Welcoming a new furry companion into your family is an exciting and heartwarming decision, but with hundreds of dog breeds to choose from, how do you know which one is the best fit for your unique family dynamics? Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or looking to expand your pack, finding the perfect dog breed involves careful consideration and understanding of your family’s lifestyle, preferences, and individual needs. In this blog post, we’ll embark on a journey to help you navigate the world of canines and discover the ideal four-legged friend who will bring boundless joy and companionship into your lives. So, get ready to wag those tails as we explore the factors that can help you find the best dog breed tailored specifically for your family!Continue reading “Unleashing Happiness: Finding the Perfect Dog Breeds for Your Family”
Most dog owners would agree that dogs are a blessing. They bring so much joy and love into any home. That’s why it’s so heartbreaking to see them get old.
Unfortunately, as dogs grow old, they tend to start showing symptoms of old age. They may get sick more often, or suffer from arthritis. They may also have less energy.
While this is not fun for the dogs or their human owners, growing old doesn’t have to be a bad experience for dogs. There are plenty of things that you can do to take care of your older dog, and we’re here to discuss them.
Take them to the vet
If your older dog is showing any symptoms of illness or pain, you should take them to the vet immediately. The vet will be able to pinpoint the exact cause of their discomfort, and hopefully, give you suggestions on how to fix it.
Often, this can be something as simple as not allowing your pet to jump on furniture since it can damage their joints. Other times, it may be something more severe, like your pet going on chronic medication or needing surgery. Whatever the cause, a good vet like Paoli Vetcare will be able to assist.
Keep them comfortable
As mentioned, when your pet ages, they will likely have some struggles, so if there’s anything you can do to make life easier for them, do it.
If your dog is losing their sight, for example, you shouldn’t move furniture around as this could confuse them and they could get hurt. You can also carry your dog up and down your stairs so that they don’t need to struggle with steps. If you are adopting an adult dog, be sure to make your house easy to navigate for them.]
Adjust their food
Just as puppies require specialized puppy food, your older dog will need food made specifically for them. This will likely help strengthen their joints and bones and help with their eyesight and hearing.
Of course, you should always avoid foods that are bad for your dog, no matter what age they are. Older dogs often do not have a big appetite, so play around with your dog’s eating schedule to see when they are hungry.
Once you find a food that works for them, don’t change it too often, as this may upset their stomach.
Give them love
The last tip we have is the easiest and also the most important: give your old dog lots of love! People often give dogs a lot of attention when they are young puppies, and as the dogs age, they lose interest in them.
But your old dog still loves you, and you should give them love and affection every day. Growing old can be scary for a dog because they might get confused, so you need to be there for them.
Cuddling a dog is also good for your health, so it’s a win-win situation. Remember that you never know how much time you have left with your dog, so love them while you still can.
One thing that we’ve come to realise now that Chuck is older is that taking care of an elderly dog is vastly different to caring for a younger one. His drives have completely changed now that he’s an old man (he’s the equivalent of around 80 years old in human years) and we’ve had to make some changes to accomodate him and keep him healthy for as long as possible. Here’s some of the things you might want to consider if you have an elderly pet:
Just like with old people, old pets can struggle with mobility. Chuck used to race up and down the stairs with ease, walk for hours and think nothing of jumping up and down onto the bed or sofa to snuggle with us. Now, he’s a lot less mobile, so we’ve placed water bowls both up and downstairs so that he never has to go too far for a drink and we’re also looking into getting some pet steps so that he can get up onto the bed without having to jump.
This one is a double-edge sword. Now that he’s less mobile, he doesn’t exercise as much and therefore doesn’t need to eat as much. However, since his drives have turned away from procreation, they’ve turned firmly towards food so he acts like he’s hungry MOST of the time! We’re careful to limit table scraps and have moved him onto a diet which is best for senior dogs which gives him the nutrients he needs with fewer calories so that he doesn’t get fat!
We know for a fact that he’s suffering with heart problems and suspect that he had a heart attack sometime last year. This means that the dog who used to walk for literally hours now barely makes it 800m. We’ve decided that we allow him to completely dictate how far he wants to go; on days when he’s not feeling it, we leave him be or let him have a little plod to the end of the road and back, but if he seems pretty spritely we let him dictate the pace and distance and it seems to be working pretty well.
Some pet owners are lucky to rarely ever need to take their pet to the vet, but once they get older it’s vital to get at least a check-up. Chuck takes a variety of medications for his heart and an anti-inflammatory for his joints which means that he gets to live out his old age with minimum pain or discomfort. If you’re worried about vets bills, the PDSA offers treatment if you’re in receipt of benefits, so it might be worth having a look if you have an elderly pet.
We’re incredibly lucky in the respect that Chuck is an amazingly wellbehaved dog with our kids and is soft and loving with them. However, now that he’s old and struggling with stiffness etc. we make a point to make sure that the kids aren’t too rough with him and give him plenty of space. We trust him completely but it would be heartbreaking for him to get hurt or feel overwhelmed and lose his cool with one of them. We don’t think for a second it would happen but it protects ALL THREE OF THEM if we remove the risk altogether.
Do you have an elderly pet? Have you found any new challenges have arisen since they’ve got older? I’d love to hear from you.
Having an older dogs brings with it added responsibilities. When Sausage was born, Chuck was a spritely boy of just 4, whereas when Burrito Baby came along, he was getting on slightly, closer to the age of ten, which meant that we made sure we gave him extra space and also a little extra love when the girls weren’t around as our attentions were so divided during the day that he sometimes missed out.
Nutrition is extra important, now that he’s older, as his joints are feeling the wear of age so we tend to opt for food which has added glucosamine, chondroitin and green-lipped mussel as it helps to bolster his joint health. He also has issues with a sensitive gut, which means that hypoallergenic food is better and gentler on his tummy. Luckily, there are some great brands out there which cater for all of these aspects.
Exercise is equally important as he needs to remain mobile whilst maintaining a healthy weight – it’s so common to see older dogs getting fat, which just adds extra pressure to their joints. Instead of taking him on long walks, which potentially cause him pain, we tend to take him on shorter walks but more often to give him the level of exercise he requires, with plenty of rest in between.
Sleep and rest is also all-important and we ensure that he has a bed which provides him with adequate padding and warmth. We also place his bed on a large memory foam pad, which we also add a heat pad to in the winter to ensure that he doesn’t get too cold as he’s short haired and his joints also seize up when he’s too cold.
In time, we’re also planning to build a set of steps for our old boy – he’s never been the sort of dog who isn’t allowed on the bed or sofa and we don’t want to stop him as he gets older, so a set of steps will enable him to get up onto high things without jumping and causing himself harm.
Keeping stress to a minimum is something we also find hugely important as he gets older. He’s never left alone for long as Husband works from home and I’m always in and out, but if we know we’re going to be away for a few hours, we’ll also ask my MIL to check in on him to make sure he has plenty of water.
Lastly, the most important thing to give them is plenty of patience and understanding. He’s not able to walk quite as fast any more so we make sure we allow plenty of time even for shorter walks and on the VERY rare occasion that he’s had an accident in the house, we remember that it’s not a behavioural issue, just that he can’t cross his paws for quite as long these days!
Hopefully if we carry on with all these things, we’ll have many years to come with our lovely fur baby and see him grow old in health and happiness.
This guest post was provided to Mum’s the Word but is a subject that is very close to my heart.
Giving a dog a second chance at happiness can be a wonderful and rewarding experience. At the very least, we should be able to provide our pets with a safe and loving home, but sometimes that isn’t possible, and animals find themselves unwanted and uncared for.
The financial crisis has meant that many people have had to face the stark reality that they can no longer afford to keep their pets. This means that there are so many dogs for rehoming in the care of institutions such as the RSPCA that whatever breed, size or even colour that you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone.
Puppies are so cute and adorable that it’s easy to forget that they’re not going to stay that size forever. A puppy needs a great deal of training and attention in order to become the faithful obedient friend that you’re hoping for, so if you have a busy life and family it may be better to consider choosing an adult rescue dog that has been trained, neutered and is ready for family life. You can do some research to find the breed and personality that best suits your family’s lifestyle. An adult dog is far more likely to have a calming effect on your household whilst also being a playmate for your children.
Rehoming a rescue dog from the RSPCA’s programme will not only give you a sense of doing something worthwhile, it will also provide you and your family with a loyal friend. The rehoming programme makes sure that all the dogs in their care are fully assessed in temperament and health before they are rehomed. The care assistants take their time to get know all the dogs properly so that they can find the right owner and home environment for them.
Caring for any animal means being responsible for their health and wellbeing so the spiralling costs of vet bills can put many people off. When you choose an adult dog from the RSPCA’s programme you can be assured that they will already have had all their vaccinations; they will be micro-chipped and neutered so that all you need to concentrate on is giving them a good home with lots of love.