Thursday, February 24, 2011

Something Smells Funny! Is your SENIOR Dog Destroying Your Home?

We Americans LOVE our Pets. Dogs, Cats, Bunnies, Monkeys, Rats…you name it. We let them sleep in our beds and eat in our kitchens. We buy and cook them special foods. We dress them up and treat them like the members of the family that they are. But have you ever considered the damage pets can do to your most important investment, your home? The time to think about this is not when you are moving but long before you put your home on the market.

As a real estate agent working in Minnesota, I have seen some strange pets inside of some homes…everything from pot-bellied pigs to monkeys and bunnies with the run of the house. Oh, yeah and then there are the people who have dogs and cats too. Many homeowners take great measures to protected their homes and property but some do not.

I have walked into vacant homes and had potential buyers pick out the exact location of where the previous owner had the litter box. I have seen puppy’s teeth marks on the sides of oak cupboards and cedar decking and claw marks on wood floors. I have walked through extensively landscaped yards destroyed by holes dug by chained dogs. I have witnessed a family whose cat jumps up and hangs on screens to notify their owner that they want to come inside. One seller had a sign posted in the furnace room on a terrarium full of large, noisy crickets announcing that it was food for the lizards and snakes that were kept in the bedrooms and family rooms of the home. And then there was the family that let the horse wander in the front yard and let the bunny have the entire house to roam…you can just imagine the damage left behind on that one.

While amusing to read about, pets can be hard on your home. When you go to sell, you could have to make extensive repairs or discount your selling price to reflect the condition.

The smells are the worst. People who keep pets in carpeted rooms even in cages or kennels can have serious problems as do owners of senior pets who have trouble getting outside or to the litterbox due to health problems. Often the odors will not be removed with a simple steam cleaning. In most cases, I have to recommend that the carpet be replaced. But homeowners with serious damage find that they are not only replacing the carpet, the padding and sometimes even the sub-flooring needs to be removed to eliminate the smell.

It is possible to have your beloved pet and to protect your home.
  • Keep your pet well groomed to reduce odor, hair and nail damage.
  • Get a pet bed for your dogs and cats. Our dog loves the extra comfort and it keeps dirt and sweat from his coat from going into the carpet fibers. We will move his from room to room during the day so he can stay with us. If this is too much trouble, buy several. They are considerably cheaper than replacing carpet. Our cat uses his bed daily too. It is positioned for his easy access in front of his favorite window so he doesn’t jump and leave marks on the woodwork.
  • Have a proper sized kennel or cage for exotic pets and clean often.
  • Clear all accidents immediately. Use special pet cleaners to remove odors and stains.
  • Cover all exposed woodwork especially around windows. Pets love to jump up and look out windows. Use gates to limit your pet’s access to soft wood floors like birch or cherry wood. Nail marks require the floor to be completely sanded down before refinishing. It can get very costly.
  • Don’t chain your dog to the side of your house. Chains and bolts can cause both cosmetic and structural damage to your home.
My thanks to Teri Eckholm REALTOR with RE/MAX Specialists for submitting this article

Copyright 2011 Old Dog Paws


Friday, February 18, 2011

Skin Care for your Senior Dog

You might think that just because a dog has a thick furry coat, he doesn't need special care for his skin, but you would be mistaken. Just like a human, a dog’s skin is a protective layer that  performs many functions:

  • Retains moisture

  • Protect from foreign bodies

  • Creates Vitamin D

  • Protects against UV sun rays

  • Acts to regulate the body temperature

  • Contains sweat glands

  • Houses the nerves to detect pain, pressure and temperature

Similar to human skin, a dogs skin is comprised of three layers:
    1. Epidermis—The outer layer with the hair follicles where a dog’s fur grows out of.
    2. Dermis—The middle layer
    3. Hypodermis—The innermost layer
Each hair follicle contains a sebaceous gland which provides lubrication and waterproofs the hair and skin. In addition these are the glands that produce the scent that dogs use to mark their territory and the pheromones used to attract the members of the opposite sex.

Dogs’ hair comes in 3 different types all with different functions:

  1. Guard hairs—These are the top layer of long hair in a dog’s coat that provide waterproofing.

  1. Undercoat—Also known as the wool hairs, these hairs trap air to keep the dog warm.

  1. Vibrissae—These are the whiskers that surround the eyes, mouth and muzzle that are sensitive to touch. The vibrissae hairs should NEVER be cut without good reason.
Shedding or molting of hair is seasonal and common. A dog will shed hair to grow a coat suitable for the new season (i.e. thick coat in the winter). Sometimes a dog will lose a large amount of hair, usually around the flank area. This is a common occurrence and should not be considered worrisome. It should grow back at the time of the next molt.

As your dog ages, you'll notice that the skin thickens and becomes less pliable. It's a good idea to check for large lumps on or under the skin. This could be a sign of a tumor, cyst or cancer. As part of your senior dog's complete home health care program, you may want to schedule a special grooming session on a regular basis. Brushing your dog daily helps distribute skin oils and prevent dandruff for a healthy, pretty coat. It's also very relaxing to your dog, even therapeutic. Brushing time is also a perfect time to monitor your dog's health and body condition.

Tips for good canine skin care:

  • Feed your dog a balanced diet.
  • Brush your dog regularly.
  • Beware of bathing. Bathing can dry out your dog's skin.
  • Check your dog daily for external parasites such as fleas and ticks.
  • Use preventive pest control measures
  • Immediately treat any skin eruptions such as rashes, ulcers and infections
  • Consult your veterinarian if you notice any skin problems.

Additional Tips for Caring for a Senior Dog's Skin:

  • Do not bathe your dog too often because that will dry out the skin. Overbathing will deplete healthy oils from the coat and skin. This will often lead to scratching, irritation and eventually sores. So how often is too often? Frequency of necessary baths will be largely dependent on the breed and activities of the dog.
  • Dogs who spend that are continually outdoor are exposed to dirt, debris and insects will typically require more bathing, about every 4-6 weeks. Check with a professional groomer as some will recommend bathing double-coated breeds only about 3 times a year. Similarly, smooth-coated dogs can go a lot longer between baths than can curly-coated breeds such as poodles. Too frequent bathing, especially during winter months can cause the coat to soften and reduce its insulating qualities.
  • To keep your dog clean between baths, brush daily. This is good for a dog's coat and skin, Not only will your dog look and smell better, he will enjoy all the attention. 
  • Dry weather means dry skin! Remember as your senior dog will often spend more time indoors during the colder months, his dog's fur and skin can become dry. Don't forget if your dog is a breed that grows an undercoat, you need to comb it out when the weather gets warmer. Be certain that your pet's fur does not become matted or his skin will not be able to breathe. This causes itchy skin and your dog will begin to scratch, chew and even pull out fur.
Copyright 2011 OldDogPaws

ABC's of Senior Dog Care--Companion

Companion--Our senior dogs have been our loyal companions for many years. They have been by our sides through good times and bad only wanting a rub behind the ears, a walk around the neighborhood and a bowl of kibble. Old dogs are true friends and our canine companions. Some days we wonder who needs who more?

Copyright 2011 OldDogPaws

Friday, February 11, 2011

Old Dog Friday Photo Fun--Old Dogs Need Friends Too!

That's our old dog in the background when our neighbor's dog dropped by. Lizzie is a pup compared to our then 16 year old senior dog. Whenever Lizzie showed up to visit Tikki, she would run up his dog ramp and wag her tail while she patiently let our old Tikki sniff her up and down. For a few minutes, he seemed to forget all his aches and pranced around with his friend with a spring in his step. Yep, old dogs need friends too! Happy Friday!

PetZoom Pet Park Indoor Pet Potty, 25.5" x 20" x 2"

Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know

Copyright 2011 OldDogPaws