Senior Dog Blog

Tips and Tricks for Getting your Picky Senior Dog to Eatby Emily Charlton

11 August, 2021

There can be many reasons why your senior dog has become a picky eater. It could be due to illness such as kidney disease or cancer, it could also be due to dementia, either way it can be a daily struggle to get them to eat enough. Here are some tips and tricks learned over the years that can help to get your senior dog eating again.

  1. Feed them off one of your own plates or a bowl. This can make them feel like they are getting the coveted people food!
  2. Feed them off a towel and half bury the food. Either on their dog bed or on the couch get an old towel and put some of their food on it, wet or dry, half cover it. This can entice them as it is out of the ordinary and like a hidden treasure.
  3. Feed them in the car. If they love to go for car rides, take them out and have some food on hand to offer them.
  4. Feed them on slow walks. Have food ready on their excursions with you and offer them some throughout the walk.
  5. Warm up the food in the microwave. Heating food can make the smell stronger tempting them to take a bite.
  6. Cook the dog food, kibble, wet or both in a little bit of water on the stove in a frying pan. They really do seem to love it this way.
  7. Add cooked ground turkey or chicken to their food. Crumble it up in little bits so they can’t just eat around their kibble and go for the meat.
  8. Cook the kibble or wet food in the pan you cooked the turkey or chicken in with a little bit of water. Just remember to not add any oil to your dog’s food, it can be too rich for them and cause an upset tummy.
  9. Find a couple of foods that your senior dog likes and that agrees with them, don’t want them getting an upset tummy, then switch around as needed to give them variety.
  10. Feed them off the floor. Drop kibbles or pieces of food on the floor as they walk around so they feel they are finding a secret morsel.
  11. Feed them in the yard. Same principle as feeding them off the floor, drop food in the yard as you take them out for their bathroom breaks.
  12. Try soaking the food if it is kibble or adding water to wet food to make it mushy. Sometimes the consistency change can make them interested.
  13. Get them a little excited before hand. Whether it is the silly voice you use that they light up at or the special toy that makes them giddy. Try getting them a little excited before feeding time it could get their appetite going.
  14. Hand feed your senior dog. Sometimes they eat better when offered each bite by hand.
  15. Try home cooked dog food using a balanced vet approved recipe.
  16. Give healthy treats. Some senior dogs won’t eat all or much of their food but they love treats, find some healthy ones and supplement their diet with those.
  17. Pretend to eat the food yourself before you offer it to them. They love to eat what we eat, this can perk their interest in the food and make them want to eat it.
  18. Crumble their favorite treats into their dog food, with a little sprinkle on top to entice them. Make sure to crumble it finely so they must eat the dog food to get the treat crumbles.
  19. Feed them from the table. If you have never fed your dog from the table, maybe you wanted to avoid them begging, now might be the time to start. Offer them their food from “your” plate as you sit at the table and pretend to eat it.
  20. Sprinkle a pet food topper on your senior dog’s food. There are a variety of options available from reputable pet food companies. As with adding anything new to their diet just be sure it agrees with them and does not cause an upset tummy by trying a small amount first.

When trying these suggestions to encourage your dog to eat, here are a few things to remember:

If your dog has any dietary restrictions or food allergies be aware when selecting any new foods to try. In the case of food allergies sticking with hypoallergenic or hydrolyzed protein foods is best.

Don’t leave food out all day, if it is evident they are not interested, put the food away and try again later. Also, food left out all day can get stale or dry in the case of wet food, so offer small meals more frequently so the food is at its freshest.

If you are offering new foods to entice them, try a small amount at first to make sure it does not upset their stomach and give them diarrhea.

Never try to force your dog to eat or leave food under their nose all the time. This can create an aversion to the food making it harder to coax them to eat.

Be calm. It can be hard to be calm when we are so worried about our dog’s wellbeing or they have an underlying illness causing their appetite to wain. When they do not eat it hurts since we know they used to “love that food” or were always “mooching food off everyone”. It reminds us that they are aging and unfortunately not immortal. Remembering to be calm can go a long way for your senior dog as they pick up on our moods and worries. Just relax with them and try again later if they truly seem disinterested.

Emily Charlton is a lifelong animal lover drawing on more than 12 years experience in a veterinary clinic.

Tips for Keeping your Senior Dog Cool this Summer!by Emily Charlton

30 June, 2021

Tips for Keeping your Senior Dog Cool this Summer!

During these Dog Days of Summer there's no need to miss out on the outdoor fun, but we do need to be careful, especially with our senior dogs. As dogs age they become less tolerant to the extreme temperatures so here are some tips and tricks to keep them cool during those hot days.
Tips for Keeping your Senior Dog Cool this Summer
  1. Ice packs! Fill any water bottle with water and freeze it. Wrap the frozen water bottle in a towel and use them in various locations to help keep your senior dog cool, such as their bed or for them to lie against outside on the grass.
  2. Ice cubes! We love a cold drink with ice, so does your senior dog. Make ice cubes and add them to their water dish. Speaking of water dishes, use a ceramic bowl as they help keep the water cooler longer.
  3. Get a doggy pool! An inexpensive children’s pool can be a fun way to keep them cool on those hot days.
  4. Have fun with the garden hose! Some senior dogs love to be sprayed or to jump through sprinklers, however, use caution if your dog likes to drink the water from the hose or sprinkler as they can get water toxicity just like humans. If they do want to drink excessively turn it off and find something else or just spray their bodies down.
  5. Avoid the midday heat! Take your senior dog out for their walks earlier in the morning or later in the evening after the hottest part of the day. If walking on concrete or asphalt, check the temperature with a bare foot or hand, if it is too hot for you, it is too hot for your dog.
  6. No hot cars! Never take a chance in warm weather by leaving your senior dog in a hot car, it does not take long for a dog to overheat and start to feel the effects of heat stroke. Know the signs of heat stroke, such as, excessive panting, drooling, vomiting, a dog looking anxious or in discomfort even seizures are all obvious signs of heat stroke.
  7. Shade! If your senior dog must be outside during the day make sure they have shady areas for them to seek refuge from the hot summer sun.
  8. Grooming! If your dog has long hair or is a non-shedding breed, keep their coat short in the summer to keep them cooler. If you have a dog with a thick coat, make sure to brush them regularly which helps remove the dead fur which gets trapped in their coat and adds more insulation keeping them warmer.

Emily Charlton is a lifelong animal lover drawing on more than 12 years experience in a veterinary clinic.

 

Life with Bamboo - Managing Dog Dementiaby Ann-Marie Fleming

23 June, 2021

I adopted Bamboo when he was estimated to be 15 years young. He was already showing signs of dementia in that he was circling and could become quite vocal. I didn't care because the minute I saw his little face online I knew I needed him in my family.Bamboo

Prior to his rescue, Bamboo had somehow found himself on the streets of Los Angeles. How he survived given his challenges is a testament to his fighting spirit. Eventually he found himself in a local shelter and onto the euthanization list because of his age, behavior and medical issues at the time.

Almost by chance he was saved by Stacy McNabb from K9 Spirit Organization who was at the shelter that day and couldn't ignore this tiny barking dog that was relentless in his efforts to be heard. His constant barking caught Stacy's attention and she couldn't leave without him. 

Bamboo was safe, but he stayed in foster care for 1 1/2 years because though he looked like a puppy, when people found out his age, they declined to adopt. I like to think that he was just waiting for me. 😄

Fast forward to today and Bamboo has been with me now for 2 1/2 years, turning 18 this past May. During this time we have had a lot of fun and a great deal of challenges. His dementia has progressed and is quite severe now, but we manage to find a good rhythm that allows us to find special moments that make it all worthwhile.

The challenges of managing dog dementia is not something people like to talk about because I think we fear judgement. It is hard to explain to outsiders why we do what we do as pet parents when our dogs are facing so many challenges. It is also easy to doubt yourself from time to time making it far too scary to reveal the tough side to caring for senior dogs with cognitive issues in case people react in a negative way. What we need to realize however is that despite the obvious challenges, we know our dogs better than anyone and we need to trust in our ability to see when there is still that spark in our dogs that tells us there is still life worth living.

I recently decided to create a short 'dogumentary' titled Life with Bamboo to show people how I manage his dementia and more importantly, how we find moments of joy in each and every day. I made this very personal video to show others that are going through something similar that they are not alone. Bamboo is such a special part of my life and throughout our journey together he has taught me so much and made me a better person. I will do anything to help Bamboo live life to the fullest and until he tells me differently, we will make the most of every moment that we have together 

 Ann-Marie Fleming is the Founder & CEO of Dog Quality, a provider of products focused on improving the quality of life for older dogs.

Senior Dog Survey Reportby Ann-Marie Fleming

18 March, 2021

It's no secret that we love senior dogs here at Dog Quality, and we are always looking for new ways we can support owners to make their dogs lives the best they can be. 

Thank you to everyone who completed our Senior Dog Survey earlier this year - we had almost 700 responses! As promised, here are the results.

senior-dogs-hours-of-exercise
senior-dogs-products
Senior-dog-survey-results
Join us on Facebook and Instagram to stay connected to the senior dog community and enjoy the adventures of our senior dogs!

Dog Quality Team Member Spotlight: Meet Collin Bilinskiby Ann-Marie Fleming

11 March, 2021

At Dog Quality, our love for senior dogs is obvious. All our products are developed out of a desire to make the later years as full and comfortable as possible. So as you’d expect, our Dog Quality staff are people who are passionate about giving elderly dogs the dignity they deserve. 

This month, we’d like to switch up our usual informative post with a Dog Quality Team Member Spotlight. Get to know who’s who behind the scenes at Dog Quality! We introduce to you the newest member of our Dog Quality family: meet our co-op student, Collin Bilinski.

Collin approached us after seeing our ad on the co-op job board at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. A 2nd year civil engineering student, Collin was drawn to our post right away.

“It stood out to me because it was a very unique job. I care about animals, so it was a way to make a difference. My first impressions were that it was a very unique and meaningful job from a company with a lot of heart and character,” he shares.

Saying he cares about animals is an understatement. Collin has one dog and two cats, all rescue animals from Qatar where he lived as an Canadian expat for a lot of his childhood. Collin’s dog, Farrah, is getting to be a senior dog now, and though — in his words — she is very lazy and sleeps most of the day, Collin says she is still pretty independent.

“Fortunately, she has not had any mobility issues,” he explains, “but caring for dogs — and older dogs especially — is something on my radar. That was one reason that drew me to working here.”

So what does Collin do at Dog Quality? His official title is Product Development Engineer and what he’s specifically been working on is Dog Quality’s Road Warrior dog wheelchair. The Road Warrior is the first four-wheeled dog wheelchair in Canada, the prototype developed for Dog Quality by a group of BCIT researchers. Led by Silvia Raschke, an expert in medical devices, the prototype took about a year to develop and was finished in 2020.  

Up to now, dog wheelchairs on the market mainly target dogs with rear leg issues, requiring the dog to support themselves with their front end. These wheelchairs can be life-changing for young dogs that have strong upper body strength but aren’t suitable for senior dogs who are often too weak to benefit from this design. Dog Quality’s Road Warrior is unique with its four wheels, feather-light carbon fiber frame and a special support harness. The Road Warrior harness allows a senior dog to get full body, all-leg stability in a device designed with their limitations and needs in mind.

Collin is working from the BCIT prototype to create a medium-sized Road Warrior. Once ready, the Road Warrior will come in sizes xxsmall to large to accommodate dogs of all shapes and sizes. Collin shares that he’s created CAD (computer aided design) drawings for the medium-sized Road Warrior, and CAD files for parts like the chest plate for all sizes. He’s also made adjustments to the existing design and costed out parts. 

The Road Warrior is designed to assist senior dogs who can still walk but have elderly dog mobility issues from ailments like arthritis, hip dysplasia, or just overall muscle weakness. But for dogs who are paralyzed and can’t walk at all, Collin has brainstormed some modifications that could allow them to move around and have a sense of freedom.

In his development role for the Road Warrior, Collin is not only responsible for drafting plans and designs for the medium size, he’s also been working on physical prototyping using a variety of means. He says, “I have been working on creating a new prototype of the size medium utilizing 3D printing, laser cutting, and CNC machining to create the test parts.” 

Collin says the biggest challenge so far has been fine-tuning different parts so they can work well with the dog wheelchair as a whole and also stylistically match all sizes. He says, “This involved a lot of tweaking curves or dimensions slightly, making alternative versions, and even printing them on paper to get a sense of how it all looks in the real world.”

Up next for Collin at Dog Quality is creating the instruction manuals for the Road Warrior, bringing us even closer to launching our unique wheelchair for senior dogs. Except for the physical prototyping — which he did at a nearby shop — Collin has been working remotely from his home in Victoria.

Working at Dog Quality on an innovative wheelchair for senior dogs has been an enjoyable experience for Collin. “I like working for such a unique and upbeat company and I like that my skills are a good fit for the task I do, but that I am also learning a lot of new things,” he reflects. Sounds like a perfect co-op experience to us, and one that will result in many happy senior dogs out and about.

To find out more about the Road Warrior for your senior dog, contact us today.

6 Tips for Managing Dementia in Senior Dogsby Ann-Marie Fleming

20 January, 2021

So you’ve noticed lately that your senior dog is acting unlike himself — showing alarming symptoms in older dogs such as disorientation, anxiety, a change in temperament. As dogs get older, it’s common that they change, but your dog might be going through more: suffering the onset of dog dementia. 

Our Favorite Gift Ideas for Dog Ownersby Ann-Marie Fleming

02 November, 2020

As makers of premium products for senior dogs, the Dog Quality team loves to share our favorite gift ideas for dog owners. If you’re struggling to find the perfect present for the dog lover in your life, read on for our holiday gift guide for pet parents.

Dogger 101: Everything You Need to Know About Your Doggerby Ann-Marie Fleming

14 October, 2020

Designed for senior dogs in particular, the Dogger is not like any other pet strollers on the market. It has a sturdy and durable build with an emphasis on comfort for your senior dogs. 

Allergies in Senior Dogsby Ann-Marie Fleming

01 October, 2020

Fall is officially here and that means allergy season is finally behind us. No more itchy eyes, runny noses or constant sneezing for another year — and we’re not just talking about your own symptoms. Your senior dog can have allergies, too, and it can cause discomfort for your pup just like it can for you.

4 Locally Owned BC Pet Businesses to Supportby Ann-Marie Fleming

03 August, 2020

As we head into the fifth month of the pandemic, it’s more important now than ever to shop local and show our support for our fellow British Columbia entrepreneurs. Here, we’re highlighting our favourite local pet brands who are doing amazing things for the animal community. After all, we’re all in this together.

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