Tag: shelter 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.

3 Key Factors In Picking A Rescue Dog

Here are a few important steps to consider when picking a rescue dog.

1. Size of Rescue Dog

Every year, thousands of dogs are given away or abandoned because the puppy that someone bought grew to be bigger than anticipated.

This is an unacceptable mistake.

If you live in an apartment or a small home, do not get a Great Dane puppy hoping it will stay tiny. It won’t. If your building has a weight restriction, don’t get a dog that exceeds that restriction by a significant amount. A 30-lb Beagle might squeak by on a 25-lb limit. A 130-lb Saint Bernard will not. Please do not put a dog in this situation.

You should also consider the size of the dog, even if you have no such limitations. Do you want a big dog that can roughhouse with you?

Do you want a medium size rescue dog that fits in bed with you, but can also run around the yard chasing squirrels without you living in fear that it will break a brittle bone?

Maybe you want a lap dog that you can carry around with you.

These are all key questions to ask yourself before you adopt a rescue dog. Most people reading this site love dogs and have only the dog’s best interest at heart. But, even the strongest among us has taken that trip to the rescue thinking we want a Pom only to find that an irresistibly cute Rottweiler grabs a hold of our heart. If this happens, and you know that you can accommodate the Rottie, then go for it. But, if you can’t keep a big dog, stick with your original plan.

2. Activity Level of Rescue Dog

This one is tricky because it changes over the course of a dog’s life. Puppies that were tearing the house apart grow into calm, easy-going dogs.

Quiet puppies can turn into high-energy adults.

But, knowing the general disposition of the breed you’re choosing can help with this.

Remember that dogs are living beings with individual personalities. Take some time to think about what you want your relationship with your new dog to be:

  • Do you want to hike with her?
  • Are you looking for a Netflix and ice cream partner?
  • Do you like to walk the city with your buddy by your side?
  • Are you taking him off-leash to run the beach or in the countryside?
  • Do you want a little of all of the above?

Researching breeds can help. It’s not absolute since, though. There are lazy Terriers and high-energy English Bulldogs. But, in general, breed energy requirements are a good indicator.

If you are looking at a mixed breed, try to evaluate the dominant breed, if possible. If not, see if you can spend some time alone with the dog to get a better feel for how it behaves outside of the shelter. Remember, being in a rescue around multiple dogs, with new people coming in and out to meet them can change a dog’s behavior. Some will be scared, others overly excited. See how they are away from the excitement.

3. Age of Rescue Dog

The age of the dog you’re considering is key.

Are you high energy? Yes? A puppy may be right for you. Remember, no matter how energetic you are, puppies have a tremendous amount of energy to burn. This can lead to much mischief. If you’re not ok with losing a pair of shoes or two, go older.

Are you medium energy? Consider a dog between 1 and 3 years old. At this point, bigger dogs will have settled down considerably. Smaller dogs are still in late-puppyhood through the one or two year mark, so they’ll give you much playfulness, but the destructive period is mostly over.

Are you prone to long binge-watching sessions on the couch? Think a 20-minute walk is the height of your exercise life? Like a calm, quiet house? Consider adopting an adult or senior dog.

Now, don’t think that seniors or adults are not playful. They are. In fact, it’s not uncommon for senior dogs to regain a puppy-esque playfulness after leaving a rescue or shelter. But, those energy bursts are short-lived. A good walk with your new friend and she’ll be more than happy to lay on the couch with you for hours afterward.

Adults and seniors also come with the added benefit of knowing their disposition already. It’s tough to judge where a puppy’s personality will lead, but with a dog 3+, you have a good idea of who they are right away.

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