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Gina loved by Judy Simmons Caliano

Gina’s Story

Gina loved by Judy Simmons Caliano

When I was 7 years old, my parents separated. It was a very sad time and I missed my mommy so much when she moved out. After a while, mom and dad decided to share taking care of me so I spend 2 weeks with each of them. Sometimes I’d go on vacation to the mountains or the seaside with mommy. I loved that! Running up and down the mountain trails, swimming in the sea. I was a little scared of the big waves. But I loved doing happy rolls in the wet sand.

But now I get tired and can’t walk so far, and I don’t like long car rides anymore. Only once in a while we go to the forest for a walk or river so I can dip my paws. But I get scared of hills and my legs hurt so I have to take lots of breaks. I really just like being home the most. We just celebrated my 15th birthday, I got a hamburger and turkey slices, yum! And mommy took silly pictures.

Mom and Dad used to argue all the time, and I didn’t want to take sides. Now that I’m old they worry about me, sometimes I can’t sleep at night and have to go pee, sometimes I don’t feel like eating. They cook up rice and chicken, and share the recipes I like. Daddy got worried cause I wasn’t eating, so mommy brought new food to Daddy’s place. Together they cooked up my meal, I was so happy to see them together. I heard daddy on the phone inviting mommy for lunch today!

old dog Gina loved by Judy Simmons Caliano

You know, I think they are getting along better because they want the best for me. I wish we could live as a family again, but you know, I got used to spending special time with each of them. It’s getting harder for me to go back and forth, but I know they both love me so much neither wants to give me up.

Now I take lots of medication and feel tired a lot, have trouble getting up and don’t feel like eating so much. Mommy cries and tells me about this rainbow bridge that I’ll go to someday. She says I won’t hurt anymore in my legs and I can pee whenever I want. But she and daddy can’t come just yet, I’ll have to wait for them. I love them so much I would wait forever. But I will really miss them and mommy tells me how much they will miss me.

Judy Simmons Caliano is Gina’s mom.

the story of a senior dog named Gina

When an old dog dies what should you do with their stuff

When an Old Dog Dies What Should You Do With Their Stuff

When an old dog dies what should you do with their stuff

You know the feeling you get, walking through the front door for the first time after you’ve said goodbye? What do you see first? Your dog’s empty bed? His favourite toy? What do you notice? The complete and utter silence, even if you have other pets?

As I write this I can feel the loss like it was just a few moments ago. It’s been 7 ½ months since I lost my heart dog Red and I know I will miss her presence forever.

In addition to learning how to handle the grief of them no longer being a part of our daily lives, there’s figuring out what to do with all the stuff they’ve left behind. Do we leave everything where it is until we’re ready to deal with it in a few days or weeks? Is it better to pick up every last reminder and pack it away? Throw it away? Give it away? What about a keepsake so we can feel her presence? Should we do it before we take her to the vet or wait until we come home?

There is no “should” about it

There is no “should” when it comes to deciding what to do with your dog’s stuff. There’s no rule book that lays out what should stay, what should go, and when. We all grieve differently and it doesn’t matter what someone else does, you have to do what’s right for you.  

The one thing I can say is, please don’t “react” and do something you may regret later. Walking through that door for the first time without your dog being there can be extremely traumatic, and seeing her stuff is like a slap in the face. It’s too easy to grab everything you see and just toss it, but you will be acting out of grief. A natural reaction to be sure, but I don’t want you to have any regrets once you’re starting to feel better.

When an old dog dies what should you do with their stuff

Was this you?

Did you react and get rid of everything? Please please forgive yourself, and know that it doesn’t change how you felt about her. She knows you loved her so much, and seeing her things was too much for you to bear in that moment.

You probably still have something if you look around. A toy she hasn’t used in a while? An old collar? An ID tag? A favourite blanket? Even if you don’t you probably still have lots of pictures, so when you’re ready buy a special frame and pick your favourite. What about having a painting or drawing done from an image of the two of you together?   

Give it some thought in advance

None of us wants to think about the day when we have to say goodbye. What I can suggest is taking even a moment to think about what you might want to do with your dog’s things. It’s not a plan that has to be set in stone, but it might help when the time comes.

What I did with Red’s stuff

Before we went to the vet for the last time, I had the presence of mind to pick her bed up off the floor and get rid of it. I knew I wouldn’t be able to bear seeing it empty when I got home.

Once Red’s kidney issues and dementia got worse, I had pee pads covering my entire floor for quite a few months. Not the prettiest site but we do what we have to for our old dogs don’t we? The first thing I did when I came home was pick them up. A part of me wanted to do it beforehand but I felt like that would be disrespectful to my sweet girl Red, and I preferred to spend the time waiting to leave with her in my lap.

My dogs’ leashes hang on a hook in a kitchen cupboard, and hers still does. I won’t use it for any other dog, but I also feel like it belongs where it’s been for so many years.

Her medication schedule was taped to the inside door of one of my cupboards. It stayed there until very recently.

I have a large cupboard where I keep my dog supplies, so her food bowl stays there. I can’t say whether I would use it for my next dog but I don’t have to know that now, we’ll play it by ear.

She wore sweaters most of the time in the house, and coats outside when the weather was cooler. I kept a few favourites and gave the rest to a charity in Serbia. If they fit my next dog I probably wouldn’t mind her wearing them. I also gave the same charity her leftover medication.

Her collar with tag hangs off a framed drawing someone did of her at a dog fair a few years ago. It sits on a ledge in my living room along with her second place and first place ribbons. She won them in two dog competitions she entered in the “senior non-pedigree” category at a fair in the local park.

When your old dog dies what should you do with their stuff

What you can do

Leave things the way they are

What one person finds too hard to bear may bring comfort to another. Leaving things as they are may make you feel better for a while, as you take the time you need to grieve. Please be careful not to leave them there for months on end as a shrine you can’t let go of.

Keep the things that mean the most

Is it your pet’s ID tag that holds the most sentiment? What about her blanket? Bowl? Some fur? Collar? A memory box is a great way to hold onto a keepsake.

A favourite toy for the other pets in your home

Humans aren’t the only ones to grieve over a loss, our other pets do too. Did your dog have one toy that became a favourite with any of the other animals in your home? Why not hold onto it as a reminder for them! Don’t wash it so it keeps your dog’s scent. 

Recycle

You may want to hold onto some things and use them again for your next dog, or even a dog you already have. I wouldn’t include your pet’s meds as expiration dates mean they lose efficacy, and your new pup may have other issues that make that particular drug dangerous or not appropriate. If you know one of the drugs you have will help, be sure to consult with your vet first.

Donate to a local shelter or rescue group

Local shelters and rescue groups always have wish lists of stuff they really need. Your donation would be particularly beneficial to a small rescue as they are always struggling financially, and would welcome any items you would like to share. It’s also a beautiful way to honour your loved one.

Help out a shelter in another country

Sadly there are many countries in which dogs are held in appalling conditions. In many cases volunteers do their best to take them out of these horrible situations, or at least make their current living conditions a bit better. Gifts of beds, blankets and coats are always welcome, and many do take medications.

Facebook is a great place to find groups rescuing in other countries.

When your senior dog dies what should you do with their stuff

Help someone you know who is struggling

You may know of a fellow dog parent who has fallen on tough times, and is struggling with their dog’s care. Imagine how much a donation of your pup’s stuff would help, and again it’s a wonderful way to honour her memory.

Put some things in storage

You may feel you want to keep some of your dog’s things, but you can’t bear looking at them every day. Store them in a water proof container and put them out of sight. Just knowing you still have them may help you feel better.

Get rid of it all (but not the pictures of course!)

This may seem a bit harsh and that’s okay if it isn’t the route you want to take, but it may be the right step for some. They may feel holding onto things, even if they are out of sight, will prevent them from grieving then moving on. This will never lessen the love you shared and the wonderful time you had together.  

 

I know how tough it is to lose someone so precious, and on top of it all having to figure out what to do with the things that have been so long a part of your home. I do hope this helped you see how many options you truly have, and whatever you choose to do it has to be what’s right for you.

 

I came across this article and thought you might find it interesting – “The Quiet House and Empty Dog Bed, Coping After Pet Loss.

 

 

What did you do with your dog’s belongings? Sharing helps others so please leave your comments below.

 

Please visit and like my Facebook page, there is a ton of helpful links and articles to help you take the best care of your senior dog. 

 

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. It is a wonderful community where you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**

 

 

25 great ways to pamper your old dog

25 Great Ways to Pamper Your Old Dog

 

25 great ways to pamper your old dog

Of course we take amazing care of our senior dogs, that goes without saying, but our dogs are there for us no matter what. They snuggle with us when we’re feeling down, jump for joy when we walk through the door (or just wag their tail if they can’t jump!) and are the best companions ever. Sounds like they deserve a little extra pampering!!

**There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I make a few pennies…literally. That  money helps me help homeless animals through donations and fostering, as well as keeping this blog running**

Massage

Massage is first on my list because aside from scavenging for food, Jack loves nothing more than a good massage. You don’t have to go through any special training just give him a rub!! Jack is a small dog and his favourite position is lying on my legs, on his back, head lolling with delight.

If your dog has mobility issues, or there is a specific condition massage would be helpful for, it’s best to speak with a certified canine massage therapist to learn proper techniques.

Doggy spa

Whether it’s a doggy spa or your groomer offers special pampering sessions, it’s a great way to spoil your dog.

At home spa session

Your old dog may not be feeling so great right now, or some of his health issues have made him a bit anxious around loud noises or in unfamiliar surroundings. He can still enjoy a pamper session if you create a spa like atmosphere in the comfort of your own home.

Play some calming music, my favourite is Through a Dog’s Ear, then give your dog a bath with some delicious smelling shampoo, massaging it in with a rubber brush, then dry him off with warmed towels. Did anyone say great bonding opportunity!!

Sounds a bit too much for him to handle right now? How about an oatmeal foot bath!!

Homemade treats

When given the choice of buying or cooking I choose buying almost every time, and that includes dog treats. Can you relate to my apathy about cooking? To be honest I feel a bit bad about that because there are thousands of recipes, many of them super easy, there’s really no excuse to not give it a try.

One day I took the plunge and made turkey balls, and boy did my dogs go crazy!! They loved them so much they acted like they hadn’t eaten in days! The  recipe was not only super easy, I was able to make the meatballs as small as I wanted and they were freezable. I had treats that lasted for weeks! I’ve been trying to find the picture I took but sadly I can’t!

After writing this I have been inspired to try another recipe!!

 

25 great ways to pamper your old dog

Create a backyard playground

We take our old dogs for their daily walks, but wouldn’t it be great if we could do more to stimulate them and keep them entertained! We don’t always have the time or energy to whisk them off on adventures, and sometimes their health issues make that impossible. What’s the next best thing? Creating a backyard playground of course!!

It’s easy to do, doesn’t have to cost much, and any size garden is perfect! Don’t have a garden? A balcony can work too.

The first step is to ensure your garden is securely fenced in, and there’s nothing lying around your dog could hurt himself on.

Buy or build a shelter from the cold, wind and rain – some dogs don’t mind being outside in all types of weather

Have a water feature your dog can drink from or an elevated water bowl will do just fine

Set up an easy to use agility course, taking your dog’s mobility into consideration. Elevate a broom off the ground using a brick at each end and have your dog walk over it. A few cones from the dollar store can create an obstacle course and a store-bought kid’s tunnel is a fun thing for your pup to play in. Entice him with a treat at the other end so he knows how to walk through it!!

A paddling pool is a great way to cool off in the hot weather

How about a sandbox with a toy or two hidden inside? Buy a kid’s one or build your own. If you don’t have enough space, the bottom of a litterbox should do the trick. Your dog doesn’t have to jump in, he just needs to be able to put his front legs in to dig!

Create a shady area using a big umbrella so your dog can get out of the heat

How about a sprinkler he can run/walk through?

 Take your dog to work…in your home office

Anyone who works from home understands the need to be disciplined. It’s too easy to find other things to do that will distract us, and one of those distractions is the dog!! For those of us whose old dogs are sick, we keep a watchful eye over them as much as possible. If they’re resting in another room how many times do we break our concentration to jump up and check on them?

Why not set up a cosy doggy space in your home office? He’ll probably feel more relaxed being near you, and you can better focus on your work. A comfy bed and blanket, a favourite toy or bone and a bowl of water are all you need.

A new collar, leash and harness

I admit this one may be more for you then your dog who probably already has an extensive collection!! Still, it’s always fun to buy a new accessory, maybe something for a special occasion? Who knows, they may realise they’re looking extra smart that day!!

Spring for doggie day care

Whether you’re away from home a lot or you want to treat your dog to an extra bit of fun, doggie day care may be the answer. He’ll get the chance to play with other dogs, have a change of scenery and come home nicely tuckered out. Some facilities even offer the convenience of a pick-up and drop off service . If your dog has mobility or other health issues, find out if they have a separate quieter area, or research day cares that specialise in elderly clients.

You may not think your dog is up for it, but if you find a place that sounds like a possibility why not bring him with you to check it out. Worst case scenario it’s not a good fit and you leave, best case…a few hours of fun!

a picnic is a great way to pamper your pet

Picnic

I’ve taken my dogs for picnics at the beach and they were fun times. One summer my niece had come to visit for a couple of weeks, and since she doesn’t live anywhere near water and I live a 5 minute walk away I thought she would enjoy it. We each took a dog, I brought the picnic basket and off we went. Be sure to bring an umbrella or pop up shelter to provide your pups with some shade, enough water, and something soft to lie on. He’ll appreciate those homemade treats you made as well!!

Indulge in some retail therapy  

I don’t do much shopping for myself, but when I pass a pet supply store I’m right in there checking out what’s new. The next time you’re in the mood to buy your pup something, step away from your computer/phone/laptop/tablet and take him with you to an actual store. Had your eye on that swanky new shop in town? Now is the perfect time for a visit. It’s not just about the purchase it’s about a fun time for your dog.

Have a glass of wine together

While you’re drinking Prosecco why not treat your dog to Pawsecco!! That’s right, this red or rose alcohol and grape free drink is made for dogs and cats, is veterinary approved and contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Serve it as a drink or pour over your pet’s food, and you’ll no longer be drinking alone!!

every day should be spoil your dog day

Whip up a home cooked meal

I know you’re already feeding your dog a healthy nutritious diet, but sometimes it’s nice to get a home cooked meal. I know we talked about how much I hate cooking yet managed to make delicious easy treats, well I can say the same about home cooking.

For several months I made my dog’s food on the recommendation of my holistic vet. Okay it was a bit of a pain cooking and chopping the ingredients but…I would quadruple the recipe to make a massive batch, then freeze it in small portions to last 3 or 4 weeks.

There are a ton of simple meal ideas you can find online, Pinterest being your best source. Surely our old dogs are worth an hour or two of prep time every few weeks, and think of the health benefits!

I’m going to state the obvious here but…please check with your vet to make sure all the ingredients are safe for your old dog.

Throw a dog party

Why should humans be the only ones to have parties, our dogs deserve them too, right!! Invite other pet parents over for a couple of hours of fun with their dogs, and this might motivate you to set up that backyard playground you’ve been thinking about. Whip up a batch of homemade treats for snack time, and include a few, together with the recipe, in a doggy bag for each guest. Finally I can use the words “doggy bag” and mean it literally!!

When putting together your guest list make sure your old dog won’t be too overwhelmed. The first time you throw your pet party maybe do a test run and start with just 1 or 2 other dogs, and make sure they match your pup’s energy level.

Gift hamper

Your dog is going to love a gift hamper filled with his absolute favourite things. Throw in a nice fleece blanket, a tasty bone, a fun toy, some delicious treats, and let him pull them out by himself. That’s all part of the fun!!

Visit friends

If the weather is cold and your dog isn’t getting out as much as he should, it’s time to visit a friend and have a play date. A change of scenery and the chance to socialise will do you both a world of good. Bring along some of those homemade treats for both dogs when they take a break from all that fun!

Go on an adventure

Your dog gets his daily dose(s) of exercise, but just like we get bored seeing and doing the same thing day after day our dogs probably do too.

How about planning something extra special? My dog loves going on the bus. I don’t know why but sometimes he will head straight for the bus stop and just stand there. When I remember to put money in my pocket and it’s one of “those days” we’ll hop on the bus for a few minutes ride into down. I stop in at the local fruit and vegetable shop that allows dogs, walk around window shopping then head home. Jack gets his walk and an adventure rolled into one.

Does your dog love to swim? Take him to the beach. How about a hike? Even walking in a different area means the chance to explore a new park or part of town.

25 ways to spoil your old dog

 

Sweaters and coats

As my dogs get older (although they all came to me old!), they are less able to handle the cooler weather so sweaters and coats are a must. I’ve built up quite a collection but that doesn’t mean I can resist when I see a particularly cute one!!

If you live in a colder climate why not try a sweater and/or coat on your dog. It could make a big difference in his willingness to walk. To make them extra special why not have them personalised?

Down on the ground!!

After a long day out of the house I’m sure your very comfy couch is calling your name, but wait! Your oldie missed you while you were gone so how about getting down on the floor and giving him a big cuddle. Show him how much you missed him.

The best bed ever  

Adding a fleece blanket or heating pad to your pup’s bed can make it even more cosy and comfortable. Thinking of buying another bed so he doesn’t have to walk too far? How about an orthopaedic bed or mat?

For dogs struggling with mobility I like the style with 3 raised sides and a low front. They can lean against the sides and it’s easy to get in and out of.

If you feel like treating him to a super fancy bed there are plenty fit for a king or queen.

Schedule some one on one playtime  

What better way to pamper your pup then by giving him your undivided attention? Whether that’s to play, snuggle or a good old-fashioned belly rub, find 10 minutes in your day to spend together. If your days are quite structured write it in your calendar and honour it like you would any other appointment.

Dinner and a movie

How about both of you eating dinner at the same time one evening, put your jim jams on, snuggle under a blanket together and turn on a favourite flick. Whether it’s a movie you’ve been wanting to see or it’s dog tv, it’s the snuggling and hanging out together that’s fun.

Schedule a pet resort getaway

As more and more dog lovers are looking for holiday destinations they can enjoy with their canine family members, resorts are going all out to offer pet friendly amenities. Whether it’s a plate of bone shaped cookies on arrival, a dog bed waiting in the room or pet friendly dishes like grilled salmon or beef tenderloin, your dog will be pampered big time. Want a pet “turn down” service? That can also be arranged.

Visit a pet bakery

What dog wouldn’t have a blast in a bakery full of treats just for them! I’ve been to a couple and the treats looked so amazing it was hard to believe they weren’t for humans!!

Have dinner out…together

Ever noticed how many dog friendly eateries are popping up? To take that a step further, some even have menus just for the dog!! So whether you’re doing the indulging and your dog is there to watch, or you both get to tuck into a special meal someone else prepared, what could be a better date than going out to dinner with your furry companion?

What’s the best pampering session of all?

Spa days, new toys and dinners out aside, you can’t beat spending quality time together as the absolute best way to pamper your pooch. The time we have with our dogs passes too quickly, and for those of us who share our lives with senior dogs that time is so much shorter than we would like.
How do you pamper your dog? Let us know in the comments below.

 


 

 

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. It is a wonderful community where you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promises I make my senior dog every day

Promises I Make My Old Dog Every Day

Promises I make my old dog every day

There’s no greater feeling in the world and nothing better for my soul, then when I welcome an old dog into my heart and home. It is the old dog that is my heart dog, the being that truly gives my life purpose and meaning.

Am I waxing a little too poetic? What can I say, I believe we all have a reason for being here, a destiny to fulfil, and I know that rescuing seniors is mine.

It’s a big responsibility

Caring for another living being is a great responsibility no matter what type of being that is. Caring for an old dog can often bring with it even more responsibility, particularly if they are dealing with health issues. Vacations are sometimes postponed, bank accounts lighter than we would like, and stress levels elevated. Having said all that, there is great joy to sharing your life with a senior dog, and it goes without saying we will move heaven and earth to give them the absolute best care we can.

Promises

I never really thought of them as “promises” per se, rather simply the way I care for my animals. I do my absolute best no matter what, it’s a given, but I thought it would be interesting to write about all the ways I care for my fur babies in terms of promises I make to them…every day.

Promises I make my old dog every day

These are my promises

To do my best, every day, to make up for all the suffering you endured at the hands of another

To give you my undivided attention

To have my lap available anytime you want it

Feed you the best and most appropriate food

I will always comfort you when you’re scared

Your vet will always treat you with respect no matter how old you are

You will always have the best veterinary care  

You will always have a comfortable bed to rest on  

You will always have a space in my bed no matter who else is there

You will always be an important part of my family…okay THE most important!

I will take you with me as much as possible – day trips, in cars, on trains and planes 

I promise to be there on the bad days

I will never let anyone dismiss you as old and therefore unworthy

I will never knowingly hurt you…it wasn’t my fault I stepped on you when you were standing behind me!!

I promise to walk at your pace and not expect you to give me the cardio workout I so desperately need!

I promise to hand feed you when you no longer remember how to eat on your own

When things get tough I will remember to take care of myself so I can take better care of you

I will always show you how much I love you

I will do my best to not get frustrated with you because I know it’s not your fault

I will always keep you warm – that’s why I have a cupboard full of sweaters and coats

I will never dress you up like a doll in cutesy outfits. Okay maybe just for Halloween!

I will have to hug and kiss you regularly

You will never know the concrete floor of a shelter ever again

I promise to never stop advocating for senior dog rescue

I promise to give what’s left of my heart to another old dog after you’re gone

I will never let you suffer, so I will give you your wings when it’s time, even though it will leave me heartbroken

I promise to never forget you

Promises I make my senior dog every day

 

 

What promises do you make your senior dog?

 

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. It is a wonderful community where you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**

 

When is a dog considered a senior

When is a Dog Considered a Senior

When is a dog considered a senior

When is a dog considered a senior? Is it determined by the flip of a page on a calendar? One day your dog is an adult the next he’s old!

Is it when you start to see grey hairs around the muzzle?

Would it happen after a diagnosis of an illness typically associated with an old dog?

How about by the condition of the teeth?

When you see cataracts in your dog’s eyes?

We all age gradually

Aging is a process, so it is impossible to say at exactly what moment any living being is considered old.

When is a dog considered a senior

 

Senior does not mean almost dead

I hate to be so blunt about the wording, but I do feel when we hear the words “old” or “senior” dog there is an immediate picture of them lying around on a bed all day, suffering from numerous diseases, shuffling along barely able to walk.

Surely you know how many pups considered old because of a number act younger than many dogs half their age, and are in as good condition!!

The smaller they are, the older they are when called “senior”

Generally speaking the smaller the breed the longer they tend to live, so the older the age they are when called “senior.”

I found this chart on a website called vetwest.com.au

Tiny (<10kg) dogs are considered seniors once over the age of 8

Small (10-25kg) dogs are considered seniors once over the age of 7

Medium (25-40kg) dogs are considered seniors once over the age of 6

Large (>40kg) dogs are considered seniors once over the age of 5

 

I think this is as good a guide as any to help us figure out where our dogs fit in.

Signs of aging in dogs

Some of the signs you may see include –

  • Greying around the muzzle
  • Mobility issues
  • Peeing more
  • Drinking more
  • Sleeping more
  • Lower energy levels
  • Not as interested in playing
  • Changes in appetite
  • Confusion
  • Startled when you approach
  • Anxious
  • Bumping into things
  • Bad breath
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Lumps and bumps
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss

If you do notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour, even if you feel they’re minor, don’t assume they are part of the natural aging process and ignore them. Often these changes are a sign of something deeper going on, so a trip to the vet sooner rather than later is advised. It’s better to hear your vet say everything is fine, then wait too long and hear there’s nothing to be done.

At what age is a dog considered old

How to take great care of your older dog

Yes there are illnesses and issues more common to older dogs than younger ones, but that doesn’t mean your dog won’t be healthy and active for years to come.

There are plenty of things you can do, starting right now, that will be hugely beneficial to your pup and they include –

  • Feeding him a good quality diet
  • Taking him for twice yearly check ups even if you don’t notice anything obviously wrong
  • Walking your dog within his abilities
  • Playing games with him and challenging him with puzzle toys for mental stimulation
  • Joint supplements and probiotics are just a couple of additives you may want to discuss with your vet
  • Joint my FB group Senior Dog Care Club for a ton of support, advice and great tips

Is age really just a number?

While it’s true aging does tend to bring with it a greater risk of illness and disease, putting that “old” label on our dogs doesn’t always do them any favours. Too many pet parents wrap them in cotton (not literally!) and believe they are happiest sleeping all day. The sad truth is it’s more than likely they are sleeping all day because no one is taking them out for their much needed walks.

Help your dog get the most out of every day by keeping him or her active (within their abilities), giving him extra love and attention, feeding him a good quality diet and enjoying your bond every day.

After all, you’re blessed to be sharing your life with a senior dog and caring for one is absolutely good for the soul.

 

 

How to keep your senior dog safe on Halloween

How to Keep Your Senior Dog Safe on Halloween

How to keep your senior dog safe on Halloween

October 31st is just around the corner and you know what that means! Ghosts and goblins, witches and werewolves. Okay, not sure about the werewolves but you get the picture.

Costumes to be bought or created, bowls to be filled with candy, lit candles and pumpkins all around, not to mention chaos and pandemonium. Before you get lost in all that, let’s talk senior dog safety for a moment.

While there are plenty of senior dogs as healthy and ready for action as they were in their more youthful days, there are also many who are experiencing health issues and anxiety. If your dog falls into the “issues” category, as mine always do, keep in mind it can take them longer to recover from a big change in routine or stressors. These tips will help ensure a fun time for everyone this Halloween!

How to keep your senior dog safe on Halloween

Candies, chocolates and don’t forget the wrappers

Chocolate can be deadly, many candies contain Xylitol (a sweetener toxic to animals) and together with wrappers they are all choking hazards. Have everyone in your house at least try and keep an eye on the floor, and if they see anything to pick it up right away.

Leave the candy outside

If you don’t think your dog can cope with the constant doorbell ringing and kids screaming “trick or treat” there is a solution. How about putting a sign by the gate asking people not to approach the door because your dog isn’t well, and leave a table outside with bowls of candy so everyone can help themselves.

Party time

The music, the noise, the people – all of that can be overwhelming for your golden oldie. Setting up a comfy corner in another room where no one will bother him is probably a good idea, and don’t forget to check on him periodically. Alternatively perhaps he can spend a few hours at the home of a trusted friend or family member.

If he will be walking amongst you, please warn everyone they are not to give your dog any food because of the risk of stomach upset or even, heaven forbid, pancreatitis if the food is fatty. If you can’t guarantee your “no feeding the dog” policy will hold, it is safer to “dis-invite” him to the party.

safety tips for pets on Halloween

Watch out for fire

Lit pumpkins or candles in the house are an accident waiting to happen. Any dog can easily knock them, get burned or cause a fire. If your dog has vision problems, is totally blind or even wandering due to dementia for example, the chances of something bad happening are even greater.  

Keep the pumpkins outside and use candles with fake flames or make sure they are out of reach.

Don’t get mad at the dog

If your dog acts up or is being uncharacteristically naughty, don’t take your frustration out on him because none of this is his fault. He’s worried or anxious and simply reacting to what’s going on.

Provide a safe hiding place

I mentioned this briefly in the section about parties above, but it does bear repeating. Bell ringing, door opening and closing, scary costumes, screaming kids. All this chaos can be stressful, so keep your dog safe and calm by confining him in a quiet part of the house until trick or treat time is over. Make sure he has a comfortable bed, water and a favourite toy.

Relaxation aids

Providing your pup with relaxation aids can make a big difference in how he handles the night. Here are a few for you to check out –

Halloween dog safety

Don’t force your dog to put up with unwanted attention

If you’ll be having company, don’t force your dog to be in the middle of all that and tolerate being petted and hugged. Of course he’s beyond handsome and you want everyone to see how absolutely fabulous your dog is, but too much attention can be overwhelming. If he doesn’t like or want it let him go and be.

Keep your dog occupied

How about preparing a stuffed Kong to keep him busy? Maybe a family member or someone else close to you will volunteer to keep your dog company…and distracted.

ID

If you haven’t gotten around to this (which I hope isn’t true!!), now is the time to microchip your dog and get him a collar and ID tag. If he has all that check the contact details are up to date. With the door opening and closing so many times, there is a real risk your dog can slip out without been seen. Should that happen, heaven forbid, you want to do what you can to increase the likelihood of him being found and returned quickly.

Walk your dog before dark

In order to make sure your dog doesn’t miss one of his outings, you might want to consider moving up his evening walk to just before dark. He’ll be able to enjoy it in a calm fashion, and won’t be spooked by spooks!

Halloween safety tips for dogs

Bring your dog inside

Even if your dog loves to spend evenings in the backyard, Halloween night should be an exception. Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on that night. 

Aim high/keep out of reach

Halloween lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach. Cords can be chewed causing an electrical shock, burns or fire, and decorations knocked over or swallowed. Pumpkins, corn, glow sticks and the like should also be kept away, as blockages or choking can occur if large pieces are swallowed.

Know your numbers

I recommend always having important phone numbers like poison hotline, 24 hour emergency hospital and of course your vet, in an easy to reach place that everyone knows about. If your dog does eat something she shouldn’t have, or you even suspect she has, knowing who to call can be the difference between a happy outcome or a sad ending.  

Playing dress up

I don’t wear a costume but I do like to dress the dogs up. Red was such a good natured dog she was always tolerant but never really impressed by any of it!

If you want to get your dog in costume, here are some things to think about –

  • Don’t just dress him up and leave him/her unattended
  • It should be loose enough so it’s comfortable, but not so loose he can get tangled up in it
  • No beading, bells or dangly items that can be chewed off and cause a choking hazard
  • Make sure it doesn’t restrict breathing or the ability to bark
  • Take it off if he’s miserable

 

If you still want your dog to get into the holiday spirit and a costume isn’t the way to go, a Halloween themed collar or bandana will work just as well.

One more thing – how will your dog react to you being in costume?

 

So there you have it, my Halloween dog safety tips. What do you do to make sure it’s a fun and safe night for everyone? Sharing helps others so let us know in the comments section below.

 

Dog safety tips for Halloween

 

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**

 

 

**There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I make a few pennies…literally. That money helps me help homeless animals through donations and fostering, as well as keeping this blog running. **

How to help relieve dog dementia symptoms

How to Help Relieve Dog Dementia Symptoms

How to help relieve dog dementia symptoms

The love of my life, Red, lived with dementia for 2 ½ years and I was always looking for ways to help relieve her dog dementia symptoms.

I’ve written a lot about my experiences and struggles with canine cognitive dysfunction. I say “my” because dementia doesn’t just affect your dog, it affects everyone living in the house and in your circle.   

A tough thing to reconcile

Red’s dementia diagnosis, made by me BTW, was such a shock, but the biggest shock came when my vet said there was only one treatment available. I like options and hearing there were none was a bit scary, okay frightening, especially because there was obviously no guarantee this “one” thing would work. The treatment I am referring to is Selgian, the prescription medication available here in the UK and Anipryl, available in Canada and the United States. I’m afraid I can’t speak for other countries.

The next biggest shock came when I started my Facebook group for senior dog parents, Senior Dog Care Club. There were so many stories from members who spoke about the apathy of their vets when it came to helping them care for their “golden oldies”, not to mention being told there was nothing to be done for dementia. The number of animals who must be suffering needlessly is too much to bear.  

I know from my own experiences many vets won’t recommend a medication if they don’t feel it works for enough animals, or the evidence is anecdotal. While I intellectually understand that attitude, I disagree with it because what if it would have worked for my pet and I didn’t know about it?

How to help relieve dog dementia symptoms

Don’t worry, there are options!

Thankfully there are many alternatives and natural treatments available, so you do have options

Disclaimer

Because of the climate we live in, and I don’t mean weather, I have to write this. First of all, I have no personal association with this company. I am also in no way suggesting you take matters into your own hands, throw caution to the wind and try every snake oil treatment you might have read about. What I am suggesting is to find yourself a vet who is compassionate and caring towards senior animals, do your research, join a group, read about others experiences and make a list of what makes sense to you. Then have a conversation with your wonderful vet and talk about what you’d like to try. A holistic vet is also a great option to consider.

Now to the good stuff!

Have you heard of Senilife? I’ve read many stories reporting great results, including from members of my group, so I felt it was important to delve into this product a bit more deeply.

Can Senilife help relieve dog dementia symptoms

What is Senilife?

Here is a short description taken from the company website. “Senilife is a supplement containing a unique blend of antioxidants — phosphatidylserine, pyridoxine, ginko biloba extract, resveratrol and d-alpha-tocopherol — which work together to help reduce brain-aging behaviors in as little as 7 days.”

Let’s take a look at what each of the 5 components are and how they combine to help with aging brain issues. Explanations for each component are in quotes and also taken from the website.

Phosphatidylserine – “Improves nerve-cell communication and helps this process continue working effectively.”

Pyridoxine – A naturally occurring form of Vitamin B6 it is “essential for normal brain development, function and heath.”

Gingko Biloba Extract – “Improves cerebral blood flow, increase glucose metabolism, and has a strong antioxidant effect.”

Resveratrol – “Antioxidant which protects neurons from toxic substances which can cause cell death.”

D-alpha-tocopherol – “Natural form of Vitamin E with strong antioxidant action and proven effectiveness on cognitive decline.”

 

I came across this article, “Improvement of short-term memory performance in aged beagles by a nutraceutical supplement containing phosphatidylserine, Ginkgo biloba, vitamin E, and pyridoxine.”  Okay I know the title is heavy, but you might find it of interest. 

Will Senilife help?

I know the heartbreak of watching a much loved pup live with dementia, and wanting a guarantee that XYZ will work. I wish I can say this will, but the truth is I have no idea.

What I do know is, just because it didn’t work for one dog doesn’t mean you will have the same outcome. What I also know is how happy I am products like Senilife exist.

There are so many positive results, in my opinion it’s worth a try, but please speak to your vet about it to make sure the ingredients won’t conflict with other medications your dog may be taking.

Will Senilife help relieve dog dementia symptoms

Can Senilife be used as a preventative?

The makers of Senilife believe you should start giving it to your dog as soon as he or she reaches “senior” status, but what age is that? Opinions vary, especially with all the mixed breeds out there, so this is the guide provided by the company.

  • Dogs up to 21 lbs –  8 years
  • Dogs 22-49 lbs – 7 years
  • Dogs over 50 lbs – 6 years

Will it guarantee your dog won’t get dementia? I don’t think anyone is in a position to make that claim, but it may postpone it, slow down its progression and lessen the symptoms.

Is it easy to administer?

It comes in a capsule which can be given whole in food or a treat, or emptied into/onto the same. Many dogs are too smart for their own good and refuse to eat anything that has “foreign” matter in it. No matter how you try and disguise it he’s not falling for it! I know because I live with one now!

If your dog knows when you’re trying to slip him something, this post has lots of helpful ideas to outsmart him. 

What senior dog parents are saying about Senilife

There were so many positive reviews and this product came recommended by our veterinarian so I gave it a try. By Day 8 I started to notice small improvements and by Day 21 I had my old (not senile!) dog back! Our biggest issue with canine cognitive disorder was the sundowners. Every night brought anxiety, pacing and panting. Now our old lab can peacefully sleep through the night again.

After researching the things I was observing, I quickly realized that maybe she did have doggy dementia. I started her on this supplement, not having high expectations. I can say she is a new dog. She is back to sleeping through the night, very energetic and playful during the day, knows which way the door opens and much more. Her cognitive function has improved drastically, she’s well-rested and always ready to play with her toys. We are still on our first bottle of Senilife, but this is definitely worth a shot if your dog is experiencing a cognitive decline.

I have a 16 year old cairn terrier who has been declining for the past year, and I decided to give this a try. Prior to starting on the Senilife, he had lost all signs of friskiness and enthusiasm for food and his movements were very slow. He frequently exhibited signs of dementia (confusion, not knowing where he was, etc.) After a couple of weeks on the Senilife, he started bouncing around periodically and seemed to regain some of his previously vibrant personality. Don’t get me wrong–he is still 16 and sedentary 90% of the time, but he just seems happier and more comfortable in his skin. He even runs in the backyard occasionally, which I hadn’t seen him do in at least a year. So I believe this has returned a noticeable degree of quality of life, and i couldn’t be happier. He recently had a complete blood workup (after 6 weeks on Senilife) and his bloodwork was great, so i don’t think it’s having any invisible negative effects. If your dog is going through similar life changes, it’s worth a try.

BUY IT !!!! This has literally saved my older dog with dementia!!! I cannot promise results but it has helped our older dog so much it is almost a miracle! Our rescue collie was dx’ed with dementia and our Vet AND a more holistic friend both recommended this so I thought it most likely works. After almost 2.5-3 weeks our baby has quit walking into walls, staring at nothing, and the panting and pacing (all night long!) has almost completely stopped! I was this close to sending him to the Rainbow bridge and am beyond thankful this is working for now. Quality of life is always first and foremost and I strongly recommend trying this but giving it time to work before other things, but always check with your vet first! It has not stopped the incontinence but that is another issue. Love this stuff!!! Make sure to order the proper weight size!

Great tip to help relieve dog dementia symptoms

Where are the negative comments?

Of course there are negative comments, it’s to be expected, and they were from people who didn’t see any results, and that too is to be expected.

Senilife, yay or nay?

As long as my vet felt the ingredients were safe for my dog, I would absolutely give it a try. Imagine if this was “the” product that made a difference in your dog’s life! So what’s it going to be – yay or nay?

 

 

Sharing helps others so please leave a comment below, or on my Facebook page.

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**

 

**There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I make a few pennies…literally. That money helps me help homeless animals through donations and fostering, as well as keeping this blog running. **

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to find the best pet friendly hotel for your senior dog

How to Find the Best Pet Friendly Hotel For Your Senior Dog

 

How to find the best pet friendly hotel for your senior dog

You’re planning a holiday and bringing your senior dog along for the fun. You want to find the best pet friendly hotel, but aren’t quite sure where to start.  You first have to determine what “best” means to you, since we all have different criteria by which we judge. I would say it’s what meets the needs of you and your family…furry family member included!

How do you know if a hotel is pet friendly?

If you use a booking site like booking.com for instance (I have no affiliation it’s just one I use), once you type in the destination, dates and number of people, you will find a menu on the left where you can filter by various criteria. Tick the box for “pet friendly” and start there. Once you’ve narrowed down the list to hotels you’re interested in, check out the questions I’ve recommended below. The answers will be available in the description or on the hotel’s own website. I still recommend you check with the hotel in case the information presented is a bit outdated.  

How “friendly” is friendly?

Just because a hotel advertises themselves as “pet friendly” doesn’t mean they’re loving the fact they have animals walking around…the 4 legged kind I mean! Of course they want to make money and they’re appealing to the pet lovers who don’t want to leave their furry companions behind, but how much will they welcome you? How much does that matter to you?

How to find the best pet friendly hotel for your senior dog

Some questions to ask

    • Is there an extra charge and if so how much? Is that per dog? Per day?
    • Is a deposit required in addition to the charge? If yes is it refundable?
    • Is there a maximum weight or size allowed?
    • Is more than one dog permitted?
    • Are they allowed on the furniture?
    • Is there a cleaning charge if dog hair is found?
    • Are there areas of the hotel that are off limits?
    • Does the room contain a fridge to store pet food?
    • Can dogs be left in the room? Do they have to be crated?
    • Is there a quiet, grassy area nearby to walk the dog?
    • Would they have a list of nearby vets, emergency hospitals, dog walkers or doggy day care facilities?

Hotel requirements

While rules will vary from place to place (i.e. size of pet, how many per room, extra charges…), here are some pretty standard requirements. Having said that, don’t assume they apply to the hotels you’re considering so be sure and ask before you commit.

  • Not aggressive
  • Proof of current vaccinations
  • Clean
  • No fleas
  • Owners must clean up after their pets
  • Be on a leash when on hotel property
  • Stick to designated areas
  • Aren’t usually allowed in common areas or pool area
  • Cannot be left unattended in the room

What some hotels will do to make your pet happy

Some hotels treat your dog like a highly valued guest, which makes everyone feel special. Here are some of the offerings –

  • Toys
  • Food
  • Treats
  • Beds
  • Bowls
  • Blankets
  • Poop bags
  • Brush
  • Welcome gift baskets
  • Off leash play areas
  • Dedicated pet concierge
  • Dog tag with contact details of the hotel
  • Pet sitting and dog walking services
  • Special doggy menu
  • Personalised spring water
  • Allow them in the dining room with you
  • “Do Not Disturb Pet Sleeping” sign
  • Dedicated dog lounge
  • Dog beer
  • Breakfast sausage
  • Walking maps of dog friendly routes
  • Some hotels even send out a pet preference form prior to arrival asking about size, breed, special requests…

It’s up to you to decide how much pampering your dog needs, and how much you’re willing to pay for it. 

How to find the best pet friendly hotel

Things to think about and plan

What floor would you like your room? Being on ground level makes it easier to take the dog out, especially if he’s having incontinence issues for example, or is restless due to dementia and doesn’t sleep well. However the first floor can be noisy, so ask to be as far from the lobby, reception and lounge as possible. Find out if there is a usable exit near your room so you don’t have to walk through the lobby late at night in your pjs!! 

Even if you’re staying in a hotel that provides for all your dog’s needs, you’re more than likely still going to need some supplies they won’t have, so check the list below to make sure you’ve got everything covered. For example, a run around a muddy park or a swim in the lake means a filthy dog walking through a hotel lobby. At least if you have cleaning wipes or a towel you can wipe him down and dry him off before he adds paw prints to the design of the lobby floor.

Research vets, emergency hospitals and perhaps a doggy day care at your destination. Even if the hotel does offer that service you never know – the list may be lost, it’s not kept current… Be prepared and find it out for yourself. 

Things to bring

I don’t know about you, but I love lists!! Even if it’s for something I do all the time, I feel comforted knowing the list contains everything I need so I don’t have to remember everything. That becomes even more important when travelling with a senior dog, especially if medication, pee pads, diapers and the like are part of the package! I also never assume I can get INSERT NAME HERE at my destination…I pack assuming I can’t!

If you’ll be staying in a hotel that pampers your dog even more than they pamper you, there may not be much you need to bring other then his pet passport and medical records. Use the checklist below to be sure!  

The way I create my list is really quite simple. I write down every medication my dog takes, and then go through her daily schedule and add each item to the list, keeping it handy whenever something else pops into mind.

  • Leash, harness, collar and ID tag with destination phone number
  • Food and water bowls, consider collapsible to save space
  • Spoons for the food
  • Enough food to last longer than your trip, unless you are sure the brand is available where you’re going. If it’s a prescription diet I wouldn’t take the chance of finding a vet willing to prescribe it to you
  • Treats, especially if he can’t just eat any type
  • Medication, again enough to last longer than your trip
  • Supplements
  • Favourite toys/treat dispensing toys
  • Bed/blanket
  • Pee pads/diapers
  • Cleaning wipes/towels
  • Pet passport if you have one
  • Medical records
  • Lists of local vets and 24 hour emergency hospitals including phone numbers, address and even directions

How to choose the best pet friendly hotel for your senior dog

My experience

I have only stayed in a hotel with my dogs once because all the travel we do is between home/family. It was when we drove to Spain from the UK, and knew we would be staying overnight on the way. The best thing I did was pack the dogs’ supplies separately from our own stuff. The food, water, snacks, medication, drinks, plates, bowls and plastic spoons in one bag, blankets, paperwork and pee pads for the hotel room floor in another bag. It made it much easier and efficient to care for the dogs once we stopped for the night. Because our driver wanted the freedom to drive as many hours as he could before having to stop, we weren’t able to research hotels in advance, something I’m typically extremely fussy about! 

The hotel he found allowed dogs in the room, but presumably due to its location it catered mostly to road traffic so there was nothing fancy about it. There was barely an area to walk the dogs, certainly no grass just dirt and bark chips but it was just for a few hours before we hit the road again so we weren’t fussy. It was not a place I would recommend or choose if we were going on vacation.

Please be responsible

I know you will be but I’m notorious for stating the obvious. By respecting the rules and being responsible we can encourage hotels and other establishments to re-think their “no pets” policy, and start welcoming our four legged family members.  

How to find the best pet friendly hotel for your senior dog – conclusion

Have you stayed in a hotel with your senior dog before? What kind of amenities and services did you find important, or would like to have had? What tips do you have for making a hotel stay with a senior dog as comfortable as possible? Sharing helps others so please leave your comments below.

 

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**

 

 

**There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I make a few pennies…literally. That money helps me help homeless animals through donations and fostering, as well as keeping this blog running. **

 

 

 

The best way to give your dog medication

The Best Way to Give Your Dog Medication

The best way to give your dog medication

Some dogs are absolute stars when it comes to taking their medication. They’re easy going, don’t mind that you’re trying to disguise a pill in a lump of cheese or put drops of some foreign substance on their food. Maybe your dog is so chill he’ll eat a tablet right out of the palm of your hand!!

This article is for all of you who DON’T have that kind of dog!!

My sweet girl Red was one of those easy going dogs who couldn’t care less what you hid in her food, as long as she got to eat. I used to call her a vacuum cleaner because she would wolf down anything you put in front of her so quickly, she would literally inhale it.

I was lucky because she was on a few different medications as well as eye drops 3 or 4 times a day, so being easy going made it all a breeze. That is until her health issues started catching up to her and meal time became a nightmare. For those of you with dogs who won’t eat, please read this very helpful article “What to do if Your Old Dog Won’t Eat”  and “How to get an Old Dog to Eat” 

I’m sure many of you can relate to the stress and anxiety that comes with not being able to give a dog medication. I admit there were some days when it was impossible to give Red all the meds she needed, and I had to learn to not beat myself up, to forgive myself and accept I was doing my absolute best.

Okay let’s get started with the advice you’ve come here looking for.

The best way to give your dog medication

Is your dog’s medication available in a different form?

If pill giving has become a nightmare and your dog is not getting his medication more often than he is, have a chat with your vet to see if it’s available in a liquid. It can be squirted onto his food, a treat or even directly into his mouth. More on how to do that later. What about an injectable? Your vet can administer it and perhaps even you can! More on how to do that later on as well.

Helpful tips

I’ve included my own tricks and tips as well as those from members of my Facebook group, Senior Dog Care Club . Hopefully you will find something here you haven’t tried before that will work.

A couple of points to keep in mind

  • The “one” thing you finally find that works may not work forever, so having a list of “possibles” is a lifesaver.
  • I know how frustrating it is, believe me I do I’ve been there, but try not to show it to your dog by yelling or getting annoyed, as challenging as that can be at times. You’re doing great!

HOW TO GET YOUR DOG TO TAKE PILLS

A fellow pet blogger shared this tip from her cousin’s vet, and I think it’s brilliant! Place a can of your dog’s food in the fridge to harden and chill, of a consistency you can scoop and roll into balls. Scoop out 4 tablespoons of the food, roll into little meatballs and put the pill into one of them. Start by giving your dog a meatball without the pill, then quickly give him a second one without the pill. Make it seem like fun and praise him like crazy. As soon as he swallows the second give him the third one with the pill in it, then the fourth. You can also make “real” meatballs, just be sure your dog doesn’t have any restrictions on the ground beef.

I had a very clever and suspicious dog who seemed to know when there was a pill hidden in something, even when he didn’t see it happen. No matter what I tried he would refuse everything, until I discovered Pill Pockets and they worked like a charm every single time.

We took a cue from our vet who administered the first pill he needed the other day. She buttered up the pill so it was slippery, then opened his mouth very wide and stuck it far back in his throat and closed his mouth. The combination of being so far back and slippery, he couldn’t do anything but swallow it. We have since used the technique successfully.

Turkey meatballs work every time.

Peanut butter/almond butter.

Monkey is on a handful of meds … I hide them in a little ‘meatball’ of canned cat food and let him nibble at it. Yesterday he didn’t fall for that trick, so I tossed all his AM meds into the blender, mixed them into his breakfast, and he ate it that way. Trying to pill him the conventional way just upsets him, and stressing him out like that just isn’t worth it. 💕

What is the best way to give your dog medication

Not feeding them for a while before giving them the meds so they get a bit hungry, and gobble the pill down with some food they really like.

Mold liverwurst around it- my dog loves this!

Hold mouth open….shove pill to the back of the throat 🙂

Tomlyn Pill Masker

I freeze my girl’s pills in a little bit of ice cream and then pop them out as needed, give them to her and they go right down.

Wrap in deli sliced cheese.

Make a little ball of liverwurst with pill in center.

If my dog won’t take it with peanut butter I just push it to the back of the throat. It triggers the involuntary swallow reflex and goes down automatically.

I do peanut butter now but used to put the pills in an ice cube tray and cover with melted coconut oil, then put it in fridge till firm. I had to store those coconut cubes in the fridge during the summer (I stopped using the oil after a pancreatitis scare, I had to decrease the fat in her diet)

In a frankfurter 🌭 not a whole one haha just a small piece. Nellie takes her medication no problem, only thing is the others sit and wait for their piece and they don’t have any medication

We use low sodium deli ham. Thank goodness she loves it since she is on several pills a day.

Cold cuts.

liverwurst; “meat play dough” (boil chicken, then puree it with flour and water until it forms a play dough consistency – fewer ingredients than store bought, more widely accepted palatability in my experience, can pinch off as much/little as you need, low fat, etc.); or pilling.

I have been known to resort to whipped cream to hide pills, though obviously not on a regular basis!

I used banana this morning.

How to give a dog liquid medicine

Fold up in pieces of American cheese…. works every time.

Nothing seemed to work for us. He would just eat the treat and spit out the pill. Then we started cutting up little pieces of bread, slathering them with mayo and wrapping the pill in there. I have no idea why that works. Sometimes watermelon works, too.

Depending on the pill we crush into yogurt.

When my dog wouldn’t eat I went to Petsmart and picked any food and treat. Well, it is the Bill Jac little soft treats that saved my life. I cut them in half and she eats all her meds with them.

Bill Jac pumpkin treats for pills or small bits of whatever meat we had for supper.

Wrapped in cheese or hidden in Vienna sausage seems to do the trick. In the past I used marshmallows, but she caught on to that one after a while.

Peanut butter. They come running for pills.

Dairylea cheese triangles. Just hoping no one ever tells him that they’re not meant to have a crunchy middle!

Cream cheese or liverwurst.

As long as it is in any kind of food. No matter.

Tuck it into a piece of Vienna sausage.

Great tips for giving your dog medication

Open up the mouth and shove it in there! Fastest, best way! Then a treat! ❤️🐾

Max takes his cough medicine straight from a bowl and his tablets in any food I give him (he’s a lab he eats anything)

A piece of banana makes a good pill pocket.

Peanut butter or hot dog.

Kong squirty bacon and cheese flavour. Wrapped in a piece of ham or in the middle of a ball of raw mince …

I just open her mouth and push them in towards the back of her throat and massage her throat to help her swallow and then give her a treat.

A spoonful of cat food with pill tucked inside. Works every time for our 2 old timers.  🙂

With a little piece of cooked chicken or tiny piece of cheese. My dog is really smart so hard to trick him.

Bread crust rolled around a pill.

I crush pills with a spoon, then use a hand blender to make a really nice chicken shake, put it all in the shake, blend it some more, and they will eat it xx

Dave’s canned chicken & rice works for us.

Right now the magic for Winnie is frozen yogurt.

I’ve even used canned beef-a Roni!!!! Sour cream and ice cream always worked too! Grab something out of the pantry to make it look like a treat! They are so damn smart! When you’re excited they’re excited too!!! ❤️🐾

I put their pills in pork liver sausage.

You can buy a “piller” at your vet’s office, pet supply stores and Amazon. It looks like a long, plastic tube with a plunger on one end and a rubber cylinder on the other, and is designed to hold different sizes of pills. Once you place the medicine in the holding end of the piller and draw back the plunger, open your dog’s mouth just wide enough to get the pill all the way over her tongue to the back of her throat. When the pill is in the right spot, push down on the plunger, quickly pull out the piller — making sure you’ve left the medication behind — and gently hold her muzzle shut. Point her nose to the ceiling and rub her throat to encourage her to swallow the pill.  

HOW TO GIVE YOUR DOG LIQUID MEDICINE

If you have trouble giving your dog pills, the same medication may be available in a liquid form, just ask your vet.

The easiest way to give your dog liquid medicine is by using the dropper to put it onto a favourite treat, or his food. If you’re going the route of the latter option, squeeze it onto a drop of food to begin with. Putting it all over his entire meal  then finding out he won’t eat it is not only a waste, it won’t do him any good as he won’t be getting the full dosage he requires.

If your dog catches on to the “foreign matter” on his food or treats, you’ll want to squeeze the liquid directly into your dog’s mouth. The video below will show you how easy it is to do.

Here are a couple of tips that will help in case he’s not being as cooperative as he should be.

Your dog may prefer cold medication to warm or room temperature, so a few minutes in the fridge should do the trick, just check with your vet to make sure it’s okay to refrigerate.

Add the liquid to stock made from boiling bones or even soup. Be sure the liquid is cooled off enough for him to drink and doesn’t contain unsafe ingredients. Sorry for stating the obvious!!

If your dog is not cooperating, you’ll need to create some positive associations so he learns that great things happen when he sees the syringe. Start by showing him the syringe whether you hold it out for him or place it on the floor for him to explore. Give him a treat when he’s sniffing around it and seems calm.

Once he’s comfortable seeing the syringe, or more accurately ignores it when you take it out, why not put some peanut butter or squirty cheese on the tip of it and let him lick it off. Practice in short sessions several times a day until he’s fine with it, then you can try his medication.

HOW TO GIVE YOUR DOG A SHOT

While there are many ways to give your dog a pill, a shot is a shot although there are ways to make it less stressful, and maybe even okay. Have your vet, nurse or vet tech show you how it’s done, and ask for their best tips and tricks to make it as quick and painless as possible…for everyone!

Be sure to practice, practice, practice on things other than your dog, in order to build up your confidence and perfect your technique. A stuffed toy or piece of fruit are great substitutes.

Tips

Here are various things people do in order to give their dog an injection. Not every one will work for your dog, so as with most things it can be a case of trial and error.

Give your dog his shot after a walk or play time when he’s tired and less likely to react.

Feed your dog a super delicious treat before, during and after.

Do it right before he’s about to have his meal.

Hide the needle so the dog can’t see it, then “stick him” quickly.

Desensitise him to the sight of the needle so he doesn’t fear it by letting him see it, sniff it then giving him a favourite treat or toy, creating only positive associations.

Lie down on the couch or floor with your dog, pet him with one hand and inject him with the other.

Bring the needle on your walk and give your dog a shot while he’s out and distracted.

Don’t make a big deal out of it, just do it and move on.

Insulin is kept in the fridge and it seems when cold it can sting, so warming up the loaded syringe, under your arm for example, might help.

Rather than always giving the shot in the same spot on your dog’s body, change the location where it is administered. Have your vet show you other suitable areas.  

Insulin needles are quite small so your dog should hardly feel a thing. If it seems to hurt, or the needles don’t look small, check with your vet to make sure you were given the correct size, or if you could possibly go smaller.

Use a VetPen for greater ease and accuracy.

An auto injector can make giving shots easier. 

EYE MEDICATION

I know it can seem a bit scary giving your dog eye medication, especially if he’s not too fond of you coming at his eyes with a bottle in your hand! It’s perfectly normal to be concerned, okay even freaked out, but you will get the hang of it.

Naturally I suggest you have your vet demonstrate how it’s done. Ask as many questions as you need to understand the best technique when it comes to holding him and administering the drops or ointment. Practice while you’re there so you feel comfortable doing it. Over time you may find a different technique that works better for you and your dog.

My dog Jack needs eye ointment twice a day for life. He was mistreated in his previous home so you can imagine how coming at him with something in my hand would freak him out a bit. It took some practice to find the routine that works best for us, and here’s what it is.

Because Jack has a schedule he knows what happens when, and I also tell him what’s happening before I do anything. In this case I say “Jack let’s do your eyes.” I’ve said it so many times he knows that means going to my husband who picks him up, puts him on his lap facing me. He puts a muzzle on from behind his head, and I put the eye ointment in very quickly. After I’m done Jack gets 2 or 3 small treats and he’s happy. It helps that he is extremely food motivated, so he’s willing to sit still for the few seconds it takes.

The key for us is speed. Everything has to be ready in advance, and no fuffing about. I don’t get it perfect every time, on occasion it ends up on the fur above his eye rather than directly in it, but if it happens it happens. I don’t try again because I don’t want to freak him out.

EAR MEDICATION

If your dog needs a “one off” application of ear meds, it’s easy enough for your vet to do it in the office. However that is very rarely the case so this is something you’re going to have to learn to do at home. Have your vet show you, then practice at the office to make sure you’re getting the hang of it. You’ll want to be clear on how far into the ear you have to go, or not go.

If he’s a bit snappy you may need to use a muzzle, or perhaps his favourite food will be enough to keep him still. Having someone else present to distract him may also work.

SUBCUTANEOUS/SUB-CUT FLUIDS

Many years ago I had a cat with kidney issues who needed fluids on a regular basis. Since it wasn’t convenient or cost effective to keep bringing her to the vet, I had no choice but to learn how to do it myself. I am extremely squeamish so it was not easy for me to take that step.  

My cat was pretty much okay with it, so I was able to manage on my own, although that would not have been the case if it had been any of the other felines in the family!!

I found the best place to give Mini fluids was the kitchen. There was plenty of room for a blanket or cat bed on the counter, and the IV bag would hang off a cabinet doorknob. It was simply a matter of pinching some skin on the back of her neck and inserting the needle. The first few times were a bit gross to tell you the truth, but I got used to it.

I had the vet show me how to set it up and insert the needle, but I found I needed some extra help and a little moral support once I got home and had to tackle it on my own. My cousin had quite a bit of experience giving fluids so he kindly came over and helped.

Make sure your vet, nurse or vet tech guides you before you leave there, and if you have any questions or are feeling unsure, call and ask for help.

Follow the technique they show you, but over time and with experience you may find a way that works better for you and your dog.

What did you think?

So there you have it, my guide to the best ways to administer all sorts of medications to your dog.

What tips do you have to give your dog his meds? Sharing helps others so write them in the comments section below.

 

 

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**

**There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I make a few pennies…literally. That money helps me help homeless animals through donations and fostering, as well as keeping this blog running. **

 

 

 

 

The greatest challenges of caring for a senior dog

The Greatest Challenges of Caring for a Senior Dog

The greatest challenges of caring for a senior dog

I loved my senior dog Red more than anything, and when she died I fell apart. I would be lying if I said it was always easy caring for her, and I’m honest when I say at times I wished it was over.

I know these are sentiments shared by many senior dog parents, particularly those of us who were and are dealing with serious health issues.

We love them, they’re part of our hearts and souls, and we’re blessed to have them another day. Many of us give up a lot to keep them comfortable and safe. You’ll hear a lot of people say they don’t go on vacations, would rather stay home with their dog than socialise with friends, and spend money on their senior dog’s care rather than on themselves or that they don’t really have.

I feel it’s important to write a post about the challenges of caring for a senior dog for one main reason, and that is so no one feels alone, like they’re the only one that has these challenges and finds it a struggle. That is also one of the reasons why I created my Facebook group Senior Dog Care Club.

Let me clarify – I am not suggesting every senior dog is difficult to care for, no way. This is specifically about those who are ill.

The Greatest Challenges of Caring For a Senior Dog

My biggest challenges caring for Red

In the last few months of her life, when chronic pancreatitis and kidney issues were making it tough for her to eat, and tougher for me to know what to feed her I found those times extremely challenging.

If I want to go further back the really tough times started 2 ½ years before she died when I realised she had dementia. The lead up to that – constant pacing, peeing on the floor, never settling even after hours of wandering. Trips to the vet and tests showed no explanation, and my vet never mentioned the “D” word until one day it popped into my head and I knew.

Times were so tough I would have to leave the house and let her wander. She was safe but I was losing patience and that was not fair to her, because none of this was her fault. It was the feelings of frustration, having no idea how to help her because I had no idea what was wrong with her. I would go for a long walk to the beach, or leave my husband in charge and go shopping for a couple of hours. Those breaks made me a better caregiver.

I would call this next point a stressor rather than a challenge but…my vet is amazing and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. Red was a very complicated case, one of the most he had ever dealt with, but he is so excellent he did a great job helping me. The stressor? He didn’t work every day, he would take vacation or go back to his home country and lecture at the university. I was petrified every time she didn’t feel well in case he wasn’t there to help. Yes there are a couple of other vets at his practice, but none of them could help me with Red if it was anything more complicated than an IV, or perhaps prescribing diarrhea medication. I didn’t trust them with more than that.

There are a couple of other practices in my small town but I wouldn’t take her there even if her life depended on it. So yes, that was a huge stressor for me, worried that we would need him and he would not be around. Thankfully he was there to help me when it was time for her to get her wings, and I was so grateful for that.

what are some of the greatest challenges of caring for a senior dog

 

What are some of the challenges facing others who care for old dogs?

The incredible members of my Facebook group very graciously shared their challenges for this article as a way to help others, so thank you everyone!!

Here they are

Caring for two at once that have major, serious illnesses (seizures, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke), keeping all the medications, foods, vet appointments straight, cleaning up after them and hoping I’m giving them good qualities of life. But knowing the time I have with them is not long is probably the worst. If I could have them forever, I would gladly take all the work involved; and that’s something I have to keep reminding myself.

Right now, in these early stages, it’s everyone getting a good nights sleep. One of us sleeps in the living room with Buck every night. His worse time is between 12 and 5. This is in spite of the meds he takes. During the day, he’s pretty much his normal self but in a slower mode. His tail still wags and his eyes still sparkle.

I think my biggest challenge is remembering that this is uncharted territory for him too. We’re both having to learn and adapt as we go. Also, trying to make sure I see the forest for the trees.

Incontinence and keeping her skin healthy around her back end. Getting to know the correct level of exercise needed to help arthritis but not exhausting the heart.

Besides facing the reality ‘that day’ is getting closer…. CCD is a sad emotional roller coaster.

For me like many others it’s the anxiety I feel every day, never knowing if I’m doing enough, wondering when she will go or need to go. I can’t even face the fact that one day she will not be with me. Wilma is very unsettled around 4pm and can pace and whine for 2 – 3 hours, I never know why but it’s the same most days. She’s great in the mornings and sleeps soundly through the night.

There are so many things but mostly am I doing right by them and doing everything I can. I research and research in case there is something new to try. One has dementia and the other has cancer. Some days are exhausting for sure but I just love them both so much.

the biggest challenges of caring for a senior dog

Getting them to finish their dinner

Getting them to keep their dinner in💟

Having accidents on herself & her not even knowing she did. Struggling to walk due to arthritis. Not wanting to take her medication. And knowing our time grows shorter every day with new struggles. Seems to be good one day and then completely different the next day.

Seems like ever since my boy got older he thinks rules don’t apply to him anymore. Like when we sit on the couch with any kind of food he will get up next to our face & stare. He never did that til about 6 months ago. We tell him to get down & he just goes to the other side of the couch. Lol stinker

Guinness does that with his CCD, it’s like his brain short circuits because the focus is on “what’s that!?” and disregards boundaries/tasks. He does it on our walks outside too, so if a leaf blows you can bet he’s not going to do his business. Ha!

Deciding on when is the right time for them to go to the rainbow bridge…. hoping it happens while he’s sleeping … no pain , just an old man ❤️

Not worrying too much about how much longer I will have them💕

I sometimes get impatient with my girl Hanna, she has incontinence and have to let her out often! Also worried that she’s in pain, but I don’t think she is yet!

Being patient .. it’s like it was when I was my mother’s care giver .. you do not get angry at them you get angry about the situation.. and you have to learn to accept that some days are harder then others.

Figuring out what mixture of treats and food will convince her to eat her breakfast. (2) Feeling new and growing bumps every time I give her rubs even though every one tested has been nothing more than a simple lipoma (3) knowing that she’s 10 and she won’t be here forever (4) every new white fleck on her face equates to another day older.

the greatest challenges facing senior dog caregivers

Sleep! I have had several senior dogs before, but none of them had CCD. Thanks to this group and the CCD one, we are doing much better overall, but the thing that is still the hardest for me to manage, is the lack of sleep. With all the herbal support we are getting, on our good nights, about 5 hours, if we are lucky sometimes 6 hours. On our bad nights we get from 30 minutes to a couple hours of sleep. This started back in October last year. With all the things I have learned here, things have improved. But since you asked, the hardest thing for me to manage is the lack of sleep.

Lack of sleep and worrying about making the final decision

Heavy panting middle of the night, waking up to take her out 2am, missing the days where she could run across fields, trying to get her to walk just a little bit longer, watching the deterioration, always rushing home from work and worrying about her, crying when I think of life without her one day… but there is the joy of how loving and sweet and devoted she is, and how blessed we are to have her so long.

Every time those tears come when you think of not having her, make it a point to make one memory with her and take a photo of it. Get her pawprint in plaster, sit with her on the grass, even just looking into her face and telling her how much you love her.

The niggling thought in the back of my mind as we enjoy the sun, love and joy of a perfect day of how many such days we may have left. The wonderful days win – I would do it a million times over always together no matter what now and forever after.

Just knowing that I am doing all I can to give him a good quality of life.

Patience

your greatest challenges caring for a senior dog

Biggest challenge is when they start failing physically but still have a lot of life left. I wish I had known of the things that make things easier! Belly bands to help with incontinence and lift straps and harness with handles. A nice doggy stroller is a must!! Just like with people, you don’t stop living because of some physical problems. There are so many things out there now and many people don’t know about them..

Knowing where it ends. I let no moment pass. No treat withheld. I lost the sister of my sibling pair 2 months ago. I regret nothing. Not the vet bills. Not the missed work. But the end….that was hard. I’m a nurse, who once was a paramedic. I’m no stranger to death. I knew what was coming and I had to be strong anyway. That’s the hardest. The end.

Never knowing if I’m providing the help they really need, instead of what I think they need.

Dealing with the slowing down and changes associated with her aging. And trying to figure out the best solutions for these problems as they arise. She has arthritis and trying to determine when we have walked enough, when she might be in pain, and how to best care for her.

Definitely eating, general nourishment and taking medication he may be on. Just when I think I found a consistent food he likes, he stops eating it!

I don’t even know where to begin. My baby boy has bone cancer which the vet said is aggressive and gave him a few months to a year. He’s big and I live on the second floor and what will I do when he can’t do the stairs but he is otherwise ok?? I have cried so much and each day is a challenge. I say this is my new norm. This is my life. It’s mentally and physically exhausting at times and I feel guilty saying that. Finding this group has been the best thing for me. I will need support of others who can identify with me. 🐾💙

Getting my senior not to climb out of the ”chair “she has to eat in because of her Mega Esophagus.

Especially with my CCD guy who is unknowingly annoying at times – and sadness as I watch him decline – and hoping we have more time😢😢❤️🐾 feeling Helpless too. I can’t “fix” him😢😢

Seeing my mostly healthy dog struggle with some physical stuff without an answer to really help. Also preparing my kids that our dog won’t be here forever – she was here before them 😢

Long hair between paw pads on timber or smooth floor, failing eyesight at night on stair an inability to run and play like used to with her younger sister🙏❤

Reading all these posts makes me so grateful to be part of this group. I know it will make the next few years with Hope better for both of us. Thank you again for adding me.

biggest challenges facing caregivers of senior dogs

My 15 year old toy poodle Rocky becoming blind almost a year ago. Seeing him bumping into things and going around in circles a lot, stepping on his own poop when I’m not home and coming out positive for heartworms and not afford to get treatment. He has dental problems that needs teeth to be extracted. Everyone says I’m selfish that he’s “suffering” to just put him to sleep

Wondering if her panting means she is in pain.. Worrying worrying

My beautiful 17 yr. old Gigi is mostly blind past few months. Hearing still good but wanders around now bumping into walls, furniture, etc….softly, but still bumping. Can’t leave her alone on my bed…she walks right off. So sad but we cope & support her with love.

Just accepting that my babe is elderly and right now feeling like we are on borrowed time

Dealing with her dementia…it really hurts to see her not hardly ever herself anymore.

I’m having difficulty accepting her mortality. She’s like a kid to me and shouldn’t die before I do.

Getting good pictures. 😂

Hardest part for us is that Miss Gretel doesn’t like to be cuddled anymore as she “never” stops walking these days …… I would love to cuddle up in bed with her :'( :'(

Keeping my worries to myself so Shadow doesn’t feel them. But, she’s been doing great mobility-wise since the stem cell infusion, which has given her back her youthful spunk and sassiness. My other big challenge is not so much with her as it is with hubby, who has some dementia and can’t always understand that Shadow’s super-sensitive GI tract cannot handle all the “people food” he sneaks to her when I’m not there to stop him.

$$$

Not knowing if I am doing the right thing and/or if I am giving her what she needs.

My 18 1/2 year old is starting to dribble/wet at night. I have him on a pee pad. I got diapers i didn’t like them. Now i got belly bands i like them but they get wet on the sides. Kotex with them??

Could you relate to some of what was said?

It’s tough reading what so many people are going through, yet I am happy there is a community for everyone to share their experiences, ask for and offer support, and discuss treatments and options that have helped.

Are you experiencing something similar? Why not share your story in the comment section below.

 

 

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**