A Senior to Dog to Love

By Maria Posted in dog care / No Comments »

It can be exciting to invite a new puppy into the home. They’re all full of energy and just want to explore the world around them. This often makes them the target of potential dog owners who want to adopt them into their lives. And in any case, providing a home for a dog is a great thing to do.

But the truth is, it’s just as great to adopt a senior dog as it is to adopt a puppy. These seniors have a lot of character that goes overlooked, especially at a shelter. What you should know is that seniors may have just the right qualities to fit comfortably in your home, and can provide you with the ideal companionship matched with your lifestyle.

Easy to expect

With seniors, you already know what to expect. Unlike a puppy, seniors are fully grown and have fewer changes to face in the future. In most situations, this applies directly to size. Consider a situation in which you rent housing. A puppy may start out below the lease’s required limits, but a senior will match and hold up without leaving you worrying about them outgrowing their stay.

Appetite is another thing. Young puppies will inherently demand more food as they grow bigger. With a senior dog, you already know what to expect, which means no unexpected bursts in hunger or even mood swings.

Teaching old dogs new tricks

Another considerable benefit is that seniors don’t require the same attention that young puppies or growing ones require. Needless to say, the need to monitor them isn’t a 24/7 job. They’re often potty trained as well, and while the details won’t be the same (such as their potty location), the basics are already covered, making training a much simpler task to achieve.

Additionally, other housetraining situations are also much kinder on your homestead. For the most part, you skip the teething years, which are often the worst on furniture and cushions as any dog-parent that has raised a puppy can vouch. In essence, seniors tend to be less destructive than their younger counterparts, and are often relaxed and more focused on spending time enjoying your company.

And who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Older dogs inherently want to focus on you and provide the best attention, whereas young puppies and even mature adults are intrigued by the whole world. This extra attention may be just the thing you were looking for after a long day at work. They want to warm up with you and perhaps enjoy a good rub down while you enjoy the feel of their fur and companionship they provide while you unwind after a long day at work.

Getting along

Older dogs tend to get along better with everyone, both people and pets included. They’ve been around, have grown wiser, and often settle into their new homes very easily because they already know what it takes to become a part of a family. In many cases, introducing a senior dog to other pets is easy, since they’re often much more focused on fitting in and less competitive.

For the most part, they enjoy the more relaxing aspects of life. Not everyone has time to entertain an active puppy, spending time training and introducing them to the entire world. Senior dogs don’t want to conquer the world around them (they already have), they just want to enjoy some time with their companions and have some fun in the process.

But, that isn’t to say that seniors aren’t active. Every dog, both young and old, needs to experience an active lifestyle. Though they may have slowed down a little, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to get out and enjoy some activity. It just means that they’ve never done it with you, and that’s the best part of finding a new friend.

Most importantly, taking in a senior dog saves a life. Older dogs are often the last ones to be adopted at a shelter, and the older they are, the less likely it becomes they will find a happy home. Saving a life offers an emotional return in itself, and can be amongst the most rewarding parts of the adoption process.

If you’re considering adopting a dog, consider one that has some experience under their collar (pun intended). They may not have grown up with you, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy their life with you. And sometimes, you might find they have a few tricks they can teach you if you keep your mind and heart open.

 

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A Puppy or Dog for Your Family

By Maria Posted in dog care / No Comments »

Most of us who are dog lovers, learned how important the family dog is, from a special dog (or dogs) when we were children. Once that bond has been experienced, life without your best buddy nearby feels empty. Kids learn about loyalty, friendship and responsibility, from daily life with the family dog. And of course, how to love a creature who loves you unconditionally, who is not your parent or sibling.

As a parent you might wonder when is the best time to bring a dog or puppy into your family. How old should the kids be? Well, the answer is, almost any time. In many families, the dog is around before any children. In others, parents choose to wait until their first child is in school. Oddly enough, waiting to bring the first dog into the family often means a second child is younger than you thought was prudent, regarding the first child. So, other than adding a new puppy about the same time as adding a new child… go for it when you have the room and time for the dog, to be able to provide attention, training, exercise and socialization.

Introducing dogs to children is best done when the dog is between 8 weeks and about 6 months of age. Unless you find a dog that just doesn’t like being around kids (and there are some out there), it is never too late to train him to be child-friendly. Dogs are drawn to people. They are hard wired to be attached to humans, and let’s face it – kids are more fun and energetic than most adults. To begin the process of bringing a dog or puppy into your home with children, encourage your children to gently play with the puppy or dog, for short periods of time – always with adult supervision. After a few days, as the dog becomes comfortable, bring over your child’s friends so he learns to get along with other youngsters.

Be sure to involve the children with the puppy, enrolling your dog in beginning obedience classes. In these classes your canine companion will begin learning the basics of “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and the very important “off” commands, as well as other canine manners. The kids will be learning these behaviors and expectations (for the dog, obviously) and as it will likely turn out, the kids and the new furry family member will both benefit from the training. Later you may choose to graduate to more challenging training, and all of this will be a terrific experience for your children.

Here are a few tips that can help your family, when adding a new dog or puppy to your household:

Starting before you bring the dog home, teach your children these “pet principals”…

* Kids should know that the pet is a living creature and not a toy.

* Don’t let them grab things away from the dog.

* Be very gentle, especially with little puppies.

* The dog is not a wrestling partner.

* Regarding other dogs – never run up to strange dogs, or stare them down – these are challenges in dog language.

* Leave your dog alone when he is eating.

* ALWAYS supervise. You should never leave a pet alone with a small child.

* In time, as both grow older they will be fine together, to play, explore and be best friends, for life.

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When You Gotta Go

A dog’s bladder seems like a mysterious thing. Sometimes it will be hours before they do their potty dance. Other times it will be mere minutes after the last time. Though this can leave you frazzled, there’s no reason to get upset. Doggy bladders are very easy to understand once you actually get to know them a bit more.

 

Holding It In

How long you should wait before walking your dog it is very much like how it is in humans. Based on their age, sex, health and body size, the “correct” amount of time varies from pooch to pooch. That being said, we can make some general assumptions for the vast majority of dogs in the world. For instance, smaller and younger dogs will need to pee more than their counterparts. This makes sense because smaller dogs have smaller bladders while younger dogs process waste faster.

Another rule of thumb to go with is a bit more factual. From what we know, dogs produce around 10 to 20 mL of urine for every pound they weigh each and every day. This translates to about three to five potty breaks every day. However, sometimes there are occasions when your pup will need to hold their bladder for longer than is normal. In these cases, the older your dog is, the longer they can hold it. Puppies cannot. In fact, they are not able to physically control their own bladders until at least 16 weeks of age and even then cannot be expected to do so reliably until they reach six months.

 

Too Long

Dogs are pretty good at holding their own for rather long stretches of time. Many often have to keep it in for eight to 12 hours at a time due to human work schedules. While this isn’t ideal, it’s definitely doable as the dog will refrain from drinking too much so that they don’t have an accident.

Even so, this is never a good idea for prolonged periods of time. After all, asking them to hold waste within their bodies for extended periods of time will wreak havoc on their insides much in the same way it destroys us internally. The most common problems are UTIs and urinary stones. Other research suggests that continued prolonged potty holding can lead to urinary cancers. This is due to the fact that urine contains some carcinogens. If left in the body for too long, they infect the otherwise healthy cells of the urinary tract.

 

In the end, your dog can go for extreme periods of time without needing to use the restroom. While great for the owner that heads regularly, it’s an extremely detrimental practice that should only occur rarely and in dire circumstances. Waste should be expelled regularly, and if your dog can’t get that kind of necessary relief, now’s not the best time for you to own a dog.

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Your Dog After Surgery

By Maria Posted in dog care / No Comments »

Pet surgery is a scary time for both dog and owner. Following the procedure, your best friend will probably act differently than normal as their bodies heal and return to full health. While it might be a bit more challenging, these steps will make the recovery process much easier for you and your canine companion.

 

Keep Them Comfy

If they’ve had any type of surgery, it can be assumed they will need time for the anesthesia to wear off. During this time and for a few days after while they heal, it will be up to you to make sure they are comfortable and remain at a comfortable temperature. Since they won’t be able to physically adjust themselves like before, they’ll look to you for help.

 

Keep Them Alone

Due to the drugs and potential pain, your pooch will probably be grumpy, leading them to snap at things they would otherwise ignore. Keep kids, other pets and even visitors away until your pet is back to their usual happy self.

 

Walk Them Regularly

The fluids they’ve been given and other medications will no doubt have an effect on their bathroom habits. Because they probably won’t give you their tried and true signal that it’s time to head out, set up a regular schedule for trips outside. This should happen every few hours. In addition, make sure they sleep on things you won’t mind washing if they happen to have an accident in the middle of the night.

 

Watch them Drink

Though you do need to keep water nearby to make sure your sick pup drinks enough, always monitor when they drink as some drowsy dogs can fall asleep in their water bowls and drown. Also, always keep some bland food nearby for them to eat when they feel hungry. Offer this in small doses since they may have bouts of nausea for a few days.

 

Keep the Leash Short

When you do your walks, keep your pet on a short leash to prevent them from accidentally hurting themselves again. Even if they look like they’re ready to run a marathon, force them to take it slow for as many days as is recommended by the vet to ensure full healing happens. Exertion too early on can reopen wounds.

 

Keep the Area Dry

For the first few weeks, it’s important to keep the incision area absolutely dry to avoid any chance of infection. This means no bathing and extra precautions if you have to go outside in the rain. Some owners cover the site with plastic before heading to a spot they know will be even the slightest bit damp.

 

Care for the Wound

Finally, it is imperative you care for the wound exactly how the vet tells you to. Even though they cleaned up everything, your dog’s body still needs to add the final touches to close everything up again. If anything appears strange, call your vet immediately.

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Doggie Dates

By Maria Posted in dog care / No Comments »

We all run into busy days and playtime malaise. Sometimes we just can’t give the time we want to our best friends. Other times we get bored of playing fetch. It’s simply a normal part of being a pet owner. However, this doesn’t have to lead to a boring relationship between you and your dog. Making things exciting again is up to you.

 

Workout Woofer

They say our pets resemble us. This being the case, it should come as no surprise that pet obesity is rising alongside human obesity. In fact, over 50% of all pets are packing on the pounds with 66% of Americans following suite. In order to fight this, get your pup to push around weights with you. The best part is that they’ll soon become your motivation to move every day.

 

Hiking Hound

No matter where you live, there are miles of hiking trails nearby. From the mountains of the Pacific to the swamps of the Atlantic, nothing brings you closer to nature than a secluded hike. Here, you’ll enjoy fresh air and exercise while your pooch gets to enjoy a myriad of new smells and trees to mark. Maybe they’ll get to bark at more than just a pigeon or squirrel. Just remember to have a good flea and tick repellant, especially during summer months.

 

Picnic Puppy

Dog parks are great for socializing both you and your pet but can end up being boring, reducing the amount of time you let your dog run free. To mix this up, find a dog-friendly park and plan a picnic. Bring food for both you and your canine companion so you both can enjoy some frisbee, fetch and intermittent food breaks.

 

Business Buster

If your company permits it, why not bring your buddy to work? Even if it’s one day out of the year, your pet will love the change of scenery and meeting new people. More than that, though, they’ll enjoy not having to sit in a kennel all day. They’ll also force you to take regular breaks so you can take them on a quick walk around the neighborhood and stretch your own legs.

 

Caring Canine

Sometimes the best time is spent helping others. For this, reach out to local nursing and retirement homes. Feel free to even reach out to hospitals. Full of people that would love to experience the company of a dog and a person, these animal interactions are well-documented for helping people heal. Give back to the community together.

 

Proper Pooch

As intelligent animals, it should come as no surprise that dogs don’t enjoy being bored. They love challenges and love being rewarded for overcoming these challenges. Fulfill that intellectual itch through more training. No matter the tricks they have down pat now, there’s always something new they can learn.

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Happy Holiday Travels

By Maria Posted in dog care / No Comments »

With Halloween right around the corner, stores are already sectioning off areas for Christmas decor, signaling the start of the holiday season. Though traveling is always as exciting as it is exhausting for us, your canine companion requires some extra love and attention to make sure they don’t go barking mad.

 

Bones, not Roams

If you’re traveling by car, the only safe spot for your pup is in the back seat either locked in a safety harness or safely secured in their carrier. While you might think it’s cute to let Buster wander back and forth, roaming around the car is a terrible distraction that can lead to accidents. Even worse is that in the event of a crash, an unsecured dog will not be protected. Keep everyone safe and keep your dog in the back.

 

Happy Hounds

Make sure your dog has all the water and food they need to stay happy. Driving and flying are long processes that can leave even the most steadfast of us weary. If it can tear us down, imagine what it does to your dog who doesn’t understand the purpose of this travel stress. When possible, make sure they get regular potty breaks and have enough room to stretch their legs and reposition themselves. While traveling can be stressful, it’s a lot more fun when they’re not wedged into an uncomfortable position for hours at a time.

 

Planes, Trains and Security Policies

Don’t think you can get everything you need to know about bringing your pet with you on an airplane or train online. Be proactive and directly call the company to get the information you need. While some allow for in-cabin pet booking, there are many that don’t even allow for pet travel, let alone accounting for breed and size restrictions. Make sure you are entirely clear on the rules before purchasing a ticket. No one wants to have to cancel their flight because their dog wasn’t allowed.

 

A Penny Saved

The cost of traveling with a pet is rarely calculated into the holiday budget, making it a potentially nasty surprise once bills are due. Instead of getting caught unawares, start prepping for pet costs now. If you’re driving, this will usually mean higher hotel rates. If you’re flying, the additional price added to your ticket is over $100 each way. On top of this, you’ll need to get a carrier and possibly medication to keep your pup calm.

 

The Early Bird

Make your plans now. Everyone travels during the holidays, resulting in packed bookings, higher prices and stressed out employees. By making arrangements now, you can guarantee that your dog will meet the animal quota for the airline cabin or that you’ll have a large enough rental car to fit your St. Bernard. You will also rest easier knowing you have a pet-friendly hotel room in a location that’s convenient to your travel destination.

 

 

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Happy Apartments for Older Pups

By Maria Posted in dog care / No Comments »

Not all new apartment dogs are spry young pups that need regular outdoor walkies and constant attention. Many are of the older variety. Though a bit more sluggish, they nonetheless require just as much love as the little ones. Many even require a few modifications to keep the apartment safe for them as they transition to their golden years.

 

Keep Treatment the Same

Moving is just as stressful for your pooch. After years of one way of living, a sudden change can cause heaps of anxiety. Do what you can to maintain a regular schedule with food and exercise. Keep their favorite toys nearby. Let them hide if they need to or allow them to stay at your side.

 

Bring in a Bathroom Box

Dogs can be litter trained just like cats. If your older dog no longer has unrestricted access to the outdoor world for their aging bladder, there will likely be more accidents. Set up a safe place they can go if the urge comes on too strong and they’re stuck inside.

 

Set Up Ramps

If there are steps in the new apartment, add small ramps along the sides. Just like us, your older dog’s joints are going to really start hurting them. The less they have to jump or climb, the better it will feel. Though a stair or sofa might not seem big to us, just imagine how large it is for an animal that’s at least half your size.

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A Doggie-Proof Apartment

By Maria Posted in dog care / No Comments »

As smart as dogs are, they still aren’t that smart. Because of this, it’s up to you to make sure your apartment is safe for your pet pooch.

 

Kitchen & Bathroom

  • Latch everything. The last thing you need is a curious canine getting into any of the cleaners.
  • Put all foods up and away. Even with a saran wrap exterior, your dog can smell just how delicious your left over muffin is. They will be tempted to eat it, wrapper and all.
  • Close the toilet lid. For the cleanliness of your home, just keep the lid down.

 

Living Room

  • Hide all cords. Thick or small, it doesn’t matter. Make sure they are hidden behind a sofa or locked away in an entertainment stand. Every dog owner has at least one story of what happened to the cord of their favorite electronic when met with the destructive might of a Jack Russell.

 

Bedrooms

  • Put the shoes up. Even if your dog has never exhibited shoe madness, always play it safe. Plus, those laces are a severe choking hazard if swallowed.
  • Store any cosmetics, lotions or perfumes in a drawer. Again, their noses can get the better of them, especially if they’ve been bored in an apartment all day.

 

Garage (Optional)

  • Put all chemicals out of reach.
  • Make sure sharp tools are also out of reach. An excited search and sniff around this new area can yield new scars if not clear of dangerous debris.
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Woof, Woof, Bang, Bang

By Maria Posted in dog care / No Comments »

It’s a proud American tradition. First some grilling, then some fireworks and finally fishing your scared dog out from under the bed. Loud noises are often frightening to our canine companions, but not for the reason you’d think. While it’s true they have better hearing than we’ll ever have, scary noises that cause dogs to shiver, destroy property, cling to you or soil themselves are scary because the sound is associated with something bad that happened to them in the past. Here’s what you can do to put your pooch at peace.

 

Give them A Safe Room

Chances are your dog takes off to a specific spot each time. Instead of forcing them out, make their safe spot as comfortable as possible. Put their toys and bed in their along with some water. Avoid crates, though, as dogs are known to hurt themselves trying to escape when spooked.

 

Play With Them

Get them to associate fun times with fireworks by playing catch or tug-of-war with their favorite toys. If, however, they do drop the playtime because the noise is too much, never force them to endure it. You’ll only cause long-lasting mental trauma.

 

Medication

Sadly, like people, certain scared pups resort to self-harm, making fireworks more dangerous than patriotic. For this, talk to your vet about medicating them during the festivities. Just be sure to only do this under the direst circumstances since medicating your dog is really the very last resort and only If they are a danger to themselves.

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If I Flee, I Pee

By Maria Posted in dog training / No Comments »

It’s no secret that dogs are not the biggest fans of loud noises. From fireworks to vacuums, nothing can send a dog into terrified shivering quite like the power of sound. Unfortunately, this means that even during something as simple as a thunderstorm, you can find yourself cleaning up urination spots no matter how house broken your dog is. Fortunately, this behavior can be stopped.

Be With Them

Unlike your pet, you know when thunderstorms are on their way through weather forecasts. In the event of an oncoming storm, be with your dog. If you’ve ever noticed them hiding under furniture, shaking, whining or otherwise exhibiting signs of distress, you know that what comes next isn’t something you enjoy cleaning up. By spending this time with them and watching them, you can monitor their actions, stopping them from having an accident before it happens.

Stay Calm & Play On

The best thing you can do is both remain calm and happy while engaging your dog in playtime. A big reason dogs become so frightened of the loud noise is that they at one point in time associated it with something bad. To break this thought process, you need to teach them otherwise. By engrossing them in tug of war, fetch or maybe a calm brushing, you’re teaching them there is no reason to be so frightened. After all, you’re not frightened, and you’re the alpha of their pack.

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