Sunday, December 5, 2010

Protective Products for Old Dog Paws

Do you take care of your old dog’s paws? Everyone knows exercise is good for an old dog’s health so we include them in our walks which we take in all types of weather. In the summer, we protect our own feet with comfortable shoes and in the winter an extra pair of socks inside our boots. But once we’re ready most people just attach a leash and head outside without any consideration of how a walk will affect our dog’s feet. It is almost like we are asking our dogs to endure the elements barefooted!

There are a variety of innovative products available that protect your dog’s paw from the elements. The trick is training your older dog to wear them. There are also several products that help when your old dog’s paws are already sore.

Dog Boots – There are several different types of dog boots.
• Orthopedic – Used to protect wounds caused by dragging paws
• Disposable – Keep your dog's paws safe and dry in wet and muddy conditions – great for the visits to the dog park.
• All purpose boots – Use them year-round on rocky trails or fields covered with winter snow or summer thistles.
• Extreme Winter Boots – Added warmth, provides traction and protect your dog's paws from ice, rocks and rough terrain.

Protective Products for Paws

Knit Socks - Protects and warm your pet's paws used indoors or out.

Paw Heals - Creates a germ and water barrier, penetrating rapidly and deeply. Does not wash off when dogs are in water. Helps your dogs paw pads and webbing heal.

Paw Protectors - Products are available to aid in the care and repair of dry, calloused foot pads. The product softens calloused areas and increases the pliability of the pad, while maintaining the resiliency consistent with normal healthy tissue.

Paw Spray – A pet friendly spray that removes dirt and more from your dog's paws. There are some that contain aloe so will help soothe and condition irritated paws.

Paw Wipes - Cleans and deodorizes dog paws with a fresh scent. Use to help stop the spread of dirt and odors.

Pet safe winter ice melter - Keep your steps, sidewalks and driveway both pet and environmentally friendly.

Leg wraps – Not sure if these are more of a fashion statement but they could protect your dog from formation of Ice-balls or collecting thorns in the fur.

Canine footbath – A device that you place your dogs paw into and it cleans it. As you pull the paw out it says it works like a squeegee.

Dog paw cleaner brush - There are extra soft, super absorbent microfibers dusters that are designed to be gentle on tender paws.

Paw De-icier – A special solution that repels water, ice, and snow. This will help to prevent water from freezing between pads, and snow from clumping on fur.

Musher's Secret - An invisible “boot” for dogs, made of dense, barrier wax that forms a breathable bond with your dog's paws. Developed in Canada for use with sledding dogs; its said to provide great protection even in the most extreme conditions. The semi-permeable shield is absorbed into the paws, allowing perspiration to escape through the toes. Aids in protecting your dogs paws from salt and chemicals, ice build-up, snowballing, sand, sand-burn, hot pavement, and rough terrain.

Brief warning, we had a bit of a struggle to train our old dog to get his foot gear on. Maybe the old guy was embarrassed. He was definitely stubborn and comfortable in his ways. But the “bootie-battle” was worth it in the long run. Best of luck!

Copyright 2010 OldDogPaws

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The ABC's of Senior Dog Care--Brave

ABC's of an Old DogBrave -I considered our old dog brave for many reasons. He was brave to fight through his pain each day and still remain gentle to the people around him. Brave to struggle up and down the dog ramp although he could barely see or fully use his hind legs. Brave to be aware of his loss of movement yet still pushing himself to find a way to stay by our sides.

Copyright 2010 OldDogPaws

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

7 Tips to Prepare your Older Dog for a Move to a Condo

Downsizing from a family home with a big back yard and room to roam is not easy for anyone in the family. But as needs change, older people often look for homes that require less yard work and maintenance. Often a condominium or town-home is a great alternative to older folks who prefer spending time with grandchildren and travel than cutting grass and weeding gardens.

All the changes and restrictions that come with being in a condo or town-home association are something most people are prepared for but “Fido” might be in for a bit of a surprise. No longer will he be able to chase squirrels or the neighbor’s cat out of the backyard. And that leash and kennel that were only used for trips to the vet, will more than likely be used several times every day when he needs to go outside. It will be a sad day for Fido who can no longer be leash-free in his own backyard because his backyard is now common ground.

Here are 7 helpful tips to ease your senior dog’s stress and help him make a smooth, stress-free transition to the condo-lifestyle:

1. Start Training Early - Don’t think of this as a way to punish Fido. A training collar is all about keeping your older pet safe in his new environment. Pull out that training collar and let him know that you mean business. He has to relearn to walk on a leash and not bark at everything and everyone.

2. Practice, Practice, Practice - At least a month before the move, start your daily walk with the leash being attached before exiting the house. Make sure Fido knows that darting out the door will no longer be tolerated.

3. Tied out Trials - Every time you sit on the deck or patio, first hook up Fido to his tie-out so he can get used to being tied-up. Many people don’t use these in fenced yards but most condo associations will have this restriction.

4. Reward Good Behavior - As Fido learns the rules, the training collar can come off and the treats or reward system can begin.

5. Keep License Up-to-Date - Most associations will require all pets to have to have all shots and local licensing up to date and of file.

6. Snap a Good Photo - Not quite a mug shot, but many associations will want a photo of all pets on file so they know which pet belongs to which association member.

7. Find Area Dog Parks - Research your new neighborhood to see if there is a leash-free dog park in the area where Fido can have a quick and safe run once in awhile to burn off all that pent up stress from being good in his new surroundings.

By taking the time to prepare Fido for the change to condo-living, your older dog will enjoy his new home and surroundings as much as you will.

Copyright 2010 OldDogPaws

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pet Care Financial Assistance

Our pets are considered a member of the family and we want the best for them just as we do for our children. We take them on family trips, car rides to the store and will usually find them in many of the family photos.

Can you image the pain someone must feel if they aren’t able to afford needed medical care and have to make the difficult choice of dropping their pet at a shelter or putting them to sleep?

There are some tremendous people like Angels4Animals that have created assistance programs for people that are struggling with these decisions. There is an extensive list of these great organizations at olddogpaws.

I hope you consider making a donation to these great programs if you are able. That way they can continue to help others and their pets.

Copyright 2010 OldDogPaws

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The ABC's of Senior Dog Care--Affectionate

ABC's of an Old DogAffectionate - When you spend time with an old dog you receive 100% of there attention back. When our dog was younger he was willing to stop for a quick ear rub but was anxious to get on to next activity. An old dog will soak up as much attention as you are willing to give.

Copyright 2010 OldDogPaws

Friday, October 29, 2010

Old Dog Car Ride

I was sitting at a stop light the other day and something to my left caught my eye. As I glanced over my eyes connected with a pair of eyes looking back at me. It was a handsome old dog with perfect posture sitting in the back seat. Do you think he could actually see me or was I just an object that stopped moving next to him?

As our cars pulled away from the stop light I noticed the dog barely moved. He seemed to have great balance and sat with a sense of pride. I caught up with him at the next light and again we seemed to be in perfect sync as our eyes made contact, I could almost see a slight grin from him as if to say “Isn’t life grand”.

As the light turned green and his owner’s car moved ahead of mine that was the last I saw of him, but the image of that well behaved prideful old dog has been etched in my mind

Copyright 2010 OldDogPaws

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Family Laugh

Is your family like ours when it comes to getting a laugh by dressing your pet in a Halloween costume? It is estimated that families will spent 47.7 billion dollars on pets in 2010 and part of that expenditure will be finding ways to include our pets in holiday celebrations.

We weren’t successful keeping a full costume on our pets so we moved to purchasing hats and other head gear but we still like to look at the complete pet costume line each year and comment on how funny it would look on them.

Since we’re not doing this for a specific party or the little ghosts and goblins knocking on the door, we scope out what we think would be the funniest and get the silliest reaction and wait for the after Halloween sales. By waiting we have been able to purchase a couple of hats for our cat when we can’t agree on the best one.

Hope you and your pets enjoy Halloween 2010! Remember to take some pictures, they are good reminders of the day and will make you laugh every time you look at them

Copyright 2010 OldDogPaws

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is there Dog Poison in Your Pocket?

There are common items that people carry with them all the time that are toxic to canines. If ingested, a large dog could become seriously ill and a small breed could die. Check the list—then check your purse, pockets and countertops and make sure your pet is safe!

Cigarettes—Just as the nicotine affects the human heart and circulatory system, an ingested cigarette could cause several conditions in your pet including an elevated heart rate, a drop in blood pressure, seizures, respiratory failure, vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases your pet could die from the stress caused by the nicotine.

Pennies—check your change. Pennies minted before 1982 were made of 95% zinc. If your dog happens to swallow a few older cents, it could have kidney damage. High levels of zinc can damage the kidneys, intestines and red blood cells. After 1982, the zinc percentage was significantly reduced and is less of a concern.

Chocolate—methylxanthines theobromine and caffeine are the two substances found in cocoa that are toxic to dogs. An amount as small as a Hershey’s Kiss, can cause vomiting, seizures, tremors, coma or even the death your pet. White chocolate and any other chocolate product is also toxic. So keep Fido away from cakes, cookies and hot chocolate too.

Sugarfree Gum sweetened with xylitol—Trident, Stride and Orbit gum are a few of the popular brands using this sweetener. The product is safe for humans but if your dog gets a hold of a piece, the results can be life threatening. Xylitol causes a drop in blood sugar in canines that can lead to depression, loss of coordination and seizures in as little as 30 minutes. If you suspect your dog has gotten into any product with this sweetener, bring to your veterinarian immediately.

NoDoz and other energy products—It might be the pick me up you need but if your dog ingests any medication with caffeine or that leftover energy drink, the results are similar to if your dog ate chocolate.

Copyright 2010 OldDogPaws

Friday, October 22, 2010

Moving with Pets

Moving can be especially difficult on one of your most important, but often overlooked, family members: your pet. I often hear from clients that their pets begin acting up weeks before the actual move.

The resulting behavior can cause destruction in the home you are selling as well as concern for the pet’s reaction in their new location. If Fido or Kitty is a senior pet, a new home can be particularly traumatic. How do you relieve your pet’s anxiety? Preparation is the key.

Before the Move

Visit the Veterinarian for a complete examination. Verify and document that all vaccinations are up-to-date. Inquire about medications for stress and the options of administering before or during the move depending on your pet’s particular needs. Keep copies of your pet’s medical records, including a current photo, in an accessible place.

Check homeowners association and local authorities for pet restrictions before purchasing your home. Many cities and neighborhoods have restrictions on the type, size and number of pets you are allowed to keep in a home. Requesting this information prior to making an offer can save the heartache of your beloved pet being restricted from your new home.

Keep to a regular routine. If your move will require the use of a carrier, find one of good quality that is sturdy, comfortable and insulated. It needs to be large enough to accommodate your pet and allow movement. Have it out in your house and use it routinely, so that your pet is familiar with his temporary home and comfortable in it.

Moving long distance and traveling by car? Many hotels are pet friendly but some are not. Plan in advance your route and check with area hotels for the ones that will allow your pet to stay with you. Your pet will appreciate the chance to get out of the carrier in the evenings and spend time with you.

Moving Internationally? Pets could require 6-12 months of surveillance or quarantine before being allowed into a different country. Check restrictions and make preparations well in advance of the move so there are no surprises for your family.

Day of the Move

Make sure your pet is safe. Keep in a safe room/kennel or at a trusted neighbor’s or pet sitter’s home while your belongings are being loaded into the truck. (A pet sitter directory is available here). Make sure it is a place your pet is familiar with as to not create additional stress. If you do leave your pet in a room in your home, remember to check in frequently. Leave a litter box for cats and let dogs out on a leash for breaks to avoid accidents.

Identify your pet. Make certain that your pet’s collar or tags have current information with a cell phone number and/or the new home information so you can be contacted in the event of an escape.

Time to load the pet carrier. Put in your pet’s favorite blanket, toy or bed along with food and water for the trip. Remember a container of additional food and water in case of spills. It is a good idea to pack paper towels and wet wipes to clean up any messes from sickness or accidents during the ride. Don’t leave your pet unattended for more than a few minutes at a time in his transportation kennel.

At Your New Home Sweet Home

Expect some behavior changes as your dog or cat becomes accustomed to his new surroundings. Use as many familiar items from your pets past to make him feel at home. This is not the time to try out a new food or bring in the new pet bed. Bring in his old toys, dishes and blankets to make your old friend comfortable. With lots of love and attention, Fido and Kitty will be back to normal in no time.

Reprinted with Permission from Teri Eckholm - Realtor - ReMax Specialists Realty

Teri Eckholm is a Minnesota Realtor with ReMax Specialists Realty serving clients in the Twin Cities metro area for over five years. Selected as a 2004 and 2005 Super Agent by Mpls/St. Paul Magazine, her extensive sales and marketing background has allowed her to assist hundreds of clients, with and without pets, move from across town and across the U. S. Find additional information on Teri and the Twin Cities metro real estate market at

Copyright 2010 OldDogPaws

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pet Character Change

When you have to say a tearful goodbye to one pet do you think your remaining pet takes on some of the departed’s personality?

We were blessed with three very loving pets, 2 cats named Star and Muffin, and one big old dog named Tikki. A few years back our kids returned home to find Star motionless in her favorite chair. A complete shock to us all and I believe to our remaining pets as well. Muffin and Star were always chasing each other around the house and seemed to work hard to make the other mad by getting to the best resting places first. After Star’s passing Muffin took on some of her daily habits like sleeping in the clothes basket even when Muffin was always jumpy around clothes on the floor. This was probably due to Star jumping out from them to scare him. Star was the cat that would jump up on your lap while you were watching television while Muffin was the cat that ignored you until he got hungry. Now Muffin has taken to jumping up next to us and even better allowing us to pet him.

After 17 years together our family recently had to say goodbye to Tikki. Tikki and Muffin always seemed to tolerate each other but not much more. Tikki would never do anything to harm Muffin and often tried to get him to play. Muffin would have nothing to do with the dog if he could avoid it. It was always funny to watch Muffin run to Tikki’s bed and stretch out knowing that Tikki would not try to get him to move. Many times we would come into the kitchen and find this cat all stretched out on the dog bed and this big old dog sleeping next to him on the floor.

Now that Tikki is gone Muffin seems to have taken on a dog’s mentality that is out of character for him. He follows people around, lays under the chair we’re sitting in, wants his water in the same spot where we kept Tikki’s water bowl, and will actually flop down in the middle of the floor to get his belly rubbed. All the same things Tikki used to do around our home. So we still have their memories in our hearts and their mannerisms in our cat, Muffin.

Copyright 2010 OldDogPaws