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The Importance Of Regular Check Ups For Senior Pets

Seniors Pets Check UpsFor many pet owners it is difficult to tell if our pets are getting to the stage where they are slowing down because they are sick, or if it is just old age. To give you a good rule of thumb, a senior dog is around seven to eight years of age, and although many dogs live until they are twelve or even fifteen, you should be taking them for regular check ups from about the age of 8 years. In addition, many conditions and illnesses can start to show signs at this age, but also blood tests can reveal hidden conditions easily that you may not be aware of at this stage, so let us look at the importance of regular check ups, and some signs to look out for as your pet ages.

To give you an idea of the aging process of a dog, for every one of our years a dog would age around 6 to 8 years, so diseases associated with older humans, like diabetes, liver and heart problems can start to begin in a dog as early as six, occasionally earlier. Many health problems with dogs have visible signs to look for while other conditions can only be detected by blood tests, although even hidden diseases may be apparent by watching his behavior change. Having said that, another reason it is important for regular check ups for senior pets is because in many cases, the earlier a condition is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Things To Look Out For In Your Senior Pet

Take some time out each week to give your pet a good check up yourself, look out for any new lumps or bumps on his body as these may not be apparent just by looking, you have to feel for them, and sometimes lumps can turn cancerous, and spread throughout the body. Hip dysplasia is quite common in larger dogs, but can also be a problem for smaller dogs too, or they can suffer from sore and swollen joints. Sometimes there are obvious signs to look for, like his unwillingness to get up too often, or walk long distances due to the pain in the joints, or he may not be willing to climb stairs where before he may have run up them.

Quite a few older dogs can have poor eyesight, and some even end up going blind, and this is more common than you would think. Check on his eyes regularly, and report any abnormalities to your vet, a grey slightly milky look could be a sign of cataracts and if left alone can lead to blindness. Glaucoma can be another eye condition senior pets can develop, and red or sore eyes can be a sign of this. Therefore, in this case you should make an appointment with your vet to get this checked out, and discuss which treatment plan is best for him.

Heart, Lungs, Kidneys And Liver

Senior pets with a cough, breathlessness, decreased stamina, or a bloated stomach can be signs of cardiac issues and should be checked out, because as the heart ages it can develop a heart murmur or even a swollen heart. Similar signs could mean a lung disease like bronchitis or even pneumonia, especially if there is a cough present and there seems to be difficulty in breathing. A lack of appetite, nausea, and sometimes seizures can be a sign of a liver problem, because in senior pets the liver can malfunction and create a build up of toxins in the body.

Problems with kidneys are quite common in both dogs, and cats and there can be several signs to look for as a senior pet owner. Weight loss, excessive thirst, bad smelling breath and/or mouth ulcers can all be signs there is a kidney problem. Having said that, all the aforementioned conditions can be either treated, cured, or manageable for a better quality of life providing they are caught early, which is why it is so important to have regular vet check ups in senior pets.

Many life threatening conditions can plague our senior pets as they move toward their twilight years, and most of them can be detected either by a simple blood test, or urine sample. Early detection can be vital in the course of treatment, and whether or not he can be cured, or just make life easier and more comfortable for him, depending on the ailment or condition. Therefore, getting regular check ups for our senior pets is important, because catching a condition early enough for a cure can save you money further down the line, and lead to him having a much longer life too, so that you both can enjoy more years together easily.

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Making Senior Pets Comfortable In Their Last Year Of Their Lives

Making Senior Pets Comfortable In Their Last Year Of Their Lives - Paws at PeaceAfter spending more than a decade with our best friend, we know the inevitable is going to happen, but really don’t want to think about it. However, we still want what is best for him, and it’s still our job as a pet parent to take care of him the best we can and make him as comfortable as we can during his final year. The bond between a man’s best friend, and his owner often can’t be matched by anything else. Moreover, only you can know his preferences, dislikes, and favorite petting spots, whether it’s his ears or his belly. That being said, let us talk a bit more about other things that can make him more comfortable during this final phase of his life.

Many dogs in their last year of life prefer the quiet, so keeping him away from loud noises, or playing children may make him feel more secure at this time in his life. Also, at this point in time his joints may be aching, and he may even have arthritis, so it is important to make sure he has something soft to lay on, as hard floors will just make it worse. Talking to him in a soft tone, and petting him whenever he allows it will let him know that you still care about him, and that everything is going to be ok.

As he gets closer to his final days he may not be able to walk very far, so another thing you may want to consider is giving him his meals close to where he is most comfortable. Also, hydration is still important at this time of his life, so you should always keep a bowl of water close by, so he can take a drink whenever he needs one. Having said that, he may be at a stage where he can’t eat much solid food. Therefore, you may want to start giving him a liquid food, or mash his food up into a soup for him, so it is easier for him to digest.

Another thing that happens in the last days is he may have accidents, not being able to get outside quick enough for a bathroom break, so be sure to keep him in a place where it is easier to clean up any mess. Moreover, it is also important not to punish him at this late stage in life, it’s not his fault, just let him know everything is ok and don’t make a big thing about it, or it will just cause unnecessary stress. If he has a favorite food, a favorite toy, or even a favorite blanket, make sure all these things are around him or close by, so that he can see them, as this again will make him feel more secure.

It is also important to remember that at this point in their life pets cannot regulate their body temperature as well as they used to, so you may want to place a warm blanket over him if he shows signs of feeling cold. Some owners in the last days decide to sleep with their dog, either putting a makeshift bed by your dogs bed, or letting him sleep on your own bed, this can give him added comfort and security. If you can’t get time off work to be with him in his final days, try to get a good friend to sit with him, and maybe record some of his activity when you’re not there.

Finally, something that can often make senior pets feel more relaxed, and comfortable in their final days is soft music, and you can purchase music with just wildlife sounds, with birds singing and running water. Whatever method you choose to make your senior pet feel comfortable in their final year, it will surely let him know that you still care deeply for him, and that you are there for him just like he has been there for you for many years. Always be sure to take pictures, or video of your best friend, so you can look back and remember all the wonderful times you had together, and that he will always be in your heart, even when he’s passed on.

Dr. Kim Simpson Fur Babies Pet Loss

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.

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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.

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Spring and Fur Babies

Happy Spring to all my pet parents and their fur babies.  Even though we had an early Easter all of the different lilies are still blooming.  Remember there are a lot of toxic flowers and ornamentals that grow in the yard.  Even if you do not have any be aware of the flowers in the neighborhood as you are walking your fur baby.  Make sure they do not eat any of them.

For those of you pet parents that like to garden as I do, compost can be very toxic to our fur babies.  Make sure to keep your compost bind confined and away from the curious noses our 4 legged family members.

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Fur Baby: In Memory of Jill

 

This post is to the memory of Jill, another fur baby that was transitioned a few weeks ago.

To leave your own memorial for your beloved pet please click here.

Dr. Kim Simpson Fur Babies Holiday Season Paws At Peace

Pet Stress: Sometimes the holiday season can get stressful…

Sometimes the holiday season can get stressful and put your lead to pet stress. Keep in mind our fur babies are precious gifts from God, all ways loyal, and forgiving. When the day is long and stressful, and you are tired. Just go love on your fur baby for a few minuets, the stress will magically disappear.

 

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This Holiday Season…

The holiday season has approached, this is a time to look back over the year and remember our loved fur babies that have gone to the rainbow bridge.  To all the pet parents that have lost a fur baby please know that I am sending thoughts of peace your way as we continue to honor our fur babies.  My kindest thoughts are with you and your families.
Sincerely,
Dr. Kim Simpson
PawsAtPeacePetHospice.com

PawsAtPeacePetHospice.com