As our beloved dogs get older, usually by 8 or 9 year old, it is important to pay extra attention to their daily needs. As with humans, older dogs tend to get arthritis and are less mobile. Yet, if you spend a little more time and energy with your dog, he or she can live a long happy life.
Make sure you exercise your dog
Keep up the daily walks. Even if the pace is a little slower these days, it’s a way to bond with your dog and burn calories together. Just be sure to monitor your pup during and after the walk. Dogs don’t sweat so be mindful of excessive panting or signs of exhaustion. A few minutes of fetch each day can also keep dogs active.
It’s tough getting older
On a small frame, an extra three to five pounds can strain your dog’s hips and joints. Since older animals are less active, they require fewer calories. Talk to your veterinarian about reducing portions or switching to a senior formula, which has fewer calories and often includes joint-friendly supplements such as glucosamine. A smaller-size kibble or softer food also may be necessary to aid in digestion.
Keep up with annual vet visits
An annual veterinary exam is recommended for all dogs. Older dogs also should undergo blood work so vets can catch any internal issues such as kidney or liver damage. In some breeds, biannual blood work is recommended. Talk to your vet about blood tests during the next visit.
Keep your home ‘older’ dog friendly
A dog’s vision and sense of smell can diminish with age. Be sure to keep things simple by removing potential obstacles around the house. It also helps to establish a routine for older dogs and avoid sudden schedule changes. Pet steps or doggie ramps also provide easy access so your dog doesn’t have to strain. Make sure that pet bedding is soft to cushion old joints.
Toys for senior dogs
As our dogs get older, the toys can sometime be a hindrance or less fun. Try toys that are gentler on your dog’s teeth and jaws. Contrasting colors make balls and plush pull toys easier for older eyes to track down. Make sure playtime is still fun by adding new activities. You really can teach an old dog some new tricks if you are patient; it is great to keep your dog stimulated.
Watch your dog’s teeth
Teeth become more brittle with age. Make sure to check your dog’s teeth regularly and watch for signs of tartar or gum disease. And, as mentioned above, make sure your dog’s dry food is softer. You can add hot water to make harder kibble easier on an ‘old pup.
Socialize your older dog
Older dogs need even more love and companionship. Make sure that your dog interacts with younger dogs as that can help your pooch stay young at heart. Try one-on-one play dates with other dogs. Depending on your dog’s agility, you might want to stay away from the dog park if that is too much stimulation.
With healthy food, exercise and companionship, your dog can ease into his senior years happy and healthy.
Let’s be honest. As most cat owners know, our cats can sometimes have bad breath. Maybe your cat just ate some tuna or some other ‘smelly’ dish, so your cat’s breath is not that great. However, if your kitty has chronic bad breath, it could be a symptom of an illness.
Feline bad breath can be an indication of many health conditions, from dental to kidney problems.
If your cat has bad breath for more than a few days, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Cat Breath Smells that Indicate Illness
Feline bad breath that is accompanied by red, swollen gums is usually a sign of dental problems. Your cat probably needs her teeth cleaned by the vet.
Breath that smells sweet and fruity can be a sign of diabetes. Other symptoms include increased thirst and urination and weight loss.
Breath that smells like ammonia could indicate kidney disease. Other symptoms you might notice include loss of appetite and increased thirst and urination.
Cat Bad Breath Diagnosis
When you take your cat to the vet for feline bad breath, the first thing your vet will do is examine her teeth and gums. The vet will also smell her breath, for clues as to the cause of her condition. Of course, the vet will also take a detailed history from you.
Based on these things, the vet may decide to do some tests. He or she may do some blood tests and a urinalysis to check for diabetes, kidney problems, and liver disease.
Cat Bad Breath Treatment
The treatment for feline bad breath depends on the cause. It might be as simple as having your cat’s teeth cleaned. The vet can do this, but you’ll need to start brushing your cat’s teeth regularly afterward or you’ll just end up with the same problem again.
Cat Bad Breath Natural Remedy
Your cat's bad breath is usually caused by a bacterium that has accumulated in your kitty’s mouth in the same way humans get morning breath. The key to oral health is to keep the bacteria in the mouth within a normal range. They have many natural spray products on the market that are safe and made especially for cats. Products like these can be used several times a day and should be used at the first sign of feline bad breath.
How to Brush Your Cat’s Teeth
Use toothpaste that is made for cats. Put a little of the gel on your finger and gently rub your cat’s teeth and gums. Don’t force your cat’s mouth open. Just stretch back your cat’s lips without opening your cat’s mouth. Be gentle. Afterward, give you kitty a favorite treat.
While bad breath in cats is easy to recognize, the illness that might accompany it is not. So, therefore, as mentioned above, if the smell lasts for more than a few days, make sure to schedule an appointment with your vet.
If you have an indoor cat, you might be worried that your cat is not getting enough exercise and/or activity. Cats can easily sleep the day away. However, keeping your indoor cat active and entertained will not only have health benefits, but will also prevent boredom and keep your cat’s brain sharp.
Below are 5 easy ways to keep your cat healthy, happy and active.
1. Provide toys to keep your cats moving
An obvious addition to any cat’s environment is toys. Different types of balls, stuffed mice, toys with bells, and a wide assortment of toys are available at any pet store. Ping pong balls placed into a bathtub make an interactive toy because the ball will keep moving back towards the drain due to the angle of the tub. Throw a mouse back and forth or buy a laser beam toy …your cats will go crazy following the light.
Cats are curious creatures that enjoy having places to play hide and seek. Open cardboard boxes and paper bags make safe and inexpensive toys to enrich your cat’s playground.
2. Catnip can get your cat up and about
Many cat owners use catnip to encourage their cat to play with a certain toy or just to watch their cat go crazy for a few minutes. Catnip is an herb belonging to the mint family that contains a chemical that is similar to hallucinogens. It is not harmful to cats and it usually causes a temporary ‘frisky’ response where the cat rolls in or rubs against the catnip for a few minutes. Not all cats respond to catnip, but most do.
3. Buy a climbing cat tree
Cats like to see the world from an elevated angle. They seek high places to nap and enjoy observing the world around them. It is a good idea to have some window perches available or indoor climbing trees for the cat to climb. For the older cat that is having troubles jumping to high places, you can construct a series of shelves with sturdy boxes to allow the cat to climb by jumping from box to box. Just the act of climbing will keep your cat fit and healthy.
4. Adopt a feline friend
Having another feline companion will provide your cat with a friend to play with and keep your cat out of trouble. Introducing a new cat or kitten to your current cat may require some time for both felines to adjust, but many cats will get along. Most cats will adapt well and will eventually enjoy one another’s company, keeping them stimulated and active.
5. You can train your cat to walk on a leash
Finally, cats can be trained to use a leash when outdoors with their owner. Although most cats do not walk down the street alongside their owners like dogs do, cats can be accustomed to having a leash on and knowing their limits. A harness attached to a leash is most commonly used. This can take time and training but can also provide you and your cat some bonding time and great exercise.
While our cats love to nap, there are many ways to entertain your cat and keep him/her active and healthy into the older years.
The holidays are approaching and many pet owners like to decorate their homes. While adding a Christmas tree or holiday lighting around the house is fun and festive, we pet owners must remember to keep an eye on pets’ safety. Our little cats and dogs like to play around with all the new items in the house.
Below are 5 simple tips to help keep your pets safe during the holidays:
1. Watch the Needles on the Trees
If you have a Christmas tree in your house, remember that the needles can be dangerous to your pets. If your pet chews on the tree, the needles can puncture his or her stomach lining. Keep your tree watered and clean up the needles that fall off of the tree immediately.
2. Make sure that all holiday plants are out of reach
Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias can be toxic to your pets. If you have these in your home, place them where your dog or cat can’t reach them. It might be best to have these hanging outside on your porch or in planters where they decorate the steps if you have a very curious kitty or nosey dog.
3. Ornaments can be sprayed
Ornaments on the tree are very intriguing to dogs and cats. Cats get curious and will smack the ornaments around. This means some that are made of glass or other fragile material could break and make a mess.
Dogs might try to carry an ornament and break it in their mouths. If you need to, try using a non-toxic spray that deters animals from checking out the ornaments on the tree. The spray tends to have some mix of alcohol and bitter additives that make items smell bad and taste worse to them. Avoid tinsel as cats have a tendency to chew on it and swallow it. The tinsel can cause blockages and make them very ill.
4. Tuck the wires from all lighting
Keep the wires from lights, lamps, and other decorations tucked away so your cat or dog doesn’t tug or get tangled in them. Many hardware stores sell cord covers and zip ties that can help keep the wires tucked against the wall and out of the way of pets and children.
5. Don’t let your pets drink the water from a Christmas tree
If your cat insists on drinking water from the bottom of the Christmas tree, you may need to find a cover to prevent her from doing so. Dirty water can make your cat ill. Your dog might also think it’s a new water bowl and could knock the tree off the stand. You can use a tree skirt and tuck it over the opening of the stand so it covers the water and prevents your pets from drinking it.
Have a wonderful holiday season and hope you and your pets stay happy and healthy.
Sometimes it’s what we don’t say that is heard the loudest. When you share your life with a dog, cat, or other pet, your actions can speak louder than your words. Animals are so perceptive that your body language, tone of voice, and inner feelings can be a form of communication. Here are some ways we speak to our pets without even saying a word.
Dogs can actually smell your fear
If you are scared of a situation or fearful of dogs, they know. When afraid, your body produces adrenaline which, to a dog, has a distinct odor. When dogs smell this scent, they immediately know that you are afraid. While this can be helpful by silently communicating to your pup that you are in danger and in need of protection, it can also act as a signal to an aggressive dog that you are weak.
Never stare directly into a dog’s eyes
In the canine world, eye contact is an act of dominance. Staring directly into a dog’s eyes immediately communicates to them that you are in charge and an alpha dog may react aggressively. When meeting a new dog, to avoid any miscommunication, it’s best to avoid his or her eyes.
A smile gone wrong
Greet someone with a smile and it will be viewed as a friendly gesture. Smile at a dog and you may be greeted with a growl. Why? A toothy grin can be misinterpreted to be a bearing of teeth which is an aggressive gesture to a dog. When meeting a dog for the first time, a simple smile works best.
A cat on their back
A purring kitty, stretched out on their back with paws in the air, is communicating that they are happy and comfortable in their environment. However, approaching a cat in this position should be done with care. Since this position allows them full use of all four feet to easily grab their enemy, cats will also go in this position when ready to fight. Unless you know the kitty well, attempting a belly rub may not be the best idea. Belly rubs could be viewed as an attack and a kitty’s response may not be a positive one.
Birds can react to what you wear
Birds see in color and their reaction to certain colors can vary. When living with birds, you will begin to notice that they may respond differently depending on the color of clothes you are wearing. Wearing the wrong color could get a negative response from your feathered friends. Therefore, you can test different colors to see if that specific color elicits a reaction.