How to Road Trip Safely With Your Dog

The post How to Road Trip Safely With Your Dog by Beth Ann Mayer appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.
Vacations, like many other things these days, look different. Social distancing is difficult on flights, and cruises in the U.S. are on hold. But a getaway isn’t out of the question — road trips provide a safer alternative. That’s good news for dogs, as it’s easier to have Fido in tow when traveling by car. …
The post How to Road Trip Safely With Your Dog by Beth Ann Mayer appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

The Link Between Cognitive Decline and Behavior Changes

Many senior dogs are easy to spot by their increasingly grey or white muzzles, their slowness or unsteadiness as they rise from lying down, or their need to nap more often.
Physical signs of aging in dogs are easily recognizable, but behavior changes that also often occur aren’t always as obvious. In an older dog with no history of behavior problems, the cause is typically either an underlying medical condition or cognitive decline. That’s why if your dog’s behavior is changing, it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian for a senior wellness checkup.
Senior and geriatric patients should ideally see the vet 2 to 3 times a year, because after about age 8 (younger for large and giant breeds), a dog’s wellness and nutritional needs can require fine-tuning every 4 to 6 months. In older pets it’s also very important to review weight, muscle tone, joint range of motion, diet, supplement protocol, and exercise habits at least semi-annually.
Signs of Cognitive Decline in Older Dogs
Cognitive decline (CD) in an older dog is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning all potential medical causes for a behavior change (more about this shortly) have been ruled out. Veterinarians sometimes use the acronym DISHA to evaluate cognitive dysfunction (CD) in a senior dog:

• Disorientation — Is the dog walking aimlessly about the house, staring at the walls, or even losing his balance and falling? The key here is that even when he’s in his normal, familiar environment, he gets disoriented, for example, he goes out his doggy door to the backyard, and then seems to forget how to get back in. There can also be a loss of spatial awareness.
• Interactions — Is the dog interacting differently with family members or other pets in the home? This can involve sudden or increasing irritability or even aggression in a dog who’s been friendly and social all her life. It can also take the form of withdrawal from family members and the features of daily life she was once very interested in, such as a knock at the door or the appearance of her leash, meaning she’s about to get a walk.
• Sleep — Is the dog no longer sleeping through the night, or is restless or wakes frequently? Like many older people, senior dogs can experience changes in sleep patterns or even a disruption in circadian rhythms. Your dog may begin pacing at night instead of falling into a deep slumber as she once did. Some dogs even reverse their schedules entirely, doing during the daytime what they used to do at night and vice versa.
• House soiling — Is the dog no longer alerting his owner when he needs to go out? Is he urinating or leaking urine indoors? When a dog seemingly “loses” his housetraining, there’s no clearer evidence that something’s amiss with either his health or his cognition.
• Activity level changes — Does the dog seem restless, agitated, or anxious? Does he have a decreased appetite? You may notice your dog is no longer coming to the door to greet you or loses focus and no longer responds as she once did to familiar stimuli.
Some dogs seem to forget how to get the food or water out of their bowls or forget where the bowls are located. There can also be periods of restlessness, or repetitive behaviors such as pacing in circles, head bobbing or leg shaking.

Clinical signs of cognitive dysfunction are found in 50% of dogs over the age of 11, and by the age of 15, 68% display at least one sign.1
Underlying Medical Conditions Must Be Ruled Out First
Any sort of underlying medical problem has the potential to trigger behavioral problems in older pets. If your dog is feeling pain or general discomfort, often from either a musculoskeletal or gastrointestinal (GI) problem, it can cause her to pace, become restless, wake up during the night, and even show aggression.
For example, dogs with underlying musculoskeletal problems may show aggression when lying down and forced off furniture, the tendency to slide on smooth flooring, excessive licking of their feet or joints and weight gain due to being less active.
GI problems can trigger sudden uncharacteristic food aggression, for example, your dog is refusing to eat but doesn’t want you remove the food bowl. She may have nausea, which in dogs often takes the form of chewing things, as well as excessive swallowing and/or picky eating.
Endocrine diseases can also cause behavior changes in dogs. Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease) can cause irritability, lethargy, excessive thirst and urination, and even food aggression.
Just like older people, older dogs are more likely to develop diseases, and those diseases can lead to behavior changes. I can’t emphasize strongly enough that cognitive dysfunction in dogs is a diagnosis of exclusion. There are many conditions your older pet can acquire that mimic the signs of cognitive decline, so it’s important to rule out all other physical reasons for a change in behavior.
For example, a small seizure can cause your dog to stand still and stare. If she seems detached, she could be in pain. Inappropriate elimination can be due to kidney disease. These disorders and many others can result in a change in behavior unrelated to cognitive decline. That’s why it’s so important to rule out all possible alternative reasons, especially in aging pets.

5 Ways to Help Your Aging Dog Stay Mentally Sharp

1. Offer lots of opportunities for exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation — Senior and even geriatric dogs still need daily exercise to maintain good health and physical conditioning. While older dogs can’t exercise or compete with the same intensity as their younger counterparts, they still derive tremendous benefit from regular walks and other age-appropriate physical activity on a daily basis, or even better, twice daily.
There are three types of strengthening exercises that can also be of tremendous help to aging canine bodies:

•Passive range-of-motion (PROM) exercises can benefit both incapacitated and physically healthy pets
•Balance and proprioception (spatial orientation and movement) exercises help older pets remain flexible while also encouraging improved balance and physical stability
•Targeted strengthening exercises are designed to work the big muscle groups that help with standing, walking and running

No matter how old your dog is he still needs regular social interaction with other pets and/or people. As is the case with humans as we age, if dogs don’t stay active and involved in life, their world can become a confusing, intimidating place. Your pet needs regular exposure to other pets and people, but never to the point of overstimulation. Short periods of socialization and playtime in controlled situations are ideal.
Food puzzle and treat release toys provide fun and a good mental workout, as does nose work and brief training sessions to refresh his memory or teach him a new skill.
2. Schedule regular senior wellness check-ups — I recommend twice-yearly wellness visits for pets no matter the age, but this becomes even more important for dogs getting up in years. Keeping abreast of your animal companion’s physical and mental changes as she ages is the best way to catch any disease process early.

Ask your functional medicine veterinarian to perform a blood test, including an A1c test to check your pet’s internal organ and metabolic health to make sure you’re identifying possible issues early on. Keeping abreast of her physical and mental changes as she ages is the very best way to catch any disease process early.
Over-vaccinating is something older animals do not need, so advocate for your older dog by refusing additional vaccines and insisting on titer tests instead. A titer is a blood test that measures protective immunity. Chances are your dog is very well-protected. Switch to titering to help reduce her toxic load.
3. Minimize stress in all aspects of your dog’s life — Fortunately, there are many things you can do to minimize anxiety and stress in your older dog.
Senior and geriatric dogs, especially those with CD, are often disoriented, so sticking to a consistent daily routine your pet can count on can help him stay oriented, which will in turn reduce his anxiety. Try to get up and go to bed at the same time each day, feed him at the same times, and go for walks on a set schedule.

Keeping him at a healthy weight and physically active will help control arthritis and degenerative joint disease as he ages, insuring he remains comfortable and mobile. Acupuncture and chiropractic care, stretching, and hydrotherapy (exercising in water) can also provide enormous benefits in keeping dogs mobile in their later years.
Regular massage can help keep your senior dog’s muscles toned and reduce the slackening that comes with aging. Massaged muscles are looser, which makes it easier for him to move around comfortably.
Massage also improves circulation and encourages lymphatic drainage. It can ease the stiffness of arthritis, which helps him maintain his normal gait and active lifestyle. Massage also loosens the muscles around joints, which helps promote ease of movement.
If your dog is having some urine dribbling or incontinence as a result of his age (and not caused by an underlying condition that should be addressed), provide him with more frequent potty trips outside. You can also reintroduce him to a crate if he was crate trained initially. Acupuncture can also be very beneficial for age-related incontinence.
If your dog has problems hearing or seeing, use odor cues like essential oils or pheromone products to help him find his way around. Also consider purchasing or building ramps if he’s having trouble getting into the car or up on the bed or a favorite chair, and if he’s slipping or unsure on bare floors, add some runners, yoga mats or area rugs.
For sleep problems, try increasing his daytime activity level. Let him sleep in your bedroom. Sleeping near you should help ease any anxiety that may be contributing to his nighttime restlessness.
Guide him with clear cues and easy-to-follow instructions, and when you talk to him, keep your voice quiet, calm and loving.
4. Feed a nutritionally optimal, species-specific fresh food diet — A species-specific, nutritionally balanced diet that is rich in healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids such as krill oil and others such as MCT oil, is very important for cognitive health.

The best fuel for an aging dog is a variety of living, whole foods suitable for a carnivore. Eliminate all refined carbohydrates (which are just unnecessary sugar), as well as grains, potatoes and legumes. Replace those unnecessary carbs with extra high-quality protein. Eliminate extruded diets (kibble) to avoid the toxic byproducts of the manufacturing process.
Processed dog foods are manufactured in a way that creates byproducts that can affect cognitive health, including heterocyclic amines, acrylamides and advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Fresh, biologically appropriate foods provide the whole food nutrients your pet’s aging brain requires.
The right diet will also support the microbiome, which has been linked to improved cognitive health in humans, and I’ve seen an improvement in dogs as well.

5. Provide beneficial supplements — In dogs with CD and older pets in general, nutraceuticals can significantly improve memory, and the effects are long-lasting. Studies of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) such as coconut oil show they can significantly improve cognitive function in older dogs. Supplementing with MCTs is a great way to offer an instant fuel source for your dog’s brain.
I recommend 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil for every 10 pounds of body weight, added daily to food. If you use MCT oil instead of coconut oil start slowly and use less, as loose stools aren’t uncommon when beginning this supplement.

I also recommend providing a source of methyl donors, such as SAMe (S-adenosylmethionine), which can assist in detoxification and reduce inflammation. Other supplements to consider are jellyfish extracts, glutathione and resveratrol, which is Japanese knotweed. Japanese knotweed has been proven to help reduce free radical damage and beta-amyloid deposits.
Ginkgo biloba may improve blood flow to the brain. Phosphatidylserine and ubiquinol, which is the reduced form of CoQ10, feed your dog’s mitochondria and improve cellular energy.
When it comes to general health supplements, I typically recommend digestive enzymes and probiotics for all older pets. I also recommend an omega-3 fatty acid supplement such as sustainably sourced krill oil (my favorite, because it’s the cleanest) or algal DHA for pets who can’t tolerate seafood.
Most older dogs can benefit from joint and antioxidant supplements such as glucosamine sulfate with MSM, cetyl myristoleate, eggshell membrane or perna mussel (green-lipped clam) to support their aging joints, as well as natural anti-inflammatory formulas (including curcumin and proteolytic enzymes) that help manage pain.
Sources:PetMD January 19, 2016 Comments (2)

Hero Pit Bull Saves Mom From Being Strangled By Intruder

Dogs always seem to know what to do under pressure. They might not always listen to basic commands, but when their humans are in danger, they don’t hesitate. Most dogs will do anything to save their human’s life, which is why dogs are a man’s best friend. Caesar the Pit Bull is the perfect example of a quick-thinking pup. His mom was put in a dangerous situation, and he knew exactly what to do. If Caesar hadn’t jumped into action, … Read more
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Beautiful Dog Was Abandoned After He Could No Longer Walk

A dog named Pumba lived most of his life not knowing what love was. His former “family” had used him for breeding, but they never treated him like he was a family member. Instead, they continued to breed him as much as they could. He hadn’t been allowed to go for walks and play with dogs, so he eventually lost mobility in his legs. Sadly, his humans no longer had a use for him in their breeding business. They abandoned … Read more
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Dachshund Puppy Is Heartbroken When He Thinks His Best Friend Is Being Adopted Without Him

An adorable sausage pup was heartbroken at the thought of losing his best furry friend to a potential adopter. Watching his doggie roommate being carried away to a future without him, he gave a heartbreaking performance that has touched the hearts of dog lovers everywhere. Dayana Davila entered a pet shop in hopes of finding a furry friend to bring home to her family. After locking eyes with an adorable Dachshund puppy, she thought she found the perfect pup for … Read more
The post Dachshund Puppy Is Heartbroken When He Thinks His Best Friend Is Being Adopted Without Him appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

Why Dog Parents Are Trying Water Enhancers

The post Why Dog Parents Are Trying Water Enhancers by Beth Ann Clyde appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.
As humans, we sometimes like to give our water a little punch by adding the squeeze of a lemon or a couple of cucumbers. When we’re stressed, we often turn to something relaxing, like chamomile tea. When it comes to doggie beverages, however, plain water has long been the signature drink. But these days, pet …
The post Why Dog Parents Are Trying Water Enhancers by Beth Ann Clyde appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

Dug Up at Dogster: September 2020 Dog Events

The post Dug Up at Dogster: September 2020 Dog Events by Melissa L. Kauffman appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.
The cooler weather of September makes it the perfect month for dog events and happenings. Grab the dog harness or your mouse for these September 2020 dog events either live or virtual and make it a September to remember. Don’t see your event? Just email us at [email protected] and put Dog Events in the subject …
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On This Day, the Last Passenger Pigeon

‪They used to be the most common bird in North America, and now they are extinct, On 1 September 1914, the last Passenger Pigeon, named Martha, died of old age at the Cincinatti Zoo.‬ Why do we romanticize the Passenger Pigeon while funding government programs to hunt Mourning Doves It’s […]

When Dogs Eat Better Than Their Owners

A U.K. study concludes that pet food is healthier, under the Food Standards Agency’s “traffic light” program than most of the food people are eating. Noted John Searle, the scientist who carried out the pet food analysis at the British Government accredited Global food testing laboratory in Burton-upon-Trent: It would […]

Rare Dog Breed Reappears After Supposedly Being Extinct For 50 Years

The New Guinea Singing Dog is one of the rarest dog breeds in existence. Closely related to the Dingo, these dogs used to roam the wild, serenading the island with their unique howls. But today, only about 200 of these dogs remain, and they’re all in captivity. Scientists believed that the New Guinea Singing Dog went extinct in the wild nearly 50 years ago. After all, the last sighting hadn’t been since the 1970s. In 2016, things changed though. Wild … Read more
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Canine Legal: Grin and ‘Bare’ It?

One of the topics covered in my classes is K9 and public relations. When handlers see this in the class syllabus, it produces some curious expressions. Handlers want to know, what does that have to do with doing my job?
The post Canine Legal: Grin and ‘Bare’ It? appeared first on Working Dog Magazine®.