Sunday, August 28, 2011

Senior Dog Speechless Sunday--Can I Come In?

Hot summer days full of sunshine make any old dog want the comfort of an air conditioned house. Sometimes if a door is closed, you have to try the window!

Copyright 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene Tips for Old Dog Owners!

Hurricane Irene has been in the news non-stop lately. Those on the east coast hopefully picked up extra dog food when they went out for water and people supplies if they have an old dog at home. Earlier this year, I posted about the Thundershirt for Dogs as a way to keep an old dog calm in a storm. It would be a good idea to have that calming tool handy this week as hurricanes are known to be noisy with 100+ mph winds and tornadoes.

Yes, it is the east coast this time where the hurricane force winds will be blowing but even in areas where hurricanes are not common, it is important to remember to be prepared for an emergency with an older dog in the house. Many families have a survival kit for emergencies but did you remember to include necessities for your dog too?

Ideas for a Old Dog Survival Kit

  1. Fresh water. It's not just essential for humans, make sure you have enough for your canine friend.
  2. Thundershirt or other calming device. It could be a long, frightening experience for your four-legged friend.
  3. Extra Food. Don't forget to have a supply of your dogs regular food and treats on hand.
  4. Lantern or other axillary light source. Older dogs have trouble seeing and in dim or no light it could be impossible.
  5. Prescribed medicines. Again, enough for the duration of the emergency.
  6. Puppy pads. Yes...your old dog may revert to going indoors during severe weather and accidents could occur.
  7. Leash. Keep an extra leash in your survival kit. In an emergency, you might not be able to get to the one kept by the door.
  8. Collapsible Dog Ramp. If stairs are damaged or dangerous, it may make the task of  relocating your senior dog less traumatic. 
  9. Dog First Aid Kit. This is essential as an older dog is more apt to get injured during the confusion of a storm or other emergency. 
Okay, it may be a little late to be ready for Hurricane Irene. But as this was the first named hurricane of 2011, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria or Nate could be next. And across the country other emergencies from floods to blizzards could put your family and senior dog in jeopardy. Will you be ready?

Copyright 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Aid Kit for Dogs

Do you have a first aid kit? Most people have one for their family's cuts and scrapes but what about for your dog. Whether at home or on the go, it's important to have a few items that might prevent a costly trip to the doggy emergency room. Emergency vet visits can be expensive. While a first aid kit cannot replace the care of a qualified veterinarian, a good canine first aid kit could be a lifesaver for your older dog!

20 Essentials of a CANINE First Aid Kit (And common uses for the items.)

1. Rubbing Alcohol (Tick and thorn removal.)
2. Antiseptic Lotion (Clean out cuts or scratches.)
3. Antibacterial Ointment (Prevent infection.)
4. Bandages or Rolled Gauze (Temporarily binding of wounds.)
5. Cotton Swabs(Remove debris from cuts, antiseptic application & ear cleaning.)
6. Elizabethan Collar (Prevent dog from chewing bandages and licking wounds)
7. Non-sticking Adhesive Plaster (Apply to wound to keep dressing in place.)
8. Eye Wash (Wash debris from eyes.)
9. Rectal Thermometer and Petroleum Jelly (Take Temperature*.)
10. Muzzle (Prevent biting when treating the dog.)
11. Kaolin Pectate/Milk of Magnesia (Treat diarrhea.)
12. Top Quality Nail Clippers (Trim nails.)
13. Tweezers with rounded ends (Remove thorns or debris from wounds.)
14. Thermal or Regular Blanket (Maintain body temperature.)
15. Styptic pencil, cotton wool and gauze(Stop blood flow.)
16. Scissors(Trim hair near wounds.)
17. Flashlight (See in ears, throat etc.)
18. Eyedropper (Administer medications.)
19. Strong Packing Tape and pieces of wood or stiff cardboard (For Splints)
20. Towels--Paper and Regular (Stopping blood, drying etc.)
21. Veterinarian’s Phone Number/Emergency Number

Copyright 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Life Expectancy—Is Your Dog a Senior?

One day you just notice that your best friend for life, your loveable canine friend that is, is no longer as quick to chase the ducks into the pond as you wander through the park. A few weeks later he yelps a bit when you brush his coat only to realize he has a fatty lump near on his backside. And then there is that characteristic gray around the muzzle that started to show up around the 7th or 8th anniversary of the day you welcomed your beloved dog into your home. So has Fido earned senior citizen status?
Probably, yes.

Unlike people, a dog is not going to become a senior citizen when he hits 65 years old…even in dog years. There is not a one-size-fits-all breeds rule on when a dog becomes a senior; mostly because different breeds have differing life expectancies. While a pure bred bulldog has an average life span of 9 years, Chihuahuas often live for 15. Many say that a dog starts its golden years around age 7 but like people, dogs are only as old as they feel. If your dog is feeling and acting quite spry, it may be a very healthy adult dog approaching old age. But as a dog nears the end of his breeds life span, his senior status will become more probable.  Check Out Dog Life Expectancy for other breeds HERE.

8 Quick Tips for Determining Senior Dog Status

  1. Tires Quickly—Can’t run or play fetch as long as before
  2. Graying Muzzle—An obvious sign of age
  3. Not as Fast—Gets up and down slowly.
  4. Rear End Lumps—Fatty, spongy lipomas are common.
  5. Hearing Problems—Not coming when called.
  6. Sight Problems—Gets disoriented in own yard or home.
  7. Behavior Changes—More fearful of noise or storms.
  8. Accidents Indoors—Bladder problems can be age related

Just like humans, older dogs just start to slow down and need extra care. Any or all of these symptoms are signs of old age in a dog but also could signify a serious health issue. It is important as a dog ages to keep up with regular vet visits to monitor any significant change and rule out serious illness. 

Copyright 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Old Dog Accidents--Cleaning Up Completely is Essential

Imagine this--You open the door after a long day to be greeted by a sullen canine and a strong odor. Your well-trained, good old dog just had  an accident. The sadness in his eyes breaks your heart because he has always been so good in the past but the smell is overpowering too. The emphasis here is on OLD since senior dogs can have more bladder issues and other accidents as they age. The reality is, they just cannot help it. 

So how do you live "happily-ever-after" with an accident-prone Senior Dog? Several important steps are found at the Humane Society website but here they are in a nutshell:
  1. Take your dog to the vet to make sure this is not  a more serious health issue.
  2. Clean thoroughly. If a dog can smell his odor in the area where the accident happened, he is very likely to do it again. MORE CLEANING TIPS HERE
  3. Retrain your pet to not go in the house.
  4. Adjust your schedule to accommodate your senior dog's changing needs.
As our pets age we may have to alter our lifestyles around their schedules a bit to make sure they are let out on a more frequent basis due to aging systems. It takes a bit more work but your lifelong friend deserves to be treated well throughout his entire lifespan. Adapting is key to enjoying life with your senior pet.

Copyright 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

The ABC's of Senior Dog Care--Fur

Okay...F has to stand for Fur when talking about older dog care. Our furry pals have more skin and fur issues as they age and taking care of their coats, keeps the hair and fur from shedding all over. 

Brushing and grooming can get difficult as a dog ages but it is very important not to stop grooming your older dog. Brushing a dog is very therapeutic if done with a gentle touch. It helps distribute oils and pull out dead matted clumps of fur. Plus it is a great way to assess if there is an embedded tick or other lesion on your pet. 

If your senior dog has trouble jumping into a bathtub, try using a kiddie pool and the hose. That is what we used for Tikki as he became harder to groom. In colder weather, we did bring him into the groomer with the aid of a dog ramp to get him into the car. It may be tempting as a dog ages to avoid taking care of his fur because of the difficulties but in the long run it is healthier for your pet to actively take care of his fur!

More Skin Care Tips for Older Dogs can be found by  CLICKING HERE to go to the OldDogPaws Skin Care page.

Copyright 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Getting Fleas Out of Your Senior Dog's Fur and Home!

Scratching and itching dogs make me crazy! We had a dog bring fleas in the house and it took weeks before they were all gone. It is amazing how long it took to kill them off! Of course a flea dip took care of our dog but the ones that got in the house seemed to hang around forever. Since a senior dog could have very sensitive skin, fleas can be a big problem.

On our OldDogPaws flea page it explains why it can be so troublesome to have a flea infestation in your home:

Adult fleas lay all of their eggs (up to 50 per day) on the pet. However, the eggs soon fall off the animal into carpeting, beneath the cushions of furniture, and wherever else the pet rests, sleeps or spends most of its time. This is where homeowners should focus control measures.
After hatching, flea eggs develop into tiny, worm-like larvae. Larvae remain hidden deep in carpet fibers, beneath furniture cushions and in other protected areas. The larvae feed mainly on adult flea feces (dried blood) which accumulates, along with the eggs, in pet resting and activity areas.
Before becoming adult fleas, the larvae transform into pupae within a silk-like cocoon. Pupae remain inside the cocoon for 2 to 4 weeks, sometimes longer. The cocoon is resistant to insecticides and this is why some adult fleas are seen for an extended period, even after the home and pet are treated.
Re-treatment of the home is often necessary or those biting parasites will hang around your home forever. Prevention is the best key to a flea free home.

Copyright 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Elevated Dog Bowl Selection Tips!

Arthritis can be a real pain in the neck! And for a dog attempting to eat and swallow food the forward bending motion can cause serious pain. This is just one of the reasons many senior dog owners opt for an elevated bowl for their aging pet. Ergonomics can really make a difference to the comfort level of the daily activity of eating. But how do you select the right elevated dog feeder for your canine?

6  Essential TIPS For Selecting an Elevated Dog Bowl

  1. Dog Height - Bowl should be no higher than 6 inches below the dog’s front shoulders. (4 inches for very small dogs.)
  2. Material of Feeding Bowl - Lightweight, rust and rot resistant. If you feed hot food to your dog, stay away from heat conducting metal.
  3. Construction of the Stand - The stand for an elevated feeder needs to be sturdy enough for daily use.
  4. Capacity - This can range from 2 to 16 cups in volume. Consider how much your dog eats at mealtime and figure accordingly.
  5. Design/Number of Bowls - Do you need a 2 or 3 bowl feeder? Do you have more than one dog that you will feed at one time? Consider your pets’ needs when making your selection.
  6. Cost - Elevated dog feeders vary substantially in price from $30 to over $100 depending on quality and design.
Copyright 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

OldDogPaws Funnies--Sunday Dog Joke of the Week

A dog walks into a diner and jumps up on a stool at the counter. The waitress comes up and asks, "What can I get you?"

"Do you have any dog food?" asked the dog.

"No, we don't serve dog food here," answered the waitress.

He tried again. "Do you have any dog food?"

"NO!" answered the waitress.

"Do you have any dog food?" asked the dog for the third time.

"No we don't have dog food here. Now if you ask again, I'm going to nail you to the wall," the very angry waitress retorted.

The dog thought for a moment and politely asked, "Well do you have any nails?"

The waitress was now confused, "No, we don't have nails here."

 "Good!" answered the dog. "Now, do you have any dog food?"

Copyright 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The ABC's of Senior Dog Care--Ears

There are so many things to consider when caring for your dog as he ages. Literally from A to Z there are conditions, products and ideas that will make the most of your dog's senior years. 

The "E" word for today is EARS!

If you have ever visited Disneyworld or Disneyland, you know that all trainees wear badges that say "Earning their Ears". Well, your older canine has earned his ears in your family over his long life, but they might not be working as well as they used to. There are many indications of a potential ear problem from balance issues to smelly discharge. These can be caused by infection or a disease.

CLICK HERE for a full list of signs of ear problems in senior dogs.

Products and supplies to keep your dog's ears healthy:

Ear Clensing Pads - Keeping your pet's ears clean and dry is your best defense against ear infections. It's recommended you clean your pet's external ear canal 1-2 times per week. Ear Clens® Pads are convenient pads that work gently; yet contain powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal ingredients that help change the pH in your pet's ear, making it much less likely to harbor the growth of yeast and bacteria. Simply toss these mess-free pads in the garbage when cleanings are done. 

Ear Cleaning Solution - For areas of the ear you cannot reach with a pad, squirt a few drops of Ear Clens® Solution in the ear. This solution contains the same active ingredients as Ear Clens® Pads. You may also consider Pet-Otic, with salicylic acid and malic acid, which break down and remove wax and other debris. 

Ear Drying Agents - Relieve your pet's irritating ear itch and help prevent bacteria and fungal growth by keeping ear canals dry. Dry ears stay clean and healthy and odor-free. After weekly cleaning with liquid ear solution, simply hold the Ear Powder applicator tip about an inch from your pet's ears and squeeze directly into the ear. Powder makes gripping with a hair puller much easier when you need to "strip" ear canal hairs on certain dog breeds. 

Ear Mitacide - Ear mites can be a misery for your pet. An effective pyrethrin Ear Miticide can eliminate these irritating, common parasites that your pet can pick up. If itchy ears are accompanied by a black, crumbly discharge, there's a good chance your pet has ear mites. And the constant scratching means that he'll be more prone to ear infections. 

Ear Care Kit - A convenient way to keep everything you need to care for your pet's ears on hand is the Ear Care Kit. The three products included in this kit will protect your pet's ears from inflammation by cleansing, killing mites (if your pet has them), and drying out moist ear canals.

Otoscope - A high intensity Veterinary Quality Otoscope lets you examine your pet's ears up close so you can detect ear conditions before they become problems. Lighted scope magnifies up to 10 times in high resolution and includes three cones for different sized ear canals.
Copyright 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dog Pool Safety Reminders During the Summer Heatwave!

The heat of the summer is continuing across the country. Can you imagine having to wear a fur coat out in this continued heat and humidity? No doubt your older dog will continue to suffer silently until the weather shifts.

Heat does present a danger to humans young and old, but also to our very young and old pets. One thing that is very important to keep our dogs happy and healthy in this warm weather is keeping fresh water available. Now if you have a swimming pool, that would appear refreshing to any dog, but is it a healthy way for your dog to stay cool? Well now, that depends.

Taking a drink or two from a just filled kiddie-pool isn’t a big deal for most dogs. The problem comes in when the water is “shocked” with chlorine to keep the bacteria levels down. Or, when the untreated water has been swam in by young children and then left to heat up in the sun. In the first case, the chemicals can be very harmful to your dog because they are not meant for consumption on a regular basis. In the second case, the lack of chemicals will cause the bacteria from any leaking diaper to grow quickly and cause serious illness.

How about if Fido wants to go for a swim? Is that a problem? It is if your dog cannot swim! If the water is too deep for his legs to touch and he cannot readily climb out of the pool, it can be deadly. If you are not sure, get your pet a life jacket when you are going to be pool side. It is also a good idea to brush up on your mouth to snout resuscitation skills.

Best defense in this summer heat, treat your dog like you would any very young or very old family member around a pool. Keep a watchful eye for safety’s sake. And keep clean fresh water available at all times so your senior dog is not tempted to drink from the pool!

Copyright 2011