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.

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

Could Your Senior Dog Have Cancer?

breastcancerNobody likes to hear the “c” word whether it applies to humans or dogs. Our mind takes us to a withering body and an endless round of treatments that can have detrimental side effects. The mere word is scary. Since October is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, we thought we’d talk about the signs and symptoms and potential courses of treatment.

The earlier you catch it, the greater the chances for remission!

  Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

 

Continue reading

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.