Archive for April, 2011

Old Dogs: Are The Best Dogs by Gene Weingarten


As dogs become older, there are steps that should be taken to help your aging dog.  Just like people, they will slow down, turn gray, possibly lose some vision and become prone to arthritis.

As a general rule, when dogs turn 7 years or older, they are considered middle to senior in age.  Visits to your vet should become more frequent and getting your vet’s advice on healthy care and maintenance.

Genetically, larger dogs seem to age faster than small dogs, i.e. German Shepherds vs. Poodles.  What also should be noted are various medical issues that arise in different breeds of dogs.  Reading up on and getting professional advice on ailments that might affect your breed of dog is important.  Let’s look at some general conditions that can arise with the aging of your dog.

Hey, You Are Walking Way Too Fast For Me!

Many times, though not always, as dogs age their steps are slower, there might be hesitation or stiffness in their movements.  Arthritis is common in dogs as they age and this could arise subtly over time.  There are many medications available to ease the discomforts of arthritis.  Talk to your vet to get a proper diagnosis and receive the best medications and advice for helping your friend out.

Hypothyroidism can also be a cause for your dog slowing down.  It can be easily diagnosed and treated with proper veterinary care and medications.

Oh My Gosh! I Just Found Another Gray Hair!

Like people, turning gray is common in dogs as they age, it’s usually around their faces and their muzzles.  Although there have been dogs that prematurely turn gray at a young age, usually they will start turning gray around 6 years of age.  This is not a medical situation, just a part of aging.

What Did You Say?

Have you noticed your dog did not respond to you when you spoke to him?  Does he easily startle when you walk up to him from behind?  Maybe it’s harder to wake him up after he’s been sleeping.  A loss in hearing is the cause for this and there is very little that can be done for loss of hearing due to age.

Consult with your vet first to make sure this is not being caused by a medical issue, such as an infection.

If hearing loss is affecting your pup, take steps to protect him from various hazards that he might encounter.  Protect him from being around cars and other people he might not hear coming that could frighten him.

I wrote a post a while back about using hand signals for training dogs.  This would be an idyllic time to start learning and using hand signals.  Your dog will adapt pretty quickly with various commands such as sit and come.

Now is a good time to be sure that he only walks on a leash.  Walking on his own could lead to accidents and bodily harm.  Do not let him out on his own, take him for walks.

Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue

Another sign of dog aging are their eyes baking on a bluish transparent cloudy appearance in their pupil area.  The medical term for this is lenticular sclerosis.  This does not seem to affect their vision unlike Cataracts which are white and opaque and does affect their vision.

Always consult with your vet with any concerns and get your dog checked out to find out which condition in vision your dog might be experiencing.

A Trip to the Gym Ain’t Gonna Cut It!

Muscle atrophy is a mild loss of muscle mass, mainly in the hind quarters.  This will also slow down your pups speed in daily walks.  If you observe muscle loss around the head or stomach, this is probably a sign of disease – get your pup checked out by your vet for a diagnosis.

Helping Your Aging Dog will give you some good suggestions and advice in helping your dog enter his or her golden years.

Once you are aware that your dog is moving on in years, there a preventative steps you can take to keep him happy, healthy and active. Let’s look at helping your aging dog, so he may continue having a great life.

Hey! Where’d My Ribs Go!

An overweight dog will run the risks of health problems such as diabetes, joint problems, liver or kidney malfunctions. As tempting as it is to give your pup that extra treat – don’t! Cut back on treats, as a general rule these treats have quite a few calories and fatty elements.

Taking your hands on both of his sides and feeling for his rib cage will tell you if he’s putting on too much weight. If you can not feel his ribs, it’s time for a diet.

Killing your dog with kindness is just wrong and certainly is not helping your aging dog. Table scraps have never ever been a good thing for dogs, but if you have been doing this over the years, you must stop that now. If you have children, let them know they must not continue to sneak food under the table, explaining to them why.

Could I Talk You Into Moving That Water Bowl Over Here?

As dogs age, getting around becomes a little more challenging. Some dogs might have a problem getting to their water bowl. You might want to set up water bowls in various areas so he will always have one close enough for him to get to. Always be sure he has fresh water at all times. Drinking plenty of water will keep his kidneys and his liver healthy.

I Really Don’t Want a Scenic Tour – Just a Nice Walk

Cut back on walking distances as your dog ages. Shorter walks will help his circulation and possibly prevent an early onslaught of arthritis. New sights and smells are still very important for keeping your dog’s curiosity going and he needs that special time with you. But distances might be hard on his joints and he might tire more quickly.

Hey! That Dry Stuff Hurts!

As dogs age you might need to switch from dry food to canned food. Their teeth might not be able to handle the hardness in dry food. Even though your dog’s teeth have had regular cleanings and care, with age their teeth will become somewhat softer and need softer foods to alleviate the situation.

Helping your aging dog is not difficult at all, just sensible. Looking out for and taking great care of your pup means regular visits to the vet and changing some everyday activities. Changing his diet and understanding his limitations as he ages, are all apart of keeping him healthy, safe and happy as he enters his senior years.


Old Dogs: Are the Best Dogs
 By Gene Weingarten






According to the Society for Companion Animal Studies, patients who interact with animals recover faster and live longer lives. Are cats great companions?  The answer to that is a huge yes!  Cats are affectionate yet less demanding and low maintenance compared to dogs.  This is so very important for people that are aged, have health issues or just can’t keep up with the lifestyle and concerns of dogs. These folks have found cats are a wonderful alternative.

Cats are extremely intelligent, small in size and clean freaks.  Unlike old myths, cats are very affectionate and adore attention.  Are cats great companions – Studies have shown that having a cat sitting in someone’s lap and petting kitty brings a great deal of calm, comfort and loss of stress.  Many have said they find a great peace just listening to a cat purr.

Cats are not particularly intimidating and therefore people who are shy or withdrawn seem to come out of their shells when around cats.  Cats are also a perfect size for young children to learn how to treat animals and take care of them.  By caring for animals people learn how to treat other people.  It is believed that people who abuse animals will eventually abuse people as well.

Are cats great companions? I think just about anyone who has owned or now owns a cat will tell you, without hesitation – Yes!  The next time you decide to bring a cat into your home, please stop by your local shelter and adopt a full grown cat.  They are so in need of love and attention and everyone seems to only go for kittens.  Full grown cats are a pleasure, they are over the kitten mishaps and are a little calmer.  They need your love and will pay you back with more unconditional love than you can possibly imagine!

Pogona vitticeps

Pogona are a genus of lizards that consist of several specieis, most commonly referred to as Bearded Dragons.  This term is most commonly used toward the Central Bearded Dragon.  They are adept climbers, spending a great deal of time on branches, in bushes and fence posts if living near humans.  These lizards live in arid, rocky and semi-desert regions and dry open areas of Australia.  They like to bask on rocks and exposed branches in the morning and afternoon hours. Bearded Dragons as pets are very popular.

The Pogona vitticeps are often kept as pets.  Their characteristics are spiny scales arranged in rows or clusters, found on their throats and back of their necks.  This spiny “collar” expands when they feel threatened.  They also bob their heads when two males are challenging each other.  Another quirky movement is “hand waving”, this is a sign of submission between dragons.  They can change color, like chameleons, due to rivalries and temperature change.

Bearded Dragons in Captivity:

Bearded dragons as pets  do very well in captivity and are one of the mos popular among experts as well as novices.  They are extremely friendly with people and make great pets for children.  Pogona have an average life span of 5 to 8 years and some have been known to live to 10 years.  They like leafy lettuce, like Romaine lettuce and love hunting crickets.

Important Note: Never feed lightning bugs to your bearded dragon!  The toxins in a lightning but will kill your pet!

Housing Baby Dragons:

Babies can be temporally housed in a 20 gallon aquarium that are less than 10 inches long.  This housing will do fine for a few months only, as they grow very quickly.  Using Profile Extended Storage Bins, the White Sides of these bins will keep your pet from becoming frightened in their new surroundings.  If they become to0 scared, they may not eat which will lead to a very serious problem.

Housing an Adult Dragon:

The Adults should not be in anything smaller than 40 gallon breeder tanks.  Although it is recommended that you house a single adult in a 55 to 60 gallon aquarium. Dragons need branches, rocks to climb on and a hiding place.  If you have cage furniture, it must be carefully secured so as to not fall on your dragon and harm him. Bearded dragons as pets can be a wonderful experience.  Just make sure you study up on these guys and follow expert advice so your little friend will have a long a happy life.

Thanks to Wikipedia for their valuable information.

Bearded Dragon Secret Manual

I thought long and hard about posting this article.  At first I felt it’s way too graphic and heartbreaking, then decided people should know about this. So, whose skin are you wearing?


If you are extremely sensitive, you might just  want to pass this up and Not Read Further.  I did not write this – this comes from I will decline from saying what I think Peta should be shooting, but I don’t believe it’s film.

“Undercover investigators from Swiss Animals Protection East/International spent the past year investigating fur farms in China’s Hebei Province and found that many animals, including dogs and foxes, are still alive and struggling desperately when workers flip them onto their backs or hang them up by their legs or tails to skin them. When workers on these farms begin to cut the skin and fur from an animal’s leg, the free limbs kick and writhe. Workers stomp on the necks and heads of animals who, fighting for their lives, struggle too hard to allow for a clean cut. When the fur is finally peeled off over the animals’ heads, their naked, bloody bodies are thrown onto a pile of those who have gone before them. Some are still alive, breathing in ragged gasps and blinking slowly. Some of the animals’ hearts are still beating five to 10 minutes after they are skinned. One investigator recorded a skinned raccoon dog on the heap of carcasses who had enough strength to lift his bloodied head and stare into the camera, with only his eyelashes still intact.

Before they are skinned alive, animals are pulled from their cages and slammed against the ground; workers bludgeon them with metal rods, causing broken bones and convulsions but not always immediate death. Animals watch helplessly as workers make their way down the row.

Some animals killed in the Chinese fur trade were once loving companions. Millions of dogs and cats—some still wearing collars—are transported without food, shelter, or water, shoved into tiny metal crates, and stacked on trucks—as many as 8,000 animals to a truck. When they arrive for slaughter, workers toss the crates of crying, terrified, and dying animals to the ground, a drop from as high as 10 feet that causes the animals’ limbs to shatter as they crash to the ground. After they are killed and skinned, their fur is often deliberately mislabeled as fur from other species and exported to the U.S. to be sold to unsuspecting customers.

China supplies more than half of the finished fur garments imported for sale in the United States. Because a fur’s origin can’t be traced, anyone who wears any fur at all may actually be wearing the coat of a dog or cat and therefore shares the blame for the horrific conditions on Chinese fur farms. The only way to prevent such unimaginable cruelty is never to wear any fur.”

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