Shrinking world syndrome for older dogs - break the cycle. by Ann-Marie Fleming

15 October, 2009

I read one of the best articles in a long time on senior dogs today called Old Dog, Good Dog which talks about so much more than the health issues faced by older dogs...what I really liked about this piece was that it talks about a self-fulfilling prophecy that often happens. As owners we tend to change our behaviour towards our dogs as they get older and often times those changes take away many of things that keep our dogs young.

Certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lore Haug explained it best, “A lot of old dogs get what I call the shrinking world’ syndrome. Their owners get in a rut with them; they start walking the dog less and they don’t train the dog or teach him tricks. The dog doesn’t get as much stimulation and enrichment maybe they stop taking the dog to the dog park and there’s a significant decline in mental and physical challenges.”

Could we be speeding up the aging process for our beloved four-legged family members? The thought of it makes me sad, but it also means that there is a lot that we can do as owners to slow down the effects of aging. In fact this is something I believe very strongly in. I get asked quite a bit why I am so passionate about the senior dog products we sell like dog strollers and it is because they can act as a mechanism for senior dogs who still need the mental stimulation of going on walks and it also allows for your dog to walk when they can and enjoy the ride when they need a break - bottom line is they still get to play, exercise and enjoy life. 

The article teaches us that by understanding the effects of aging we can learn to adapt so the fun can continue. Getting old doesn't mean taking things away - it really just means a new beginning :) 

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