Preparing Your Senior Dog to the Vet

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.

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Choosing the Right Vet For Your Senior 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.

Friendliness
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

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.

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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.

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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…

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Giving Thanks For My Dog

Help Em Up Dog ThanksAs the hustle and bustle of the holidays draw near, we sometimes forget the simple things in life –what we are thankful for. As we are adding up our blessings, our family and friends often come to mind first.  It’s sometimes simple to overlook one of the most important aspects of our life: our canine and feline companions.

As a pet parent myself, I know that our dogs have brought me an endless source of love. Here is my list of what I am thankful for … I encourage you to make your own!

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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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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 Pharr Road Animal Hospital 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