The pets often experience a decline in mental and physical functions.
It may be a gradual decline in memory, arthritis, hearing, sight, tooth loss, lower metabolism, changes in digestion, muscle tone, learning skills and awareness of what is happening around them. These things can be noticed in behavioral changes.
Some pets are not interested in affection and attention like they used to be. Others may need more attention than usual, the pet can become clingy and needier than before. Activity levels may decrease. Movement is painful and slower metabolism keeps the pet from wanting to run and play. When the dog's activity level is reduced, then weight gain becomes a serious concern. Physical changes are progressive and irreversible. Painful condition leads to increased irritability and anxiety. Loss of visual and hearing can make the pet anxious, edgy and fearful of being handled or approached, which can make the pet become threaten, aggressive, growl, and snap.
Pets need to keep their minds and body active. Make their activities as stimulating as possible. Help the dog revive rusty tricks and commands, also have fun learning new ones. Keep in mind that the brain processes may have slowed down, so be more patient than ever before. Have an understanding of the pet's limitations.
Older dogs need frequent potty breaks to prevent house-soiling.
These are all things that can help the pets age.
The best way to help the dog that is afraid of specific things, like strangers, other dogs or a vacuum cleaner use a technique know as desensitization. That means exposing the dog to things that frighten it. Example, the dog is afraid of the vacuum sound, try to vacuum when the dog is in the next room. Eventually you would work up to the dog being comfortable with the sound up close. Dogs do learn at their own pace.
Never push a dog over its threshold. Be sure you learn how to read the dog's body language. Dogs give subtle signals when they are afraid. Example, flattened ears and a tucked tail, but yawning, licking the lips, a tense, stiff body, scratching and sniffing the ground are also signs that a dog may be nervous. When you see these signs, back off to a distance that does not trigger the dog's reaction. In the event that a dog does react, leave the area as calmly as possible next time start at a greater distance.
When a dog does not spend much time around other dogs or people take the dog everywhere you can. Only do this if the dog level of stress is mild. Do not put the dog into crowds of people and don't allow strangers to approach it could make the dog uncomfortable. Take it slow and steady the dog will eventually get used to being around dogs and people.
When the dog is shy of people, allow the dog to approach the people in the dog's own time. When a person leans over it can be frightening to a dog. When the dog approaches a person, ask the person to pet the dog on the side of the dog's face. Do not stare or lean over the dog. The person can even turn their body to the side. This body language will make the dog more comfortable.
A professional trainer, can evaluate the dog's issues and pinpoint exactly what triggers the fear response. Fear issues are often at the root of these symptoms and should be taken seriously. Chronic stress can be very unhealthy for a dog and can even cause impairment of the immune system and eventually can turn into aggression issues if left untreated.
In order to ensure the safety of transporting your pets, follow these tips.
Leash your dog or cat before you open your front door to put them in your car. You don't want your
pet to dart out of the house uncontrolled. Be sure to have an ID tag, and leash on your dog or cat before you open the car door, have control of your pets at all times. Pets can be frightened in a strange environment and run off. Keep your pet inside the car. Do not let your pet hang out the window or ride in the trunk. It isn't safe for a pet. Dogs can also get debris in their eyes and lungs, leading to illness. Some dogs will jump out of the car windows.
Keep your pet out of the front seat or your lap. Accidents are being caused by their dog while you are driving. The dog can distract the driver.
Restrain your pet for safety. I use Auto Zip Line -Leash/Zip Line Combo
connect a dog harness to a Zipline http://www.kurgostore.com/dog-leashes-and-collars/kurgo-auto-zip-line-leash-zip-line-combo/ that goes the width of the backseat, which allows the dog to walk back and forth. This is not as safe as a seat belt tether http://www.kurgostore.com/dog-leashes-and-collars/direct-to-seat-belt-tether/ but it will keep your pet out of the front seat.
Keep your dog from getting dehydrated. I use a water bottle http://www.amazon.com/Handi-Drink-Dog-Water-Bottle-Spill-proof/dp/B000GDXHQ0 some dogs pant excessively in the car making hydration even more essential. The water bottle is very handy.
Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
1 ½ cup water
2 tsp. Baking powder
½ cup Honey
½ cup Creamy peanut butter
½ cup Quick cooking oats
2 ½ cup flour
Combine one cup of flour with the rest of the ingredients in a mixer at low speed. Knead in the remaining flour until the dough forms a ball. Flour a surface and roll out the dough until ½ -inch thick. Cut the dough into shapes. Bake at 350 for twenty minutes on ungreased baking sheets.
Turn off the oven and leave the biscuits in for one hour. Store in airtight container. These can be frozen.
Homemade Frosty Paws Treats
32oz. Vanilla yogurt
1 Mashed banana or one large jar of baby fruit
2 Tbsp. Peanut butter
2 Tbsp. Honey
Blend all together and freeze in either 3-oz. Paper cups or ice cube trays. Microwave just a few seconds before serving. Can also be made with baby food meat instead of fruit and peanut butter.
For a small serving (one ice try) use a small jar of fruit and yogurt and only 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and honey.
Professional Pet Sitting Services offered in the Upper to Mid-Pinellas County Area