We all know that adopting a senior dog is a good thing to do. You would be saving a life doomed to languish in a shelter. You would know exactly what you are getting because he/she is all grown up. Chances are he will already be housetrained and responsive to commands.
That’s not to say there won’t be some bumps along the way. Moving is always stressful whether you are a dog or person. Chances are your dog will be used to living in a kennel with other dogs surrounding him. All of a sudden, he is thrust into your world and it feels, well, alien.
Don’t give up. #HelpEmUp would like to offer a few pointers to make the process a little less stressful.
There has been much controversy over the last couple of years regarding the legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal purposes. It’s hard to keep track of the numbers – cu,rrently 8 states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes (California, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington) and 29 states for medicinal purposes.
There has been much discussion about medicinal marijuana and its uses in curbing anxiety, treating epilepsy, cancer and more illnesses and symptoms. However, it is important to note the difference between marijuana and cannabis versus hemp.
Like many other products, although marijuana was originally consumed by humans, it quickly spread to the pet industry. The sale of pet-related hemp products has skyrocketed, particularly for senior dogs.
This begs the question: are dogs going to pot?
I come from a long line of pet owners. Even before I was born, my parents had dogs, my grandparents had dogs and my great grandparents had dogs. My Mom preferred small dogs and my Dad liked big dogs, so we always had a menagerie of strays, rescues and family dogs hanging around the house.
Trends in homes constantly change. It used to be that homes had formal living rooms and dining rooms, which has given way to the concept of a more casual “great room”. And who would have anticipated years ago that there would be such a thing as a video room or rooms to accommodate 70 – 80” TVs?
>We all know how we show our dogs affection. If your dogs are like mine, they love belly rubs. The mere mention of a “treat” sends them jumping for joy (even if it’s only a carrot!) All I have to do is pull the leash out and they know we are going for a walk and get very excited. They love, love their walks and all the scents that come along with it. When I’m settling down to watch a movie, they instantly transform into couch potatoes (and in some cases a lap dog) and I pull them close for a cozy snuggle.
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.