Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tips for Trimming YOUR Old Dog’s Waistline

A 2008 Reuter’s article stated an estimate 40% of dogs are overweight or obese in the United States.  But by 2012 , another study estimates that doggie waistlines have grown. A 2012 New York Times article reported that now at least half of all American pets are considered fat. And, they pay a high cost with shortened lives. While any age dog is affected by weight, a portly senior dog will have an even more difficult life. Overweight dogs are at a higher risk for developing serious medical problems, including arthritis, diabetes, breathing problems, and some forms of cancer. As a dog ages, there are many health issues that owners cannot control. Fortunately, your dog’s weight is not one of them. A few simple steps can stop “supersizing” your dog and reduce the risk of these diseases.


Ask your veterinarian to
determine whether your pet is underweight, overweight, or at an ideal size for their breed. At an ideal weight, you should not be able to see your dog’s ribs but feel them through a thin layer of fat. There will also be a defined "waist" between the rib cage and hips.


Too many pet owners simply fill the bowl or estimate how much they're feeding. The average 25-30 pound dog should get no more than 2 cups of dry food per day. Treats and “people food” will add calories and weight!

Human Equivalent
Piece of toast with butter
Small buttered biscuit
4 cubes cheddar cheese
Regular Sized Chocolate Candy Bar
Hot Dog or Sausage
SIX Doughnuts

(And their humans too!)
Exercise and good nutrition go hand in hand to help keep your old dog healthy and happy. It doesn’t take long either. As little as 20 minutes of daily brisk walking can boost canine immune function, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce many behavioral problems. 

Copyright 2012 OldDogPaws.com

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Water Therapy Eases Old Dog's Pain

By now thousands, if not millions, of people around the world have seen this wonderful photo of Schoep and his owner John swimming in Lake Superior. Actually John walks out into the water so his nineteen year old dog can sleep for a bit without as much pain. It really is an old dog love story that so many people can relate to if they have a senior dog in their lives. 

Copyright Stonehouse Photography 

It made me wonder if our older dog would have benefited from swimming or water therapy as he aged. We live in an area with abundant lakes but Tikki really didn't like seem to like the water. Maybe it was just that couldn't swim.
These days there are options for non-swimming dogs to make them more comfortable with water therapy. Dog life jackets can be very helpful in this situation. Not every older dog is able to swim and not every dog owner can swim well enough to assist them either. Before you venture out into the lake for a bit of relaxing water therapy for your older dog, a life jacket or life vest might work wonders. Here's a great video I found that helps show how to measure your dog for the correct size life jacket.

Copyright 2012 OldDogPaws.com

Costumes or No Costumes for an Old Dog on Halloween?

I have to say, we were a family that loved Halloween. For months we would plan out the costumes for our kids. Some were elaborate and some were very trendy before the trends. Our kids went as giant M&M's before the store bought costumes were available. But never once in 17+ years did we attempt to dress up our dog. Tikki just wasn't the type of dog that would have wanted to play in that way. He loves treats but I think there would have been more tricks, like him slipping out of his collar if we attempted to include him on our neighborhood rounds.

Some people feel costumes are undignified for pets, whether the dog is young or old. Yet for some dogs, the costumes seem to suit them and they look adorable. Remember, that all holidays can be full of fun and excitement but can be stressful on a senior pet. If you chose to dress up your older dog, make sure he can handle both the style of outfit and the attention that comes with wearing it.

Just like with children, there are safety concerns with a Halloween costume for an older dog:.

  • Make sure it isn't too heavy for his back/neck.
  • Avoid tripping hazards.
  • Avoid anything that hinders eyesight.
  • Straps or harnesses that are too binding on the back/shoulder area
Copyright 2012 OldDogPaws.com