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Rehoming Your Dog(s)

Dog Rehoming: When Is It the Right Decision?

There are a number of sad but legitimate reasons for giving a dog up. If it must be done, protect everyone involved by taking these steps.

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Although those are the reasons commonly given, the underlying cause far more often in those cases is that something interfered with the development of the all-important bond between dog and human that ensures the dog a lifelong, loving home. Every day, thousands of dog lovers move and take their dogs with them, find a new place to live where dogs are allowed, rearrange busy schedules to make time for their dogs, and reprioritize budgets to cover their dog-care expenses.

Animal protection and rescue workers often become cynical about and unsympathetic toward those who give up their dogs. Many of us who love our dogs find it difficult to imagine any legitimate reason for rehoming a dog. While it’s true that many dogs are given up for seemingly frivolous reasons, there are times when it is the right thing to do, including the following.

What are valid reasons for rehoming a dog?

1. Two (or more) dogs in the family are seriously fighting.

Although it’s not uncommon for two dogs in a family to have occasional squabbles, there are also times when knock-down-drag-out battles – or even rough play – can put one or more canine family members at risk of serious injury or even death (not to mention the risk of injury to the humans who have to intervene in the dog fights). This can be especially life-threatening when a size differential almost guarantees that a smaller dog will be injured – or killed – by a larger dog who plays too roughly or has mayhem in mind. Plus there is the risk of predatory drift, where the larger dog sees a significantly smaller playmate dash across the yard and his brain kicks into “Squirrel!” mode. He perceives his smaller canine companion as “prey” instead of “playmate,” and tragedy strikes.

dogs fighting in the house
Many of us who love our dogs find it difficult to imagine any legitimate reason for rehoming a dog, but there are times when it is the right thing to do
© Martina Osmy Dreamstime.com

Whether due to size difference or not, conflict and potential injury between canine family members calls for careful management protocols, implementation of a behavior modification program to reduce or remove tension when possible, and if necessary, rehoming of one dog to prevent tragedy. If modification isn’t successful and management isn’t realistic, it is only fair to give both dogs a chance at long and happy lives by rehoming one. (I usually recommend rehoming the easier of the two dogs rather than the more problematic one, because it’s much more difficult to rehome a dog with problematic behavior; you are probably that dog’s best option.)

2. The dog is a danger to someone in the household, or to the community.

This often entails aggressive behavior, but not always. Sometimes an aging dog-lover makes the mistake of replacing her beloved senior dog who recently passed away with a puppy of the same breed, forgetting that she was 15 years younger the last time she had a bouncing adolescent canine underfoot. If the human’s dexterity and balance is beginning to fail her, and/or if she is physically unable to meet the dog’s activity needs, rehoming may be the best option.

While daycare, pet walkers, and sympathetic family members and friends may be able to help with some of the exercise, the dog might still present too great a threat to the owner’s safety. If that’s the case, rehoming is the right choice.

A rowdy dog may also present some physical risk to small children in the home. Good management can often minimize the danger while the child grows and the dog matures and learns his good manners behaviors. Aggression, however, is another matter.

Aggression alone is not necessarily a reason to give up your dog. It is irresponsible parenting and dog-caretaking, however, to keep a dog who shows a willingness to bite kids in a home with children. Dogs who live in homes with small children must adore them, or the child’s safety is at significant risk. Anything less than “adore” means the dog should be rehomed, or at least sent off to stay with relatives until the child is old enough to no longer be at risk, and/or the dog has learned to love children. It’s a lot easier to rehome a dog before he bites a child.

should i rehome my dog?
There are valid reasons for rehoming a dog.

A dog with aggressive behaviors presents a risk to the community if the human is unwilling or unable to take necessary management steps to keep the community (and the dog) safe. While this can be due to a lack of concern on the human’s part, it can also be a result of denial and/or lack of education. When aggressive behaviors have been identified in a dog, it is critically important that the caretakers prevent the dog from having any opportunity to bite, and seek assistance from a qualified positive behavior professional for help in managing and modifying the behavior.

3. An unavoidable change in life circumstances precludes keeping the dog.

Stuff happens. You may have the strongest commitment in the world to your dog, and if life circumstances change and you can truly no longer care for him, then rehoming is the responsible decision. I’m not talking about simple priority choices (“We can’t afford the dog’s ACL surgery because we want to go to Europe this summer”); I’m talking about unavoidable life events such as heart attacks, strokes, foreclosure, moving to a long-term care facility, and other life-shattering occurrences. Sometimes, tragically, you really can’t care for your beloved canine any longer.

4. The dog has a health or behavior problem that is beyond the means of the owner to resolve.

Quality of life is an important consideration for dog and humans. If you really can’t afford the care your dog needs, you either provide it anyway, perhaps at the cost of your own health or diet, or you don’t provide it and your dog suffers. You can choose to make sacrifices in order to provide for your beloved dog, but there may come a legitimate time when the sacrifice is too great, or the challenge too difficult. Some medical procedures now available for dogs cost tens of thousands of dollars. Just because we can try to fix something and prolong life, doesn’t always mean we should. A loving caretaker may be completely willing to work with her difficult dog’s behaviors, but physically unable to do so. In those cases, rehoming a dog or even euthanasia may well be the best choice.

Aggression, severe separation anxiety,  and a variety of canine obsessive-compulsive disorders can be extremely difficult behavior challenges. While these sometimes respond to treatment, often with the help of behavior modification drugs, they don’t always, and quality of life can be greatly damaged for both dog and human.

For more information on how to treat separation anxiety, see “Surviving Severe Separation Anxiety.”

5. Wrong dog for the situation.

Sometimes, humans acquire a dog for a specific purpose – to be a service dog, do narcotics detection, or to fulfill some other working or competition goals. Sometimes the chosen dog turns out to be totally unsuited for the desired purpose, and the human doesn’t have the luxury of keeping the newly acquired dog while seeking another one who is more suited for the training goal. In such cases, it may be absolutely necessary, or at least fully justifiable, to return or rehome a dog in order to allow the person to seek and select a more appropriate candidate.

senior dog and senior man
Sometimes, rehoming a dog may be absolutely necessary, or at least fully justifiable.

Options for rehoming a dog

  1. Return her to the breeder, shelter, or rescue group you acquired her from. Responsible breeders and adoption organizations contractually require this, although some may allow you to rehome to someone you know that they pre-approve.

Caveats: If the place where you got your dog was less than reputable (for example, with overcrowded, poor conditions) you won’t want to return the dog there. If you got her from a pet store or puppy mill (oh dear), returning is not an option.

2.  Place her with a trusted friend or family member. Well-loved, well-behaved, healthy dogs usually have a circle of admirers who would jump at the chance to adopt.

Caveats: Even your best friend or favorite relative may decline to take on a dog with major health or behavior challenges. You must be honest about these challenges.

  1. Advertise for someone to adopt her. People sometimes have success with rehoming dogs by advertising on Craigslist or with fliers posted on the bulletin board at local pet supply stores or veterinary offices. Social media can be a huge help, too; put together some good pictures and complete description of your dog (and the reasons you have to rehome her) and ask your friends to share. You never know, a friend of a friend may have a perfect spot for the dog.

Caveats: Try to allow for plenty of time (weeks or even months) to network in search of a perfect new owner for your dog. It’s not easy to screen potential adopters – you risk placing your dog with someone who won’t provide the kind of loving care you want for her, despite their assurances (this goes triple if she has health or behavior issues). There have been recent Use Caution: There are numerous news stories about dogs placed in new homes free of charge by owners, shelters, and rescue groups, only to have to purported adopters “flip” (sell) the free dogs, or worse

  1. Take her to a good shelter or rescue. There are thousands of excellent dog adoption services around the country. Many provide medical treatment for at least some of the dogs in their care that the person surrendering the dog couldn’t afford. The best have behavior departments or working relationships with qualified professionals to modify difficult behaviors in order to make dogs more likely to succeed in their next, hopefully final, homes. Not everything is fixable, and responsible groups still have to make difficult euthanasia decisions, but your dog might be one they can help.

Caveats: Be sure you research these groups diligently. Visit the facility to see that it’s clean and well run. If you can’t visit, don’t leave your dog there. If they won’t give you straight answers about their willingness to treat medical issues or modify difficult behaviors, don’t leave your dog there. If your dog isn’t adopted, she may suffer in a cage at a “no-kill” shelter for the rest of her life, or worse, in the hands of a hoarder posing as a shelter or rescue. Again, you must be brutally honest about your dog’s health or behavior problems.

  1. Have her euthanized. As painful as this, it may be the kindest thing you can do if your dog has significant health and/or behavior issues. It may not be realistic to ask someone else to care for such a dog, and she could be abused or neglected in the process. Dying peacefully in the arms of someone who loves her is better than dying neglected in someone’s backyard, or after spending weeks, months, or years in the stressful environment of a shelter.

When I have a client considering this option because of difficult canine behaviors, I gently suggest that euthanasia is not an inappropriate choice for a loved dog if the client is unable to do the things necessary to restore her dog to physical health, or to manage and/or modify behaviors. I don’t tell her she should make that choice, but I let her know I’ll support her if she does.

Examples of responsible dog rehomes

Here are some examples from my world, of times when rehoming was necessary, responsible and appropriate. Names are changed to protect the privacy of my clients in all except the first example:

Caretaker health issues

More than a decade ago, my then-45-year-old brother had a series of major strokes from which he would never fully recover. He was placed in a long-term care facility where pets were allowed, but only if the resident could care for them, which my brother was unable to do. When my sisters and I visited Bill, he kept asking for his two well-loved Pomeranians. It broke my heart.

happy pomeranian

I tracked them down – they had been sent to a Pomeranian rescue group – and convinced the rescue (via a significant donation) to let me rehome the dogs with one of the staff at the facility. For many years she brought the dogs with her to work and Bill was able to keep them in his life. Although his dogs are gone now, other staff members continue to visit him with their dogs, knowing how much it means to him.

Wrong dog for the job

A good friend recently purchased an Australian Shepherd puppy from a breeder she thought she had carefully researched. Julie already had two adult dogs with behavioral issues that she had worked long and hard with, one adopted from a “no-kill” facility to save him from spending the rest of his life there. Although she’s been successful enough with her behavior modification work that she is able to compete with her two dogs in agility and rally obedience, she had her heart set on starting with a properly raised and socialized puppy who could grow up to be a really solid dog.

Imagine her dismay when the 10-week-old pup turned out to have significant fear behaviors – far greater than one should expect if he was simply going through a developmental fear period. After much soul-searching, she returned the pup to the breeder. Her decision to do so was sealed when, upon contacting the breeder to let her know of the pup’s behavior, the breeder advised her that she was trying to socialize him “too early.” This is a nonsensical excuse; it’s never too early for appropriate, carefully managed socializing (the critical socialization period is from 3 weeks to 14 weeks), and truly good breeders go to great lengths to provide this early socialization foundation.

Putting others at risk in the home

A client brought her just-adopted adolescent Border Collie-mix to see me because the young dog was acting very fearful of men. Linda had adopted Freddie (names changed) less than a month prior, and he already had seven biting incidents, including one bite that had broken skin. She has two small children in her home, but so far the dog had been relaxed and appropriate with kids. Freddie was a delightful dog with many good attributes, and Linda was committed to keeping him, if at all possible. We worked out a behavior modification program, and this exceptionally knowledgeable client went home, fully committed to working through her dog’s behavioral issues.

A week later during a stressful day in the home, Freddie bit one of the kids – twice. Although neither bite required medical attention, it was clear that he wasn’t safe in a home with children. Despite his bite history, the client was, fortunately, able to place Freddie in a dog-savvy home with no children.

Putting others at risk in society

A young couple adopted a dog a year ago from a “no-kill” group – a dog who, in my opinion, should not have been made available for adoption without first undergoing significant behavior modification. The couple, who were my clients, simply wanted a canine companion they could enjoy and share with friends and family. The Lab/Pit-mix they adopted was so defensively aggressive they were unable to have visitors at their home. If they tried to put him away in a “safe room” so they could enjoy their friends and family, the dog shrieked and became destructive – to his environment if he was left free in the room, and to himself if he was crated. After 10 months of dedicated behavior modification work, including medication for the dog, they sadly decided that neither they nor their dog was enjoying an acceptable quality of life, and chose to have him euthanized.

These rehomers are exceptional

Let me assure you that in my behavior practice these cases are the exception, not the rule. I am fortunate to be blessed with clients who are far above average in the commitment they make to their dogs. Their decisions to rehome are difficult, and invariably made only after much thought, discussion and angst. They are never made lightly by my clients, and never without considerable pain.

Rehoming a dog is a difficult decision

A client sent me an e-mail recently to tell me that she has been unable to implement our agreed-upon behavior modification program due to the full-time responsibility of caring for an elderly parent. Barb* said she is looking to rehome her dog. Bailey*, an otherwise delightful one-year-old Labrador Retriever, has mild-to-moderate dog-reactive behavior and separation distress, as well as the high energy level typical of an adolescent Lab. Barb has been bringing him to Peaceable Paws since puppy class. I was saddened to hear she was giving him up. It’s always sad for a dog, and the humans who know him, when the promise of a lifelong loving home falls through. (*Their names have been changed.)

Any one of these decisions can be irrevocable. Before giving  your dog up, be sure you’ve thought it through carefully and truly exhausted all your options for fulfilling the commitment you made to your dog when you adopted her. You don’t want this to be a decision you regret for the rest of your life – and hers.

I received another e-mail from Barb this morning. A family decision to place the parent in a long-term care facility has given Barb new resources, new energy, and a renewed commitment to work with Bailey. For now, he’s staying in his home. Cross your fingers.

Previous article(Holistic Remedies #2) Holistic Remedies – Using Herbs in the Kitchen
Next article(Aggression #1) Modifying Aggressive Dog Behavior

WDJ’s Training Editor Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, grew up in a family that was blessed with lots of animal companions: dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, and more, and has maintained that model ever since. She spent the first 20 years of her professional life working at the Marin Humane Society in Marin County, California, for most of that time as a humane officer and director of operations. She continually studied the art and science of dog training and behavior during that time, and in 1996, left MHS to start her own training and behavior business, Peaceable Paws. Pat has earned a number of titles from various training organizations, including Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA). She also founded Peaceable Paws Academies for teaching and credentialing dog training and behavior professionals, who can earn “Pat Miller Certified Trainer” certifications. She and her husband Paul and an ever-changing number of dogs, horses, and other animal companions live on their 80-acre farm in Fairplay, Maryland.

What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?

Vegetables can be a great addition to your dog’s diet if you stick to those that are safe and hand out an appropriate amount.

As omnivores, dogs can digest plants as well as meat. Many nutritionists believe a mixture of both is important for a healthy dog.

My darling baby boy is a 12-year-old German Shorthair Pointer mix. When he was around 6 years old he started to put on some weight. Based on a suggestion from a friend I cut back on his food and added a handful of frozen green beans to his dinner. The vegetable slowed down the gobbling up of his food, added volume without many calories to help him feel full, and easily fit into my budget. The trick worked! My pup slimmed down.

Which Vegetables Are Good for Dogs, And Which Aren’t?

Leafy Greens

A good rule for finding leafy greens that your dog can eat is to stick to those that you would consume. Lettuce, spinach, chard, cabbage and kale are all okay for dogs. Besides being rich in vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, iron and potassium, leafy greens are also a good source of fiber. Much like humans, dogs get the most nutrients when the veggies are uncooked. Of course, if you want you can steam your dog’s vegetables for something a little different, or bake them for a crunchier treat. The high fiber in leafy greens can cause some dogs to have an upset stomach after initially added to their diet. Introduce any new food slowly to keep your dog’s tummy safe.

Root Vegetables

In general root vegetables like carrots, beets, sweet potatoes and parsnips are safe to feed your dog. These vegetables are starchy and high in sugar, which means you do want to limit the amount you give to your dog (especially if his commercial or raw diet already contains root vegetables – many do).

dog eating a carrot

Dreamstime

Stalks

This includes vegetables like celery and asparagus. It may be a little harder to get your dog to enjoy these types of vegetables, but they are safe for dogs to eat. Some don’t like the taste, and some find them hard to grind up in their teeth. To help, cut stalky vegetables into small pieces and/or steam them.

Squash

Squash of all varieties are safe for dogs to eat. Pumpkin and butternut squash can help dogs with bouts of diarrhea, and most dogs don’t mind the taste of squash. Use up all your excess summer squash from the garden by steaming it up for your dog, or cut up and bake this year’s jack-o-lantern after Halloween for your dog to eat. It’s best to limit your pup’s consumption to the meat of the squash, keeping the seeds and skin away.

Legumes

This vegetable group includes bean and alfalfa sprouts, mature beans such as kidney, pinto, and lentil, and peas. The topic of legumes in dog food has been in the news lately. The reason is due to a recent FDA update which states there are reports of canine dilated cardiopulmonary (DCM) in dogs eating pet foods containing legumes or potatoes high up on the ingredients list. If the protein of your dog’s diet relies heavily on legumes or potatoes, you should not only avoid giving more of this plant group to your dog, but also consider reducing the levels of legumes in his main dog food, i.e. changing dog foods.

A note on green beans: Green beans may be the most widely-fed vegetable to dogs because of their taste and easy digestion. Please be aware that, despite their name, green beans are not actually classified as beans, and therefore don’t warrant the limitations recommended for true legumes.

Alliums

Alliums are bulb vegetables like onions, garlic, leeks, chives, and shallots. Do not give your dog access to these plants, as they are toxic to dogs. Negative side effects of eating onions or garlic for dogs range from a stomach ache to developing anemia which, at it’s worse, can cause organs to shut down.

Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower, Corn and Cucumber

All of these veggies are safe for your dog to munch on but, like other vegetables, keep it to small quantities – especially if your dog isn’t used to eating these types of foods. Remember to take the corn off the cob before handing it over to your dog. Although the cob itself isn’t bad for a dog to consume, it is easy to swallow in chunks or whole, which can cause choking or intestinal obstruction.

Whenever changing your dog’s diet make sure to check with your vet, go slow, and pay attention to your dog. If you follow these guidelines, adding vegetables to your pup’s diet can help him receive a more varied, complete nutritional profile in his diet.

Tips for Feeding Your Dog Vegetables:

* Frozen bags of vegetables are often on sale. Stock up. Have a blend ready to grab in a Tupperware bowl in the freezer.

* If your pup is sensitive to the cold of a frozen vegetable put a small bowl in the refrigerator for easy treat access.

* For a summer treat add vegetables to a 1:1 mixture of chicken broth and water in an ice tray. Once frozen pop out one or true for a delicious hot day treat.

* When cooking set aside the unused vegetable trimmings that are safe for your dog to consume. A great no waste alternative to throwing it in the garbage.

* If your dog doesn’t want anything to do with vegetables and you want to supplement what he is getting in his regular diet you can chop fine or puree and mix into his meals. For treats adding some dog safe peanut butter can get your dog started. Eventually you should be able to back off on the addition and feed the vegetable plain.

* Vegetables are a great reward in treat puzzle games. As always make sure you watch your dog when those are in use and that all edible treats are cleaned from the puzzle before storing away.

 

5 Signs Of Dementia In Dogs & How You Can Help

DailyPost
courtesy of

You’ve heard that dementia can affect elderly people as they age, but you may not know that dogs can get it, too.

As with humans, the condition — which impairs memory, communication, focus, and more — can also develop in our canine companions as they get older.

The tricky thing is, the signs can be gradual and very subtle. With dogs, there’s the added challenge that they’re not able to tell us that something isn’t right.

The best thing for a pup parent to do, especially as their pooch enters their golden years, is to pay close attention. Never brush off a change in behavior, routine, physical appearance, or appetite, no matter how minor it seems. A call to the vet regarding your dog’s health is never a bad idea; at best they’ll say there’s nothing worry about, at worst, they’ll help you identify the problem and form a plan.

5 Subtle Signs of Dog Dementia

1. Disorientation

Disorientation is a common sign in human dementia patients, and PedMD explains that dogs experience this, too. If your pup can’t seem to “find” his way around the house or to the location of certain things — like his food bowls, which are always in the same spot — owners should definitely take notice. Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist, explains in the article:

“This often happens when the dog is out in the backyard and he goes to the wrong door or the wrong side of the door to get back in. The part of the brain that is involved with orientation has been affected.”

They may also start to lose their concept of spatial awareness, finding themselves “stuck” in a corner or behind a piece of furniture without knowing how to get back out. Sometimes, dogs with dementia will stare blankly at a wall or into thin air.

Pups can also get “disoriented” in their sense of time. PetMD uses the example of a dog no longer realizing that the darkened sky or your bedtime routine are cues that it’s time to sleep.

2. Changes in Sleep-Wake Cycle

Adding to the example above, the brain of a dog with dementia may mix up her sleep-wake cycles. This means that a pup who used to sleep peacefully through the night is suddenly antsy, active, and unsettled.

“Many dogs reverse their normal schedules, so their daytime activities become their nighttime activities,” PetMD says.

Dr. Beaver suggests using a night light or white light to fabricate daylight, your dog’s new cue for sleeping, so pet parents can get some rest. Vet-prescribed medications can also help your pooch calm down in the evening.

3. Interactions

If your dog’s interactions to people or reactions to certain things drastically change, you should definitely take notice. Oftentimes, pups seem to “forget” the relationships they once had with their favorite people, and pooches who once loved children, other dogs, or mingling with strangers are suddenly turn fearful, irritable, or even aggressive. They also may become disinterested in certain things that used to excite them, like the promise of a walk, the doorbell ringing, or your entrance through the door.

Obviously, a sudden change in demeanor can be dangerous if the dog becomes unpredictable. It’s also important to note that these behaviors can be caused by many other conditions besides dementia. Your dog could feel sick or be in pain for another reason, so it’s imperative to consult with your vet to pinpoint the exact cause.

In the article by PetMD, Dr. Denise Petryk, a former emergency room vet who now works with Trupanion pet insurance, uses this example:

“I’ve had patients whose dogs don’t recognize that their favorite cookies are treats for them. The owner’s first instinct is to buy other cookies. They don’t realize something else could be going on.”

4. Accidents in the House

This is another tricky symptom because it could be caused by a number of things, but when a house trained pet suddenly starts having accidents, it should always be checked out.

First off, never scold a trained pet who potties in the house, because there’s a good chance that something is wrong.

This could be a sign of dementia because pups whose cognition is affected may lose the ability to control their bodily functions. Or, they may no longer realize when to “tell” their humans when they need to “go.” Dr. Petryk says in the article,

“After we run tests and rule out a bladder infection, kidney problems, or diabetes, then there’s usually been a cognitive change. If your dog is staring out at the sliding glass door and then poops in the house anyway and it’s not because of bowel trouble, then he’s lost the understanding that he should poop outside.”

5. Lower Energy

This is yet another sign that can have multiple causes. It’s normal for a dog’s activity levels to decrease with age, but a lack of energy, especially accompanied by a lack of interest, could indicate cognitive issues.

Once-curious dogs may no longer care to sniff the grass outside, and they may prefer a nap over the play sessions that used to make their tails wag. Or, maybe they seem to completely lose focus or get disoriented, say, in the middle of a game of fetch.

“They may drop something when they’re eating and they can’t find it,” says Dr. Petryk. “If they don’t have sight or hearing issues, this can be a true indication that they are experiencing cognitive dysfunction.”

Again, some of these could be signs of arthritis, pain, or a number of other conditions, but no matter the cause, they should be evaluated by a vet.

In addition to a change in normal activity, a dog with dementia may engage in repetitive activities. Dr. Petryk explains:

“They may exhibit repetitive motion; things like head bobbing, leg shaking, or pacing in circles. This kind of action is more related to cognitive dysfunction or a degeneration of the brain. It’s less likely to be mistaken for anything else.”

Even repetitive barking, for seemingly no reason, could indicate cognitive disfunction.

How Can You Help a Dog with Dementia?

Unfortunately, dementia can’t be “cured,” but its effects can be slowed and its symptoms managed.

“You can’t stop the process but it’s possible to slow it down so they don’t go from one problem to three problems,” Dr. Beaver told PetMD.

Believe it or not, changes in diet can help support your dog’s cognitive function. Of course, dietary changes should be approved by your vet, but foods and supplements with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can help keep cells healthy, according to PetMD.

Another thing that pet parents can do is introduce “brain games” for mental stimulation. Puzzle toys like the BrainBall are a great way to keep your dog’s mind active while rewarding him with treats. In fact, if he’s up any kind of activity, take some time to engage with him. If your pup is still interested in playing with friends, keep socializing him around friendly people and his canine buddies. Dr. Petryk suggests:

“If your dog doesn’t have physical restrictions, grab his leash and take him to the dog park where he can socialize with other dogs. It’s possible to slow deterioration by keeping him physically and mentally active, just like it is for us.”

If your dog is diagnosed with dementia, there are certain medications that your vet can prescribe. Of course, regular check-ups are imperative in keeping track of the progress of the condition. The more you know, the better you can help him.

When we bring a dog home, it’s a commitment for life. While it can be hard to watch our furry family members age and their health decline, loving pet parents will do anything to give them the best life possible, for as long as possible. After all, it’s the least we can do after all they’ve done for us! With a little symptom management and a lot of love, you can help a dog with dementia feel comfortable and happy.

We Are What We Eat! Dogs too!

Dear Fellow Dog Lover,

You want the best for your dog – especially when it comes to his food. You read labels and try to choose the brand and formula that will nourish your furry friend.

That’s why you’ll be as shocked as I was, to discover that dozens of today’s top-selling brands – names you thought you could trust, like Beneful, Pedigree, Purina and more – may not contain the wholesome, healthy ingredients you want for your dog.

Take Beneful. The package makes it look like manna from heaven with a healthy pup, fresh veggies, and what look like real chunks of meat. Unfortunately, the pictures make the food seem better than it is. The reality is this stuff is AWFUL for your dog. It’s full of sugar, artificial colors, and 3 unnamed animal sources. And very little vegetables.

Or look at Kibbles ‘n Bits Bistro Meals Grilled Chicken Flavor. If only it contained the grilled chicken they show on the bag instead of loads of low-quality ingredients and “animal digest” – the real source of the chicken flavor.

Another terrible food is Pedigree Complete Nutrition for Adult Dogs. Made with an inferior, cheap source of protein, it’s a wonder it could maintain any dog’s health – much less an adult dog’s!

And wet foods fare no better than dry…
The label on Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy Homestyle with Beef makes it look like big pieces of beef covered in gravy. But if this is your dog’s dinner, she’s getting some of the lowest-quality sources of protein, held together by wheat gluten! Even Iams ProActive Health Chunks is full of by-products that are often linked to all sorts of health problems.
Is your dog’s food full of used restaurant grease?
When you see “animal fat” on a label – you probably think chicken skins or beef trimmings. But, pet food regulations allow manufacturers to use all sorts of low-quality fats, even USED RESTAURANT GREASE, as generic fat sources. To make sure your dog gets healthier fats, look for labels that use a named species of animal as a source of fat, like chicken fat or duck fat.
What’s more, you could be paying for healthy ingredients that aren’t even in the bag. For example, because omega-3 fatty acids are so healthy, dog food manufacturers started adding DHA and EPA (highly beneficial fatty acid supplements) to many dry foods. However, they are notoriously fragile and short-lived. Plus, exposure to oxygen makes them turn rancid – and potentially dangerous – very quickly.
Credit:  The Whole Dog Journal