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Common Problems For Senior Pets

Common Problems For Senior Pets - paws at peace pet hospiceAs our senior pets age, just like us they will find it harder to fight off infections, and their immune system will not be as good as it used to be, and they will also develop some health conditions. Having said that, it can be easy to put any changes in their behavior down to aging, but it is always better to be safe than sorry, and take them to the vet if anything seems out of the ordinary. Moreover, let us take a look at some of the more common problems for senior pets and what to look for.

One of the most common problems in senior dogs is gum disease, which may not seem such a big deal, but if left untreated can lead to some serious health issues. In addition, gum inflammation, or gingivitis can lead to gum disease, which is where the gums actually pull away from the teeth, and thus this creates pockets, which can then become infected, and even lead to bone loss. Gum disease can even lead to infections in the blood, in turn leading to possible serious damage to one, or more of the internal organs, so be sure to take him for regular checkups, especially if you notice bleeding or swollen gums or gums that are tender and red.

Another condition that is becoming more, and more common today in our senior pets is Diabetes, and usually occurs in dogs around the age of 8 or 9. Diabetes is basically improper functioning of insulin in the body, and can often be hereditary, and is more common in females than in males. Symptoms of Diabetes are weight loss, irritability, increased urination and thirst, and cuts that heal slowly, or slow healing bruises, if you notice any of these signs then it is probably a good idea to have a vet check him out.

Blindness is a condition that we’d rather not think of as a common disease in senior dogs, but it is a process that occurs over time especially in many older dogs, yet it doesn’t have to change their lives drastically due to their amazing smell and hearing. Senior dogs that have gone blind can be fine outside on a leash, and they can navigate their home environment without any problems as long as furniture isn’t moved around too frequently. Early signs of deteriorating eyesight is Cataracts, which is a white covering over the eye, while other more obvious signs are bumping into things, falling down and red or irritated eyes.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in senior dogs, and is not very often diagnosed with blood tests in its early stages, so it is important for us senior dog owners to check them out frequently. That being said, be certain to check for lumps, or bumps that shouldn’t be there, bleeding from the ears, nose or mouth, sores or cuts that heal slowly and weight loss. Other things to watch for would be blood in the stool, diarrhea or constipation. However, these are not guaranteed signs of cancer, but if you do notice any of these signs it is always best to get them checked out, cancer has a good success rate if caught early on.

Finally, although there are many common problems for our senior pets, not every pet will get one or more of these conditions mentioned, and if they do develop one or more of these problems, many are treatable if caught early on. Having said that, being a responsible pet owner means that we should check them over thoroughly once in a while, be aware of any changes in their behavior and mood, and report these changes when you see your vet. Regular checkups, and good communication with your vet is important, and can play a vital role in detecting conditions early on, so even if you think a change in your pets behavior is insignificant, tell the vet anyway, it could just save his life, and help him to easily enjoy his senior years too.

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Keeping Your Senior Pet Comfortable During The Winter Months

Keeping Your Senior Pet Comfortable During The Winter Months - Paws At Peace

Winter time can be harsh on both humans and animals, and although we can take medications, and wrap up warm our senior pets rely on us to look after them. Winter time is the time for joint pain, colds, sores, and worsening health conditions, but we can do a lot to help our senior pets to have a more comfortable time during these cold months. Having said that, let us take a good look at some things we can do to help our pets have a nice time even during the winter, and be more comfortable so they don’t have to suffer at all.

One of the first things to think about during the winter is where your senior pet is sleeping, because where he sleeps during the summer months may not be appropriate during the colder weather. Make sure there are no constantly opening doors where he sleeps, or relaxes as the hot, and cold air can be hazardous to his arthritis if he has any associated joint pain. A warm room that stays at a constant temperature will be much better for him as well as a comfortable bed.

When it comes to beds for senior pets, this may be a good time to purchase a new one, especially if he has had his bed for a long time. Manufacturers are constantly thinking of new ways to improve products, and more recently you can buy special beds that have memory foam or foam that forms to your pets body when he lays down. These orthopedic type beds are ideal for senior pets, especially those that suffer from arthritis, any type of joint issues, and hip dysplasia, making them much more comfortable and able to get better sleep.

Another thing we have to think about when it comes to our senior pets is when it snows, or there is ice on the sidewalks and roads, as it can be very hazardous for them. Even though dogs, and cats have nice furry coats, their paws can be affected by the cold, ice, and salt that is put down on these surfaces, making them sore and prone to cracking, which in turn can lead to infections. Therefore, you may want to consider giving them some boots, or booties to wear to help protect their paws while outside.

Depending on the breed of your dog, you may also want to consider a dog jacket, or coat to protect them, especially in areas where the temperature can go below freezing, or areas where it gets very damp and cold. Generally, the larger dog breeds with heavy coats, like the Labrador or German Shepherd Dog do not require a coat, but with smaller dogs with much less hair or fur, the cold wind can penetrate their coat easily. Many of these relatively new products out on the market now are very affordable, and if you buy them off season ready for next year you can often get large discounts, making it a worthwhile purchase.

One of the main concerns with senior pets during winter months is joint pain, this can be for a number of reasons, and as we all know pain is not very nice. However, talk to your vet about adding some Glucosamine, and Chondroitin to his diet, which helps to lubricate their joints, which even in a healthy pet can stiffen up in the winter time and become painful. Moreover, you should not stop exercising your senior pet during the colder months, in fact you should keep up with regular exercise to avoid stiffening of the joints.

During winter you may also want to take your senior pet to the vet for a checkup, as our pets age much quicker than we do, and can develop conditions fairly quickly compared to us. Also, look out for unusual behavior during the cold months, like your pet may not want to go upstairs, or climb onto a bed that he used to do all the time, this could be an early sign that he is having joint problems. Protecting your senior pet from the rigors of nature is not so hard to do, and it will make for a much comfortable life for him during these potentially dangerous months, and he may even live longer for it too.

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Comfort Products For Senior Dogs

Comfort Products For Senior DogsWe all want to make sure our senior dogs are healthy, and comfortable in their later years, and with many products that are out on the market today we can make their lives even more comfortable. Having said that, some products can even help prolong their life, especially if they suffer with certain conditions like joint problems. Therefore, in this article we will take a closer look at some of the products that will make a senior dog’s life more comfortable, as well as help them to improve his quality of life, so read on to learn more.

Boots Or Booties

Boots, or booties as they are often referred to, are not just for looks or people that pamper their pets, they actually serve a purpose that your dog will be grateful for. Boots will stop them from slipping on icy surfaces in the winter, and also protect their paws from the toxic additives when salt is laid on the road or pavement. Also in winter, many dogs that walk on icy, or snowy surfaces suffer with sore paws that can lead to infection, so booties actually have a practical use for your senior dog as well as younger dogs too for that matter.

Orthopedic Mattress

These mattresses make a huge difference to the quality of life for your senior dog, especially larger dogs that can suffer with joint and back issues. These mattresses are not only comfortable for your senior dog, but are extremely practical with dogs that suffer with arthritis, and other aches and pain conditions. Moreover, they can be extremely affordable, and can last the whole dogs life, and even if you start a younger dog on a orthopedic mattress, it will help him later in life easily.

Steps And Ramps

You can now purchase steps, or ramps for your senior dog, which can be a great help for those senior dogs that have trouble getting to higher places due to joint issues. Many older dogs cannot get up on a sofa, or couch that they so used to love, or some that are used to sleeping on their owners bed just can’t jump up anymore due to arthritis or other conditions. However, by purchasing a ramp, or step it can make their life much easier, and get them to where they are most comfortable without too much effort, and it makes it easier on their limbs.

Life Vests

This may sound a strange idea until you actually think about it, many dogs live near water of some kind like a river, lake, pond or even the ocean, and they probably love to swim. The life vest is a precautionary garment that is very practical as your dog gets older, because his limbs aren’t as strong as they used to be, and the life vest will protect them if they get worn out or tired while swimming in the water. Swimming is great exercise for all dogs, because is uses virtually every muscle in the body, and is also therapeutic, yet it is also a good idea to ensure their safety by fitting a life vest before they go into the water.

Hind Limb Harness And Slings

The hind limb harness, or slings are both great products for senior dogs that have joint problems, arthritis, or just have problems walking, especially those that are paralyzed. Hind limb harnesses attach to the dogs rear end, and attach to a handle so that you can support their back legs, and many owners have said that without the harness their dog would not be able to get out and about. In addition, the slings are designed to fit under the abdomen to support the hips, and are made with a padded or cushioned underside for comfort.

There are many products out on the market for dogs that are just gimmicks, or do not serve a real purpose, but every so often there are products that come out, which do actually help. The products we have looked at here today provide both practical, and health benefits to make life easier for your senior dog. Moreover, some of these products can actually add years to your dog’s life, and make life much more comfortable for them, whether it be getting in, and out of a bed or couch, or having much needed relief for their arthritis.

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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.

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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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