Tag: Senior Dog

4 Ways To Make Your Senior Rescue Dog Healthier

A senior rescue dog is the sweetest dog. We love them so much and they deserve our love as they enter the twilight of their lives. We do have a special challenge with every senior rescue dog. How do we make senior rescue dogs active and healthy. Our dog experts share their dog training tips.

4 Ways to Make Your Senior Rescue Dog Healthier and More Active

  1. Make Getting Around Easier

Simple task such as climbing into bed with you can become akin to climbing Mt. Everest for your elderly dog. Sure, just a few years ago she’d make that leap without a second thought, but her hips are a little stiff now, maybe her knees hurt, and there was that time she tried to jump, and missed.

Something as simple as foam stairs leading to your bed gives her the freedom to climb on the bed, couches, or into her favorite window nook without pain.

  • All dogs, especially seniors, thrive on routine. Keeping your senior’s favorite walking routes clear can alleviate anxiety. Do this in both the yard, and in your house.

A lift to get into the car is helpful as well.

  • Lay down traction on slippery floors. Tile and hardwood can be tough to navigate with paws, and a slip of the leg can mean a major joint issue for a senior. Putting down a carpet pathway helps them get around the house. If you have wood stairs, it’s a good idea to provide traction there as well.
  1. Exercise is For The Mind as well as The Body

Walking your dog is important. If they are healthy enough to walk, even if it’s just to the mailbox and back, they should do it. Obviously, you need to find the sweet spot between enough exercise and over-use, but they should get some kind of stimulation physically. Remember that dogs are programmed to walk (much like humans, so the walk is good for you, too). Even brief walks help stimulate your senior’s mind, and can relieve anxiety and boredom.

Many times lethargy is attributed to age, when in fact the dog is simply bored silly.

Senior Rescue Dog Getting Active

Swimming is a great way to get your senior moving without stressing their joints.

It may feel silly at first, but if your dog is hurting but you want them to have walk-time, putting them into a doggie stroller can solve this problem. So will simply walking with them in your backyard as they sniff around.

  1. Watch the Weather

Older dogs, like older people, can have trouble regulating their body temperatures. This is especially dangerous in the heat and humidity of summer. Your buddy may be able to do a brisk 15-minute walk in the crisp fall air, but the stifling humidity of august can have 5-minutes feeling like an eternity for her.

Take care to watch their breathing rate in the heat, or extreme cold. Provide cool water in the summer, and take them into the air conditioning after exercising or playing in the heat.

  1. Play

This can be part of exercise, and it is sometimes surprising to new senior-rescuers, but senior rescue dogs still like to play. It may take some research, but you can find something they’ll love to play with. Try out different toys, tennis balls, bones, cat toys (make sure they’re not too small), and ropes. You may just find that they love playing with the box that the toy came in best.

Retirement Farm For Senior Dogs

An Upstate NY Farm Acts as Retirement Community for Senior and Forgotten Dogs

Unfortunately, every year thousands of dogs are abandoned, forgotten, or given to kill shelters. Stray dogs often end up at “the pound” never to be seen again. Senior dogs are hit hard because they are tougher to adopt out. Most people want to buy puppies. 

As anyone involved in rescue knows, seniors have a lot of love and life left in them. 

Luckily, for forgotten senior dogs in the NY area, there is now a wonderful place to call home. 

Silver Streak Kennels Retirement Farm

Silver Streak calls itself a “country retirement home.” It specializes in housing senior dogs that were surrendered by owners, given away, or ended up in shelters. 

Instead of sleeping in a cold, concrete kennel, seniors are free to play on the vast farmland. They are given him cooked meals and vet care. 

Silver Streak is seen as a last resort for many of these seniors. 

Their room and board does come with a cost. Many dogs are sponsored. Others were placed their by families that could no longer take care of them. 

Caring for a Senior Dog In Your Home

It is fortunate for many seniors that places like Silver Streak exist.

But, the better option is to care for your senior in your own home. 

Consider rescuing or fostering a senior dog. You will literally be saving their lives. 

Myths About Senior Dog Adoptions and Care

Many people seek out a puppy when considering a dog. There has been an un-killable belief that:

  • Senior dogs are hard to train
  • Puppies are better behaved because you train them from day one
  • You are inheriting “someone else’s problem”

The reality is that seniors can be trained just as easily as a puppy. In fact, seniors are often easier to train because they have a longer attention span. Because of their life experience, they’ll often pick up new tricks and training much more quickly than puppies. 

Puppies don’t show their true personality until adulthood. Your happy puppy could turn out to be a dominant, stubborn adult. With seniors, you know who they are when you adopt. 

Seniors (and rescues of all ages) are not someone else’s problem.  Many were given up because they lost their youth, were too much work, or the family simply lost interest in them. 

The reality is that adopting or fostering a senior can save their lives. Seniors are active, love to walk with you, and will play. And, the best part is that when play time is over, they’ll happily crash on the couch with you for marathon Netflix binges. 

House Training Senior Dogs

Has your  senior dog been having accidents in your house?

Does she frequently forget to tell you it’s time to go out?

Do you notice accidents at a certain time of day? Or, after a you’ve bene out of the house for a certain amount of time?

As your dog ages, she may develop problems with potty training. There are several reasons this happens:

  • A senior dog’s digestive system may not run as efficiently as it did when they were a pup. This leads to an irregular bathroom schedule
  • Your dog may have trouble holding it in. Just as with humans, as dogs enter their golden years, they may have more trouble holding it in while you’re away at work
  • There can be lag time between your pup’s brain tell her “it’s time to go out” and her ability to get to the door
  • Seniors often have to go to the bathroom more frequently than puppies
  • Did you rescue your senior pooch? She may have never been potty trained

First, make sure that accidents aren’t happening because of a medical issue. Take your dog to the vet and have them perform a Senior Blood Panel. This will find any issue with their bladder, kidneys, liver, and other essentials.

  • Once you’ve established that it’s not a medical problem, figure out if the issue is behavioral.

House Training: Puppy vs Older Dog

First, know that unless there is a medical issue, any dog, regardless of age, can be housebroken.

There are many differences in training a puppy vs an older adult dog

However, with both puppies and seniors, the key is consistency.

How to House Train a Senior Dog, Fast

These rules are meant for senior dogs, but you can apply them to puppies and adults as well.

Be Consistent with Their Meal Times

Aim to feed your senior pup at the same time every day. Remove their bowl between meals. The senior appetite is different than that of a puppy. Your senior may only pick at her food at meal time, then go looking for more later. This leads to inconsistent bathroom habits. By removing the bowl, you are letting them know that they can eat their fill – but, only at dinner time.

Feed your dog at the same time every day and take their bowl away between meals.

This will also help set up a routine of eating, resting, going out. All dogs love routine, but seniors especially thrive on consistency.

Keep a Bathroom Schedule

When training a puppy, you set up a bathroom schedule. It helps teach the pup system when it’s time to go. This goes a long way in preventing accidents because the dog’s system starts to process food on with regularity, eliminating the need for surprise trips to the bathroom.

With seniors, this is even more important. Your senior dog’s system isn’t as efficient as it used to be. Consistency in feeding and bathroom break times helps balance their system.

Senior Rescue Dogs: your rescue may not have even been house trained. If so, don’t fret. This can be an advantage because you are only teaching, and not teaching plus breaking ingrained bad habits.

Puppies should go out four times per day, minimum. Seniors should go 6 or more. They won’t relieve themselves every time, but giving them the opportunity cuts down on accidents, and helps eliminate accident-anxiety. 

Be sure to give you senior time to do her business once outside. Rushing your dog will only create more anxiety.

Rewarding Success

When she does her business outside, make sure you’re right there to reward her with treats, praise, play, or a walk.

Startle, Don’t Scare

If and only if you catch them in the act of eliminating (not 5 minutes later!), clap so that you startle them out of what they’re doing.

Then take them outside and offer them praise and treats after they finish eliminating.

Watch Them Closely

Be sure to keep a close eye on your seniors. They may not be able to tell you it’s time to go in time, and they may also feel shame if they have accidents. The best thing to do is to watch them closely, looking for patterns that let you know it’s time to go outside. 

Clean Up

Accidents happen with dogs of all ages, just as they do with humans. Dogs are not machines. When your senior pup has an accident, be sure to clean the area as best as possible to remove the scent which could encourage them to use that spot again. 

Senior ‘Dog Prom’ Helps Older Adoptable Dogs Find Forever Homes

For senior shelter dogs, life is a little tougher. They often get overlooked for the younger, more vibrant dogs or the too-cute-for-words puppies. But there is something about an older dog that makes them a little extra special. And thanks to a group in Florida that threw them a ‘dog prom’, they got their time to shine.

The prom, hosted by The Dog House, brought 40 senior shelter dogs – ranging from 5 to 20 years old – together from 13 animal rescues in the Tampa Bay area. The pups dressed to the nines – wearing fancy outfits and flower crowns – all in hopes of getting adopted.

ROVER.COM

Many people think that senior dogs come with potential health issues and are hesitant to add them to the family.

In fact, according to a Petfinder.com survey, the typical shelter pet spends around 12 weeks on their website before finding a home. Senior dogs, though, spend nearly four times as long on the site.

While there is the possibility that senior dogs come with health issues, they also tend to have a solid training foundation, a milder temperament, and an easier transition into family life than an adolescent dog or puppy. Older dogs are also wonderful for families that live less active lifestyles.

So The Dog House wanted to do something about it. They wanted to show that senior dogs still have a lot of life left in them – and that they can still rock a prom dress.

“We wanted to have an event that not only included senior adoptable, but put the spotlight on the them,” Kelli Chickos said.

And the event proved to be a success – six dogs found their forever homes!

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