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.

Continue reading

Does Your Senior Dog Eat Poop?

Did you know it is a myth that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s?  Think about all the things they eat during the day both outside and inside. Dogs are known to raid garbage cans, drink water out of the toilet, and lick themselves. They will chew their way through the day.

However, a not-so-pleasant thing to us humans is dogs who eat their own poop. There is even a scientific name for this habit—coprophagia (kop-ruh-fey-jee-uh)—and also both behavioral and physiologic reasons why some dogs view poop as a delicacy.

Continue reading

Does Your Older Dog Sleep A Lot?

As humans age, we often sleep less deeply and wake up more during the night, causing many of us to take naps during the day (if we can get away with it). According to the Sleep Foundation, healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep nightly.

Many of our dogs sleep more than we do. Adult dogs generally sleep 12 – 14 hours/day, whereas puppies and older dogs require more, ranging from 15 – 18 hours/day. Unlike humans who generally receive eight hours of consecutive sleep, dogs sleep on and off throughout the day. In fact, 30% of a dog’s day is resting, while 20% is consumed with activity.

Does your dog sleep more than this? Are you worried? Don’t be unless your dog’s habits suddenly change. Dogs sleep different amounts depending on their breed, age, sex, and environment.

Continue reading

How to Recognize If Your Older Dog Is In Pain

When children are hurt, you can often tell by their screams or the expression on their faces. When dogs are in pain or hurting it can be hard to tell.

If you step on their paw accidentally, they may respond with a loud help. However, it is part of the animal instinct not to show they are hurting as the pack may see it as a sign of weakness.

Continue reading

Could Your Senior Dog Be Suffering from Hypothyroidism?

If your normally sweet dog suddenly becomes grumpy, aggressive, or begins to snap at you or other dogs, a trip to the vet is definitely in order. Sudden behavioral problems are indicative of many senior dog’s illnesses, one being hypothyroidism.

There are 5 main senior dog illnesses that are prevalent among older dogs that dog owners should be concerned about. These include:

Here we will talk about hypothyroidism.

What is Hypothyroidism?

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the neck that produces the thyroxine hormones. According to WebMD, “hypothyroidism is a clinical condition resulting from a lowered production and release of T4 and T3 hormones by the thyroid gland.”

It is an autoimmune disorder that certain breeds are genetically predisposed to or can be influenced by environmental factors such as: chemicals in medicines, flea and tick products, heartworm drugs and vaccines.

Hypothyroidism is an illness that affects all breeds, but it is more common in golden retrievers, Doberman pinchers, Irish setters, dachshunds, boxers, and cocker spaniels.  It usually happens in middle-aged dogs (ages 4 to 10) of medium to large breeds. Neutered males and spayed females also have a higher risk, but vets aren’t exactly sure why.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

  • Hair loss on trunk, back of legs, ad tail
  • Excessive hair shedding
  • Dull and thin coat
  • Flaky skin or black patches of skin
  • Slower heart rate
  • Toenail and ear infections
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle loss
  • Intolerance to cold

Unfortunately, these symptoms don’t occur until 70 percent of the thyroid is already damaged! And once the thyroid is damaged, it doesn’t regenerate. So, instead of waiting for these symptoms to appear, it’s really important to recognize the early symptoms that may indicate a damaged thyroid

Treatment for hypothyroidism

Your vet will run some routine lab tests including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. Based on the results of these tests, your vet may also run an endocrine panel.

The good news is that once diagnosed, hypothyroidism can be easily and affordably treated and is rarely fatal. Your dog will have to take an oral prescription for his remaining years and will be placed on a daily dose of a synthetic thyroid hormone called thyroxine (levothyroxine). Or, there are many natural therapies that may help before resorting to conventional synthetic thyroid replacement.

At HelpEmUp, we want to give you enough information about your senior dog to make informed decisions.

Top Questions To Ask A Boarding Kennel

If it’s not possible to bring your dog along on a family vacation or leave him with a trusted friend or family member, you may consider a reputable boarding facility. Although there have been horror stories about disreputable kennels, there may be a great “bed and biscuit” in your area and your dog may even enjoy the company of other dogs. Without a doubt all kennels are not the same. DO your homework on them — some can be full-service and provide grooming, massages, and aromatherapy, while others not so much…

Continue reading

How to Travel With a Dog

Planning a great adventure with your dog? Checking off some things on your bucket list? If you are going to be traveling with your pet it’s important to be prepared. Let HelpEmUp give you some guidance in how to travel with your dog via the road or airways.

Know your dog. First ask yourself the question: does your dog like to travel? Does he get car sick? Does he have an injury or illness that may prevent it? Some dogs and cats get extremely anxious when they are away from home. If your dog doesn’t have the right temperament to go with you, consider a reliable pet sitter and let your pooch rest comfortably at home.

Continue reading

Questions to Ask Before Adopting a Dog

blogMany people give puppies as holiday presents – for some people it works out well and for others they abandon the dog when the cute factor wears off. To make sure you are ready to adopt a dog, you need to start by doing some research and soul searching.

Continue reading

Reducing Your Dog’s Holiday Stress

helpemupandholidaysI happen to be a holiday person. My decorations go up right after Thanksgiving and I have multiple trees with different themes and colors. I love the parties, dinners, gift exchanges and get-togethers. I love baking cookies with the kids, hearing my Uncle loudly telling the same stories over and over, and the kids running in and out.

My dogs not so much.

What I have come to realize is that my dogs don’t appreciate all the chaos and hustle and bustle that I do. They just want to hide under the covers and come out in mid-January.

Continue reading