10 Tips When Caring for a Senior Dog

Older dogs have different care requirements as compared to their younger counterparts. But to most people, a dog will always be a puppy even after reaching canine years, or even after their fur turns gray.

But eventually, a time will come when you realize that your dog is panting harder even when taking short walks or is struggling to climb onto the bed or the sofa. At that time, you’ll need to adjust to the lifestyle requirements of a senior dog.

Below you’ll find tips that will help you take care of your senior dog appropriately. Read on to learn more.

1.  Watch Your Dog’s Diet

Senior dogs are less active, and therefore you should avoid feeding them a diet with large amounts of calories. This will help prevent your dog from gaining extra weight that could lead to many health problems. Talk to your vet so you can understand the right diet for your aging dog.

2.  Exercise Your Dog

Exercise is a great way to keep your senior dog lean and maintain a healthy body. Just like people, as dogs age, they are unable to perform certain physical activities as they used to do when they were young. But exercises remain an important aspect of their health and well being.

Therefore, you should involve your dog in certain physical exercises. But you should tailor the exercises to the individual needs of your dog.

If your dog has not been doing exercises for a long time, start slow as you increase the intensity gradually. It is also important to consult a veterinarian to understand the duration of exercise suited for your dog.

For more information, read this article, Exercising Elderly Dogs.

3.  Involve Your Senior Dog in Social Activities

As dogs age, they tend to be less active and some even disengage from social activities. Even if your dog is too weak to go to the dog park, he’s definitely missing his pet pals, and so you should plan for some play dates. Through this, your dog will socialize and enjoy being in a less-restricted environment.

It is also important to take your dog with you when going out for family outings, instead of leaving him alone just because he has slowed down. Create a comfortable space for your pet in the car, drive slow, and book nice a pet friendly hotel.

4.  Have a Vet Check Your Dog More Often

As dogs get older, their immune system also gets weak. It is therefore important to have your dog checked by a vet at least twice a year. Just like senior people need routine care from the doctors, pets will also benefit from these visits.

Your older pet will require additional blood tests, dental care, as well as other examinations. Besides, some breeds have predispositions towards certain health conditions such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.  Frequent visits and early detection will help you discover these ailments before they become life threatening.

5.  Consider Dental Health

It is important to maintain the dental hygiene of your aging dog. Be sure to brush and clean your dog’s teeth to prevent dental diseases, decay, and chewing problems.

If it’s a challenge to brush and clean your dog’s teeth, you can opt for dental toys and dental treats instead.

6.  Watch Out for Any Behavioral Changes

Your dog can’t speak, but looking at his behavioral changes, you can know if he is ailing or not. While a senior dog is usually less active, paying attention to uncommon behavior can help detect problems early. Some dogs get excessively cranky when they are in pain or avoid interaction.

Signs such as decreased appetite, increased irritability or agitation, changes in urination, and increased water consumption could also mean that your dog is unwell.

7.  Keep Obesity at Bay

Overweight pets are at a higher risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even skin disease. You should ask your veterinarian about the nutritional requirements of a senior dog because overweight dogs need a special type of diet that provides the nutrients needed while allowing for weight loss.  

For instance, there are special diets with low calories and high L-carnitine content that can help in slow and steady weight loss.

8.  Provide Special Accommodation for Your Senior Dog

Just like puppies need customized boxes to sleep and stay warm,  you should also provide special accommodation for your aging dog.

If your dog is suffering from joint issues or hip dysplasia, install ramps that your dog can use to get to climb the bed or even the car. Also, ensure that food and water are kept in places where your pets can easily reach them, especially for those with vision impairments.

If you live in cold climates, consider providing your dog with heated beds, especially those with achy joints.

9.  Consider Regular Checks for Arthritis

The American Veterinary Medical Association shows that many pets suffer from arthritis. Therefore, you should have your dog checked for arthritis more often. If you notice signs such as decreased activity, difficulty climbing stairs, difficulty sitting or standing and seemingly stiff joints, you should contact your vet.

10.  Keep Your Dog Occupied with Toys

You can use toys to keep your old dog occupied. This will not only help keep your pets entertained but also help in weight loss. Toys that require chewing or promote activity will also stimulate the aging muscles and keep your dog healthier for longer.

For More Articles About Pet Health, CLICK HERE

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In this video, I’ll give you my recommendation for the best tips and advice to help dog behavior problems.  I recommend Doggy Dan, owner and creator of the dog training website, The Online Dog Trainer.  In this video I’ll give you access to a 4-part dog training video series from Doggy Dan for FREE.  Thanks for watching!  Debrahelp dog behavior problemsTo Sign Up for the Free Dog Training Discussed in the Video, Click Here:

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Help Dog Behavior Problems

The best way to help dog behavior problems is to get the proper training.  Doggy Dan, Professional Dog Trainer and Behavioral Specialist, has a dog training website called, The Online Dog Trainer, where he has more than 250 videos showing him working with dogs directly.  People invite Doggy Dan into their home to work with their dog one-on-one, and Doggy Dan video tapes the training sessions for the website.

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Sign up for a free dog training manual written by Doggy Dan, Professional Dog Trainer and Owner of The Online Dog Trainer.

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Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I earn on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!  Debra  🙂

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Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I earn on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!  Debra  🙂

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How to Help Pit Bulls – They Need Us to Defend Them!

how to help pit bullsI recently came across Tracey Stewart’s book, Do Unto Animals.  It’s a beautiful, inspiring, informative book about caring for and loving animals – one of the sweetest I’ve ever seen.  Not to mention beautifully (stunningly!) illustrated.  You can read my review of the book HERE.

For the Love of Pit Bulls

In the book, Tracey writes a chapter regarding pit bulls that brought me to tears.  I felt compelled to share it on this website, and to promote the ideas she shares so that more people can learn how to help pet bulls.  I hope you’ll do the same by sharing this article with your friends and on social media.  Here’s Tracey’s article:

“Clearly, certain dogs are more physically powerful than others and can be visually intimidating to some people.  If you choose to share your life with a larger dog, in addition to the extra-large portion of love you’ll get, you need to be prepared to accept an extra-large portion of responsibility.  People may be tolerant of a little dog that is a lot out of control, but often have no tolerance for a larger dog that is even a little out of control.  You owe it to your dog, who by no choice of his own may be judged more harshly than his smaller, less fearsome-looking counterparts, to teach good manners and sociability.  Who knows, perhaps your dog can be an ambassador to change perceptions.

To date, five dogs that would be described by many to be “pit bulls” have joined our family:  Enzo, Shamsky, Monkey, Lil’ Dipper, and Scout.  Each has touch our hearts and enriched our lives profoundly.  I can’t imagine never having had the joy they’ve all given us.

Misinformation about this breed abounds.  Here are some facts you may not know and that you can share with others to spread the good word about these dogs that too often are stigmatized without cause.

FACT:  Three breeds of dogs are officially considered pit bull terriers (a mix of bulldog and terrier): Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, and American Staffordshire terriers.  Anything else is not a true pit bull, but rather a mix of some other kind.

FACT:  Experts have found it impossible to accurately assign a breed label or predict future behaviors based solely on a dog’s appearance.

FACT:  In the beginning of the twentieth century, pit bull-type dogs were among the most popular family dogs.  They were even referred to as “nanny” dogs.

FACT:  In the 1980’s, pit bulls became the dog of choice of drug dealers, dogfighters, and gangs.  These people raise dogs in deplorable conditions and purposely incite fear and aggression in them for their own deviant purposes.  The result has been unspeakable injury, suffering and cruelty for canines and humans.

FACT:  The disproportionate number of pit bull types in shelters is more due to irresponsible and prolific breeding than the misconduct of individual dogs.  The large number of these dogs in shelters should not be interpreted as a negative reflection of their adoptability.

FACT:  Media outlets have always salivated over a good fear-instilling animal story.  Some believe that pit bulls became the victim in 1987 when Sports Illustrated published a cover with a snarling American pit bull terrier and the headline, “Beware of This Dog.”  Rolling Stone also published a graphic article about “teenagers, inner-city gangs, violence and the horrific abuse of pit bulls.”  Pit bulls became the new easy breed to plug into the vicious dog story.

FACT:  Many shelters euthanize a dog just for looking like a pit bull either due to their own ignorance or because they think that prejudice will limit the dog’s chances for adoption regardless of the temperament or soundness of the individual dog.”

Pretty Sad, Don’t You Agree? 

When I read this I pictured a young, male pit bull at the local shelter saying, “You mean I have to die today because of the way I look?  But I’m a good boy!”  This dog likely gives unlimited, unconditional love to humans, most likely behaves well as it is an intelligent breed, and would, I have no doubt, give his life to protect its owner (especially a child).  Tears.  That’s what the misperception and mistreatment of pit bulls creates for me.  Profound sadness, sympathy, and tears.

Ways to Help Pit Bulls

how to help pit bullsTraining

Pit bulls need extra help with training because, as unfair as it is, they have to behave almost perfectly just to be accepted by society.  Sadly, they can’t get away with minor misbehavior or mistakes that every dog breed makes – they tend to be crucified for the smallest infractions.

The best dog training program I know of is The Online Dog Trainer, created by well-respected dog trainer, Daniel Abdelnoor (known as “Doggy Dan”).  His dog training website is by far the best, and fastest growing dog training website available. You can read my review of The Online Dog Trainer HERE.

Here’s a video of Doggy Dan working with Kay, an 18-month-old pit bull.

The best (and maybe only) way to keep your pit bull out of trouble is to make sure that he’s trained so well that he doesn’t misbehave.  Doggy Dan is the best trainer there is.  You can have access to more than 300 videos on his website where you can see Doggy Dan working individually with dogs about every dog behavior issue you can think of.  Doggy Dan offers a 3-day trial of the website for $1.  There is no obligation after that.  So get on the website and look around for 3 days.  I’m sure you’ll be very excited about the things you can teach your dog.

how to help pit bulls

More Ways to Help Pit Bulls

Remember Their History
Not that long ago, pit bulls were the preferred nanny dog, and they were often left in charge of young children. One of the most famous pit bulls was Petey, the dog who starred in “Little Rascals” films. There have been a number of famous pit bulls, and they are still one of the top ten most popular breeds in the U.S.

Pit bulls then ended up getting a bad rap when they became the guard dog of choice for drug dealers.  Around the same time, dog fighting re-emerged.  And pit bulls are not the only dogs who have been marked as dangerous over the years.  At various times, German shepherds and Rottweilers were at risk of being outlawed.

These facts alone are strong evidence that it’s not the breed that’s the problem; it’s how they’re treated and used by humans.

Be a Responsible Owner
If you have a pit bull, make sure you have trained him properly, and that he gets enough exercise.  Provide him with boundaries, rules and limitations, and make sure he’s socialized with other dogs, people, and children.

Work Against Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)
Many lawmakers are starting to take another look at Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and are now working on more sensible laws that focus on the behavior of the owners rather than focusing on the type of dog.

The best way to counteract fear is education.  Together we can keep pressing forward until, one day, pit bulls are once again seen as the beautiful, lovable best friends they’ve always been.

Get the Word Out

Please do your part in helping to get the word out about pit bulls being misunderstood and unfairly judged.  This book, “I’m a Good Dog,” is a great way to start.  Read it, then pass it along.  Perhaps even purchase a copy to donate to your local library (or several libraries)!  Anything we can do to educate people will help.

how to help pit bulls

I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet

Filled with inspiring stories and photographs, this heartfelt tribute to the pit bull celebrates one of America’s most popular yet misunderstood dogs.

Perhaps more than any other breed, the pit bull has been dogged by negative stereotypes. In truth, pit bulls are innately wonderful family pets, as capable of love and good deeds as any other type of dog. Setting the record straight, Ken Foster sings the praises of pit bulls in I’m a Good Dog, a gorgeously illustrated, tenderly written tribute to this most misunderstood of canines.

Founder of the Sula Foundation, which promotes responsible pit bull ownership in New Orleans, and the author of two acclaimed books about abandoned dogs, Foster has made it his mission to bring overlooked canines into the limelight. I’m a Good Dog traces the fascinating history of this particularly maligned breed. A century ago, the pit bull was considered a family dog, featured in family photos and trusted as loving companions for children. More recently, pit bulls have been portrayed by the media as stereotypes of everything they are not. Foster shatters that reputation through moving profiles of pit bulls that serve as therapy dogs, athletic heroes, search-and-rescue dogs, and educators, not to mention as loving pets. Foster also profiles many pit bull lovers, from Helen Keller and Dr. Seuss to actor Todd Cerveris, who took his pit bull on tour with him for the musical Spring Awakening.

Proving that there’s much to love and nothing to fear, I’m a Good Dog restores the pit bull to its rightful place as friend, family member, athlete and entertainer.

Websites and Articles to Help Pit Bulls

American Pit Bull Foundation

Sula Foundation

ASPCA’s Position Statement on Pit Bulls

Huffington Post – 10 Stereotypes About Pit Bulls That Are Just. Dead. Wrong

GlobalAnimal.com – Pit Bull Discrimination – A People Problem?

We Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!  Debra

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Is It Too Late to Train My Dog? You CAN Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

Today I’d like to clear something up.  It’s that myth that’s been talked about for years…the myth that, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

This isn’t true!

That would be like saying you can’t teach an elderly man or woman new things – older people can learn, and so can older dogs.  The truth is we can all learn, and we can all change.  People and dogs alike.

Is It Too Late to Train My Dog?Is It Too Late to Train My Dog

If you’re reading this article, then it’s likely you’re looking for information on changing your older dog’s behavior.  Some dog owners or even dog trainers may say that this is impossible, but professional dog trainer, Doggy Dan knows it’s totally possible.  He’s seen older dogs’ behavior change – quickly and easily – so many times over the years, that in his mind it’s very possible.  In fact, it’s often true that as dogs get older, training can become easier because older dogs don’t have as much energy to misbehave as they did when they were pups!

The Online Dog Trainer, created by well-respected dog trainer, Daniel Abdelnoor (known as “Doggy Dan”), is by far the best, and fastest growing dog training website available. Doggy Dan really is the best online dog trainer.

Check out this video where Doggy Dan personally takes us on a tour of The Online Dog Trainer. Doggy Dan offers a 3-day trial for $1, and in this video he shows you what you’ll be able to see immediately upon signing up!

Is It Too Late to Train My Dog

Read my review of the online dog trainer HERE

Is It Too Late to Train My DogTricks Doggy Dan Will Help You Teach Your Old Dog

This is a list of things that Doggy Dan usually teaches puppies, but you can certainly teach the very same things to older dogs too.  So if you have an older dog with any of the following issues, know that there is hope!  And often, it’s not even difficult.

This list is in order of priority, with #1 being the most important.  We’ll start with #10, then work our way up to the most important, #1.

#10.  Command Training (sit, stay, etc.)

The reason this one is being listed at #10 (or the least priority) is because it’s very easy to teach this later on, once you’ve built a solid foundation of training with your dog.  But for now, start using some simple commands, using treats to help the progress along.  Don’t rush…take it easy.

#9.  Grooming (nail trimming, brushing, inspecting the mouth/teeth).

If your older dog hates any of these things, you can turn it around with a bit of knowledge and patience.  The key thing you have to do prior to trying to teach your dog to tolerate these things is to become the pack leader.  If you are, the dog will trust you with pretty much anything.  We’ll be talking about pack leader training later in this article.  In the meantime, try to make it a positive experience by using treats and praise, and stay calm.

#8.  Recall (getting your dog to come when called).

This is the most important command of all, because it’s a matter of safety.  It could literally mean the difference between life and death for your dog if, for example, he’s running toward a busy street and there’s a car coming, and he won’t come when you call!  One of the tricks to getting your dog to come when you call is to use his name only as a positive experience.  Meaning, don’t use your dog’s name when you’re upset with him for misbehaving.  They have to think that when they hear their name, something good is going to happen (like a treat or affection).  They’ll be more inclined to come when they hear their name if they think something good is coming.

#7.  Socialization (experiencing people and places).

If you want your dog to be able to go places with you and you want them to be comfortable, say, when people come over, then you have to work on his socialization skills.  Starting when their young and remaining calm is the key.  But older dogs can also be made to feel comfortable in situations that are not familiar to them, if your patient, start small, and monitor your dog’s reactions to see how he’s coping.  And again, pack leader training will be important here as well.  If your dog sees you as the pack leader, he’ll have confidence in you no matter his surroundings.

#6.  Home Alone (separating anxiety).

Our dogs would love it if we never left the house (or at least never left the house without them!)  But obviously, that can’t happen.  So it’s important that you take the time to make sure your dog feels comfortable being left home alone.  I hate to annoy you with repetition, but again, the best way to solve separation anxiety is to teach your dog to see you as the pack leader – then he’ll be comfortable with you leaving “the den.”  But it’s also important not to make drama when you leave (no big farewell!), and don’t make a big deal when you come home.  Make it more casual, or “business as usual.”

#5.  Behavior With Other Dogs.

It’s so enjoyable to watch your dog playing with other dogs.  Generally speaking, it’s best to start socializing your dog with other dogs when they’re a puppy.  But you’d be surprised how well an older dog can do when 1) he sees his owner as the pack leader (therefore the decision maker as to whether the other dog is friend or foe), and 2) if you are patient and stay aware of how your dog (and the other dog) are reacting.  If your dog is aggressive with other dogs, then the pack leader training is even more crucial.

#4.  Biting or Mouthing.

This is fairly easy to stop when you know how.  For example, rather than shouting, “No!” when your dog is biting or mouthing you (that only increases the energy to the situation), it’s better to put them in time-out for a few minutes.  They won’t like that consequence and after a few tries, they’ll get the hint that biting and mouthing gets them outed!

#3.  Calming Your Dog.

It’s important to have a dog who doesn’t over react to situations.  If they are overly excited, emotional or stressed, it’s hard to train them.  So developing the ability to calm your dog is important.  This starts in the house, then expands to when you’re outdoors or away from home with them.  Remember that your dog looks to you for guidance (especially if he sees you as the pack leader).  So if you want him to remain calm, then you have to be calm.

#2.  Potty Training.

If your dog is older than six months and still peeing in the house, it’s likely he is “marking.”  Doggy Dan covers this, and other possible difficulties with toilet training, on the website.

#1.  Becoming the Pack Leader!

I know.  I’ve mentioned this so many times now that you’re not surprised this is the #1 priority in dog training!  Establishing clear leadership with your dog is truly the most important requirement of successful dog training.  If your dog does not see you as the pack leader, then every single thing you ever try to do with or teach your dog becomes way harder than it has to be.  This is the thing Doggy Dan focuses on most when he does home visits and one-on-one consultations with his clients, whether they have a brand new puppy, an older dog, or a dog with serious behavior issues.

When you make being the pack leader the foundation of your relationship with your dog, everything else falls into place. Without it, you’re on shaky ground and probably experiencing a whole list of issues with your dog.

Is It Too Late to Train My DogGet Help from Doggy Dan!

Inside Doggy Dan’s website, The Online Dog Trainer, you’ll find the videos Doggy Dan has put together to show you exactly how to put this training into place.  All of the topics listed in this article are covered, and lots (lots!) more, including footage of Doggy Dan training dogs during his live consultations.

So if you want to know what to do next to start teaching your old dog new tricks, then look no further.  Doggy Dan will show you how!  It only costs $1 to browse through Doggy Dan’s website and watch videos for 3 whole days.  Isn’t it worth it to at least check it out?

It’s Never Too Late

So yes, you most certainly can train an older dog.  And the sooner you get started, the better.  So if you need help improving your older dog’s behavior, sign up for the $1 three-day trial of Doggy Dan’s dog training website.  I promise you’ll end up being a much better dog owner!  Not only will you be able to train your dog quickly and easily, in a loving and kind manner, but you’ll also be building an even more meaningful relationship with your dog, full of mutual love and respect.  They’re so worth it!  Debra

Is It Too Late to Train My Dog

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