At 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.
Just 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?
Hopefully 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.
As 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
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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?)
- I get jealous when you come home smelling like another dog! Are you cheating on me?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
When my Mom passed away, there is no doubt my Dad was depressed. Sure, he stilled played poker once a week with his friends and went fishing when the weather was nice. He kept up many of his routines, like going to breakfast once/week. However, my Mom was really the “social” life of the family and my Dad was not comfortable calling people up to come over for dinner … he can burn macaroni and cheese!
That’s when I came up with the great idea to buy him a dog. Now I know they say not to buy dogs as presents, but I know my Dad well. Really well. I knew a big dog would be unmanageable for him. Same with a puppy. After much research and a visit to the local shelter, I decided on a 6-year-old Maltese named Max.
A senior dog for my senior Dad. Perfect.
I have sciatica. My husband has a bad shoulder and back. My 15-year-old dog has arthritis. What a fun threesome we are!
My 75-pound Labrador Buddy lives to hunt ducks with my husband. In fact, that is a big reason we moved to Texas after 40 years in Colorado. My husband and Buddy spend three months a year getting up at an unreasonable hour and enjoying time on the boat. Wouldn’t catch me getting out of bed at 4:30AM to set up decoys! And just so you know, all the meat that we can’t eat is donated to the church. In the summertime they take the boat out to fish … anyone want some free catfish?
As we age it’s easier to be sedentary versus active. Our muscles hurt, our back may throb and we have a million and one excuses why we can’t exercise. It’s easier to pick up the remote than to put your walking shoes on.
Like people, senior dogs need to exercise. Not at the pace of a puppy, who have a relentless amount of energy but at a slower pace. Prevention is often the key to helping your dog live a long and happy life. He needs to exercise, be seen by a vet regularly, and eat a nutritious well balanced diet. It’s important for dog owners to understand their dog’s limits and create an exercise routine that all parties will enjoy.
The aging process brings with it loss of muscle tone and balance, which can lead to inactivity. Inactivity leads to weight gain and added stress on joints that are no longer well supported by adequate muscle mass. It can become a vicious circle!
Without a doubt, puppies are adorable. They are so cute, playful, and energetic. If you are visiting an animal shelter, it’s hard to resist their cuddliness just begging to be adopted.
However, senior dogs have many advantages over puppies. Generally, a senior dog is considered a dog over the age of seven years-old. They are often overlooked in shelters, seeming to pale in the glow of the cuter puppies. Before you choose a new dog to become a member of your family, know that there are some specific benefits to older dogs.
Because there is no Fountain of Youth, your dog ages just like we do. We get older, heavier, slower, and often crankier. These changes happen to your dog as well.
Without a doubt, dogs age faster than people. Although conventional wisdom tells us that one human year equals seven dog years, there are too many factors and variations that can affect this oversimplification. However, researchers agree that the term “senior” applies to large dogs around ages six or seven and small dogs in their teens. Size and breed often determine how fast a dog ages.
Senior dogs often have special care requirements that are different than puppies or younger dogs. It’s important to understand the difference between normal aging in your dog and warning signs of an illness. Knowing what to expect will keep you one step ahead of your pack: