Have you ever sat back in your chair, at work, looked at the files on your desk, your laptop open to speadsheets and emails that you don't want to open. You look around the office at all of the tops of your co-worker's heads in their cubicles doing the same thing that you are. Maybe you're near a window and you stare outside while contemplating where you are in your life. Is this all there is for me? Fulfilling my job description for that paycheck to be auto-deposited into my account twice a month. Then what? If you tell me that it's never happened to you, I don't believe you.
It happened to me more than a few times during my life in corporate America. Then one day, I came home from work, opened the door and my two wonderful best friends came running to me, racing to see who would get to me first. They were so excited to see me and I them. Tory, my lab mix that I rescued from the Waveland Animal Shelter. Tory was used as a bait dog for dog fights. And Reggie, my Rottweiller mix that was so loyal, protective and affectionate. Other than food and water, what else do you really need?
Fast forward to having my own company, doing what I truly love and being surrounded by people that love animals as much as I do. I have trained, studied, webinars, Zoom Conferences all to be fully prepared for this and to make absolutely sure that my company will deliver the elite standard of care to your pets and provide you with the peace of mind while you are away.
But let's stop for a minute and let's remember all of the work that goes into owning and caring for a pet. You know how much work it is. Walking, feeding, brushing, bathing, vaccinations, muddy paws, flea control, chewing up shoes, blankets and pillows, just to name a few things. So when our day starts, every morning, my teams are at multiple houses from Lakeview to River Ridge handling all of those things and more. Washing their bowls to remove any bacteria so they won't get stomach aches, giving them fresh food and water, picking up piles of poop in the backyard or while we are walking your dog. We are cleaning out litterboxes and cleaning up all of the scattered litter outside of the box as well, keeping your house clean. We are cleaning out bird cages and making sure their living area is clean with fresh food and water. Then we go to the next house and do it all over again, and then the next house and so on and so forth. So by the end of the day, which ends around 8:30 pm for us, we smell like a dirty dog towel, we've walked probably 4-5 miles and probably have a scratch or a bruise or two from a cat or an excited dog. We then slide into a hot bath and soak our aching muscles. BUT we're on our cell phones texting each other sharing stories about "how much fun Lucy had on her walk today" or "how excited we were to see Fluffy the cat finally come out to see us and let us pet him" or even "Guido the guinea pig trusted us enough today to take the treat from our hands." Those moments, for us, are special wins in our day that leave us with a smile on our face and a full heart as we fall asleep. It is what gets us up each morning and we do it all over again.
We know that these pets miss their families when they are gone. But it is our goal, to not only care for them in our signature-special way, but to bond with them and make sure that they are happy and having fun when we are there. Remember when I mentioned coming home and having my two best friends race to greet me at the door? Well, they both have passed away from cancer recently. But for all of us, when we connect with your pet, they learn that we are there for just THEM ONLY; and when they run to the door to greet us when we arrive, it's that same feeling.
I sit at my desk in the office sometimes and I just smile and enjoy listening to the girls share their stories with each other about what pets they get to see today. I am so blessed to have a wonderful staff that shares the gratification and love for our client's pets and I know as they leave and get into their cars, with keys and lockboxes, that there will be some happy and excited pets today when we walk through your door.
God has truly blessed me and I will continue to honor his blessing by making sure that ALL of our clients and their pets are well taken care of and happy with our service. My door is always open for any body that would like to join our team or join our family of amazing clients.
Author, By Liz Schneider, Founder & Owner of Nonie's Pet Care, January 22, 2023
Watching your dog slow down as they age can be difficult. No matter how lively and active your dog is, they will inevitably experience a decline in activity as they age. However, there are several ways to ensure your senior dog stays comfortable and maximize its quality of life.
The Difference Between a Senior and a Geriatric Dog
There is an important distinction to be made between senior dogs and geriatric dogs. Senior dogs are in the early part of the aging process, though the exact timing of this phase depends on the dog’s breed. Generally, dogs are considered to be senior once they reach 75 percent of their expected lifespan.
During this phase, dogs can typically continue to live their lives as normal with very few changes. Sometimes, dogs will show no signs of aging during the senior phase, while in other circumstances, they may show minor signs like reduced mobility.
As dogs begin nearing the end of their lives, they can lose some of their normal function beyond minor mobility issues. Once a dog advances to this point, they are considered geriatric. Geriatric dogs require significant adjustments to support mobility and feeding.
Make Proper Dietary Adjustments
As a dog ages, their dietary needs change. In many cases, owners of both senior and geriatric dogs will need to make some dietary adjustments to keep their pets healthy.
One of the primary dietary considerations for aging dogs is obesity. According to a study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over half of all dogs in the United States are obese or overweight. This is especially common in elderly dogs since they have reduced caloric needs and lower activity levels.
If an owner continues to feed an older dog the same way as when they were younger, the dog can quickly gain weight. This excess size can lead to many health problems in older dogs, so you may need to gradually reduce the amount of pet food your dog consumes each meal. Veterinarians often recommend a 20-30 percent reduction in caloric intake.
Another aspect to consider is your dog’s dental health. If your dog’s teeth are deteriorating, you can feed them specially-formulated cooked dog food, which tastes great and is easier to chew than other high-protein dog food. Before making changes, consult your veterinarian for advice.
Commit to Regular Vet Appointments
While regular visits to the veterinarian are essential for a dog of any age, older dogs require more professional attention than younger dogs. Even if your dog is not showing any signs of disease or ailments, your vet can perform tests to detect underlying issues and start early treatment. This can have a significant impact on your dog's health outcomes.
VCA Animal Hospitals recommends that owners of aging dogs take the following measures:
Manage Chronic Pain
Elderly dogs often suffer from chronic pain due to ailments like arthritis. Some signs that your dog is suffering from chronic pain include:
Commonly prescribed canine pain management medications include:
Continue Regular Exercise
Even in dogs with chronic pain or mobility issues, it is vital to continue to exercise your dog. The intensity and duration of this exercise will depend on your dog’s mobility and pain levels.
For example, a dog with no chronic pain can continue to exercise with relatively high intensity, while a dog with severe mobility and pain issues may need to reduce the intensity and frequency of their exercise significantly. Talk with your vet to develop exercise ideas that will not aggravate any pre-existing issues your dog may suffer.
Some exercise options for dogs with chronic pain include:
An often-overlooked part of maintaining an elderly dog’s health is their mental engagement. As dogs age, their cognition can begin to deteriorate. Fortunately, you can prevent cognitive decline with enrichment activities. Enrichment activities are mini-games or activities your dog can engage in to maintain cognition. Some examples of these activities include:
Adjust Your Home for Accessibility
If your dog has reduced mobility or chronic pain, you should make accommodations in your home for them. Depending on your dog’s mobility level, you can make a variety of adjustments to make their lives easier, including:
Support Your Aging Dog
As your dog ages, it is crucial to make adjustments to your home and their routine to accommodate their changing mobility and metabolic needs. Simple changes like adding ramps to get on the sofa or in the car or providing alternative activities to keep them stimulated can significantly enhance their quality of life in their later years.
NONIE'S PERSONAL COMMENT [NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THE ABOVE ARTICLE], as an elderly dog suffers with arthritis, sore joints, hip problems, I recommend providing your elderly or geriatric dog with an elevated feeding station. It can really be uncomfortable for the to have to bend down to the floor to eat or drink. IN fact, due to this discomfort, you might find your elderly dog reduce his eating habits.