So you have a senior pet-izen huh?
It seems like it was just yesterday he was a young, vibrant, active dog sole, but now he’s moving a little slower, eating a little less, and not moving around like he used to. You remember when he could “hold it” for 8 hours at a time, now he needs to go every couple of hours or you might find a puddle on the floor and a doggie sitting in the corner looking like he just got scolded. Really he can’t help it, he just can’t hold it like he used to :-(
Your Dog need to pee! Now What?!
Well, first you should have a visit with the vet to make sure there is no infection (urinary tract infection, etc) or other issue causing the over-active bladder. If the vet clears your pup and tells you that it’s just part of the aging process then you need to make some changes. When you are at home you need to make more frequent trips out with your pup. Having them hold their bladder for too long at a time will cause other problems. If you work away from home you may need to make arrangements to come home for lunch to let Fido out for a “potty break” or you can hire a pet sitter.
How Can the Pet Sitter Help?
The pet sitter can be your senior pet-izen’s best friend! The sitter can come in once (or multiple times if you choose) a day to take your pup for a walk or simply let him out for his potty break. Your doggie will be happier as all he wants to do is please you! He definitely does NOT want to disappoint you with a wet surprise on the floor when you get home after a long day at work. You will be happy because your best friend is happy!
In summary, as your pet ages you may have to spend a little more time taking care of him. Old age is NOT a disease, but just a fact of life. Dogs, just like humans, need extra love and care as they get older.
Here’s to loving your OLD DOG! :-)
Thanks to John Wren with Starkey Mortgage for the post idea!
Brought to you by Trisha Stetzel, owner, Fetch! Pet Care of Clear Lake
Just for you Thanks to Fetch! Pet Care of Clear Lake
Jean Donaldson’s book explains not only how to train your dog, but also why your dog behaves the way he does.
This book tells you everything you need to know about training a puppy and setting him up for a lifetime of good behavior.
In this book, the author presents a clear-cut explanation of positive reinforcement. She offers sound training and behavior advice that works on everyone, not just dogs.
As anyone who has shared their home with both dogs and children can tell you, it’s not as easy as it they make it look on television! This book will help you live safely and happily with family members of both the two- and four-legged variety.
We all enjoy special foods, particularly over the holidays. During these weeks, our homes are often filled with chocolates, wine and other culinary masterpieces.
WHY DOES MY DOG TEAR UP THE PILLOWS ON THE COUCH WHEN I LEAVE THE HOUSE?
We get questions similar to this one all the time! And the answer…well, it depends. First, you need to do a little inventory. Does Fido have enough activity in his day or is he just bored? Does Fido have a little separation anxiety? When you leave the house do you make a big deal about it? Does your dog need more exercise during the day?
WHY DID MY DOG TEAR UP MY FAVORITE BOOK?
Most of the time dogs “get into trouble” during the day when you are not home because they are simply bored. In general we are not giving our dogs the proper amount of exercise they need in order to “relax” during the day. The proper amount of daily exercise really depends on the breed, age, and health of your dog, but 30 to 60 minutes is about average. Sending them out into the backyard on their own is NOT exercise! Here is a newsflash for you – EXERCISE IS GOOD FOR YOU TOO! The time you spend exercising with your dog is great bonding time for the two of you! Take a walk first thing in the morning, or play “fetch” in the back yard for a few minutes. I promise, if you start a regular routine of exercising with your dog you will notice the difference in their behavior when you are away from home.
If you just don’t have the time you can always hire a dog walker or trainer to come during the day to play with Fido! This is a great way to break up their day and give them some undivided playtime with a human! Pet Sitters International (www.petsit.com) and National Association of Professional Petsitters (www.petsitters.org) are great places to search for a local dog walker in your area.
WHAT IF MY DOG HAS SEPARATION ANXIETY?
Some dogs do have mild to severe separation anxiety that could be caused by many things – mostly the owner :-). If your dog has some separation anxiety, taking some of these steps could help or just seek the advise of a local dog trainer. Don’t make a big deal when you leave. Try to have a routine like giving a treat, stuffed KONG treat, etc, say goodby and just leave. You may want to practice leaving for only a few minutes at first and take longer trips away from home as things progress. Don’t make a big deal when you get home. Let them calm down before you greet them. Kennel training is another option. Please keep in mind the kennel is NOT punishment, it is simply a safe place for your pup to stay while you are away. It keeps him from tearing things up AND prevents ingestion of inappropriate items!
I hope this helps with your “naughty” furry kid! Give them the exercise, attention, and routine they need and you will be rewarded!
Thank you to John Wren with Starkey Mortgage for sending in this question.
Trisha Stetzel, Owner
Fetch! Pet Care of Clear Lake
Cats often suffer from stress because many owners treat them like dogs, reports theTelegraph. These ill-advised owners expect cats to be thoroughly domesticated, to enjoy being petted and to be relaxed about sharing their living space, says Dr. John Bradshaw. But what they do not understand is that dolling out affection may not necessarily make it feel more content.
It’s all about recognizing the needs of the cats and realizing they are not just wildly different from us humans, but they do not share much with dogs – the other most common house-pet.
If the owners started to treat cats different from dogs, the cats will flourish physically and mentally as well. These positive changes will then manifest themselves into affection reciprocated or reflected by the cat, say animal behaviorists.
Cats have never been able to completely adapt to the domestication process, unlike dogs, who seem to have wholeheartedly accepted the process of being adopted as a pet.
Though it is common consensus that cats are much less demanding than dogs, it is not true.
But, unlike the common misconception that cats often become hostile, these feline creatures can be quite companionable and interesting.
Though cats love to be groomed and petted, they do not adore perpetual companionship. Dogs on the other hand do not mind being surrounded by their owners.
Another interesting aspect about cats is they do not gel well with other cats. You might be instant friends with your just-moved-in neighbors, but cats may be enemies for as long as they live.
As a human though, you can certainly win their affection with patience and love.
Most important for a cat, apart from food, is their independence. Respect their space and privacy and they will reward you with the sweet and gratifying purr.
[Image Credit | Facebook]
Another great article from Animal Wellness Magazine!
It’s not just a human condition. Dogs and cats can also suffer from cardiac issues.
When Jonathan took his seven-year-old boxer cross, Carlyle, to a friend’s house for a visit, he had no inkling it would be his dog’s last trip. While the friends were chatting over dinner, Carlyle suddenly collapsed. Jonathan rushed him to an emergency vet, but Carlyle died before they arrived. It turned out to be heart failure. Stunned and devastated, Jonathan made it his mission to research all he could about canine heart disease before adopting another dog.
As in Carlyle’s case, heart disease in companion animals is often a silent killer. By the time a dog or cat shows classic symptoms like lethargy, wheezing, croupy coughing (a liquid sounding cough) or exercise intolerance, the disease is often far advanced. And since an enlarged heart can’t be detected with a stethoscope, heart disease can be present and undiagnosed by your veterinarian long before your dog or cat shows clinical symptoms of illness.
Cardiomyopathy is the scientifi c term for a diseased heart muscle. “Cardio” means heart, “myo” is the Latin word for muscle, and “pathy” means disease. There are different types of cardiomyopathy, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, dilated cardiomyopathy, restrictive cardiomyopathy, and unclassified cardiomyopathy.
DOGS – DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY
Dogs most often develop dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), typically between the ages of four and ten. DCM describes a diseased heart muscle that doesn’t contract or pump efficiently. As the disease progresses, the heart chambers become enlarged, heart valves may leak, and congestive heart failure can develop.
The cause is unknown. Unlike heart muscle dysfunction in humans, when it happens in animals, it’s rarely the result of chronic coronary artery disease. Nutritional deficiencies of taurine or carnitine have been linked to DCM in certain breeds. Once in a while, DCM-like heart muscle deficiency develops secondary to an identifiable cause like exposure to a toxin or heart infection.
Male dogs seem to develop DCM more often than female dogs. And certain breeds, often larger ones, are more prone to the condition, including the Afghan hound, boxer, cocker spaniel, Doberman pinscher, great Dane, Irish wolfhound, Saint Bernard, and Scottish deerhound.
Symptoms of DCM
Early in the disease process, there are often no obvious symptoms. Some dogs may experience a reduction in exercise tolerance. Sometimes a slight heart murmur or other abnormal heart sounds or rhythms can be detected by a veterinarian.
As the disease progresses, the heart’s ability to pump declines, so blood pressure in the veins behind the heart can increase. Congestion of the lungs and fluid accumulation are common, and indicate heart failure. Dogs with DCM-induced heart failure often have left-sided congestive failure.
Symptoms you might notice include a decreased ability to exercise, rapid tiring, increased respiration, and excessive panting and coughing. There may be sudden and recurring episodes of weakness or fainting. Some dogs with DCM have enlarged abdomens and heavy breathing due to fluid accumulation.
Sudden death can also occur from heart rhythm disturbances, even though there aren’t obvious external signs of heart disease. Advanced signs of heart failure include labored breathing, reluctance to lie down, and an inability to get comfortable. A worsening cough, reduced activity level, loss of appetite, as well as collapse, can all be symptoms.
Treating dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs focuses on improving heart function and treating symptoms of congestive heart failure.
Conventionally, ACE inhibitors are often prescribed to slow down the progressive changes to the heart that can lead to heart failure. As the disease progresses, different drugs can be used to help the heart contract. Drugs can be administered to slow down a rapid heart rate, to manage accumulation of fluid in the lungs, or to dilate blood vessels. There are also drugs that can help the heart beat and pump more efficiently.
Unfortunately, side effects from these drugs are very common and can include electrolyte imbalances, reduced appetite, diarrhea and vomiting, depression, a drop in blood pressure, and kidney disease. And because the disease is irreversible and heart failure is typically progressive, the drugs and dosages required to manage DCM usually increase over time.
Alternative therapies that can support heart function in dogs with DCM include herbs such as hawthorn berry and cayenne. Supplements can also be very beneficial, and include acetyl L-carnitine, the amino acid taurine, arginine, D-ribose, Omega-3 fatty acids, and ubiquinol, the more bio-available form of CoQ10.
Alternative therapies that can support heart function in dogs with DCM include herbs such as hawthorn berry and cayenne.
In cats, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common type of primary heart disease, accounting for 85% to 90% of all cases. It is often inherited; in fact, there’s now a test available for a specific gene mutation in Maine coons and ragdolls. Purebred cats such as Persians, other Oriental breeds, and American shorthairs are also predisposed to HCM. However, it’s the regular housecat that is most commonly diagnosed with the condition. Cats usually develop HCM in midlife, but it can occur at any age.
The word “hypertrophic” means thickened, so HCM is a condition in which the walls and ventricles of the heart become too thick, or hypertrophied. The severity of the condition depends on how thick the muscle wall gets. As HCM progresses, the actual structure of the heart changes and heart function is affected. Thickened muscle walls become less flexible, and the left ventricle can no longer relax or stretch efficiently to fill with blood.
In rare cases, the thickening of the heart causes an arrhythmia that can bring on sudden death. Some cats develop feline aortic thromboembolism, also called FATE, which is a blood clot that forms in the aorta and blocks the flow of blood, usually to the back legs. This causes sudden paralysis, a tremendous amount of pain for the cat, and even death.
Symptoms of HCM
Symptoms vary and depend to some extent on the severity of the disease. Cats with mild disease don’t always have symptoms. But in a cat with significant HCM, there are usually obvious signs.
Cats mask illness very well, so until this condition is severe, even a cat with significant disease may have no symptoms, or very mild symptoms that don’t seem to be indicative of heart disease.
In cats with obvious symptoms, there can be respiratory distress caused by congestive heart failure, or leg paralysis due to a blood clot. Cats suffering congestive heart failure don’t cough like people or dogs do. Instead, they tend to breathe through an open mouth, and may even pant, especially during exertion.
There is no cure for HCM. However, if the heart problem has developed as a result of another underlying issue, treatment of the primary disease can result in partial or complete resolution
of the HCM.
Diuretics and ACE inhibitors are used in mainstream medicine to treat congestive heart failure in cats. In cases of severe fluid buildup in the chest cavity, it may be necessary to remove the fluid with a catheter.
Drugs to reduce the likelihood of blood clots are sometimes used on HCM patients at risk for thromboembolism. These drugs must be closely monitored to prevent hemorrhage, and there’s no guarantee that clots won’t form even with the medications. I much prefer using a natural supplement called nattokinase to reduce the risk of blood clots.
I’ve had excellent success in slowing the disease by using a combination of ubiquinol (the reduced form of CoQ10) and certain amino acids, including taurine, L-arginine, and acetyl L-carnitine. I also use heart glandulars and herbs, including hawthorn.
Because heart disease in dogs and cats is often insidious and difficult to detect, it’s not easy to determine whether or not your companion will develop it. However, there are things you can do to help protect his health (see sidebar) and keep him by your side!
What can you do?
- A healthy lifestyle and regular veterinary checkups are vital, especially if you have a higher-risk breed.
- Diet is extremely important – a balanced, fresh food, meat-based diet rich in naturally-occurring amino acids, and free of all fillers such as grains and unnecessary carbohydrates, is the best form of nutrition for animals that have cardiomyopathy or might be prone to it.
- Be watchful for any uncharacteristic symptoms such as lethargy, easy tiring, and breathing issues, even if they seem subtle, and get your animal examined by the vet as soon as possible.
- Talk to an integrative or holistic veterinarian about supplements that could help keep your dog or cat’s heart healthy.