Adopting a dog is a great thing to do, as it is a way of both adding a new addition to your family, while also giving a dog a loving home. However, most people choose to adopt puppies during this process, rather than older dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I think that we can all agree that puppies are adorable.. but older dogs are quite adorable as well, and they are every bit as deserving of a loving home as puppies are. While puppies still make an excellent addition to the family, here are 5 reasons why older dogs also make good pets.
They make good nap buddies
As dogs age, they begin to require more and more sleep. As a result of this frequent napping, and their mellow personalities, older dogs are the perfect napping partners!
They are adopted less often
Because most people prefer to adopt puppies, there are an abundance of older dogs in shelters that are lacking in a forever home and a loving family. By adopting an older dog, you are helping put an end to this tragic cycle.
Little to no house training
Older dogs are far more likely to have been house-trained at some point in time. Whether they have been previously owned by owners that trained them, or simply learned during their time in the shelter; older dogs generally require less effort in this area.
They are patient and laid back
Due to their mellow nature, older dogs are often times quite laid back, and make nice dogs to simply sit back and chill with. They are also generally far more patient than puppies, as they have acquired better temperance over-time.
They are protective
While puppies are certainly cute, they are not fierce. If you are looking to adopt a dog that will serve as a sort of protective dog, an older dog will be the better choice. Older dogs also have a sense of loyalty and maturity, which will only further make them better protective dogs.
Puppies and older dogs both have their pros and cons; when you are looking to adopt a dog, don’t forget that the older guys need homes too! Regardless of which dog you choose, adopting a dog is a both sweet and life changing thing to do, and the act of giving a dog a forever home will mean the world to your new addition.
If you are the owner of a dog, than chances are that you have likely seen your dog eating grass at some point in time. When observing this sight, you might have had a few thoughts running through your head at the time, such as: “Why is he eating grass?” “Is she ill?”, “Should I take her to the vet?”, “Should I just let him continue to eat grass?”. If this was anything like your thought process, than you needn’t worry, this article will give you a breakdown of why exactly dogs eat grass, and provide you with useful information regarding what you as an owner can do to help your furry friend.
Your dog may be feeling ill
If your dog is feeling either ill, or uncomfortable, than he may be eating grass to induce vomiting. Perhaps he might have even eaten something poisonous or foul as well. Contrary to popular believe, this may not always be the case, however. If your dog is displaying signs of illness or discomfort, or even behaviour that is out of character for him, than a trip to the vet may be in order. While grass consumption is a normal occurrence for dogs, as it is a natural remedy for them, if your are worried for your dog, then taking him to see a vet for a second opinion may be quite beneficial in catching a serious underlying health condition early on.
Your dog may be hungry or lacking in nutrients
If you’ve noticed your dog eating grass recently, she might just be hungry, or lacking vital nutrients in her food. Fortunately, you can easily fix this problem by making sure that you are feeding your dog both enough food, and the right food. If you are unsure of whether or not you are doing either of these things correctly, then consulting a vet for further guidance will be an immense help in this situation; to ensure your good girl gets the nutrients she needs.
Should you let your dog eat grass?
While there certainly are several negative explanations for your dog’s grass consumption, the most likely cause is simply that it tastes good. Your dog may just enjoy the flavour of fresh grass, and he might honestly just like eating for the heck of it! Unless your dog is solely eating grass and not his regular dog food, or if he is showcasing symptoms of illness or other out of character behaviour, than it is perfectly fine to allow him to continue snacking on grass!
While we all love our dogs, there are particular things that they do which we may not always enjoy. From getting into things that they shouldn’t, to stubbornness; our furry friends certainly know how to push us to our limits. And if you have a dog that barks constantly, you indeed know the struggle. Here are 10 things that only people with dogs that bark excessively will get.
The struggle to get some uninterrupted sleep
Because we all value our sleep, it can quite frustrating to be woken up by spontaneous barking. And perhaps even more frustrating to fall back to sleep knowing that you will be woken up the same way in a matter of minutes.
Having to warn people before they come over
If you have a dog that barks frequently, then you know that little speech that you give new guests before they enter your house. This is usually something along the lines of both preparing them for the excessive barking, and also alerting them to the fact that despite the threats, your dog does not actually wish to kill them.
Barking at everything on walks
Seriously, they will bark at anything and everything. People, other dogs, squirrels, cars, trees, flowers, their own shadow…etc..
..Or on car rides
If barking on walks wasn’t bad enough, this behaviour in a closed in space is even worse!
Getting frightened when they spontaneously bark
You know the struggle of being in a state of relaxation, or deeply focused on something; when suddenly your dog starts barking and freaks you out. This frustrating experience is guaranteed to make anyone mad.
Barking every time someone passes by your front door
Your dog views this act as protecting you from potential intruders, but you just see this as an annoyance.
Trying to stay focused
It can very difficult to stay focused and productive during the day as it is, but adding a barking dog to the equation will only further make the situation stressful.
People who assume that your dog is vicious
The struggle of people automatically assuming that because your dog barks quite ferociously, he must be vicious. When in reality, he is likely all talk (sorry). This usually takes quite a bit of both convincing the person, and letting them observe your dog’s sweet side to change their minds.
But, despite the barking, we still love our protective furry friends.
During this quarantine, I think we have all felt ourselves begin to feel a bit stir crazy at some point, and our four-legged friends are no different! You may have notice an increase of either boredom, or excessive hyperness (the zoomies) in your pet’s behaviour lately. Not to worry, here are 10 ways to avoid this stir crazy behaviour in your pet.
Don’t let them sit around all day
This is perhaps one that we can all relate to. As we suddenly have an immense amount of free time on our hands, it can be tempting to sit around all day binge-watching netflix. You may have also noticed that your pet might have a tendency to sit around during this time as well. However, this will only further encourage those feelings of stir craziness! Try to keep your dog active and entertained (I know easier said than done..), and this will help keep the stir craziness to a minimum.
Play with them more than usual
This point is a sort of continuation of the last one, in that playing with your dog is a great way of keeping them both active and entertained. If you notice that your dog seems a little down in the dumps, throwing a ball, playing tug of war, or fetch can be a great way of distracting your dog from his boredom.
If possible, take them for walks
This may not apply to everyone as the quarantine restrictions vary from place to place. However, if you live somewhere where you feel comfortable walking them, and you are able to maintain social distancing rules, walking your dog is a great way to get them active, and out of the house; even if just for a bit.
Teach them new tricks
Teaching your dog new tricks is a great bonding activity for you and your pet. There are an array of helpful tips and resources available on the internet for teaching your dog new tricks. In addition to fighting feelings of boredom, teaching your dogs new tricks can even be quite fun for both of you!
Try baking homemade treats
There are plenty of dog treat recipes on the internet, just search for them on Pinterest! This is a fun activity to do, especially if you are already a baker, and your dog will probably be quite supportive of your new endeavour! When you bake your dog’s treats yourself, you know what ingredients go into them, and you can even through some nutrition into them if you like! You can make homemade milk-bones or even go all out and bake them a cake! I have listed below a link to easy to follow cake mixes for dogs.
Don’t let them sleep all day
During quarantine, your pet may be a bit more inclined to sleep all day. This, however, will only further encourage feelings of stir craziness. Obviously make sure that your dog is getting the necessary sleep that he needs, but notice if sleeping appears to be all that he is doing. This point ties into the first one, in that staying active and entertained are vital for avoiding becoming stir crazy.
Introduce new activities
While changing up your usual schedule too much may stress out your dog, not changing up your schedule at all, particularly during quarantine, may inspire boredom. Try introducing new and different activities into you and your dog’s life, as well as, making small changes in your everyday routine.
If you have the outdoor space, letting your dog get plenty of vitamin d will be quite beneficial in combatting boredom.
Teach them new games
There are plenty of tutorials on the internet that will provide you with information on not only how to teach your dog to play games, but also with ideas for games to play with your dog. Dogs are far more intelligent than we often give them credit for, and your dog might just find playing games to be fun.
Get them bones and rawhide chews
If you are working from home and lack the time to do several of these ideas, this last one is for you. Purchasing bones, rawhides, and other chews for your dog will keep him entertained for hours at a time; allowing you enough free time to complete important tasks.
By following this list of ideas, you will have hopefully cured your dog’s stir crazy tendencies, and maybe you two even bonded a bit.
With a 79.7% increase compared to 2006, diabetes in dogs is becoming more and more of an issue.
There are many factors that can play into your dog’s likely-hood of getting it however, a diet dense with sugar can drastically increase his odds.
Most dog treats regardless of being marketed as “healthy” or otherwise contain sugar, making it often difficult to limit sugar consumtion. Fortunately, there are sugar free treat options as mentioned later in the article.
What exactly is diabetes?
Your dog’s body breaks down the nutrients in his food and converts it into glucose. Glucose is a type of sugar that is a nessicary source of energy for specific cells and organs.
The glucose is then obsorbed into the blood and transported all throughout the body.
Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas (An organ located by the stomach.) that is in charge of delivering the fuel and telling the cells to take the glucose and use it as fuel.
When there are issues involving the Glucose-Insulin connection, it can result in diabetes.
Types of diabetes
The two most common types of diabetes in dogs are:
Insulin-deficiency – The most common of the two, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to effectively use the glucose as fuel.
Insulin-resistance -Is more common in older dogs, the body produces enough insulin however, the messages being sent by the insulin telling the cells to use the glucose as energy; are not being responded to.
Both can result in excess sugar in the blood, that is not being processed into energy, resulting in under-nourished cells. When the cells are starved of energy they may began to break down fats and proteins to try and obtain fuel.
An important thing to note is that an abnormal level of glucose in the blood can become poison-like in the body and will cause damage to the following organs:
Blood vessels and,
It is important to know the signs and symptoms to watch for, particularly if you have an older or obese dog.
early warning Signs that your dog may be diabetic
Advanced signs that your dog may be diabetic
Loss of appetiete
Lack of energy
If your dog displays any of the signs or symptoms previously mentioned, it is important that you take him to his vet immedietely to reduce further damage.
Ways to reduce your dog’s risk of diabetes
Fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can do to help lower your dog’s risk of getting diabetes.
A major factor in diabetes in dogs is, obesity. By taking your dog for regular walks and limiting treat consumtion, you will not only lengthen your dog’s lifespan but also reduce his risk of diabetes.
In terms of daily treat consumtion, the AKC recommends that treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s diet.
As mentioned earlier in the article, most dog treats marketed as “healthy” or otherwise often contain sugar, either used as a preservative or simply for flavour.
Given that there are an array of natural and non-harmful preservatives and herbs that can be used to season food, adding sugar is quite avoidable.
Having a chronically ill dog is one of the most difficult things to go through as a pet owner. Your life is suddenly revoled around making sure they take their medications, vet appointments, and worrying about their ill-state.
When you are taking care of a sick pet, their physical health is immensely important but so is there mental health.
Dogs have feelings too and they can feel stressed, anxious and even depressed from time to time. If your dog is ill, he may be more prone to depression.
If you have an ill dog, knowing the signs of canine deppression and how to help cheer your dog up can be crucial.
While these following signs of canine deppression are symptoms of mental illness in dogs, they can also be signs that your dog may be in pain or his health condition may be declining. So it is important to take your dog to the vet to make sure everything is okay if he displays one or more of these symptoms.
Lack of appetite
This one can be particularly difficult to rule as solely deppresion if your dog is ill because, this can also be a symptom of many other health conditions.
If your dog is feeling down, he may not feel like eating as much as he usually does.
To try and fix this issue you could try buying a different brand of food, replacing the old food with fresh food more often, and adopting a regular feeding schedule.
If after 1-2 days your dog still has a diminished appetite or is not eating at all, then you should bring him to the vet immedietly.
If you’ve noticed your sick dog hiding from friends, family, other dogs or maybe even you, he may be depressed.
Sometimes when dogs are feeling sad, they will avoid interaction with others.
It is important to let your dog have his space but also encourage him to spend time around others, as isolating himself will not help the situation and might even make it worse.
Letting your dog know that you are there for him will go a long way.
Like hiding, if your dog has started growling at you, he may be trying to isolate himself.
Firmly but still kindly reminding your dog that this behaviour isn’t appropiate, in addition to letting your dog know that you are there for him can go a long way in helping resolve this issue.
Licking is a dog’s way of cleaning themselves, attemping to heal a wound and it can also be used for comfort.
If you’ve noticed your dog is exessively licking, it may mean he is depressed.
Sleeping all day
If your dog is feeing down he may resort to sleeping too much or even not enough.
As some dogs sleep more than others, the best thing to do is note any changes in what you know your dogs sleeping patterns to be.
Ways to cheer them up
Fortunely there are plenty of ways to cheer up fido.
Making sure he is getting enough attention from you and your family members.
When going through stressful events it is important to have support.
Keeping your daily routines will help drastically
It is easy to fall into a different routine that usually revolves around caring for your sick dog but this can stress a dog out and only make the situation worse. Sticking to routine can emphasize familiarity.
Again, these signs can also be symptoms of pain or illness. Talking to your vet about these issues will be very helpful.
After doing a DNA test myself and having recently adopted a pound puppy that had a somewhat unknown breed, the idea of doing a “doggy DNA test” seemed more and more interesting to me.
There are plenty of DNA tests available on the market, each with their own levels of accuracy. If you’re interested in doing one with your dog, I will recommend doing your research before settling for the first one you see. Different tests also test for different things. The test that I choose tested for, breed, family tree, genetic characteristics and, health risks.
Why should you give your dog a DNA test?
There are many reasons to give your dog a DNA test, one of them being simply out of curiosity. I would especially recommend doing one if you are like I was, unsure of your dogs’ breed.
This is Snoopy. I adopted Snoopy from the shelter where he was advertised as being an “Aussie Shepherd Mix.”
We now know that this isn’t the case and while he is loved regardless of his breed, different breeds carry an array of different physical trademarks, personality traits and, talents. So it can be fun to look at each breed your dog has in him and be able to pinpoint that he got his “friendly personality” from his golden retriever side or his “curly tail” from his pug side.
DNA tests can show health risks your dog may face in the future.
In addition to each breed possessing their own unique traits, different breeds of dogs also carry their own health risks and likely-hoods of carrying certain diseases. Being knowledgable about which diseases and illnesses your dog could be genetically predetermined to get, could help prevent disease later on in life.
This is something that I wish that I would’ve done with my previous dogs. One got cancer and the other got arthritis, both of these can be tested for. Catching her cancer earlier on would have saved my dog and taking proper precautions to avoid arthritis could have helped shrink my other dog’s chances of getting it.
While it is difficult to submit the DNA test, knowing in a few short weeks you will know what diseases your precious dog may get in the future. It is also a blessing to be well informed of the potential harms he could face. Many common diseases are very much avoidable and you could save your dog from a premature death or disheartening illness.
Knowing this encouraged me to give my newly adopted dog a DNA test to not only discover his breed and family tree for fun but to be aware of health risks that he may get.
The test results.
After deciding on a test that would tell us what breed Snoopy is and what health risks he may face, I ordered the test online. The test arrived with a little tube to collect the sample in, afterwords I shipped it back to the company.
As you can probably imagine, those four weeks that I waited for the results to come back were agonizing but worth it. Here’s what I found out about Snoopy’s DNA:
As I mentioned earlier in the article, Snoopy’s DNA was said to be mostly Aussie Shephard. So imagine my shock when I open the email containing his results, with this pie chart looking back at me:
Not only did this better explain different aspects of his personality and his appearance but also got us wondering about what his family tree might look like. Fortunately for us, the results also included details regarding his family tree.
Family tree results.
Here is Snoopy’s family tree, not a single Aussie Shephard insight.
Because he was rescued from the pound, it was fascinating to see this family tree and wonder what his life story, prior to the shelter, must have been like.
Physical charcteristics assiociated with breed.
Another interesting thing that came out of this test was, learning why Snoopy looks the way that he does. The test was able to look at Snoopy’s genes and provide an accurate description of him, which I found quite impressive as I opted out of submitting a photo along with his DNA sample.
One of the traits the test predicted Snoopy had was “base erect ears.” Which looking at his ears is simply spot on! The results also shared that this trait is common in Russel Terriers as well as, American Staffordshire Terriers; which we found out makes up a quarter of his DNA!
Genetic Health Risks
This portion of the test was the part I was understandably the most nervous about. Fortunately, Snoopy’s results were not worrying in the slightest.
He was not at risk for any diseases, nor did he inherit any copies of disease mutations however, he is a carrier of “degenerative myelopathy.”
Because he is a carrier of only one copy his likely-hood of showing any signs of disease are very slim. The good thing is that now we are aware of this and can keep an eye out for the symptoms, to be on the safe side.
While Snoopy’s DNA in terms of illness wasn’t worrying, your dog may not be the same story. Getting a DNA test to be on the safe side, is never a bad idea.
Was it worth it?
I have no regrets about doing the test. I have learned so much about who Snoopy is, his family and his health risks. To me, that is priceless.
I would definitely recomend this to anyone, especially if you are like me and have a shelter rescue that’s breed you are unsure about.
While it was a lot of fun to discover my dog’s family history and breed, the best part for me was obtaining a better understanding of his health. To ensure I am prepared and aware of the risks he may face in the future.
For these reasons I will be doing this with my recently adopted shelter rescue as well as, any future dogs I own.
While adopting a shelter pet is without a doubt a great thing to do, there are also quite a lot of misconceptions about doing so.
After adopting two rescues myself, I’ve created a list of things I wished I would’ve known prior to adopting.
Here are 6 things you need to know before adopting a shelter pet:
A problem that I never considered running into when adopting puppies was – a history of prior abuse.
As sad as it is to contemplate, according to the ASCPA – approximately 1.5 million dogs are rescued from neglect and abuse annually.
One of my dogs had an abusive past and as sweet as he is, also carries quite a lot of emotional baggage.
A dog with an abusive past may be prone to:
Nervousness around humans
Among many other behaviours.
None of my dogs issues have been too great a problem that we couldn’t work it out. However, being used to owning dogs with no history of abuse, it can be a bit of a learning curve.
At first they may be a bit unsure of you, but the second they realize they can trust you, it makes it all worth it.
Puppies and Purebreds
Prior to rescuing, I had been under the impression that the vast majority of shelter dogs were either, “old” or “ill.”
It wasn’t until I went to the shelter for myself that I realized, there is a large selection of healthy, purebred, puppies looking for homes.
Either dropped off or abandoned in the wild by owners, these puppies are not in the minority.
For anyone looking into buying a puppy from a breeder, you might contemplate checking the pound first.
When the subject of “illnesses in pound puppies” comes up, you may think of kennel cough.
While kennel cough does happen, there are also a number of illnesses shelter dogs are more prone to getting, due to being in such close proximity to each other.
Flees and ticks – among other parasites
Both of my dogs had varying degrees of illnesses upon being adopted, fortunately – with proper healthcare, they made full recoveries.
However, this isn’t always the case. Research the signs and symptoms to watch for and keep a close eye on them, better to be safe than sorry.
After being adopted, both of my dogs had this phase where they didn’t want to be left alone.
Although one dog in particular took this to the extreme of crying hysterically every time, I would drive anywhere near the shelter. (he is far to smart for his good sometimes.)
This behaviour is completely understandable, given they are, used to the bare minimum in terms of living conditions.
Then you come along, providing them with a house, bed, food bowl and most importantly – you.
Taking that into consideration, it isn’t surprising that they feel this way.
They will eventually learn that while you do leave from time to time, you will always come back.
Unfortunately, due to there being so very many lost, abandoned, or unwanted animals, often times shelters can be quite overpopulated, resulting in animals sometimes being:
Without proper hygiene
Lacking in proper medical care
The best thing you can do to help reduce overpopulation, is getting your dog spayed or neutered.
Because of these living conditions, it is important that when buying a rescue, you be prepared to handle these problems.
Somethings you can do to help welcome a rescue into your home, whom you think has been neglected of proper care are:
Providing food and water immediately upon bringing them home. (In my personal experience, they eat and drink like there is no tomorrow, when you first bring them home.)
Unless they have recently undergone an operation, bathing them is an important first task, as they likely haven’t been receiving many bathes, perhaps non at all.
Paying close attention to their behaviour, due to these poor circumstances your pet may be feeling overwhelmed or even a bit depressed. It is important that you pay close attention in order to – properly asses the situation.
One thing I never expected about rescuing from the pound is, just how diverse each dogs background could be.
Some dogs are dropped off from an early age and, would probably bear striking similarities to puppies you would get from a breeder.
Some were strays much of their life, and may be less inclined to be around people.
Others, may have been abused or abandoned in old age.
Regardless of the background, adopting a shelter pet can be an excellent choice that helps solve an overpopulation problem.
While there are some things that I would have rather known ahead of time, I certainly don’t regret rescuing.
My shelter dogs have been an amazing addition to my life and I highly recommend adopting a shelter rescue to everyone.
If you’re anything like me, you love your dog, our furry friends make up such a large fraction of our life, that we always want to ensure, we are providing them with the best nutrition possible.
However, what would life be without a treat here and there? Either to reward them for good behavior or simply to show that you care.
Treats are a fun way to let your dog know that you love them, but packed with added sugar and harmful additives, should we really be feeding them to our dogs?
BHA and BHT are two common additives found in dog food, used to preserve the fats in the products resulting in an increased shelf life.
While the FDA claims that these additives are completely safe for dog consumption, they have also been listed under the list of chemicals known to cause cancer by the state of California, as well as also having been directly linked to causing tumors in laboratory animals.
The FDA claims BHA and BHT are safe in small doses, however, if they are not only in most treats but also food we are feeding our dogs, that could potently accumulate to quite large amounts overtime.
Do we really know for certain that it isn’t harmful for them?
While we as humans are attracted to beautiful things rich in colour, our four legged friends don’t quite receive the same enjoyment out of brightly coloured objects, much less if that particular thing is their food.
Cone photoreceptor cells – are the part of the eye responsible for perceiving colour, and given that dogs have 20% less of the cone photoreceptor cells that we do in their eyes, it could be assumed that they don’t see colour quite as vibrantly as we do.
While I am guilty myself, of falling into the trap of purchasing pretty treats purely for looks.
Artificial colours have been linked to tumors, hyperactivity, and allergy-like symptoms in humans, and while we don’t yet know the effects artificial colors can have on dogs quite yet, they have smaller bodies and things that may be okay for us in small doses, may accumulate to rather large doses for them.
Added sugar is commonly used in dog treats, and while a cupcake can be delicious treat for a human when eaten in moderation, it can be very harmful for your pup to consume added sugar.
Much like it has its harmful effects on humans in excess, it also can lead to:
While all of these ingredients are probably fine for your dog in moderation, like most anything in life, too much of anything could be problematic.
Be sure to read the back of the treat box next time you buy Fido some milk-bones or make your own treats from home.
If dog baking is something you think you might be interested in, we provide a variety of simple – step by step dog baking mixes, designed to make the process of baking for your dog, easy, fun and affordable.