Friday, January 27, 2012

Show YOUR Old Dog Some Love--Best Valentine's Day Gifts for a Senior Dog!

Your senior dog has melted your heart for years. An ever faithful friend deserves a reward for all those years of unconditional love. But what would be the perfect gift to show your older dog just how much you love them? If Valentine's Day is designated to show your sweetheart the love you have in your heart, why not spoil your senior dog with a heart shaped box of dog treats?

Our family loves to pamper our pets. Any special day, like Valentine's Day is a day to show our senior dog Tikki (and his cat siblings) how much we love them with special pet gifts. Every year as Tikki aged, we bought our old dog special presents like funky red dog booties to protect his paws or a box of heart-shaped dog cookies and chews for Valentine's Day. An elevated dog dish was the perfect way to serve his festive treats.

As he approached 15 years, Tikki didn't enjoy the rawhide chews in the heart shaped box as much as he had in previous years as they became too tough to chew. We opted for homemade heart shaped dog cookies and less chewy dog treats for his Valentine gift. But he still loved  the pink and red plush dog toys and and warm doggie sweaters well into senior life.

A dog ramp can be a gift that really shows your love. As Tikki started struggling with the back steps, we installed a semi-permanent dog ramp at our back door. This particular dog ramp model was designed with extra traction so there would be less trouble getting up and down  in snowy or icy February weather. We did consider a portable one too...Our old dog absolutely loved his car rides. After all, spending time with your sweetheart (especially your senior dog sweetheart) is what Valentine's Day is all about!

5 PERFECT Valentines Gifts to show your Senior Dog LOVE:

  1. Therapeutic Dog Bed (Coziest Valentine's gift for the older canine!)
  2. Dog Booties (Protect old dog paws from the February ice and salt.)
  3. Portable Dog Ramp (Make it easy to take your canine sweetheart along for the ride.)
  4. Elevated Dog Dish (Perfect way to serve up Valentine's treats for senior dogs.)
  5. Holiday Dog Sweater (A fun, festive way to show how much you love your older dog.)

Copyright 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The ABC’s of Senior Dog Care—Heartworm Prevention

Heartworms are a scary thought for any pet owner. A scary thought, because heartworm disease is spread in such an arbitrary manner; through the bite of a mosquito. For the owner of a senior dog, it is especially frightening because older dogs can have other health issues which make treating for the heartworm infection more risky. It is very taxing on the function of the liver, heart and kidneys of the infected older dog as the heartworms are literally poisoned with the treatment. Heartworm prevention is the best way to protect your pet. Heartworm preventative medication is given as a once a month tablet all year round to dogs in warm climate but can be given less often in areas where there are no mosquitoes in the winter months.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Does Your Senior Dog’s Ears Hear as Well as They Used to?

A dog’s ears can be sensitive at any age. It is important to keep vigilant as your dog ages to be certain that minor ear discomfort doesn’t become a life changing situation. Several things can cause problems for your older dog’s ears. Parasites and mites are a common, well known issue but allergies can cause ear itching and swelling too. Bacteria and yeast can grow in a dog’s ears after lake or a trip to the groomers if the ears aren’t sufficiently dry. And then hormonal changes as a dog matures can bring on thyroid conditions which can trigger ear infections in the older dog.

Signs of Ear Problems
  • Bad smell or odor
  • Excessive scratching of the ears
  • Sensitivity to petting of ears; often a signal that it is painful
  • Constant tilting/shaking of the head to one side
  • Black or yellowish discharge
  • Redness inside the ear flap or canal
  • Changes in behavior like listlessness, depression or irritability
  • Accumulation of dark yellow to brown wax
  • Loss of balance and disorientation
  • Bleeding or discharge resembling coffee grounds
While nothing will replace a visit to your vet to address any serious hearing or ear concerns, there are some tools that a senior dog owner can use to keep your dog’s ears in tip top shape.

Tools to Protect Older Dog Ears

Otoscope – The same tool your vet uses to see inside a dog’s ear canal will give you a better view of the inside of your pet’s ear.
Cleansing Pads & Solution- Keeping your pet's ears clean and dry is your best defense against ear infections.
Drying Agents – Prevent bacterial growth after a swim in the lake or a bath.
Ear Mitacide - If itchy ears are accompanied by a black, crumbly discharge, there's a good chance your pet has ear mites. Pyrethrin or Ear Miticide can eliminate these irritating, common parasites.

Copyright 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter Challenges--Senior Dog Accidents

Snow and ice cause accidents...and not just for cars either. Older dogs can be faced with winter woes too! Slippery sidewalks. Salted Driveways. Sub-Zero Temps. They all take a toll on the health of your older dog.

Our senior dog, Tikki, struggled on cold winter days to stand up on his arthritic legs and walk down his ramp on the back stairs to go to the bathroom. I know there were days he would try to avoid the process for a little too long. Some days he would just make it out the door...and some days he just didn't make it on time. So what's a senior dog owner to do when the temperature drops below zero and your older dog can't make it outside?
  • Make it less painful to go out. Put on dog booties to protect the paws.
  • Make it easier to go down the stairs. Get a temporary ramp that can be brought indoors so it won't be the metal surface won't be as cold and slippery when your dog needs to go out.
  • Make cleaning up easier. If necessary, resort to the puppy pads to protect your floors and carpeting. Washable doggie diapers are also an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable dog diapers for older dogs who refuse to go out into the cold and snow..
Copyright 2012 OldDogPaws.Com