Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ramp it Up! (Or Down) for YOUR Senior Dog

When we moved to our acreage home from the city, our dog was just five. Not old enough to be considered a senior dog yet still young enough to enjoy running free on our two acre lot. He was still able to leap in a single bound down the four stairs from the laundry room door to the ground and chase every last chattering squirrel back up any one of the dozen plus oak trees in our backyard. That was when we moved in but a decade later as arthritis began to take a toll on his joints, he would stand at the bottom of the stairs and stare while he struggled to get the momentum to start what sometimes was a five minute struggle. 

This was the point where we made the decision to install a doggie ramp on the back stairs to our home. It was a godsend! Tikki was much happier and quickly learned to walk up and down the ramp. It was wonderful that he no longer struggled to get down the steps every time he had to go outside. It made the last two years of his life much more pleasant not only for him but for our entire family.

Our only regret is that we hadn’t bought the dog ramp sooner. We watched our older dog struggle for several months before making the decision to get him a ramp. How short sighted we were. It wasn’t as if he was going to change from his senior dog status overnight and become a pup again. We live and learn. There are so many awesome dog ramp options: collapsible, car ramps, stationary.  There is virtually one for every type of situation and size of dog. Should we face a similar situation where  a senior dog of ours struggles, we would immediately invest in a dog ramp for the home and a second one for the car. Our best friends will continue to live in dignity throughout their lives!

Visit Old Dog Paws  for help selecting the best ramp for your dog by CLICKING HERE.

Copyright 2011 Old Dog

Monday, June 20, 2011

The ABC's of Senior Dog Care--Diligent

In the school district where I grew up, one of the comments that teachers would put on the report cards of good students was “conscientious and diligent.” Like most pre-teens, I had no idea what this meant but my mom assured me it was positive. I looked up the words in an old school dictionary back then and got a basic understanding that I cared about my work. This is the perfect description of a senior dog: loyal and diligent. Though they might not be able to chase a thrown ball for hours or jump to your defense if there is a perceived threat, like the mailman ringing the doorbell, you can see in their eyes they still want to. Older dogs diligently watch and listen. They remain loyal at heart which is why we love them.

Looking for information on how to care for your beloved older dog? Old Dog Paws website is a complete library of articles, information and products to help you care for your dog into his senior years.

Copyright 2011 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thunder Fear? Cure Noise Anxiety in Older Dogs!

With Independence Day right around the corner, I am reminded of the time our dog ran away from our backyard one 4th of July. Our thoughtless next door neighbors decided it would be fun to shoot bottle rockets into our backyard at our dog. He was only about five years old at the time--not yet a senior dog but no longer a pup either. He bolted under our deck to escape our fenced yard. We were finally called from someone who found him dazed in an apartment parking lot a few miles from our house. From that day on for the rest of his life, Tikki was terrified of gunshots during hunting season, fireworks and firecrackers and thunderstorms.

Friends were recently discussing on Facebook a new calming shirt that dogs can wear during thunderstorms or when exposed to other loud noises like fireworks. It is called the Thundershirt. It is said to work miracles and when worn during noisy events it will quickly calm a frightened dog. How much easier it would have been during the holidays as well as hunting and storm season if we had had this for our dog. Even into his older years he remained frightened by loud noises.

We still have our older cat and like Tikki he hides during a storm...I think we may try out the Thundershirt for cats!

Copyright 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Newborn Baby & Senior Dog--A Story of Hope!

Photo credit: anitapatterson from

When we had our first child, we didn’t have a dog. We had an older cat and even that was a concern as to how the 10 year old cat would react to the new baby in the family. The cat couldn’t have cared less. A year later we did have a dog and soon another new baby. Those baby gates were a godsend….keeping a frisky pup away from chubby toddlers. But what about the older pet. If we had our children years after getting our dog, would we have been concerned with the dog’s reaction to the new addition? And even more so if our dog was considered a senior dog?

Everyone knows that older dogs have aches, pains and limited tolerance compared to when they were younger and energetic. Often older dogs are dealing with joint pain and limited eyesight so may fear the new arrival and all the changes in the household.

 But having a child doesn’t mean you have to find a new home for your beloved senior dog. Rely on your instincts because in most cases things will be just fine. Case in point is a story I recently read of Rocky and Shelby as told by Rena Murray.  A young couple had brought home baby Shelby two months earlier and had the concerns of many new parents that their older dog Rocky might not accept the baby. To the contrary, on a day when the young mom was looking forward to a much needed nap, Rocky went crazy barking. The angry, tired mom was concerned the baby would wake up and when the dog headed to the nursery barking and jumped for the crib, she discovered that baby Shelby wasn’t breathing. Rocky’s persistent barking saved the little girl.

Trusting your instincts and your relationship with your old dog is essential. Though there are dogs are not as accepting, the story of this senior dog saving the newest family member is a reminder that sometimes older dogs are as protective of newborns as they are of their own pups.

Copyright 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Protecting the Soulful Eyes of the Senior Dog

Many have said that eyes are  windows to the soul. Sometimes it seems that the eyes make our beloved canine pals are deep in thought and as they age, the eyes become more soulful. It is important to care and protect your dog's eyes from the time they are pups until well into old age.

If your dog loves car or speed boat rides and has their head out the window, train them to wear protective goggles so they don't get dirt or other debris in their eyes. The goggles look down right cool too!

Also if your dog is susceptible to tear-stained eyes at the corners, keep in mind this can be a bacterial breeding ground. Use special cleaner and drops designed  to keep those "soulful windows" healthy throughout your dog's life.

Copyright 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Is YOUR Senior Dog Geriatric? Or just a Good Old Dog!

 Many times when you search the internet for information on senior or older dogs, the sites tend to incorporate the term geriatric as well. So are all old dogs considered geriatric? According to Webster the term geriatric refers to “dealing with the problems and diseases of old age.”  Since all dogs are not raised exactly the same I think it is inaccurate to put all dogs into a category based on there age and breed. With proper nutrition, exercise and preventive care any aged dog that is still active, may be senior but still considered relatively healthy.

 I would consider two separate categories for our aging pets. Senior dogs have simply grown old but still remain active, eating well and have not been affected with any age related illnesses. Geriatric dogs have come down with some kind of ailment associated with getting old age and are usually on some kind of medication.

 Based on statistics, our old dog should have had a life expectance of 10-12 years and was considered old at six. Our family was very fortunate to have had our senior dog with us for 17 years but I would have only classified his last year as geriatric.  The saying, “you are only as old as you feel,” also apply to our pets. Treat them well and hopefully yours will be as fortunate by living a long time past the statistical charts.

Copyright 2011