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Pet Friendly Newsletter - September 2006


"Thorns may hurt you, men desert you, sunlight turn to fog; but you're never friendless ever, if you have a dog." (Douglas Mallock)

"Cats do care. For example they know instinctively what time we have to be at work in the morning and they wake us up twenty minutes before the alarm goes off." (Michael Nelson)


"Here is a pic of my dog Toby digging at the ice in front of our home on Aylen Lake, Ontario." - Dave T.

"This is a photo of my boogey-boarding pooch! Here's my sweet guy - there isn't too much he doesn't have in the way of clothing, and toys... this was last summer - his introduction to the water!" - Jan W.

"The picture was taken in Iowa where we were on vacation. The location was Rock Creek State Park outside of Newton, Iowa. The two labs are six years old and their names are (Yellow) Ginger and (Black) Tyrrell." - Loran from Fredericton, New Brunswick

"Hi All! Thanks for another great edition! Here are a pic of Chase doing what he does best - eating the sprinkler! Have a great summer." - Kim, Chase, Ginger, Peeko and Rudy

"Hi there, here is a photo of Barney doing what he loves most: swimming and playing at the lake. The second photo shows Sadie, also at the lake. She was a bit suspicious of all that water at first, but the fun Barney had convinced her." - Regina W. of Coaldale, Alberta

"Nobbly Ball, anyone?"

"Hi there. This is a photo of my Australian Shepherd Meg enticing me to play a game of 'Nobbly Ball'." - Pat G. of Churchbridge, Sask.


As the years pass, our animal companions may start to experience a few age-related issues. Many of these problems are not serious, but some can be - and it's always wise to keep a watchful eye on your senior pet. Check your pet regularly for warnings signs and take him to the vet for assessment if you notice something out of the ordinary. Watch for signs that include:

  • Unusual lapses in housetraining. A pet that may have been rock-solid steady in his housetraining may start eliminating in inappropriate places. The first thing to do in this case is bring your pet to the vet to rule out (or treat) any underlying medical conditions that may be causing these lapses.

  • Increased thirst or urination can point to possible health problems, as can excessive panting or exhaustion after minimal exertion.

  • Sudden loss of weight or appetite, or increased appetite without a corresponding increase in weight.

  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea that does not resolve within a day or two.

  • Check your pet for lumps and bumps, particularly any that appear suddenly or that appear to change in size, shape, texture, or color. Check all over his body, including in between his paw pads. Note the location and size of the lumps and contact your vet for advice. Do not try to diagnose the lump yourself.

  • Changes in your pet's coat, such as dryness or hair loss.

  • Decreased mobility in older dogs is pretty common. You might notice that your pet has trouble getting up or climbing stairs, or perhaps he doesn't like to rough house with the other pets anymore.

    Exercise is still important to keep older pets healthy. If your pet's mobility is on the decrease, adjust his his exercise routine (shorter walks, swimming, etc) with input from your vet. Likewise, try to keep him at a healthy weight as it will put less stress on his joints.

  • Changes in hearing or vision. For instance, you might notice that your dog doesn't come on command anymore, starts reacting as if he's startled when someone approaches, or begins bumping into things.

  • Behavioural changes. This can include confusion (even to the point where he doesn't recognize members of the family), disorientation, restlessness, separation anxiety when none existed before, and more.

You may also wish to adjust your pet's food as required. Many commercial foods offer a "senior's" formula which is intended to meet the nutritional needs of older pets. As pets age, their metabolisms and activity level can change and they can become more prone to obesity if their diets are not adjusted accordingly.

Finally, take your pet to the vet for regular check-ups. Your vet may suggest a senior's blood panel to screen for some of the more common geriatric conditions to that they can be treated, if necessary.

Senior pets make wonderful companions and deserve to live out their remaining years happy and as healthy as possible.

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