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In an ideal world, every shelter dog would find a loving forever home but sadly it’s the older ones that are usually the last to find homes and the first to be euthanized.
There are a number of reasons why senior dogs are surrendered to shelters, such as a specific illness that requires medication, mobility issues or simply gastro-intestinal issues that make their dog “smelly”. Sometimes, the dog’s owner passes away and the family can’t or don’t want to care for the pet that is left behind.
It is heartbreaking that, after years of unconditional love and devotion, when a dog needs care, comfort and companionship the most, its owner is prepared to discard them, like an old pair of shoes.
Reasons why potential adopters may overlook these older dogs
- They may have, or may soon develop, health problems that require expensive medication
- They may have recently lost a pet and can’t bear the prospect of going through the same hurt again within a few years.
- Younger adopters may not find them as cute or energetic playmates as puppies
The one thing I tend to see is that the older dogs are often just sitting quietly at the back of the kennel, not drawing attention to themselves, so people simply pass them by. What they often fail to realize is that poor dog has lived for years in a loving family home, so is feeling scared, abandoned and confused in their caged surroundings and they are just waiting patiently to be taken ‘home’ again.
To see their true character, it’s important to interact with the dog outside the cage, to get to know them better and see if you have that special connection.
10 Reasons Why a Senior Furry Soulmate Could Be YOUR Perfect Companion
#1 Senior dogs have better manners. Having spent years living with a family, they have been socialized with humans and may even have been trained to at least respond to basic commands such as sit, stay and down. Many will also be house trained, so it won’t take long for them to pick up the potty rules in their new home.
#2 What you see is what you get. A senior dog holds no surprises as to how big they may grow, whether their coloring may change, or whether they will develop a genetic or breed-specific condition. Having knowledge of their past and present helps you better manage future expectations.
#3 Senior pets are less destructive. An older dog has grown out of the seek and destroy puppy phase, they’ve gone through their infant teething, so don’t chew on anything and everything and their mischief mayhem is replaced with calmer curiosity.
#4 You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Adult dogs are less easily distracted than younger pups, so they can focus better on the task. Many will already know the basic commands, so it can be fun for both of you to learn new tricks and increase the bond between you.
#5 A dog to match your own energy levels. As an older dog has less excess energy to burn off, they will be happier to go at a slower speed. So if you prefer to play frisbee in the yard or a walk in the park, rather than a mountain hike then an older dog may be the best fit for you.
Oh, and it goes without saying that senior dogs make great snuggle buddies when you just want to kick back and relax at the end of a hard day!
#6 Senior dogs and senior citizens make the perfect companions. Many elderly people crave companionship and can talk to their furry friend all day, every day, without judgement or criticism. Stroking an animal also has a proven soothing influence, that improves a human’s mood and wellbeing.
#7 Adopting a senior dog is a relatively short-term commitment. Many people deny themselves the pleasure of a dog because their circumstances are likely to change in the next 8-15 years. Elderly people think their pet will outlive them and are worried about what would happen to them. A senior dog is the perfect solution for both scenarios.
#8 Adopted seniors are more devoted. Dogs are always thought to have a sixth sense but, from my own personal experience, I truly believe that my senior adoptees really know they have been rescued and saved from years spent in a cage or an even worse fate. They show true devotion and are really eager to please, as if they are showing gratitude for me rescuing them.
# 9 You Can Pick Your Perfect Pooch. Whether you want a certain size dog, or a non-shedding breed, one that’s cat-friendly or one that likes travelling in cars, you can cater for your specific requirements.
Many rescue centers have photos and details of dogs available for adoptions on their websites, so you can make your initial shortlist before arranging a visit in person. There are also some rescue organizations that specialize in specific breeds, which will not only match you up with the dog of your dreams but also provide specialist ongoing advice and support.
BUT don’t be surprized if you end up going home with a totally different dog than you went for – you’ll only know which is the right one for you once you get there!
#10 It is in the giving that we receive. This is undeniably illustrated when you give a rescue dog a home, for you will receive unconditional love and loyalty that money just can’t buy!
As we head into the holiday season, many people look for ways to be charitable. One person can’t save every dog but every person can save one dog from having to spend their remaining time in a shelter.
So, if you’re planning on getting a new furry addition to your family, I hope you will consider opening your heart and your home to a senior shelter dog. It’s sure to put a new spring in both of your steps!
Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team
Well the countdown to Halloween has begun and it is undoubtedly one of the most popular holidays for the family to share.
Unfortunately, we also have to mindful that this fun and treat-filled time, also brings potential harm and danger to our furry friends, especially if they are included in trick or treating.
Don’t forget that a dog’s hearing is much better than ours, so the noises are even more magnified and can make them stressed and scared.
Here are four ‘fangtastic’ tips to help keep your dog safe and sound while still having some fun!
#1 Is your dog Trick or Treating with you?
Unless your dog is extremely calm around loud noises, including fireworks, then the safest bet is probably to leave them at home.
However, if you feel they can cope with being part of the Trick or Treat crew, please just be mindful of a few pointers below, to make this an enjoyable event for all:
- IMPORTANT: Do NOT allow your dog to eat ANY candy or treats collected. These may contain Xylitol (artificial sweetener), chocolate or other ingredients that are poisonous to your dog and could be life-threatening. Bring some of their favorite doggie treats with you instead, so they don’t feel excluded. (You could even try out the recipe for Halloween doggie treats posted on Facebook this Tuesday).
- Do NOT encourage or allow strangers to pet your dog – especially if they are in scary costumes!
- Keep your dog on a leash AT ALL TIMES – there are all manner of things that could easily spook your pooch and the ‘fight or flight’ reaction kicks in. Remember that your dog is your guardian (in their eyes) and protecting you is their No.1 job, so it is easy for them to misinterpret playful Halloween antics as a threat towards you that they need to defend.
- Keep your dog’s inquisitive snout and costume away from lit candles or pumpkins.
- Bring along a poop-bag in case your dog needs to relieve themselves.
- Make sure your dog is wearing their ID tag. It’s also an ideal time to check that the microchip company have your up to date details, so you can be quickly reunited with your runaway pet, if they get spooked.
#2 Have a dress rehearsal
Costumes on dogs can bring a smile to anyone’s face, but this should not be at the expense of your pet’s comfort. If you are planning on dressing up your dog, have a dress rehearsal at least a couple of times before the event. This will give you an opportunity to see how your dog reacts and give them a chance to get used to it.
The costume should NEVER impede their movement, breathing, hearing or vision, as this may cause your pet unnecessary stress. Also, keep checking to make sure there are no wardrobe malfunctions as you do the Trick or Treat circuit.
Please note that if your dog licks their lips, yawns, shows a half moon of white in their eyes, turns away from you, tries to escape, growls or puts his teeth on you or the costume, these are sure fire clues that they are not comfortable. Try to scale the costume down or perhaps just revert to a jaunty coat or neckerchief/bandana.
The rest of the family also need to take part in the dress rehearsal, as your pooch may not even recognize you in your costumes, may be startled/scared by them, or become over-excited by dangling accessories or flowing fabric that they constantly want to chase or chew!
#3 Will your hound be home alone?
Here are a few top tips to help reduce your best friend’s stress levels:
- If your furry friend isn’t up to Trick or Treating, make sure they are snuggled up with their favorite blanket and toy in a quiet room in the house, away from the front door. They may actual prefer being in their covered over crate, where they feel safe and secure.
- Give them a kong filled with treats or a long-lasting chew to keep them occupied.
- Turn on the radio or TV to help drown out the scary noises.
- If your dog usually barks when the doorbell rings or when someone passes by the window, then disconnect the bell and close the dra
- NEVER leave your dog in the yard around Halloween (even if you are at home!). It’s a sad fact that many pets are subjected to vicious pranks, injured, stolen or even killed on Halloween, so make sure they are kept safe and secure indoors.
- Keep electric and battery-powered Halloween decorations out of reach. While these are safer than candles, you don’t want an anxious or mischievous pooch chewing wires or batteries, that could potentially lead to a life-threatening electric shock , chemical burns or intestinal damage.
#4 Greeting Trick or Treaters at home?
Staying indoors with your furry friends at Halloween is probably their favorite option (and perhaps yours!), but you may still be prepared to welcome Trick or Treaters to your home.
However, please remember that your dog’s inbred duty is to protect both you (their family) and their territory (your home). A constant flow of strangers and screaming children dressed in scary costumes can cause a normally placid dog to become agitated and even aggressive, because they think their family is being threatened.
A loud barking dog can also be very scary and intimidating, especially to young children, so keeping the dog away from all the excitement may be the best option for all. Also, the last thing you want is for your spooked pooch to bolt out the door into the night and an even more dangerous and scary environment.
Wishing you and your canine companions a safe and happy Halloween!
Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team
It seems like it’s not just us two-legged animals who have been waging a battle against obesity – turns out our pets are fighting the same war… and losing. According to CBS affiliate KCNC, a new study conducted in part by vets at the University of Georgia shows that more than half of pets in the U.S. are overweight and 55% of dogs qualify as obese.
What is Obesity?
Obesity is a nutritional disease which is defined by an excess of body fat. Dogs that are over-fed, lack the ability to exercise, or that have a tendency to retain weight, especially house dogs, are the most at risk for becoming obese. Multiple areas of the body are affected by excess body fat, including the bones and joints, the digestive organs, and the organs responsible for breathing capacity.
Obesity is common in dogs of all ages, but it usually occurs in middle-aged dogs, and generally in those between the ages of 5 and 10.
Obesity is not only a weight-bearing issue for your best friend; It can also lead to secondary health complications, ranging from malnourishment to arthritis and can significantly reduce their lifespan.
HEALTH RISKS IN OVERWEIGHT & OBESE DOGS
Just like humans, dogs carrying extra pounds of weight place extra demands on virtually all the organs of their bodies, as well as their digestive systems. When we overload these organs, disease
and sometimes death are the consequences. The health risks to overweight dogs are serious and every dog owner should be aware of them.
The most common consequence in overweight dogs is the development of serious joint issues. The bones, joints, muscles, and associated tendons and ligaments all work together to give the dog smooth and efficient movement. If they are required to carry excess weight, they lose the ease of flow & flexibility, increase wear & tear and become damaged.
Arthritis can develop as your dog gets older and the pain and joint changes associated with this and Hip Dysplasia can become markedly more severe with excess weight. Suitable supplements may be used in conjunction with a weight loss program, to help ease the pain and enable them to enjoy playtime again – an ideal way to burn off some extra canine calories!
The Most Common Obesity-Related Conditions for Dogs
- Arthritis & Poor Joint Health
- Torn Knee Ligaments
- Heart & Respiratory Disease
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease
- Low Thyroid Hormone Production
- Liver Disease
- Diseased Disc in the Spine
“There’s just more of my dog to love!”
There’s no arguing with that – But wouldn’t you prefer your furry best friend to have a long, healthy and happy life?
Now, let’s be honest, our furry friends can’t get the lid off the cookie jar themselves and most love food so much they never know when to stop eating. So, aside from the few suffering specific diseases that can cause weight gain, we, as responsible dog-owners, have total control over what they eat. We see them every day, know what and how often they eat and what exercise they do. So, there is no-one better placed to notice if your pooch is getting a bit podgy!
Other simple steps to help keep a pet’s weight in check include:
- Don’t feed your pet table scraps
- Serve the correct food measure recommended for your pet, not just what’s written on the dog food label
- Understand when to switch from puppy to adult food
- Limit treats and ensure they are healthy treats. Normally, they should not be more than 10% of your dog’s daily nutrition, but if you are using more treats for reinforcement training, then just reduce one of their meals
- Establish a realistic exercise regimen. Ideally dogs should have at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. However, if your dog is overweight and under-exercised, DO NOT throw your pooch into vigorous activities such as chase & retrieve ball or frisbee. If their weight issue has rendered them couch potatoes, you may do more harm than good, so consult your veterinarian first to agree a specific weight management and exercise program.
- You should be able to see your dogs waistline or run your fingers across their rib cage and feel the bones with out pushing down on your dog.As a basic guideline, you should be able You should be able to see your dogs waistline or run your fingers across their rib cage and feel the bones with out pushing down on your dog.to see their waistline or run your hands over their ribcage and feel the bones without having to press down on your dog.
Are table scraps really so bad for my dog?
I know it’s so hard to resist! You hear a whine from under the dinner table and there sits your dog, looking at you with those soulful eyes, longing for you to toss them a piece of whatever it is you’re eating. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was a carrot or a broccoli spear, but the precedent for doggie table manners is set and other times, you may have less healthy things on your plate, like pizza or cookies. “What harm can a “little” cookie do?” I hear you cry.
The problem is that, given the size difference between humans and pets, a small portion of something for us can almost constitute a meal for your dog in terms of calories. To put this into perspective, let’s look at a common example of a human snack and the caloric equivalent if fed to a 20lb dog. (So, the smaller the dog, the bigger the equivalent!)
1 oatmeal cookie to a 20lb dog is the same as a human eating a hamburger or a bar of chocolate
“A little of what you fancy does you good”
I don’t think for one minute that any responsible dog owner would overfeed their beloved pet with table scraps, if they knew it would have life-threatening health issues. The fact is that people get joy from sharing their food with their furry best friends and dogs love receiving ‘treats’ from their owner.
So, I’m not suggesting we deny ourselves this mutual pleasure, it’s just a case of moderation and only giving them suitable low-fat scraps. Or replace table scraps with healthy low-calorie dog treats instead, such as carrots (great for teeth too!) or sliced apple (great source of Vitamins A & C BUT no core or seeds please!).
Definitely DO NOT throw them cooked bones, as these can break and leave a jagged edge that can scratch or puncture a dog’s esophagus or gastrointestinal system.
What do veterinarians have to say on the matter?
Many veterinarians dislike the idea of feeding table scraps to dogs for 3 main reasons:
- If scraps are all you feed your dog, or they have so many it puts them off their normal food, then they won’t get the nutritional balanced diet required to maintain good health and wellbeing.
- Vets often see dogs with pancreatitis, which can occur when a dog eats rich food they’re not used to, such as table scraps that contain lots of fat. Needless to say, the number of pancreatitis cases soar after Thanksgiving and other ‘special occasion’ meals.
- Many people could accidentally feed them something that is toxic to dogs, such as chocolate or grapes – or dangerous, such as cooked bones. Click here to see list of toxic foods
I hope this article helps anybody that is concerned about their furry best friend’s weight, but if you have any concerns, please consult with your veterinarian.
Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health – always!
Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team
By Helen Broadley for FidoActive
May 1 is National Purebred Dog Day and there’s lots to celebrate about dogs, whatever their shape or size!
Often people want a pedigree because they have an affinity with a particular breed through family tradition or they have a specific requirement, such as a ‘no-shedding’ coat because of a human allergy or a specific purpose such as search and rescue. The main difference with a pure breed and a mixed breed is that their lineage is all the same breed. With that comes the knowledge of specific traits in both looks, personality, energy levels, behavior and trainability.
There are undoubtedly some beautiful pure breeds and their attraction is understandable BUT please remember to check with shelters first, such as Petfinder, who have a national register of pure breeds for adoption. https://www.petfinder.com/
This handsome boy is a Treeing Walker Coonhound, who arrived at the Pet Adoption Fund in Canoga Park CA with his brother Blue.
They lost their home due to a military family move. They love people and would love a hound-loving home to call their forever home.
They are super friendly, (they even tested well with cats) active and playful but would need a secure fenced yard. Ideally these brothers would love to be re-homed together but, if separated, they would prefer another dog to pal with or someone who is home most of the day.
When I was only 8 years old, my parents rescued an Irish Setter from a breeder who was retiring. Although his intentions were good, his standards were obviously slipping and ‘Rory’ (or “Conqueror of Glen Rory” to give him his proper pedigree name) was looking a bit defeated and underweight, with a lacklustre red coat. His brown eyes melted our hearts.
It was totally unexpected, as we were on vacation when we met him. In fact, we were actually on the way home; the car was packed with Mom and Dad, three kids, our poodle and all our camping gear, talking about our lovely encounter with Rory and none of us could bear the thought of leaving him behind – so my wonderful Dad turned the car around and we went to collect him. We didn’t even notice the cramped journey home, because we were all so besotted with our new family addition (including ‘Pogo’ our Poodle!).
That wonderful dog was both my friend and protector, so Irish Setters will always have a special place in my heart – I would therefore like to share with you a couple of examples of these handsome hounds that are looking for their forever home…
This handsome 6-year-old Irish Setter is a former AKC show dog, but unfortunately his owner passed away and so he found himself at the ‘Luv Me again’ shelter in Bloomington MN looking for a new home.
How could you resist?
There are, of course, some more challenging cases that find their way to shelters, through no fault of their own. All they normally need is a bit of love, patience and understanding.
This adorable Irish Setter is a 1-year old pup looking for his forever home. He’s house-trained, neutered and up to date on vaccinations, but needs an adult human prepared to give him the time and training required to undo the bad habits instilled by his previous owner.
I’m sure the rewards would be well worth the effort though!
If you have no luck in your shelter search, then the alternative is to find a RESPONSIBLE breeder – you need to see exactly where your puppy came from and how they were raised.
One way to find the pure breed dog of your dreams is via the American Kennel Club, an organization that has been an advocate for purebred dogs and breeding since its founding in 1884. They have a registry of breeders who adhere to the AKC’s Care and Conditions Policy and undergo regular inspections by the AKC, which ensure both the dogs and the kennels are in tip-top condition. Check this link for available pure bred puppies from AKC Marketplace.
Whichever route you take, I am sure you will find your perfect match and an unconditional love for life!
Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team
You can find out more about FidoActive and their all-natural products on their website: www.fidoactive.com