Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos is about celebrating family and loved ones. Each November we take time to remember our dear departed. Each year the festivities fall near Halloween but this day isn't meant to be scary. We are meant to honor family members who have preceded us in death, and for me that means someday in the future my celebration will include my dog Cleo.
When your dog moves into their mature phase of life, or senior stage, it's important to be prepared. Since I started managing my dog's golden years three years ago, I've learned a lot and I want to pass those experiences on. She is my first old dog and we've had to handle a few common changes in behavior and a few not so common events.
I hope my lessons help you create a happier and fearless time with your buddy. It can be easy to fall into the trap of worrying over them and this final stage of your life together. I'm here to say that it's okay to worry as long as you try to focus on the positive as well. I know my dog can tell when I'm not letting my anticipatory grief get the best of me.
I've shared a few of my experiences with Cleo in earlier posts, but here are my five best tips for navigating life with your older dog.
My elderly and senior dog is teaching me how to age gracefully. She has slowly lost her vision but she remains the cutest, loving dog ever. She accepts her blindness, using her other senses to navigate day-to-day life. Watching her, I'm appreciative of how intuitive dogs are, and how much the human-animal bond comes into play in the quality of life we have together.
My brother's dog Kona is a little older than Cleo, and she's become deaf with age. She too, is still so very cute and happy. She's got white butt hairs that make me laugh, because she wiggles her butt in front of you until you scratch it. She grunts and snores on "her couch" most of the day now. Kona, without trying, shows us that a happy dog, in a loving family, doesn't need to hear to be content or feel loved.
Kona the deaf black Lab napping on her couch
Did you know that many rescues and shelters assume deaf dogs are unadoptable. Really? Kona gets around just fine at home. She's 15 years old and somewhat arthritic. Her family keeps her routine simple and they use simple hand gestures to guide her behavior.
This week is National Deaf Dog Awareness Week. Whether they can hear or see, or even walk, we know from experience today that dogs just want to be loved by their family. They want to feel your love, your commitment and loyalty. Having a hearing-impaired dog only means an adjustment on how you work together, not how you love each other.
Did you know that some common household items found in our medicine chest and first aid kits work well for both human and pet? On the flip-side, besides certain foods there are common medications that are actually dangerous for your pet. It's important to know the difference, especially in the event of an emergency when your emotions are running high and your home might be in disarray if you've been through a natural disaster.
What goes into a pet first aid kit?
If you have pets, having a first aid kit just for them is a great idea. You won't have to worry in the moment that you are using something inappropriate or even dangerous. Nowadays you can buy pet first aid kits but it's highly likely you'll still need to customize it to fit your particular needs. If you are like us, I think you can create your own without spending more money than you need.
Start with basics like these common household items LIFE+DOG shares on their website. In addition, you should have an eye dropper, gauze, self-adhering tape, non-stick bandages, and tweezers. You'll want to have an extra leash and collar. Include copies of your pet's vaccination history and veterinarian information in a sealed plastic bag protection from the elements. What did we miss? Check out this great resource from AVMA.org and this valuable information about emergency preparedness for pets from PetSmart Charities.
From The Magazine | L+D Health (c) LIFE+DOG Five safe household human medications for dogs We treat our dogs as members of family. We prepare their meals alongside ours, and we incorporate their exercise into our own routine. It makes sense that…
Squee! Actually this lil' lady is no joke, she could be my wingman any day! What a cutie. Look at that face! She came in with her Daddy, so maybe it was a father-daughter outing because it's Friday. Either way, Miércoles (Wednesday in Spanish) could teach etiquette lessons, what a total doll.
Potato salad done, ribs grilling, a senior dog snoozing. Family should be arriving shortly, and we've a nice breeze. Another good sign on this Independence Day? The bottle rockets have been quiet this year, and the other neighborhood noises my dog is ignoring so far. Winning!
Cleo does not care for loud noises, so when the official city fireworks begin later tonight you can expect my big old dog will be securely snuggled close.
Cleo and I wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July!
When should you leave your dog at home? How do you know what it feels like for your dog inside a car on a hot day? It's summer. We're having record heat everywhere. Even San Francisco feels hotter than usual.
This video of Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian, sitting inside a parked car for 30 minutes is a visual demonstration of why hot cars are dangerous for pets.
We love our dogs. It's always sad to see a lost dog flyer in the neighborhood or nowadays on Facebook. Summer means kids running in and out of the house. 4th of July fireworks and summer outdoor concerts bring loud noises.
Petfinder has created a great infographic with five ways to help you prevent your dog from getting lost this summer. Please share this with friends and family alike.
Are cats considered "starter" dogs? Why do more women have a dog than men? Why do Americans prefer dogs over cats? So many questions! Too bad these questions are only sort of answered by what I ultimately found to be a lame survey that dog lovers don't need.
The PPP surveyed 603 registered voters over the phone between June 11 and June 13, covering a broad range of animal-related questions ranging from favorite movie-animal characters to whether cat owners are weird. Overall, the study found that most Americans are pet-friendly, with 6 in 10 voters owning a pet while 1 in 5 people prefer to spend time with their pets over humans.
How accurate do you think this survey is for most people? How many unregistered voters feel the same or differently? 603 people are going to influence public policy when it comes to pets? This "study" did nothing for me to be honest. Yes, I used quote marks to emphasize my dissatisfaction..
What's the benefit of keeping old dog toys? Our elderly dog doesn't play with them anymore but we kept some anyway. When Cleo began losing her eyesight, we worried about keeping her safe while letting her move around the house without us always watching. One day my husband came up with a simple, effective and super cute solution to helping our dog avoid walking into the fireplace.
Summer is around the corner and this video brings back memories of our dog Cleo when she romped on the beach. Today her romps are bouncing off the two of us for a few minutes, while we fluff her fur, jiggle her butt and lightly thump her sides.
I've found the perfect tune from my childhood to go with this beach video. Anyone else remember this seventies song ??
Here are some of the lyrics...
Beach baby, Beach Baby give me your hand Give me somethin' that I can remember Just like before we can walk by the shore in the moonlight Beach baby, Beach baby there on the sand From July 'till the end of September Surfin' was fun, we'd be out in the sun every day
I kind of love a wet dog. I've taken the bus during a wet and rainy commute downtown, and strangers socks and wool sweaters smelled worse than my dog. Have you been in close quarters with damp strangers, at seven in the morning, in an overheated bus driving down a sixty percent grade steep hill? You are smooshed together at every abrupt stop or sharp turn.
You pray no one steps on your feet, pokes you with a wet umbrella or slams you into a seated elderly or pregnant passenger. You try to pay enough attention to the driver's driving so you can anticipate the bus braking before you let go of the bar or strap to head toward the door. The steam from hot breath makes it impossible to see outside. Heavy rain ensures no one opens a window so you crowd discreetly by the back or front doors in order to get a breath of fresh air at every stop.
If dogs could call animal welfare services, this one might..
So yeah. I kind of love a wet dog because it means we're outside, chasing our dog until she is too tired to protest a bath. It means we are in the spare bathroom trying to corral a donkey that was formerly our dog. Our dog has magically transformed into a crazed beast whose butt weighs a thousand pounds, and is stuck on the floor unable to move an inch.
We use every trick to get said donkey into the tub. We line the bath tub edge furthest away from her mouth with cookies in the hopes she'll climb in after the liver treats. She is definitely food motivated. Why now she turns her nose up, we don't know. Wherever we bathe her, the moment it's over I always laugh at her prison break joy. Her leaps and maniacal racing around the yard give you the impression that she'd been locked up for hours if not years.