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Pet Friendly Canada Newsletter - February 2010

PET QUOTES

"It's tough to stay married. My wife kisses the dog on the lips, yet she won't drink from my glass." (Rodney Dangerfield)

"When dogs leap onto your bed, it's because they adore being with you. When cats leap onto your bed, it's because they adore your bed." (Alisha Everett)

Featured Story: LITTLE MUNCHKIN'S JOURNEY

Source: PawFriendly.com - Pet Stories Dog story

"On a warm sunny afternoon in June 1999, my new family inched their way westward on the Long Island Expressway toward LaGuardia airport in Queens NY. Little did they know that we would soon meet their new relative that would forever change their lives. My plane from Tennessee taxied to the gate and I vividly remember how the little nine year old boy's face lit up the moment he saw me and I felt the same about him. We were instantly best friends. They named me Munchkin. I was a tiny four-week-old black, white and yellow Havanese puppy (they soon discovered the yellow was 'number 1', from my trip, and they washed it off).

For Debbie and David it was a day they had longed for but dad did not look forward to it at all as he was never a 'dog person' and had no intention of becoming one. All the responsibilities I brought... walking, feeding, extra expense of a dog sitter at vacation time, being tied down... blah, blah, blah why did we need it. Hmmm, I would have to win him over.

In the beginning I won't kid you it was hard as I ran roughshod through our house..." [Continue Reading]

PHOTOS FROM PROUD PET PARENTS
"This is picture of me and my new puppy Robbie after we survived a near fatal van/motorhome collison on the I-80 while on vacation in Indiana. A 40-foot motorhome that was in the passing lane beside us in the driving lane pulled into us as he said he never saw us, sending us shooting across the passing lane at 65mph head on into a high concrete barrier wall and then he hit us again which sent us into spins for about 300 feet down the road. Needless to say my minivan was totalled but my friend Susan, Robbie and I all survived. Our seatbelts and airbags saved us and Robbie's varikennel saved him, we were battered and bruised and some cuts from flying glass but we are still breathing albeit pretty sore. Along the whole trip we met so many nice people, not only on the road but also at the motels we stayed at all the way from Saskatchewan to New Hampshire and back. We ended up staying in Freemont, IN for three days after the accident and the family who own the Travellers Inn there were so kind to us and had no problem allowing Robbie to stay in the motel room with us.

Hopefully our next roadtrip will be uneventful, just us having fun travelling throughout North America.

- Jacqueline A. from Regina, SK

  
"Peppi is a well travelled 8+ yrs young poodle/malamute x who loves car rides, snow and his sister Anna (who is a 2+ yrs young calico), who loves Peppi's basket, sleeping under Grandma's chair and sunning herself in the back yard. Oh yes! And, she loves Peppi too! Both love trips to Grandpa's cabin where they chase gophers, chipmunks and squirrels and relax on the porch watching hummingbirds with Grandpa.
- Leah and John S.
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DOG CARE - COMMON HEALTH ISSUES IN OLDER DOGS

Excerpted from: Dog Care - Health Issues in Senior Dogs

Senior dogs are truly special. I love everything about them - the slowly wagging tails, the gentle eyes, the greying muzzles, the way they snore and twitch in their sleep. As our dogs age, though, there can be some health issues that may require us to put in a little extra dog care to make sure our faithful friends remain healthy as long as possible.

  • Dog joint problems. Many older dogs have arthritis, sometimes mild, sometimes more extreme. One thing we can do to help alleviate pressure on their joints is to keep them at a lean and healthy weight. Extra weight puts additional stress on the joints which can make mobility problems worse.

  • Loss of sight. One of my dogs, while still perky and active, has had a slight loss of vision. Occasionally he'll spot a clump of grass and think it's another dog, and he'll go bouncing over to say hello! If you notice that your dog may be losing his sight, it may be best to keep him leashed and close to you so that he doesn't accidentally bump into something or get lost. Just like with people, vision loss often affects night vision first: you might notice that your dog can't see as well as night as he does during the day time. To make it easier for your dog to see while on his nightly bathroom breaks, turn on the lights for him or install some solar garden lights to help him find his way.

  • Hearing loss. My friend always jokes that her dog has "selective hearing" since he can hear food being prepared 500 feet away, but he can't hear her calling him for his bath when she's 10 feet away. However, as dogs age they may not be able to hear as well as they used to (he isn't just being contrary, or trying to test your patience!). You might find you have to give you dog a tap to get his attention, or just call him a little louder. If your dog starts to show signs of hearing loss, you will also have to re-consider whether or not to let him run off-leash (where allowed) -- it can potentially be dangerous if he can't hear you call him back.

  • Skin problems. Lots of older dogs develop lumps and bumps under the skin. As you brush your dog or pet him, gently feel for any changes in his skin. Lumps should be promptly checked out by your vet, especially those that have changed in color or size. Don't panic - many lumps are completely benign.

  • Heart murmurs. As dogs age their heart valves may weaken and cause abnormal blood flow. Vets can diagnose heart murmurs initially by listening to your dog's heart with a stethoscope, and may follow up with a variety of tests to determine the cause of the murmur. Some of the symptoms to watch for include exercise intolerance and coughing (particularly when the dog is sleeping).

  • Changes in behaviour. Maybe you've noticed that your previously rock-solid, housetrained dog is now having accidents in the house. Or perhaps your dog has developed a reluctance to take the stairs. Behavior changes sometimes have a medical reason, such as canine diabetes, Cushings disease, thyroid issues, or other health problems that can become more common as dogs age. Consult with your vet - medical tests can help to rule out certain diseases or conditions.

  • Lesser need for exercise. You might find that your older pup no longer craves those long runs or endless sessions of fetch. Instead, adjust your dog's exercise as needed. Perhaps a couple of shorter walks every day or every other day may be more appropriate than one long session. Do not stop exercising your dog completely unless advised to do so by your vet - fresh air and exercise are still good for senior dogs and helps to keep them healthy and active.

Visit your veterinarian to discuss the changes you see in your senior dog. If he or she prescribes medications, make sure you do some research into the medication and ask questions. Although medications can improve the life of your dog they often have side effects as well. You can also consider alternative treatments like acupuncture that have helped improve the quality of life for many dogs, without the need for drugs.

With a little extra care and adjustments, you can help your furry pal enjoy his or her retirement years to the fullest.

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