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.
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.
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.
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