7 articles Tag pet

Taking Care of an Elderly Pet

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:

Mobility

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.

Diet

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 senior diet which gives him the nutrients he needs with fewer calories so that he doesn’t get fat!

Exercise

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.

Vet Care

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.

Temperament

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.

Caring For an Older Dog

FullSizeRender (3)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.

Why You Should Choose an Adult Dog Over a Puppy for Your Family

This guest post was provided to Mum’s the Word but is a subject that is very close to my heart. 

ChuckMy very own adopted dog, Chuck, who came to us when he was 2.

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.

Less training

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.

It’s rewarding

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.

Fewer costs

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.

Pet Benefits

When Husband and I adopted our beloved dog Chuck, back in 2006, we had no idea just how must he’d do for us, as part of our little family. When Husband was sent home from the hospital after Sausage’s horrible, traumatic birth, not knowing whether his wife and child would pull through, it was Chuck who was there to offer a comforting lick on the hand in his hour of need.

When Husband started working nights and I was at home with Sausage as a young baby, it was Chuck who sat guard by the bedroom door and acted like an early warning system when anyone so much as walked near the house. He gave me an element of peace of mind that I would never have had, had I been alone with a newborn.

When I decided to go on a health-kick a couple of years ago, it was Chuck who ran alongside me while I did my couch-to-5k and Husband has often said how having a dog has really given him a great incentive to stay active, despite doing a sedentary job.

Sunrise Care have put together an infographic to show just how beneficial it can be to elderly people to have a pet, from improving our physical health, mental health and overall sense of wellbeing, having a pet is so much more than just a companion on lonely evenings. Pet infographic

I know for a fact that Chuck had helped with our health, as a family, and I completely agree that he makes me more sociable; I’ve often stopped to chat to other dog walkers when I take him out, and I’ve found that other people are more likely to throw a cheery “Good Morning!” in my direction when I’m walking the mutt.

Chuck is officially a senior dog now – he was around 2 when we got him from the rescue centre, which was eight years ago this October, so he’s not quite as able to go on the super long walks that he enjoyed when he was a younger dog, but he still very much enjoys a yomp around the local fields and now that we’ve got an estate car, he can jump into the boot and be driven somewhere to walk if his legs can’t quite keep up.

Having a dog is one of the best decisions that Husband and I ever made and I never imagined that he’d make our lives as rich as he has. I can wholeheartedly recommend being a dog owner, if not for the reasons stated above but also for the fact that he gives the best hugs you could possibly imagine – and who doesn’t love hugs?!

It’s a Dog’s Life

This post was kindly contributed by my dog, Chuck.

I don’t remember much about my life before I was 2. I know it wasn’t very nice as I have scars on my feet to prove it, but then I went to the kennels where my ‘people’ came and found me. When they talk to me, they call themselves Mum and Dad, but I don’t think they’re my real parents – they poop indoors into a giant water bowl and I’ve never seen them lick their own butts…

Sometimes, Mum and Dad have to take me to the big shiny white house – I don’t like it there. It smells like other animals and fear and whenever I go there I end up having to have sharp things stuck in me. My humans hug me and tell me it’ll all be okay, but I still hate it, even if they do feed me nice things when I get home. I’ve heard them talking about ‘dog insurance‘ to the person with no legs (at least, I don’t think she has any legs, I can only see her from the waist up) at the shiny white place about it and everyone says things like “thank goodness we have it” – especially when I do things like pulling my claws out by jumping up the back fence because the dog in the garden behind us keeps calling me stupid.

The day that they came to find me, I knew I had to make sure that they took me home with them, away from the draughty kennel where I’d got worms and fleas, so I pee’d up Dad’s leg – that let him know that he belonged to me. That night, Mum and Dad tried to get me to sleep in the spare room, but I didn’t want to be away from them, so I made as much noise as I could to get them to let me into where they were sleeping and I’ve slept with them ever since.

I’d been with Mum and Dad for a few years when Mum’s belly started to get big and one day they came home with a new, tiny pink Human. I think she’s my favourite person in the whole world. She sneaks me treats, gives me hugs and smells fantastic – plus, she leaves her toys all over the place and when no-one is looking, I sneak onto the couch to snuggle with them!

Mum’s belly has been getting bigger again recently, so I know there will probably be another small pink thing coming to live with us again soon. I might be getting old now and my knees sometimes give me jip, but if this new human is anywhere near as awesome as my sister, I’ll be one seriously lucky old pooch.

Argos is linked here as just one example of pet insurance providers I highly recommended that you shop around for a quote from different providers and choose the one best for you and your family.

Euthanasia.

UPDATE

I just thought I’d update this post to let you all know that Happy passed away at some point last night. We think she passed in her sleep and seems to have gone peacefully. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this post and comment, she’ll be sadly missed but we feel happy that we were able to offer her a home and a part in our lives.

Rest in peace, my love.

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Husband and I have both been unlucky enough to see elderly relatives fall victim to so-called ‘age related’ illnesses, he more so than I with both of his maternal grandparents suffering a combination of the most common ones. It’s not so much that they developed these illnesses, but that they spent years living with them, proud people needing to be cared for in a way that their former selves would have hated. We had this saying – “you wouldn’t treat your animals like it”; an allusion to the dignity that animals are afforded when their eyes/legs/brains give up and we resort to euthanasia. Humans are left to wallow and suffer while animals are sent peacefully to their place of rest without having to go through it.

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Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday