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Why Adopt a Senior Dog?

When you adopt a Senior dog, you get all the benefits of a sweet, doggie companion without any of the headaches of potty training, chewing and mess-making so common to puppydom. Your senior adoptee will likely be well-mannered and will make an easy transition to your home.

In honor of Senior Dog Month, Wellness shares three good reasons to consider saving a senior pup:

1-      Their maturity makes them easy to train and they’ll settle in quickly.

Senior dogs have years of experience living with humans and many of them can easily adapt to a new environment—including one with kids and other pets. Many of them are already housebroken so you can skip that phase.

2-      They like to lounge – A senior dog will not require the hours of exercise a puppy needs. A few short walks a day and your senior is good. The rest of the time, he’ll be happy to lounge in a comfy spot.

3-      What you see is what you get – You already know how large the dog is and the temperament is easy to size up. There will be no surprises later.

Soon to be empty nesters, those with a less active lifestyle and dog lovers who’d simply enjoy having a dog lay by their feet can all benefit from adopting a dog entering his or her golden years.

At What Age are Dogs Seniors?

Veterinarians say 7 years old is the standard, however, there is a bit of leeway depending on the breed/size of the dog. Smaller dogs are considered “senior” at an older age while large breeds could be “seniors” at age 6.

Why Do Great Dogs End Up at the Shelter?

Pet shelter staff say many of the reasons pets end up there have nothing to do with the dog. Rather, dogs sometimes end up at the shelter due to a life change experienced by the pet owner. Pet owners may move or take another job and they don’t think they have time for the dog anymore. Pet guardians may also become unable to care for a pet as they get older or fall ill. There are multiple reasons a dog may be up for adoption that have nothing to do with the dog’s disposition.

Many senior dogs have a lot of life and love to give. Check out these adorable senior dogs, up for adoption.

Celebrating Senior Pets

Of course they say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (which we don’t believe) but you can celebrate your senior pets this month with some good old fashioned awareness and appreciation. Our older pets have a much closer spot in our hearts, as they have lived alongside us through different stages and journeys in our lives. If dogs could talk, imagine the stories they would tell! November draws focus to our beloved older companions with Senior Pet Month, and this month we have some great tips for caring for the oldest members of our pet families.

New Habits

Bathroom Breaks
Just like people, elderly animals require more frequent trips to the bathroom, and it’s important to recognize that as your pet gets older, he may be less and less likely to alert you to the fact that it’s time to go NOW. With your dogs, be aware of changing bladder and bowel function, and adjust your walking schedule accordingly. And with your cats, be sure to keep the litter box clean to account for increased use. For both cats and dogs, be sure to alert your vet to any significant changes such as constipation, diarrhea or an increased urgency to urinate.

Behavioral Changes
In their younger years, Fido and Fluffy may have been bursts of energy, racing after toys or running circles around the yard. As they grow older, their need for play may lessen and their behavior in general could change. Once outgoing pets could become more quiet and need more time to themselves, or on the flipside, quiet pets may suddenly need your attention more and more. Understand that, just like us, gaining in years can sometimes make our buddies tired, grumpy or anxious. Be patient with your friend and understand that sometimes he’s just feeling his age.

Dietary Changes

Packing on the Pounds
As pets get older, their metabolism can slow and they can start packing on the pounds. Senior pets need you now, more than ever, to pay attention to the ingredients of the food going into their bowls. Even if your pet is just a little husky (and I don’t mean Siberian!), it’s up to you to modify the type and portion size of their food. Luckily, dedicated pet food experts have worked for years to develop tasty offerings that help manage your pet’s weight. Selecting the  best food for your pet doesn’t have to be complicated, and you can always ask your veterinarian for guidance on your pet’s diet.

Fiber and Other Needed Nutrients
Regardless of food type, as pets age, more fiber should be added to their diets to help regulate their digestion. Bran, apples, and even pumpkin can all add a powerful punch of fiber in your pet’s food, and this added boost of fiber will help ensure proper digestion, decrease risks of certain types of cancer, and encourage weight loss, among other benefits.

New Health Focus

Feeling it in the Joints
Arthritis can set in fairly quickly for our senior pets, and the discomfort it can cause can change a pet’s entire daily routine. Some dog breeds are more prone to joint or bone problems in later life, so it’s important to know what is to be expected with your particular pet. Upon seeing the first signs of joint stiffness, it’s a good idea to increase the intake of certain joint-friendly supplements, like fish oil or glucosamine, both of which can be found in certain types of foods and treats as well as in oil or pill form.

Dental Care
As pets grow older, more attention must be paid to their dental care. Offering toys that promote cleaner teeth is a good place to start, along with regular brushing and plenty of access to fresh water. With bi-annual veterinary visits, your vet can alert you if it’s time for a full cleaning, or if there are any issues that require stronger attention, such as an abscessed tooth.

Vision and Hearing Loss
Cats and dogs may experience some vision and/or hearing loss as they age, so it’s important to have the veterinarian check your pet’s eyes during each visit. If you or your vet determine there is sight or hearing loss, you can make proper adjustments to ensure the safety and comfort of your senior pet, both at home and outside the house.

Comfort

Sleeping Arrangements
Your beloved little buddy may have always slept on the foot of your bed, but pay attention to what he needs now and make arrangements for him to have restful nights in his older age. Many pet care companies now make orthopedic bedding specifically for aging pets, so do some research on what type of  bed can provide your pet the most comfort at night.

A Little Help, Please
Dogs that have always been allowed on the couch or bed, or even invited along for rides in the car, may have more difficulty now getting situated in their normal spots. Sporting dogs who have always jumped eagerly into the back of a truck may now find it difficult to make it past their front paws. Placing steps or ramps in typical places of entry can help your dog feel at home in all his favorite places, no matter how tired his bones feel that day.

Our pets are our friends, companions who have stayed true to us through thick and thin. And now, as they are growing older, it is our responsibility to provide them with the proper care and courtesy afforded to any respected elder. Take good care of your buddy and keep him for as long as you can and he will love you his entire life.

Wholesome Thanksgiving Ingredients for Your Pets

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and with the arrival of this beloved holiday comes thankfulness for the year behind us, the arrival of relatives to join hands around the table, the football rivalry that makes us not want to join hands around the table, the Thanksgiving Day parade that never ceases to entertain, and the cornucopia of delicious Thanksgiving foods that seem to make their grand appearance only once a year. While you are enjoying your own Day of Thanks this year, don’t forget about the four-legged members of the party who have set up camp under the dining room table, just hoping that something wonderful makes its way from your plate to their tummies. While most table foods are not recommended for your pet’s health, there are several delectable harvest foods that are not only tasty to your pet, but healthful as well!

Pumpkin

The Benefits
Pumpkin is not only an appetizing treat for your pet, but also a very healthy one to offer. A great source of fiber, pumpkin is a natural promoter of healthy digestion, which lends itself to the overall energy and vitality of your pet. Proper digestion is also a powerful aid in weight management, which can help prevent a whole host of other health problems down the road.

This colorful harvest symbol also helps with urinary health, as the natural oils in both the skin and seeds has been shown to increase urinary functionality. The seeds also promote healthy skin and coat (perfect for our pets with allergy problems!) Pumpkin is also a powerful source of Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, potassium and iron, attributing to longevity and cancer prevention.

Serving Suggestions
Fresh pumpkin is, of course, the best source for serving, but canned pumpkin also packs a hearty punch as well. It can be mixed in with dry food or given as a treat, and many pets find the flavor irresistible. Keep in mind that pumpkin can act as a laxative if too much is given, so consult with your vet about the quantity your four-legged friends can have on Thanksgiving. For a ready-made pumpkin treat your pet can’t refuse, try Old Mother Hubbard Soft Bakes with Carrots and Pumpkin, perfect for busy chefs in the kitchen or families on the go for the holidays.

Cranberry

The Benefits
The delightful red berries make their way onto many a Thanksgiving table, and luckily they can also find a place in Baxter’s bowl as well! Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and just as they do for humans, they also promote good urinary health and can aid in the prevention of urinary tract infections and bacterial growth. By lowering the pH, cranberries make urine more acidic, which makes it harder for bacteria to grow, and cranberries also have at least two known agents that work to prevent bacterial growth.

These potent berries have also been found to reduce the incidence of bladder stones in dogs, as well as the development of Idiopathic Interstitial Cystitis in cats. If your pet has a history of urinary tract infections or otherwise bothersome urinary problems, these delicious red berries and their juice can be given as a very healthy supplement.

Need another reason to serve cranberries to your beloved pets? These little magic charms also work to prevent the formation of plaque on your pet’s teeth, containing powerful flavonoids and plyphenols that help protect your pets sensitive chompers.

Serving Suggestions
Avoid giving cranberry salad or other sugary versions of this healthful food. Many stores also carry ‘cranberry juice’ that is a very sugary version of an otherwise healthy drink. To serve to dogs, offer organic cranberries as a whole fruit, or mix in organic cranberry juice with food or water. The bitter taste may ward off the more sensitive pallets, so be wary that this healthful food may be served better if mixed with food or other treats.

Sweet Potatoes

These festive orange spuds have been a favorite of Thanksgiving-celebrators since the beginning of the holiday, and there’s no reason why your pet shouldn’t also be served a helping as well! Sweet potatoes, in plain, unseasoned form, have been recommended for pets for years to soothe a sensitive or upset stomach, or even just to offer a filling, healthy food that goes easy on those who have are ill or have recently undergone surgery.

Considered to be one of nature’s nearly perfect foods, sweet potatoes, or yams, are an excellent source of potent antioxidants that aid in healing, the prevention of cancer and easing the effects of aging. Sweet potatoes contain vitamins A, C and B6, as well as the minerals manganese, copper, and iron. They are also an excellent go-to for dietary fiber, preventing loose stools in for pets with upset stomachs.

Serving Suggestions
Sweet potatoes can be found as an ingredient in wholesome dog food or can be served whole to pets after baking. They can even be sliced thin and baked to make crispy, chip-like treats. Some of the best dog treats even combine two Thanksgiving favorites: sweet potatoes and, of course, turkey.

There’s no reason your pets can’t participate in the Thanksgiving festivities this year, and luckily, many of the items on your holiday shopping list can also find their place in Fido’s bowl. Be smart about ingredients, including any added sugars or flavorings, and always consult with your vet if you have any questions. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Take some time this year to let your pets know just how thankful for them you are.

Happy National Mutt Day!

Embrace your favorite mutt! Whether long-haired with pointy ears or short furred with a stub of a tail, mutts nuzzle their way into our hearts as much as any pure bred pooch.
Pet expert and advocate Colleen Paige created Mutt’s Day as a biannual event (July 31 and Dec. 2) to recognize the lovable mutts waiting for their forever homes at crowded animal shelters around the country.
Every year, thousands of animals are euthanized due to overpopulation and she wanted to do something about it. In 2005, she founded Mutt’s Day as a day to recognize those animals and raise awareness to the problem of overpopulation.
What Can You Do?
Consider adoption instead of buying your next pet and donate time and/or dollars to a local animal shelter.
Get your pet spayed or neutered for population control.
Donate old towels and bed linens to a shelter.  The animals will appreciate having a soft bed to lie on.
If you can, volunteer at the animal shelter. You can walk dogs, foster pups or maybe help organize events like a Mutt Day Celebration!
Benefit of Mutts
In addition to the good feelings that come with knowing you’ve saved a life, mixed breeds have an advantage over pure bred pooches.  Studies show they often live longer, healthier lives thanks to a lack of inbreeding.
They’re devoted. Some people even say rescues are extra grateful to their pet parents, as if they know they were saved. And, maybe they do.
Celebrate Your Mixed Mutt
Whether you call them “mix”, “mutt” or “Heinz 57”,  these dogs deserve loving homes where their biggest concern is which patch of sun to lie in.
Why not take your favorite mutt for an extra-long walk in honor of Mutt’s Day? Maybe even sneak in some extra cuddle time and a special treat.
Long live mutts!
Who’s your favorite mixed breed? We’d love to hear about him/her in the comments below.

Embrace your favorite mutt! Whether long-haired with pointy ears or short-furred with a stub of a tail, mutts nuzzle their way into our hearts as much as any purebred pooch.

Pet expert and advocate Colleen Paige created National Mutt Day as a biannual event (July 31 and Dec. 2) to recognize the lovable mutts waiting for their forever homes at crowded animal shelters around the country.

Every year, thousands of animals are euthanized due to overpopulation and she wanted to do something about it. In 2005, she founded National Mutt Day as a day to recognize those animals and raise awareness to the problem of pet overpopulation.

Browse adoptable dogs like Gatsby here

Click the photo to view adoptable dogs like Gatsby

What Can You Do?

Consider adoption instead of buying your next pet and donate time and/or dollars to a local animal shelter.

Get your pet spayed or neutered to help prevent pet overpopulation.

Donate old towels and bed linens to an animal shelter.  The animals will appreciate having a soft bed to lie on.

If you can, volunteer at the animal shelter. You can walk dogs, foster pups or maybe help organize events like a Mutt Day Celebration!

Click the image to view adoptable dogs like Henry.

Click the image to view adoptable dogs like Henry.

Benefit of Mutts

-In addition to the good feelings that come with knowing you’ve saved a life, mixed breed dogs have an advantage over purebred pooches.  Studies show they can often live longer, healthier lives.

-They’re devoted. Many people believe that rescues are extra grateful to their pet parents, as if they know they were saved. And, maybe they do.

Celebrate Your Mixed Mutt

Whether you call them “mix”, “mutt” or “Heinz 57”,  these dogs each deserve a  loving home where their biggest concern is which patch of sun to lie in.

Why not take your favorite mutt for an extra-long walk in honor of Mutt’s Day? Maybe even sneak in some extra cuddle time and a special treat.

Click the image to view adoptable dogs like Tower.

Click the image to view adoptable dogs like Tower.

Long live mutts!

Is your pet a mutt? Share your photos on our Facebook page!

Caring For Your Senior Cat

Caring For Your Senior Cat
Today, cats are living longer lives thanks to improved veterinary care, better nutrition, and a heightened awareness of pet health and safety. As your cat approaches his or her senior years, it’s a good idea to learn what to expect so you can detect potentially serious health issues, as well as make adjustments to the way you care for your cat to ensure his or her comfort throughout the aging process.
Is Your Cat Considered a Senior?
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, you should begin senior care considerations when your cat reaches the age of seven. It’s recommended that healthy senior cats visit the veterinarian every six months. Regular veterinary visits are best way to catch diseases early and find a way to resolve them.
Physical and Behavioral Changes in Senior Cats
Aging cats experience many changes, so their mental and physical behavior may reflect those changes. Oftentimes, the normal signs of aging closely mimic symptoms of potentially serious conditions, so it’s always a good idea to report any significant changes to your veterinarian.
Here are several common changes in senior cats:
-Playing for shorter amounts of time, or sleeping for more hours in the day
-Not jumping as far, or hesitating when jumping
-Thinning or graying of the coat
-Changing appearance of the eyes including a slight haziness of the lens
-Changes in personality including increased or decreased vocalization, increased dependency on humans and avoidance of social interactions. Some of these changes may be attributed to the aging of the brain/memory loss
-Hearing loss
-Bad breath or dental issues
-Changes in litter box habits
Remember, many of the changes you may see in your aging cat could be related to an underlying medical condition so it’s best to ask your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you may have. The sooner you catch a health ailment, the better chance you have of curing it or managing it safely.
How to keep your aging cat healthy and happy:
You can help your aging cat to stay happy and healthy by following these tips.
-Give your cat regular exercise: Pay attention to your cat’s changing energy levels. Even though your cat is getting older, regular exercise will help keep your cat at a healthy weight, and it will also increase circulation and assist in maintaining lean muscle mass. To make sure you don’t overwork your cat, limit your play sessions to ten minutes, a couple of times a day and adjust to less or more as needed. If your cat seems to tire easily or experiences any breathing issues, consult your veterinarian.
-Brush your cat regularly: As cats get older, they may not be able to digest foods and hair (from grooming) as easily as they used to; this could mean an increase in hairballs. Help to prevent hairballs by brushing your cat once a day. Brushing also helps keep skin healthy. With your brush, you can help your cat groom those hard-to-reach areas that they may be missing.
-Maintain a Healthy Diet: Many cats, like people, will experience a slowing metabolism as they age, while others find it difficult to keep weight on. Start your cat on a natural recipe specifically formulated for the nutritional needs of senior cats. Wellness Complete Health Senior Health is a good option. It has tailored levels of fat and fiber to support an aging cat’s digestive system, and it includes the WellFlex® Hip & Joint Support Sytem that helps keep cats’ joints supple and limber. Wellness Senior Health is also packed with phytonutrients which may aid in disease prevention, slow the aging process and help boost your cat’s overall immunity.
Limit Stress and Keep Them Cool: Senior cats are not able to regulate their body temperatures as effectively as younger cats. Make sure to keep your cat cool in the summer to avoid heat stroke, and offer a warm blanket or heated cat bed in the winter for comfort. Senior cats may not adapt to change as easily as they once did, so it’s helpful to minimize their stress whenever possible. If you’re introducing a new pet to the family, be sure to take extra precaution to give your senior cat his or her own space, and alleviate stressors such as moving to a new house with extra affection during those trying times.
Although being a pet parent to a senior cat may be challenging in some ways, there are many things to be appreciative for as well. Each year spent with your cat only strengthens the bond you two have with each other. And rather than bouncing off the walls, older cats often display a unique wisdom and mellow, patient personality that really shines as they reach their golden years!

Today, cats are living longer lives thanks to improved veterinary care, better nutrition, and a heightened awareness of pet health and safety. As your cat approaches his or her senior years, it’s a good idea to learn what to expect so you can detect potentially serious health issues, as well as make adjustments to the way you care for your cat to ensure his or her comfort throughout the aging process.

Is Your Cat Considered a Senior?

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, you should begin senior care considerations when your cat reaches the age of seven. It’s recommended that healthy senior cats visit the veterinarian every six months. Regular veterinary visits are best way to catch diseases early and find a way to resolve them.

Physical and Behavioral Changes in Senior Cats


Aging cats experience many changes, so their mental and physical behavior may reflect those changes. Oftentimes, the normal signs of aging closely mimic symptoms of potentially serious conditions, so it’s always a good idea to report any significant changes to your veterinarian.

Here are several common changes in senior cats:

-Playing for shorter amounts of time, or sleeping for more hours in the day

-Not jumping as far, or hesitating when jumping

-Thinning or graying of the coat

-Changing appearance of the eyes including a slight haziness of the lens

-Changes in personality including increased or decreased vocalization, increased dependency on humans and avoidance of social interactions. Some of these changes may be attributed to the aging of the brain/memory loss

-Hearing loss

-Bad breath or dental issues

-Changes in litter box habits

Remember, many of the changes you may see in your aging cat could be related to an underlying medical condition so it’s best to ask your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you may have. The sooner you catch a health ailment, the better chance you have of curing it or managing it safely.

How to keep your aging cat healthy and happy:


You can help your aging cat to stay happy and healthy by following these tips.

-Give your cat regular exercise: Pay attention to your cat’s changing energy levels. Even though your cat is getting older, regular exercise will help keep your cat at a healthy weight, and it will also increase circulation and assist in maintaining lean muscle mass. To make sure you don’t overwork your cat, limit your play sessions to ten minutes, a couple of times a day and adjust to less or more as needed. If your cat seems to tire easily or experiences any breathing issues, consult your veterinarian.

-Brush your cat regularly: As cats get older, they may not be able to digest foods and hair (from grooming) as easily as they used to; this could mean an increase in hairballs. Help to prevent hairballs by brushing your cat once a day. Brushing also helps keep skin healthy. With your brush, you can help your cat groom those hard-to-reach areas that they may be missing.

-Maintain a Healthy Diet:

Many cats, like people, will experience a slowing metabolism as they age, while others find it difficult to keep weight on. Start your cat on a natural recipe specifically formulated for the nutritional needs of senior cats. Wellness Complete Health Senior Health is a good option. It has tailored levels of fat and fiber to support an aging cat’s digestive system, and it includes the WellFlex® Hip & Joint Support Sytem that helps keep cats’ joints supple and limber. Wellness Senior Health is also packed with phytonutrients which may aid in disease prevention, slow the aging process and help boost your cat’s overall immunity.

Limit Stress and Keep Them Cool: Senior cats are not able to regulate their body temperatures as effectively as younger cats. Make sure to keep your cat cool in the summer to avoid heat stroke, and offer a warm blanket or heated cat bed in the winter for comfort. Senior cats may not adapt to change as easily as they once did, so it’s helpful to minimize their stress whenever possible. If you’re introducing a new pet to the family, be sure to take extra precaution to give your senior cat his or her own space, and alleviate stressors such as moving to a new house with extra affection during those trying times.

Although being a pet parent to a senior cat may be challenging in some ways, there are many things to be appreciative for as well. Each year spent with your cat only strengthens the bond you two have with each other. And rather than bouncing off the walls, older cats often display a unique wisdom and mellow, patient personality that really shines as they reach their golden years!