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Pain Management For Terminally Ill And Senior Dogs

Pain Management For Terminally Ill And Senior Dogs - Paws at PeaceMost pet owners that have had the pleasure of spending many wonderful years with their best friend will tell you how sad, and hurtful it can be when they are diagnosed with a terminally ill condition. We all know that sooner, or later our pet is going to reach the end of his life, but we’d rather not think about it until it is upon us. However, there are things we can do to make our pet feel better in his last days. This article will discuss some of the things we can do to make our terminally ill pet feel a little more comfortable during those last days, and when to consider euthanasia as an option.

End of life care for our beloved pet doesn’t always mean pain and discomfort, because now there are many things we can do to ease their suffering, unlike many years ago when the only option would have been to euthanize him or her. With so much progress being made with medication’s now, pain can be managed much better, so our pet doesn’t need to suffer and feel the discomfort that pain brings. Moreover, this is the time we, as responsible pet owners, can show our pet just how much they are loved by taking extra special care of them in their time of need.

One of the first things we need to do with our elderly pet, or a pet that has been diagnosed with a terminal condition is to make sure we keep appointments with the vet, so that our pet can be monitored and catch signs of any deterioration. In addition, make sure your best friend is surrounded by his, or her favorite things, like a special toy, warm blanket, or maybe a favorite cushion he loves to snuggle into. Pets with very limited mobility can develop sores, so be sure to check this often, especially on the joints, and provide an extra soft pillow for them to lay on.

Many older pets can develop incontinence and lose bladder control, so you should check them often throughout the day for wetness or soiling. Having said that, you can help them when they need to defecate, or urinate by supporting them with a sling, or a alternatively you can use a towel that can support their belly to assist them. Moreover, making them as comfortable as possible in their final days will let them know that you still love them as much as when the day they came into your life, reassuring them by talking to them, and staying in sight as much as you can will help them too.

Another option for terminally ill, and senior dogs is pet hospice care, where your pets final days, or weeks are made much easier with the use of carefully managed pain medications. As well as pain management, hospice care will also include dietary changes, and strategies along with human interaction, allowing your pet to live their final days with dignity. Hospice care generally requires constant supervision, and interaction, with you as the primary carer, and nurse while working together with your vet to make your pets last days as comfortable and pain free as possible.

Euthanasia is clearly a last resort, and not everyone likes to think or talk about it, but in many cases it is wise to at least consider it, especially if your pet is suffering greatly, or pain medication isn’t working. Your vet is specifically trained to enable him to carry out this procedure in a humane manner providing your pet with a pain free, gentle way to go, just like he was falling asleep. Of course this decision lies solely on you as the owner, and sometimes keeping a diary of his final days can allow you to weigh up if it is time to make this decision.

Finally, when it comes to an older pet, or a terminally ill pet, decisions can be extremely hard to make due to the stress, worry and not wanting our best friend to leave us. In the end we have to think of our pet, and his level of suffering, and our job as a responsible pet parent should be to base our decision on what is best for him or her. It is hard to say goodbye to a loved one whether it be human or pet, and there is nothing anyone can say to alleviate the pain we feel when losing a loved one, but we will always have the memories to cherish forever, even after they are gone.

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Nutrition Needs For Senior Dogs

senior dogs nutrition - Paws at Peace Pet HospiceNutrition for older dogs is a very important topic to know for those who own a dog, this is because as your dog gets older his nutrition needs change. Many owners who know little to nothing about an older dogs metabolism can unknowingly be giving their best friend the wrong foods, leading to an overweight dog, which in turn, can lead to unwanted health conditions. However, in this article we will discuss the changes in an older dog, and the necessary changes we need to make to their diet, and exercise routine, so that you can still give your dog the best as he ages.

As a dog gets older, his nutrition requirements can change quite a lot, depending on the breed, and the way the body uses energy as well as the food intake needed to produce energy changes also. This is called the metabolism process, and as a dog gets older the metabolism slows, so their fat and calorie intake doesn’t need to be as much as when they were a pup or in their prime. However, your older dog still needs protein, and fat but not as much, and their diet should consist of more fiber and grain as they get older. That being said, their exercise needs change too.

Some older dogs can stay on the same food they have always had, but less of it, while others may need a completely different type of food. An older dog needs a well balanced diet with an adequate amount of protein and calories, but more fiber to give them the feeling of being full. Lower amounts of fat means lower amounts of calories, and older dogs are better off with a higher fiber diet due to them being more prone to things like constipation, and if you want to stick with your regular food, you can add wheat bran to this, which will add to the amount of fiber.

As your dog gets older it is highly recommended that you visit your vet regularly for checkups on his health, and to get a professional opinion of what your dogs diet should include. Some older dogs have the opposite problem of being obese, and that is being underweight due to them not wanting to eat. This can be due to many different reasons, and this will be the time to take the food challenge, by experimenting with what he will eat, because some older dogs are disinterested in their food for a variety of reasons.

One reason an older dog may not be eating like his old self could be that he has trouble chewing the hard kibble, this could be because his teeth or gums aren’t what they used to be. Having said that, you can try to add water to the dry food to soften it a little, or it may just be the kibble is too large now, so a smaller kibble may work better. Moreover, older dogs that seem to be off their food can often do well on a completely different type of food, like chicken and rice with some vegetables and potato, which is why many dog owners with older dogs will switch to homemade recipes, as their dog ages.

Some older dogs may even need supplements to help them get the nutrients they need, but each dog is different and again, it is recommended to speak with your vet to discuss your individual dog’s needs. Older dogs can be prone to joint problems, so a supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitinnutrition can help support joints. If your older dog cannot eat a complete balanced diet then a vitamin, and mineral supplement may be needed to help with any deficiencies.

Finally, older dogs undergo many physiological changes, and one should keep up with those changes, and change their diet and exercise accordingly. Nutrition for older dogs is important, and so is exercise, although exercise may not be what it used to be, and one may have to make some other changes around the home if he is having joint problems or medical conditions. Making sure your older dog has a well balanced diet, with the right amount of exercise, will prevent him from becoming overweight, and protect him from unwanted health conditions that go along with being obese.

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Obesity In Older Dogs: Things To Know

obesity in older dogsThings To Know Regarding Obesity In Older Dogs

Obesity in older dogs is an increasing problem for many dog owners, and although sometimes it is caused by a health condition, many times it is something simple, like diet. In fact, in a recent study it showed that over 50% of dogs are overweight to some degree, some worse than others. In this article we will look at the things that can make an older dog obese, and what we can do about getting their weight to a normal level, in turn helping them live longer, happier and healthier.

With an older dog weight gain is a double problem, because an older dog has slowed down, needs less exercise, and his whole metabolism has slowed somewhat. Moreover, being overweight can increase his chances of developing health issues due to carrying around more weight than he needs to. Just like an older human, breathing can become labored, he can develop respiratory conditions, joint problems and more, so let us look at what diet changes should occur when a dog reaches his senior years.

All dog owners believe they are feeding their dog correctly, and many don’t even notice a slow gain in weight over time, because your dog is around every day. Many people will say “but I’ve been feeding him the same food since he was an adult”/ and don’t realize that as he gets into his senior years his calorie intake, as well as fiber and protein intake needs to change. Having said that, once he is in his senior years it’s not going to solve anything by just going shopping for a dog food labeled ‘senior dog food”, because you have to take into account his nutrition needs for his age, activity level and health.

Another thing to take into consideration is that all breeds are different.
Moreover, some breeds reach their senior years quicker than others, for instance, a large breed may be in their senior years at age 7, whereas a smaller breed may not reach that stage until 10 or even 12 years of age. An older dog that has gained a lot of weight may need a diet with less protein, but again this depends on the food he has been getting in the past. If, the protein is in the ingredients by way of poor quality protein like bone meal, or meat meal he is not getting the right amount. A real source of protein that is going to be beneficial to him would be real meat in the ingredients like chicken or beef.

Keep in mind, that poor quality protein is difficult for an older dog to digest, and provides little nutrients, and can even put a strain on their major organs. Another point to mention, is that if an older dog is overweight they may also benefit from a lower fat diet, and some even benefit from added supplements. Changing diet can help return your older dog to its normal weight over time. However, you also need to incorporate some exercise, because many owners stop taking them for walks, and just because you let him out in the yard for an hour, doesn’t mean he is actually exercising, he may just be laying down basking in the sun.

Diet change can be difficult for the owner, because there are no guidelines as to what goes into ‘senior dog food’ and it’s left up to the manufacturer to put whatever they feel is good into their product. Look for a dog food that contains whole grains, and vegetables, because these have good carbs with a low glycemic index. In addition, as mentioned earlier you should look for a food that contains real meat, like beef, or chicken as real meat is easily digested, and absorbed by the body. Furthermore, look for a food that contains minerals, and vitamins that include zinc, copper, vitamins A,D,E,K, folate, and biotin as these are the beneficial ones.

Finally, if your older dog is overweight or obese, take him to your vet to get a thorough checkup to make sure it is not a health condition that is causing his obesity. If it is just diet related, it makes sense to give him a food that will be beneficial to him, as in the long run he will live longer, and you will be able to enjoy his company for longer too. Leave out the table scraps, and talk to your vet instead about how much food you should be giving him, as sometimes older dogs need less food, and by getting him to his correct weight it will help give him more energy, and you may be surprised to see him return to his old self once his diet has improved.

Learn more about common health problems in older dogs in our blog.

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Dogs And Halloween Candy

Halloween dogs - Paws at peaceHalloween is a great holiday for many families, and an excuse to go out and have fun, with trick, or treat kids knocking on your door, different costumes and plenty of candy. Moreover, many pet owners like to get in on the action too by dressing their dogs in Halloween costumes, but every year many dogs become seriously ill due to consuming candy, and it’s one of the few times during the year dog owners need to be especially careful. Here we will look into the dangers of dogs, and Halloween candy and why dogs eating candy can be so dangerous, some of, which can even kill your dog, so read on to learn more.

Many people have heard that you shouldn’t feed dogs (or cats) chocolate, but not many know the reason why, some people even think it may be a myth, but it’s not. There are two ingredients in chocolate that are extremely dangerous to our best friend, and they are Theobromine and Caffeine and by eating as little as 1/4 oz of chocolate can be extremely toxic for them. Chocolate toxicity in dogs can cause diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and even death, yes it’s that dangerous for them, but chocolate is not the only danger out there on Halloween for your dog.

The chances are quite high that your dog will get into some candy at some point during the Halloween holiday, with so many groups trick or treating, there will be candy dropped in yards, gardens and sidewalks. Having said that, be sure to check your yard next morning for remnants of candy spat out by kids that didn’t like the taste of a specific treat, as these may be picked up by your dog. Also, candy wrappers can be another major threat, and there will probably be a lot, and your dog will be able to smell the chocolate inside the wrapper even if its empty, also keep your own candy bowl out of reach of your dog.

When a dog gets into the candy bowl, he tends not to unwrap the candy to eat it, so he inevitably eats the whole thing, wrapper included, and now you not only have the danger of chocolate toxicity, but also the danger of him getting a blockage due to the wrapper. Moreover, bite sized hard candy can be just as dangerous as chocolate in their own way due to the size of them. In addition, they can be a choking hazard, and we’ve all heard of chocolate covered raisins, these are double danger. Raisins, or any kind of grape can cause liver failure in dogs, and a chocolate covered raisin is almost guaranteed you will have to visit your vet or call poison control.

Another type of candy that you need your dog to stay away from is sugar free candy as these usually have a sugar substitute called Xylitol. Xylitol is safe for people, but a potential killer to a dog, as it can drop their sugar levels very quickly to a dangerous level, and if this happens your dog may become lethargic, unable to walk and could end up having seizures. If a dog survives eating this he could still have liver damage, and even have liver failure, so it is probably a wise move to keep dogs, and cats away from all the human candy, especially at Halloween time.

Many dog owners know about the different foods out there that pose a health risk. Moreover, many have learned this through experience, and had a dog become seriously ill, or even die because they just wasn’t informed. Having said that, some people like to have different nuts out at Halloween as well as other holidays, yet even something as innocent as Macadamia nuts can be lethal to a dog, and it doesn’t take a second for Fido to snatch a tasty looking Macadamia cookie from the table. It can take as little as just a few Macadamia nuts to make your dog very ill, from muscle tremors to paralysis, from elevated body temperature to vomiting and rapid heart rate.

Finally, the best way to keep your dog safe on Halloween is to keep him inside, and have some of his favorite dog treats on hand, so he can enjoy a healthy treat and not get sick. However, if you like to get your dog involved, and dress him in a costume and go trick or treating, be sure to take his favorite treats along, so that when the kids are opening their chocolate candy, he can have a healthy snack. Prevention is better than cure, and when it comes to dogs, and Halloween candy it is much better to be informed, and aware than to finish the happy holiday in the ER. Finally, by taking extra precautions, you can help your pet to stay safe, and have a happy Halloween that both you, and your best friend can easily enjoy together.

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A Healthy Diet For Aging Dogs

dog health dietA Healthy Diet For Aging Dogs
As pet owners we want what is best for our dogs, and that is especially true for those that have been with us a while, but what about diet changes when our best friend gets into his later years? When dogs are growing they need plenty of protein and calories, and many owners do not realize that as our pets age, their diet should change in order to keep them healthy, even in their later years. Here we will look into what changes we can make to our aging pet, so that they stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
Many people think that it is alright to give their older dog the same food as they did once they reached adulthood, but the truth is our older dogs change, and so should their food intake. Older dogs tend to get more slower as they age, and they can also become overweight, often due to the fact they don’t run around, and exercise like when they were younger. Probably one of the most single important things you can do for your aging dog is to keep him at his correct weight, as overweight dogs that are older will find it extremely difficult to lose weight.
Older dogs generally require a well balanced diet with less calories, but a diet that still gives them adequate protein and fat, but one that has more fiber too. Older dogs do not exercise as much, so do not burn off the same amount of calories than when they were younger, this is where they can become overweight without their owner even realizing it. Having said that, an older dog’s diet should have a food that makes them feel fuller, with more fiber, but also has less calories in it, and because older dogs are more prone to developing constipation they usually are recommended to take in about 3 to 5% more fiber as they age.
Another problem with older dogs is rather than putting on weight, they have trouble gaining weight, and this can be due to them losing their appetite. However, this could be a simple problem, or something more serious. In addition, generally an older dog that has been used to eating dry food may now have trouble chewing. Therefore, a smaller kibble or even a moistened food may prove to be the ideal solution. Some owners of senior dogs have even switched to a homemade diet of boiled rice, vegetables, and chicken, which some older dogs find more digestible and seem to be more keen to eat.
Also, many older dogs need specific nutritional needs, so a vet may recommend supplements, for instance, feeding a supplement that contains glucosamine, and chondroitina may help with joint support. If your aging dog is not eating a properly balanced diet for one reason, or another then a vitamin and mineral supplement may be recommended to help replace any deficiencies. Senior dogs also require more water, because their ability to maintain the bodies water balance is decreased, and if your dog has a medical condition, for instance, diabetes then their diet should be recommended by your vet as he will have specific needs than another senior dog without this condition.
Older dogs go though many transformations in their body and are more prone to sickness and other health conditions, like arthritis, other joint problems, kidney, liver and heart conditions and more. The best thing to do with an older dog is to visit your vet regularly, and tell him of any changes you may have noticed since your last visit, especially if it is decreased appetite, gaining or losing weight, and anything that may at first seem not worth mentioning. Sometimes changing an older dogs diet is just the thing to allow him to enjoy his twilight years, and for you to both still enjoy each others company, after all, his golden years can be some of the best yet.
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Joint Problems In Older Dogs And Cats

Joint Problems Cats Dog - Paws at Peace DallasTaking A Closer Look At Joint Problems In Older Dogs And Cats
When it comes to our older dogs and cats, they will almost definitely suffer from some type of joint pain, and most of this joint pain comes from a condition called arthritis. Just like humans, when they reach a certain age they start to get more illnesses, including arthritis, which can be painful, and in dogs and cats about 70% to 90% of them will get some level of arthritis during their life time. Therefore, this article will take a closer look at arthritis in older dogs, and cats and the symptoms, as well as what to look out for, so you can spot the early signs of arthritis effectively.
One of the signs in older dogs that he has arthritis is that you may notice him limping, or using one leg less than the others, depending on the joint that is giving him pain. Often, you may notice that he tends to limp more, or only first thing in the mornings, then not so much as his body warms up once he is moving around. Having said that, you may also notice him struggling a little with things that he had no problems with before, like getting in and out of the car, or walking up and down stairs.
Arthritis in cats however, may stop climbing, or jumping onto shelves or counters and other high places due to the pain arthritis is causing. Arthritis is much harder to detect in cats due to the fact that they manage to hide pain well, and this is because of their instinct to not show they are in pain for fear of predators. As the owner, you may notice subtle changes though, like him not jumping up to higher surfaces, or jumping down to lower ground, which have become less frequent for him. Moreover, his activities overall are less active too, and he even may be sleeping more frequently than before.
In cats you may notice that he has a much decreased time when he is playing, or hunt, and may not do this activity as long as he used to. In addition, you may also notice that he is sleeping in easier to access areas, and may even interact much less with people or playmates. Also, you may notice that your cat doesn’t groom himself as often as he used to, and his coat may become scruffy, or even matted. Furthermore, you might notice that he may groom himself much more on the joint that hurts him the most.
Also in older cats with arthritis, you may notice his claws becoming much longer due to inactivity levels, and there may even be temperament changes. He may become more agitated, or even aggressive when petted or handled, or he may be more aggressive towards other animals that he used to play with. Having said that, he may want to spend much more time alone, and may even avoid interaction with other animals or humans all together.
However, dogs don’t seem to mind showing their pain. Moreover, it will be easier to spot signs of arthritis, and that he is in pain. Keep in mind, that it’s not just joints that can be affected with arthritis in older dogs. Furthermore, there may be spinal issues that are connected to arthritis in dog’s, and this may result in a sore neck, or an abnormal posture, almost like a hunch back, or he may have a lameness in one or both hind legs. Also in dogs, as with cats, they may spend more time sleeping, but they may also not want to walk as far as they used to, so be prepared to cut your walks short if need be as he could be in pain.
Older pets that suffer from arthritis will often develop a condition called muscle atrophy, which is where the muscle tissue dies off due to inactivity, because of the joint pain of arthritis. Muscle atrophy can result in one, or more of the legs looking much thinner than the other normal legs, which is usually more prominent in dogs than in cats. Both dogs, and cats with arthritis, or any other type of joint pain, can often lick the area of joint pain, and even end up chewing, gnawing or biting the affected area, which in itself can lead to infections if it has got to the point of an open wound.
Arthritis in cats is fairly common in older cats, and should be checked for after about 7 years. With that said, the diagnosis is usually based on signs that can be spotted either by you or your vet. A vet can sometimes detect pain, and swelling or discomfort by examining the joints, and sometimes may decide to give an x-ray of the joints to confirm this, although it is not always needed. Once your dog, or cat has been diagnosed with arthritis, then it is a matter of managing the condition. Keep in mind, that as there is no cure, there are still medications to help ease the pain, and you can play a part by changing their environment to suit their condition too.
Once you know your dog, or cat has a joint problem, or arthritis, you can change his or her environment to make it more comfortable for them. Using soft comfortable beds in easily accessible areas where they do not have to climb, or use stairs to get to the bed is one good adjustment you can make. Additionally, placing the bed in a draft free zone, or sometimes an igloo style bed can make them feel warm and comfortable, especially with cats. Where there are steps, and if it is appropriate, you can use small ramps to gain access to favorite spots like window sills, or even a couch, and with cats make sure to get a litter tray with one low side for easy access.
For both older dogs, and cats with joint problems, try to make it so they do not have to go upstairs to access beds, food, or toys as this can be difficult for them. Moreover, groom them yourself more frequently, especially with cats, as they may not be able to do it themselves now without pain from the arthritis. In addition, try to cut their nails regularly, because they won’t naturally wear down from every day activity like they used to. Obesity will increase the pain level, so keeping them on a strict diet, so they do not become overweight is important for both dogs and cats with joint problems.
Ask your vet about dietary supplements, and pain medications to make your dog or cat more comfortable, and to be sure they are getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, there are some very good medications to help ease your older dog, or cats pain, and are usually anti inflammatory medications. However, keep in mind, that there are various side effects to using them, so it is important to speak with your vet to weigh up the pros and cons of a specific treatment. There are reports to suggest that even acupuncture could help with arthritis pain in dogs and cats, although it hasn’t been scientifically proven, and if you decide to try this method, be sure to go to a reputable professional.
Finally, when an older dog, or cat has joint problems, or arthritis, even though it isn’t curable, it is manageable, and you can play a large part in making their final years happy. Using a combination of medications, and changing their environment can help them live a few more years pain free. Having said that, if you notice anything out of the ordinary with your older pet, don’t just put it down to old age, instead get him or her checked out, because the earlier arthritis is detected the easier it is to manage, helping to lead them to having a much more comfortable life with you long term.
Dr. Kim Simpson Senior Dogs Senior Pet Care

Senior Dogs: Taking A Closer Look At Health Problems

Senior Dogs - Paws at Peace Pet HospiceDepending on the breed of dog you have really depends on the type of health conditions they may have in their older years. Although many will often have similar health problems as they approach their final years equally. Having said that, they are not that different from us when it comes to their senior years, developing poor eyesight, have less energy, putting on weight, and even becoming slower and turning grey. Almost half of dogs end up dying of cancer, which again many people suffer from, but here we will discuss the many health problems in senior dogs, so that you can see the early signs, and get any treatments that may be available, or needed just to help make your best friend comfortable for the conditions he may have. Therefore, read on to learn more.

The first outwardly seen signs of a senior dog is greying of the coat, usually starting around the muzzle, as well as becoming slightly less active. You may find he may not want to chase the ball, as much as he did in his earlier years, this is a sign he is slowing down, because he has less energy. This is also a time when he needs less fat, and more fiber in his diet, because the later years he will put on weight, and obesity is a very common problem among older dogs, so speak with your vet about diet change and maybe some supplements too.

Another health problem that can occur in older dogs is blindness, or their eyesight becoming very poorly. Therefore, it is recommended if this is the case not to rearrange furniture, because many dogs can navigate their way around familiar places, if everything is as it was when their eyesight was good. This is also the time that arthritis can set in, and although there is no cure for this, there are medications that can ease pain and make it a little easier to live with. Along with arthritis there may be joint pain, which may lead to him being less responsive to petting, sometimes even getting agitated or even annoyed. In addition, he may seem to be off his food, and just like us when we just sometimes want to be left alone when we are in pain, he may react in the same manner.

With that said, it is also common, especially in older dogs, to develop calluses, usually on their elbows, and this is, in part, due to them spending more time laying down. Keeping that in mind, if he is laying on a hard surface, it may be wise to provide him with a soft bed, and they do sell orthopedic beds now for dogs, which will help prevent the calluses from worsening. Moreover, as the dog gets older, their nails can become brittle, so you need to be especially careful when clipping them, and you may have to clip his nails more frequently due to the fact that he is not as active, and won’t wear them down so much naturally.

At this point in their life, it is important to keep up on their vaccinations, because older dogs are more prone to illness, and disease than younger dogs due to their immune system not functioning as effectively as it did in his earlier years. Dental disease is another common problem among senior dogs. Therefore, one should brush their teeth regularly, because dental issues can lead to more complicated diseases later on. Also, if a senior dog does get an infection, or sickness he will more than likely take much longer to get over it then when he was younger.

Other health problems that can arise in senior dogs are respiratory problems due to their lung capacity being decreased, and they may tire much quicker. There may also be a decrease in their liver, and kidney function. However, there are tests for this, and certain treatments are available if caught early. Temperature changes may also effect them differently, because they can’t regulate their body temperature as effectively like when they were younger. Therefore, he may be more prone to feeling the cold, or hot temperatures during the cold and hot months.

There are many health problems in senior dogs that can show up, and not all dogs will get all of them, as each dog breed is different, and there are many senior dogs that are quite healthy until the very end. Being aware of possible health problems means that you can sometimes catch them early enough to either treat them, or give them medication to ease any pain. Having said that, if you notice changes in your dog’s behavior, don’t just put it down to old age as it may be medical and treatable. Finally, always pay a visit to your vet if you feel something is not right, as it’s always best to err on the side of caution to help ensure your best friend stays health especially in their senior years.

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Dealing With Pet Loss

Pet LossFor pet owners, pet loss can be extremely distressing, with a mixture of emotions, which can compare to losing a close family member, after all a dog is “a mans best friend”, and in many cases that is very true for pet owners. Having said that, many people that don’t own a pet cannot understand our loss, and the way we feel about it, but for those who have lost a beloved pet how do we deal with that loss? Every individual deals with loss in a different way, but there are things you can do to help cope with that loss, and here in this article we will discuss some of the things to help us cope with such a loss.

For many pet owners it’s not ‘just’ a dog or cat, it is a close family member you have spent many years creating a special bond with, and for some it is even a closer bond than some real family. From getting him as a puppy, and spending maybe the first year training him, to teaching him tricks, and watching him grow as well as the hours spent walking and talking with him, seeing him perform his amusing antics. Moreover, many pet owners will tell you there is a bond there that cannot be duplicated with a human, it’s really that close in many cases.

However, when the time comes that our beloved pet parts ways with us, we feel a huge loss, like a large part of our life has been ripped away from us, and there is a big hole that cannot be filled. That being said, it is not the same for everyone, but for many this is exactly how it feels, and many of us do not know how to cope, and wonder if we will ever feel the same again. It is true that nothing will ever replace our best friend, and the pain doesn’t go away, just like with a loved one, but time does ease it, and you end up with lovely memories that you can talk to others about, and maybe share stories about how mischievous he was, or even show photos if you took any.

In the meantime, wondering how we will cope can be frustrating as there is a mixture of emotions when losing a pet, like anxiety, guilt, anger, depression and even denial, but eventually you will find resolution and acceptance. Having said that, you should not try to hide your feelings and keep it bottled up, that makes it worse and it lasts longer. If, you need to cry then don’t be afraid to cry, and although friends and family members may not understand fully what you are going through, it may be more appropriate to talk with someone you know who has also lost a pet. Moreover, someone who fully understands what you are going through can be more help than others close to you who don’t quite get it.

After losing a beloved pet, it is only natural for one to feel alone, sad or even frightened for a time, this is all part of the healing process. In addition, you should try to think of all the good times you had, look through photos, or videos you took and let the tears flow if need be. For some the healing process can begin with a funeral, depending on the individual, a chance to say goodbye properly, and show your feelings openly without the threat of ridicule from those who don’t understand what you’re going through.

Some people who lose a beloved pet find some solace in creating a memorial, like planting a tree in memory of the one you lost, creating a legacy to celebrate the time you had with a best friend. Creating a scrapbook of memorable photos of your pet to share with others when the time is right can also be helpful. Additionally, you may find that in the beginning your loss may effect your daily routines, and sometimes even your health, and one shouldn’t be afraid to seek out professional help in these times, either a doctor, or mental health professional can evaluate you and maybe give you some medication to help you through the worst part, especially if you’re suffering from depression over the loss.

When dealing with the loss of a beloved pet, the stress and emotional toll it can take can seem overwhelming, and drain you of energy and emotional reserves. During this time, it is important to look after your health and believe that you will get through this. However, also remember that it just takes time, more with some people than with others. Keep in mind, that there is no set time frame that you get over something like this, as it can take weeks, months or in some cases years. Living with your beloved pet for so long, in many cases up to 15 years or more, can leave a void in your life once they are gone, and it is important to find something that can help fill that void, the time you use to spend with your pet.

While living with your pet took up a great part of your time, you need to try and fill that time with something positive, like taking up an old hobby that you let go. Moreover, it is also important to have friends, and family around to support you in your time of need, and if there isn’t anyone close that understands how you feel, visit some online forums where you can talk to others who have gone through what you are going through now. Eventually, as the healing process gets underway, you will find you will be able to visit some friends you maybe met in the park while walking your dog, and maybe consider looking at a future best friend, not one that will replace your loss, but creating a new best friend, after all you did make life wonderful for the one you recently lost, and you can do it again.

Take a moment to leave a memorial to your pet on our memorial wall.

Pet Care Pet Health Senior Pet Care

Taking Care Of Senior Pets In Their Golden Years

Senior Pet CareAs pet owners we all know that sooner, or later our best friend is going to get old, just as we do, but what can we do about giving him the best quality of life in his last few years? Many dogs after the age of about 7, or 8 are classed as senior pets, and depending on their health, there are quite a few things we can do to make life a little easier for him. In this article we will take a closer look at our senior best friends to see what we can do to make things a little more comfortable for him, after all, he’s made our life happier over the years, now let’s see what we can do in return.

One of the first things we need to do when our pet reaches his senior status is to schedule vet visits twice a year instead of once per year. That said, six months is quite a long time in terms of dog years, and a lot can happen in just six months when it comes to their health. Moreover, dental issues, joint issues, and many other conditions can set in, so it’s best to have a check up twice yearly. Any conditions that our best friend has developed can be relieved by medications or even diet, and if it’s a condition that can’t be treated there may be medications that can ease his pain if he is suffering.

Keep in mind, that diet should be one of the things we look at when our dog gets older, because their digestive system may become more sensitive, and their teeth may not be as strong. Therefore, looking at different types of food may be a good thing, because a softer food can make it easier to chew, or even a food that is easier on the digestive system can be better for him too. Having said that, don’t just run out, and buy a softer food, talk with your vet to see what he recommends, because he may even give you supplements to go with the new food or recommend a home made diet.

Another thing that is important in our dogs senior years is keeping up with parasite control, as their immune system isn’t what it used to be. Fleas, ticks and other parasites can spread disease, and our older dog can’t always fight off infection like he used to, so make sure he is taking flea and tick preventatives. Moreover, you should be treating him for heart worm monthly, because heart worm is even more dangerous in older dogs, and can kill any dog if not treated.

Exercise is another thing we need to keep our eye on, because he may not be able to walk for that same hour that he did just six months ago. We know exercise will keep him from becoming overweight, and is good for him, but at the same time he may not be able to walk as far or for as long now. However, you know your dog better than anyone, so paying attention to him when exercising is important, as you may be able to spot when he has had enough, or you may be able to tell if he is having any joint issues.

When it comes to our senior pets you may want to consider looking at your environment to see if you can do anything to make his life a little easier. Senior dogs are more prone to developing joint conditions, so if he is used to going up and down stairs often maybe you can change things so he can stay downstairs. Monitoring him when he is out in the garden could be essential too due to changes in temperatures. Keep in mind, that they can get heat stroke more easily during hot weather, and he is also less likely to defend himself against other animals.

Finally, we never like to discuss the inevitable, our best friend passing away yet we know it will happen, just as it does with family members and relatives. Therefore, the best approach is to treat every day as a golden opportunity to create a lasting memory with him, take a video or some pictures, so you can look back and enjoy the memories and share them with family and friends. Enjoy, and embrace those moments you used to take for granted, and set aside an hour or, so a day to just snuggle up with him, give him a treat, go for a walk, or just talk to him and let him know you love him just as much as you did the day you got him.

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Senior Pet – Taking Care Of A Senior Dogs During The Summer Heat

Senior Dog Summer HeatMost dog owners want what is best for their best friend, and that includes giving them healthy meals, a good bed, playtime and exercise, but not every owner knows the dangers of heat stroke. Heat stroke in dogs is a killer, and believe it or not thousands of owners lose their best friends each year to this deadly condition, yet it is preventable. Every dog can suffer from heat stroke, but it is especially the older dogs where it can set in much quicker, and if you know the signs to look for you can prevent it before it reaches the deadly stage.

First of all let us explain a little about how heat stroke comes about in our dogs to help our readers to learn what to watch out for. if, a dog’s temperature reaches 104 then it’s way of cooling itself becomes impaired, such as panting. Once his body mechanisms become overwhelmed then heat stroke can set in. That said, during this time as the temperature rises even further, other body functions start to fail, like the neurologic, circulatory, blood clotting and urinary systems, after which there is little chance of saving him. However, if you know the signs to look for early on, then he won’t get to this point, but sometimes without the knowledge we can inadvertently be harming him without even knowing it.

There are many signs of heat stress, or heat exhaustion that we need to pay attention to, especially in the warmer climates, even in the low 80’s dogs can get heat stroke, depending on where they are. If a dog is walking more slower than usual, or seemingly having trouble keeping up with you just walking, or if he is seeking out shady areas, and wanting to stop frequently these can be early signs. Moreover, prolonged and persistent panting as well as loud, or labored breathing can also be a warning sign.

Wide eyes or stressed eyes and increased anxiety in a dog can also be a sign of heat stress, although not all dogs will show all symptoms, any combination of what has been mentioned should be taken seriously. Having said that, if a dog is in a vehicle they can suffer very quickly from heat stroke, and early warning signs here could be barking, pacing, seeking out shelter under a seat or dashboard, and clawing at the windows or seats in an attempt to escape. Many dogs that die of heat stroke are simply because the owner left them in the car too long, even with a window down a couple of inches, this is because the heat in a car can be as much as 20 degrees hotter than outside the car.

Signs of heat stroke are obviously more serious, and immediate medical attention needs to be sort, especially if you notice a dog vomiting or having diarrhea, possibly with blood, drooling, eyes glazed over, staggering, seizures or even collapsing. One study showed that the temperature in a car can rise up to over 40 F in just one hour, the same study revealed that even on a mild day at 72 the temperature inside a car reached 93 F in just ten minutes. Therefore, it is highly recommended that if you have to leave your dog in a vehicle for more than 5 minutes, don’t take him with you, especially if you cannot let him out for a drink of water.

Because dogs do not have sweat glands like us, they can’t sweat to cool off, they only have panting, so they need to be cooled down in other ways, like giving them plenty of cool water to drink. in Addition, on hot days you can fill a child’s paddling pool, and let the dog soak his paws in the cool water, which can help cool him off too. However, make sure there is plenty of shade in the garden or yard area where you plan to set the pool up at. Having said that, if there is no natural shade like trees, then you could put a gazebo up, or a thick sheet or blanket to provide some shade.

The main concern with dog owners in the summer heat should be to keep the dog at a reliably cool temperature, remember he has a fur coat, so if it feels warm to you, then it’s probably hot for him. Taking him for walks early in the morning, or after dark when it’s cooler could work better than midday, and having an air conditioner in the home that he can lay in front of will benefit him greatly. Moreover, one should also remember that hot ashpalt, or paved areas can also add to heat stroke, so a grassy area would be better than a hard surface. Finally, by providing some of these things mentioned, along with what now seems logical solutions for him to cool off with, you may just be saving his life.