As time goes on, I, Rex, know that I’m not going to be around forever. Sad! But I DO know that my legacy will be carried on as the ORIGINAL Hipster Hound. And my mom, Tonya, and the rest of the trained staff at The Hipster Hound know exactly how to take care of me, my siblings, and my doggy daycare friends when we get older.
When I started getting older, my mom began to make small changes in my everyday life. She learned how to administer dog CPR at The Hipster Hound during the PetTech CPR education program. We also got a ramp up to the human bed to make it easier for us to snuggle together. Every week, mom brushes my teeth to keep up with my oral health, and she rubs me all over to feel for any lumps and bumps. Finally, at my annual vet appointments, I get the senior check-up to make sure I stay as healthy as I possibly can!
Senior dogs have different needs than puppies or adolescent dogs. As dogs age, taking care of them becomes more difficult. Pet parents of aging dogs often struggle with their pets' dementia and incontinence, as well as navigating through the maze of end-of-life care decisions. It’s a sad and depressing reality of being a good dog parent, but old age isn't a disease. It’s a stage of life for pets and parents to navigate together.
Among the basic things dog parents need to know about raising older pets is that older dogs are typically more sensitive to extreme temperature changes because of changes in their metabolism.
Older dogs are often the ones who are the victims of freezing bouts or extreme heat. They're less able to thermoregulate. So parents have to take that into account and be sure that their dogs have some kind of blanket or coat on to keep them warm and not keep them out so long in cold weather. The same goes for heat. Dog parents should not leave their senior dogs out in the yard, especially tied up on an extremely hot day. They can dehydrate. They're less able to cope with the change in temperature, and it's a recipe for disaster. Moderating exercise for older dogs is also good practice because heart and lung function do deteriorate.
Parents should consider purchasing dog food packaged specially as a "senior diet" for their dogs. Due to my love of stealing baked goods off the kitchen counter and napping all day, my mom had to put me on a diet. Now, I eat Fromm Senior Reduced Activity food because she says she wants me around a lot longer, so I have to lose some weight, but I still LOVE those stolen baked goods! To make sure their dog's diet is appropriate, the humans should check with the veterinarian before introducing any new food into the pet bowl.
The Hipster Hound always recommends checking with the vet if your dog appears to be overweight because the extra weight may affect the dog's joint health. The large mass or weight of the dog will stress the joints further. He or she can often get a lot of relief from joint pain if they can drop those extra pounds.
Another concern for many pet parents is what to do when their pet gets a terminal disease. Cancer kills 500,000 dogs a year in the United States and affects half of all dogs older than 10 years. But deciding whether or not to treat cancer aggressively is difficult for many humans because there are so many things to consider: the cost of treatment, a pet's quality of life after treatment, whether the treatment is painful, and how long a dog's life can be extended.
Older dogs can also develop canine cognitive dysfunction, which is the human equivalent of Alzheimer's. Like in humans, there's a certain number of signs that are not accounted for by any physical finding or disease. It's a diagnosis of disease or rule out.
Eventually, there may be a time in a dog's life where he or she may indicate by his or her behavior that it's time to let go. If a dog has reached a point where they have given up - lackluster, not enjoying life, not playing, not interacting, haven't responded to any therapies, losing interest in food and social interactions - the dog parents will have to think very seriously about what is the quality of life.
These are serious and devastating decisions to make, but all dog parents should consider The Hipster Hound as a partner in the overall help and care for their senior dogs. They carry all the supplements a senior dog could ever need - for joint, digestive, skin, and coat health. Even the CBD oil and infused treats help ease the inflammation I get from arthritis. I sure am lucky to have The Hipster Hound helping me with all my senior needs!
My mommy can’t stand to think about it, but when it IS my time to go, my Hipster Hound duties will be passed on to my little sister, Rosie. So I've been training her to take over my job as THE Hipster Hound. I’ve been sharing my words of wisdom with her, showing her how to oversee the play yards, and how to behave during making public appearances. I know that The Hipster Hound will be in good PAWS with Rosie!
Rex, The Original Hipster Hound