In Honor of Senior Dogs
The good news is that we (the world) are becoming better dog caretakers. We are paying more attention to their nutrition, exercise and overall wellness. The joyful result is that our dogs live longer. The definition of how many years = a senior dog varies by size and breed. Larger breeds, such as Newfoundlands and St. Bernards are usually seniors at 6 or 7, while Jack Russells and Westies don’t fall into the category until about 9.
Most of us celebrate senior dogs. Whether s/he has lived with us his whole life, or has been adopted later in life, our natural instinct is to be more careful and aware of our dogs’ health and welfare. Senior dogs are precious. They are happy to sit by your side and get a belly rub. Usually they will let you know if an activity is too much.
Here are some specific things that will contribute to your senior dogs wellness;
Brush teeth: On a daily basis and provide appropriate objects on which your pet can chew to reduce accumulation of plaque and tartar.
Detect cancer early: Check your dog regularly for:
- body tumors and bumps
- changes in weight
- slow-healing sores and
- Bleeding from the mouth, nose or ears
Watch for obesity: Obesity is more common in adult and senior pets than in juveniles.
On the other side, watching your dog age can be challenging. A dogs’ life span is ridiculously short. Unfortunately, dog caretakers deal with changes in their dogs in different ways. As advocates of ‘No More Homeless Pets’, Crate Escape has relationships with many rescue organizations and shelters. The number of stories we hear about dog caretakers surrendering senior dogs is crushing. For whatever reason, many people decide caring for their aging dogs is ‘too much’ and surrender them to local shelters. This brings us to a common misunderstanding about shelters; that they find forever homes for all dogs. Not true. The numbers of dogs euthanized each year in the US is staggering. It is also true that people are hesitant to adopt a senior dog. Thankfully, rescue groups are getting the word out about available senior dogs and sharing their stories. There are groups specifically formed to place senior dogs; and on Petfinder (www.petfinder.com) you can search specifically by age for adoptable dogs.
Spread the word. Education is huge in finding these dogs their final homes.
Common Dog Myths – BUSTED!
Myth 1. An old dog can’t learn new tricks
False. Apart from intense agility training, as long as your dog is mentally and physically capable, and motivated, it’s entirely possible for him or her to learn new tricks.
Myth 2. A dog shouldn’t sleep with you or be allowed on furniture, otherwise, he or she will become spoiled and misbehave.
False. Like humans, dogs simply want a comfortable place to sleep or lie down. If comfort includes time with their owner, then they’re all for it. Note: Some dogs may guard their sleeping or resting spot, but this is rare.
Myth 3. When your dog has a potty accident, it’s important to rub his nose in it to let him know what he did.
False. When you rub a dog’s nose in her own mess, she often sees no association between that and her having had a potty accident. Nor does rubbing her nose in her accident teach her not to potty on the floor again.
Myth 4. A dog who cowers from people was likely abused in the past.
False. There are various reasons for dogs to cower or be timid. In most cases, the dog might not have been properly socialized or had negative experiences during her prime socialization period as a puppy. The dog might just duck away because it learned to dodge people who try to grab its collar.
Myth 5. Shelter dogs have too much baggage. It’s better to adopt a puppy with a clean slate.
False. Many shelter dogs are well-behaved pets who, for a countless number of reasons, could not be kept by their original owners. Older dogs make ideal candidates for people wanting to skip the puppy stages of chewing, potty training and mouthing.
Myth 6. All dogs should be around other dogs.
False. Some people are introverted, and so are some dogs. Some dogs may prefer solitude and only a small, select group of people. Whether from lack of socialization as a puppy or simply an individual preference, dogs may not enjoy other canine’s company.
Myth 7. You should let dogs just fight it out when they get into a scuffle
False. (well, at least partly false). It’s true you should never get into the middle of a dog fight to break it up because that’s when many dog bites happen. Instead, trying using water, a really loud noise, or even a distraction like grabbing a treat bag. Dogs don’t normally settle matters on their own and fighting will most likely intensify if nothing is done.
And it is still summer! I have lots to do, catch up time with my blue ball, and check out the 3 Crate Escapes to make sure they survived without me. OK, I missed you guys a little. But, as you know, NOTHING compares to the beach!
Here is our last day: