Your Senior Dog: the Joys and Challenges

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Why you should consider adopting a Senior Dog – or Senior Cat

Why do senior dogs deserve a place in your home? Even though it may seem hard to believe, old dogs and cats have many qualities that make them delightful pets!

Many people think dogs and cats are just not fun when they are older, when actually senior pets can be very delightful. This is true whether they are your own beloved pet that you have raised from a kitten or puppy, or whether you adopt a senior pet.

Senior pets can be more settled, affectionate and playful without being hectic. They have a lot to give.

At any shelter, you can be assured that senior dogs and cats will be overlooked for puppies and kittens. I have heard people say that they like “kittens but not cats.” I am Team Dog – but I love me a senior cat as well!

I hope to prove to you that adopting a senior pet is a GREAT idea! Although great senior pets are available any time of the year November is “Adopt a Senior Pet Month,” and I hope you join with me in celebrating our fine animal senior citizens.

Sometimes senior pets need a few extra items to help them be comfortable – this article will discuss that as well.

I adopted my last dog Buckwheat when he was a youngster, but I enjoyed his special love as he aged as well. Violet, my current dog was a “$5 special” : a dog that was older than 5 years old, sold to me for a discount because I was older than 55.

I hope this article opens your heart up to senior pets as mine is!

Senior Dogs are Great Friends

As Well as Senior Cats!

Old cats can provide you with plenty of joy as well as old dogs.

And old dogs and old cats can be great friends!

Cats tend to be loving right up to the end, and even though senior cat may have other health needs, the love and attention you will receive will be worth it.

Older cats tend to be grateful, less demanding and more easily content. They seem to know that they have been saved from an ugly end.

Doesn’t a senior cat belong with you in your home?

Senior Dogs Tell us Why They want Us

You Can Teach Old Dogs New Tricks

I enrolled Buckwheat at dog training when he was ten. He responded beautifully, and became much better on the sit, stay and heel commands.

Of course, the dog was a canine genius but nonetheless. :)

My Favorite Dog Bed

Old Dogs Like it to Be Cozy – and so do Old Cats

All dogs love the feeling of being in their den, they want to know where they belong. And senior dogs need extra warmth and comfort.

My own dog Violet loves this bed. We have several around the house. She sleeps with me, so I have her in one at night so I do not roll over on her.

Actually my dog Violet gave her doggie friend Cookie one of these beds. Cookie did not sleep on it, but Romeo, an elderly cat did. It was nice to give him comfort too.

We have another in the car, and others scattered through the house. At that cheap price we can easily afford it!

Aspen Pet Oval with Bone AppliqueAspen Pet Oval with Bone AppliqueAspen Pet Oval with Bone Applique

 

Senior Pets are hard for shelters to adopt out: and it is not fair

Senior pets are some of the hardest pets to adopt. They top a list of other unfortunate animals such as black pets, and pets with illnesses and disabilities – animals that are hard to adopt.

That is an entirely unfair situation – unfair to the pet, and unfair to the person who could be blessed with them.

Dog Stairs and Ramps, and Cargo Liners for Car Rides

Help them Move when their Hips get arthritic

These stairs and slings can really help older dogs with arthritis. Cargo Liners make auto and SUV transport more comfortable.

You can teach old dogs new tricks! To get your dog to use the steps – place it firmly against a wall and/or on a non-slid surface leading to someplace where you want the dog to be. Then place a treat on the first step and the next, and gradually coax them up the step ladder.

Solvit Wood Bedside RampSolvit Wood Bedside RampSolvit Wood Bedside RampPet Gear Stramp Stair and Ramp Combination, Dog/Cat Easy Step, Lightweight/Portable, SturdyPet Gear Stramp Stair and Ramp Combination, Dog/Cat Easy Step, Lightweight/Portable, SturdyPet Gear Stramp Stair and Ramp Combination, Dog/Cat Easy Step, Lightweight/Portable, SturdyBarksBar Luxury Pet Cargo Cover & Cargo Liner for Dogs - 80 x 52 Black, Quilted Waterproof Machine Washable & Nonslip Backing with Bumper Flap Protection- for Cars, Trucks & SUVsBarksBar Luxury Pet Cargo Cover & Cargo Liner for Dogs – 80 x 52 Black, Quilted Waterproof Machine Washable & Nonslip Backing with Bumper Flap Protection- for Cars, Trucks & SUVsBarksBar Luxury Pet Cargo Cover & Cargo Liner for Dogs - 80 x 52 Black, Quilted Waterproof Machine Washable & Nonslip Backing with Bumper Flap Protection- for Cars, Trucks & SUVsPetSafe Solvit PupSTEP Plus Pet Stairs, X-Large, Foldable Steps for Dogs and Cats, Best for Medium to Large PetsPetSafe Solvit PupSTEP Plus Pet Stairs, X-Large, Foldable Steps for Dogs and Cats, Best for Medium to Large PetsPetSafe Solvit PupSTEP Plus Pet Stairs, X-Large, Foldable Steps for Dogs and Cats, Best for Medium to Large PetsPetSafe Solvit Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp, Standard, 39 in. - 72 in., Portable Lightweight Aluminum DogPetSafe Solvit Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp, Standard, 39 in. – 72 in., Portable Lightweight Aluminum DogPetSafe Solvit Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp, Standard, 39 in. - 72 in., Portable Lightweight Aluminum Dog

 

Need an Apartment Dog?

Consider a Retired Racing Greyhound

Should you adopt a Retired Greyhound?

Maybe! They are affectionate, low-key, and smart. They are light-weight bigger dogs, kind of the best of both types of dogs. I have always had a hankering for a greyhound, except I have heard that they are sight hounds and they run away easily. However, my own dog has done that so I don’t think it is just the breed.

And the greyhound rescue groups can fill you in on all the details of the greyhound that you want to take home.

Need convincing? Cal the Greyhound is looking for a long-term commitment – let him explain it himself.

Your Dog’s Golden Years: Manual for Senior Dog Care – Including Natural Remedies and Complementary Options

Cutting edge therapies and remedies for your dog, all kinds of natural ways to make them comfortable. You will learn about all areas of your senior dogs life: from dental health to aromatherapy to essential oils and aromatherapy to pet hospice to chiropractic; as well as traditional medical approaches to the health of your dog.

Discussions on all aspects of senior dog care here, if there is anything that can help your dog have a better life you will find it here.

Dedicated to the Grey Muzzle Society!

This is an exceptional guide to the senior dog!

Your Dog's Golden Years: A Manual for Senior Dog Care Including Natural and Complementary OptionsYour Dog’s Golden Years: A Manual for Senior Dog Care Including Natural and Complementary OptionsYour Dog's Golden Years: A Manual for Senior Dog Care Including Natural and Complementary Options

 

There Are Special Mobility Aids for Dogs that need them

Dog Wheelchairs – An Excellent Product for Very Disabled Dogs

There comes a time in many dogs life: whether they are disabled, elderly, disabled, paralyzed or injured dogs when slings and other assistance aides just aren’t enough. For those times, dog carts – actually dogs wheelchairs – are perfect, and make a huge difference in the happiness of the impaired dog and their families.

Don’t fear adopting a dog just because of added mobility needs as they age.

PS – People who adopt dogs like this are special angels.

Best Friend Mobility Small Dog Wheelchair 14Best Friend Mobility Small Dog Wheelchair 14″ – 17″ See Sizing ChartBest Friend Mobility Small Dog Wheelchair 14

 

If you Have to Deal with a Messy Problem

Incontinence

Sometimes older pets develop incontinence, just like older people do.

It actually is less common than in puppies.

But if it does become part of your reality, there are products to help you deal with it quickly and easily.

Pet Parents Premium Washable Dog Diapers (3pack) of Doggie Diapers, Both Female Dog Diapers & Male Dog DiapersPet Parents Premium Washable Dog Diapers (3pack) of Doggie Diapers, Both Female Dog Diapers & Male Dog DiapersPet Parents Premium Washable Dog Diapers (3pack) of Doggie Diapers, Both Female Dog Diapers & Male Dog DiapersWegreeco Washable Male Dog Diapers (Pack of 3) - Washable Male Dog Belly WrapWegreeco Washable Male Dog Diapers (Pack of 3) – Washable Male Dog Belly WrapWegreeco Washable Male Dog Diapers (Pack of 3) - Washable Male Dog Belly WrapWashable Pee Pads for Dogs (2 - Pack) Reusable Dog Wee Wee PadsWashable Pee Pads for Dogs (2 – Pack) Reusable Dog Wee Wee PadsWashable Pee Pads for Dogs (2 - Pack) Reusable Dog Wee Wee PadsSimple Solution Super Absorbent with Wetness Indicator | 12 or 30 Disposable Dog Diapers Per PackSimple Solution Super Absorbent with Wetness Indicator | 12 or 30 Disposable Dog Diapers Per PackSimple Solution Super Absorbent with Wetness Indicator | 12 or 30 Disposable Dog Diapers Per Pack

 

Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine

Old dogs love you even when you make mistakes………………..

More Soft and Cozy Dog Beds

PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed, orthopedic Memory Foam. (Multiple Sizes/Colors, medium firmness, Waterproof linerPetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed, orthopedic Memory Foam. (Multiple Sizes/Colors, medium firmness, Waterproof linerPetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed, orthopedic Memory Foam. (Multiple Sizes/Colors, medium firmness, Waterproof linerEmours Pet Dog Cat Beds Puppy Cushion House Soft Warmer Kennel Mat Washable Hideout Plush Self Warming BedEmours Pet Dog Cat Beds Puppy Cushion House Soft Warmer Kennel Mat Washable Hideout Plush Self Warming BedEmours Pet Dog Cat Beds Puppy Cushion House Soft Warmer Kennel Mat Washable Hideout Plush Self Warming BedBetter World Pets Super Comfort Bolster Dog Bed :: Waterproof Memory Foam Pet Bed with Durable Canvas Cover, Extra Plush Fleece + Foam Bolsters :: 5 Inch Thick, WashableBetter World Pets Super Comfort Bolster Dog Bed :: Waterproof Memory Foam Pet Bed with Durable Canvas Cover, Extra Plush Fleece + Foam Bolsters :: 5 Inch Thick, WashableBetter World Pets Super Comfort Bolster Dog Bed :: Waterproof Memory Foam Pet Bed with Durable Canvas Cover, Extra Plush Fleece + Foam Bolsters :: 5 Inch Thick, WashableCoolaroo Elevated Indoor & Outdoor Dog Cot Large 51Coolaroo Elevated Indoor & Outdoor Dog Cot Large 51Coolaroo Elevated Indoor & Outdoor Dog Cot Large 51

 

Old dogs – like old people- have frail bones and get cold or hot easily. These beds would provide comfort and keep them out of stress. The orthopedic dog beds can help your best friend soothe their old joints no matter the weather.

I cannot say enough good things about the Coolaroo Dog Bed – it is easy to clean and is perfect for summer or winter.

A Dozen Great Reasons why a Senior Pet Might be Exactly Right for You

Older Cats and Older Dogs give More than they Take

Listed below are great reasons that a senior dog or cat could be perfect for your family. Petfinder, an online resource that works with shelters and rescue societies across the US to make sure that no adoptable animal have compiled a list of ten reasons Senior cats Rule.

The nation’s largest animal rescue society: the ASPCA compiled another excellent resource on ten reasons to adopt an older dog.

I have combined the two and added my own take on things to make the case totally compelling – a senior pet belongs in your home!

PS – Like the poster above? Click here to bring the Library Pup home with you.

1. What You See Is What You Get. A senior cat won’t grow any larger, so you’ll know exactly how much cat you’re getting, the same with a dog. And you also know the personality of the pet that you are adopting – no rude surprises there.
Everyone has idiosyncrasies, if you adopt a senior pet you will be able to choose one to match your quirks.

2. You generally will find training a senior pet much easier. Old dogs can learn new trick! They have more control over their body for the most part, and also will find it easier to focus on you as they don’t have puppy or kitty energy. A senior cat will be less likely to attack your feet every night, and almost all of them are litter box trained.
PS – Old cats can learn new tricks as well.

3. Senior pets come with instant gratitude. I don’t how exactly, but there are so many stories of how senior dogs and cats just seemed to be so grateful and appreciative. They seem to know that they have been ripped out of the jaws of death!

4. They are not as labor intensive as younger cats and dogs, they are not a 24-7 job. They just have less nervous energy.
While they need a walk, or maybe a little playtime for a kitty – there is not the intensive exercise requirements that younger dogs require.

5. You may be afraid of messes – actually senior dogs and cats are less likely to be messy. Dogs are more likely to be house-trained, cats are usually litter box trained and able to learn that the scratching tree is where they need to exercise their claws.
6. They generally settle into your home quickly. They are usually more adaptable.
7. Want a couch potato and a lap cat to hug as you relax? Consider an older dog or senior cat! They just have less energy requirements, and are more appropriate for modern day folk who are very busy.
8. The fact that they are winding down makes them much more appropriate to be therapy animals. When Buckwheat was older, I just began to think about having him as a therapy dog. As a high-energy intense border collie – I had to wait for his senior years to think about taking him into rest homes and libraries.

9. You will get special points in Heaven if you adopt a senior pet.I am sure!

10. Breed fanciers: you absolutely can get a purebred pet as a senior.
Breed rescue societies are great ! Fancy a Rottweiler? Got to have a Pug? No problem! There are breed rescuers for every dog breed. Here you can find a comprehensive list of breed rescues from the American Kennel Club.

Are you a Persian Cat fancier? Just got to have a Ragdoll or other Floppy Cat? Understandable! And you will be able to find a loving cat at the breed rescue. Click here for a comprehensive list of cat breed rescues.

11. If you adopt a senior pet you create one LESS reason for awful puppy mills and kitty mills to exist.
Get a great friend and strike a blow for animal justice at the same time!

12. Senior pets are almost always cheaper to adopt – sometimes free!

Senior pets are adorable. Don’t believe me?

Have a look at these funny faces.

There are lots of advantages to Old Dogs.

Despite the health problems, old dogs actually have many advantages. They are loyal, may be trained, and their lower energy may translate as less work and more cuddle for you.

In San Francisco, Muttville is an older dog rescue, foster and adoption Agency is dedicated solely to helping our ever deserving older dogs .

Some of the dogs come to them from foreclosures or due to the illnesses of the their owners.

Unfortunately, some people get rid of their dogs when they are old.

Do you really want to be that kind of person?

What about the Special Health Care Needs of Older Pets

Senior dogs do have health problems. But at least you know what you are getting – sometimes a puppy you have paid a lot for end up with having a lot of problems. (Puppy mills, you know?)

Some of the special health requirements of cats include arthritis and obesity and trouble with their coat. Attention to their diet, playing with them so they get some exercise and enough water to keep their joints lubricated, and brushing can go a long way. They may have trouble with their kidneys, so you might want to meet with the vet a little more often to monitor this.

Dogs are more prone to arthritis, which can be abated with gentle exercise, diet to avoid obesity and supplements and pain medications from the veterinarian. The Grey Muzzle Society knows these issues well, as well as more simple ways of helping. They are a rescue society exclusively dedicated to senior dogs. They have found that simply by using simple dog beds like the Coolaroo Large Steel-Framed Pet Bed with knitted fabric you will alleviate a lot of the suffering of older dogs. Older dogs do not do well lying on concrete.

When you adopt an old dog or old cat, you can make a decision how aggressive you want to be with their health care, and realistically how much money you can spend. I have decided that for right now I can only take on the veterinary care and feeding responsibilities for one dog, for instance.

But know this – for so many dogs and cats – just having a warm bed and caring home is better than any medicine that money could buy.

When it Comes Time for the Rainbow Bridge

Handling the Death of a Beloved Pet

One of the reasons people do not adopt senior pets is that they are afraid that they will die soon.

Actually, many senior pets live for much longer than is expected.

Love helps a lot. :)

But even when you have to deal with the death of a pet, it does not have to be a devastating experience.

It seemed that Buckwheat got sick overnight, but when he did I knew I was not going to use extraordinary measures to keep him alive. We gave him pain pills around the clock until I could get all the family together.

When we put him down, the veterinarian said – “this is such a gentle death. I know with your work as a nurse you have seen many human deaths that were not.”

The Rainbow Bridge is the idea that there is a special bridge that takes dogs and cats to heaven.

Do you believe that?

Whether or not it is true, your beloved pet will always have a place in your heart. And you will be better for the time you have spent together.


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1 Comment

  1. Adopting a senior dog is a gift from Heaven. They are grateful and thankful to you.

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Meet The Author

Gypzeerose

Gypzeerose - aka Rose Jones - is a Mom, nerdy, fun loving traveller through life, currently living in the East Bay in the San Francisco Area.

She loves to write and blog, and has aspirations towards fiction.

She can be found ferociously packing boxes and packages as an eBay seller at http://stores.ebay.com/Gypzeeroses-Bargains-and-Treasures

In her spare time she is a nurse. :)

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