptoms? Here’s 10 surprising facts about rabies including symptoms.

What is Rabies?
Rabies is a contagious virus. People usually contract rabies from a bite or broken skin after exposure to an alive or dead animal. The virus travels from the wound to the brain, where it causes swelling, or inflammation.
What Are the Symptoms of Rabies?

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Drooling
  • Excessive salivation
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia

    Here are some facts you may not know about rabies.

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Does Your Senior Dog Have Pet Identification?

dogmicrochipHopefully you haven’t lived through the angst of losing a dog. Even if you think your dog would NEVER run away, a sudden bolt of lightning or the rumble of thunder could cause him/her to panic. Or even worse, he could be stolen!

According to the ASPCA, more than 7.6 million dogs are lost each year — approximately one every 2 seconds. As dog owners, it is our responsibility to make sure our dog has proper identification in case he is lost or stolen. Although many dog owners realize the importance, the ASPCA sadly reports that less than 33% of dog owners report tagging their dogs.

There are numerous options available, but I hold to the belief that it is better to be safe than sorry. All of my dogs have been microchipped in addition to wearing a tag on their collar which states their name, my name, and my telephone number.

To Microchip or Not
A microchip is an electronic device that is very small (about the size of a grain of rice) and is injected beneath a dog’s skin using a hypodermic needle. The microchip itself does not have a battery—it is activated by a scanner that is passed over the area, and the radio waves put out by the scanner activate the chip. In dogs and cats, the microchip is usually placed at the back of the neck or in between the shoulder blades. As the procedure is pretty painless, dogs generally do not have to be anesthetized. Veterinarians report that the pain level is similar to a dog getting a vaccination.

Understand that a microchip does not use GPS technology – it can’t track or locate your dog. Instead, if someone finds your dog, they can take it to a vet to be scanned.

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Canine Hydrotherapy Can Be Great For Your Aging Dog

doghydrotherapyAs you know, Help’EmUp is all about helping older dogs who have mobility issues, either temporarily because they are recovering from an injury or permanently due to old age. Our dog harness is perfect for dogs who need help  getting up from the floor, in and out of the car or who suffer from hip dysplasia, arthritis, muscle atrophy and more.

Another great way to treat chronic conditions, help with post-operative recovery or to help your senior dog get much needed exercise is through canine hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy means “Water healing” in Greek and dogs can benefit as much as humans.

Water therapy is non weight bearing and low impact, meaning it is easier on dog’s muscles and joints. Water creates a certain buoyancy versus pounding on a hard pavement. Every step a dog takes on land causes a shock wave that is absorbed by all limbs, muscles, and joints, causing pressure. Hydrotherapy allows for muscles to be strengthened without the harmful impact. Because water creates resistance, muscles have to work harder than they do on land.

What is Canine Hydrotherapy?
Canine hydrotherapy is conducted in a heated pool or spa either at home if you have one or at a rehabilitation center. Although it is obvious, the first thing is to make sure your dog knows how to swim. If not, a canine life jacket may be required. Continue reading

Keeping Your Aging Dog Hydrated

dreamstimepreventingdehydrationHow much water do you drink per day? Health experts tell us we need to drink at least ½ gallon of water per day to replenish our fluids. Because the human body is 60% to 80% water, it’s important to constantly hydrate particularly if you are out in the heat.

Dogs too need plenty of water. Although it depends on your dog’s size, activity level and age, the general rule of thumb is that dogs need to drink between 8.5 to 17 ounces of water per 10 pounds, meaning a 50-pound dog needs between 42 and 84 ounces of liquid refreshment to stay happy and hydrated. Just like humans, dogs can go a long time without food to survive, but not water. Keeping your dog hydrated is important to your dog’s overall health.

 

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Fourth Of July Safety Tips For Your Aging Dog

fourthofjulyWithout a doubt, the Fourth of July is the highlight of the summer for many people as we celebrate our nation’s birthday. Who doesn’t love a good barbeque topped off by a fireworks display?

Your dog. In fact, the American Humane Association reports that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. Why? Because many dogs flee in panic and end up getting lost or injured.

Many dogs do not like loud noises and the bright lights of fireworks that go along with this celebration. To keep your pets calm, here are some tips from Help’EmUp:

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Taking Your Senior Dog to Work

takeyourdogtoworkDid you know that 20% of companies now allow dogs in the workplace? This number has steadily grown as companies realize that dogs in the workplace help to reduce stress and can make employees happier and even healthier. Dogs in the workplace have been found to build teamwork, lower blood pressure, and heart attack risk. For employers this means fewer sick days, lower health insurance premiums and less chronic health issues.

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Ten Things Your Senior Dog Wants to Tell You

I talk to my dog all the time and yes, he does talk back. Studies have shown that the average dog knows about 165 words,  but mine is much smarter than that! I’m sure yours is too.

Dog Destruction

Wouldn’t you love to know sometimes what your aging dog is thinking? When he gives you “that look”? He is more in tune to your feelings than you know. I’ll bet if your dogs could tell you what’s on their mind, here are a few things they would want you to know.

  1. We both need to exercise more. I know, I know exercise is work. After a long day, you want to watch TV, play some video games or talk to your friends on your cell phone. Personally, I’m content just to lay by your feet and be lazy as I get older. As much as we’d like to be couch potatoes, we need to get up and move more! Exercise will keep both our minds and body healthy, plus it’s something we can do together.
  2. I may be old, but I’m not ready to be put out to pasture yet. I may not be able to chase balls or run as fast as I used to, but I still have a lot of life left in me. Sure, our walks are shorter and it takes me longer to get up from sleeping. I’m just a little slower!
  3. I really do miss you when you are gone. You know when you walk in the door and I am so excited to see you? I truly get lonely when you’re gone. Maybe you could leave me a to do list like you do with the kids … I’m not just another pretty face you know. I could organize my toy bin (by the way, my toys are looking a little raggedy. Is there some new ones in my future?)
  4. I get jealous when you come home smelling like another dog! Are you cheating on me?
  5. I’m not as dumb as you think. You know how you try and disguise my arthritis pills or medicine by wrapping it in a piece of meat or peanut butter? No matter how you try and disguise it, it still tastes yucky. You’re not fooling me.
  6. You are the center of my universe. You may have other friends and family and a job to go to, but you are all I have. You are my whole world. I love you unconditionally, even when you are crabby or having a bad day. You can do no wrong in my eyes. You are my best friend. I live to make you happy.
  7. I make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Don’t yell at me if I have an accident in the house. Don’t be mad if I sometimes get confused. Don’t tell me not to beg for food then sneak me table scraps. Sometimes I get mixed messages from you. I’m not being bad because I am angry at you. I’m may be scared, bored or frustrated but the concept of “revenge” is a human one not a canine one.
  8. I’m not as cute as I once was. Sure when I was a puppy. I was adorable. Now my muzzle is graying and my hearing and sight is fading. My coat is not as shiny and I have picked up a few pounds. I have watched you age as well. I love you as much today as the day you brought me home.
  9. You must love me until death do us part. Please don’t turn your back on me because I am getting older. I have watched you lovingly take care of your elderly parents. You too will grow old. Hopefully we will grow old together.
  10. I’m a good listener. I am always here for you. When you are sad, stressed out or in pain, I know it. I am very perceptive about your emotions. If your head is hanging low, I may ask for you to pet me, not because I want to interrupt you, but because I am trying to distract you. I trust you and I need you to trust me. I may not always understand your words, but I understand your tone of voice and your body language. Let me comfort you when you’re sad – it will make me feel better

And the most important? Don’t cry for me when I am gone. Celebrate the life we had together. We had a good run my friend.