Pets & Pet Care > The Dogs You Won't See in the Pet Shop Window

The Dogs You Won't See in the Pet Shop Window

By GREGG CALLOW
Published: August 1, 2009

They may not have the cute factor which sell puppies and you never see them in pet shop windows, yet senior dogs have something else to those looking for love, loyalty and devotion.

There is a perception that old dogs are high maintenance. Compared to puppies who whimper in the middle of the night, who leave puddles on carpets and chew everything, senior dogs have a lot going for them. The hard work is done, as older dogs are usually house broken. Older dogs come with the benefit of life experience and understand simple commands like No and are use to human rhythms.

The Senior Dogs Project aims to educate and encourage people to consider buying aged dogs instead of rushing straight to puppies. They praise these dogs as they are normally more stable, don't wander away, more devoted and quieter. A spokesperson for the group says, "What you see is what you get with senior dogs. They settle in easily and know what it takes to get along with humans".

For those looking for couch potato dogs then mature dogs are a great option. They still need exercise but at a slower pace. They are good for elderly people who need motivation to go for walks and get often help stay connected to the community.

There is also the feel good factor for the humans. By adopting a mature dog you are giving it a life after someone else had given up on it. Shelter dogs are not all run aways or lost causes. Many end up there due to a change in their previous owners lifestyles. Many are still healthy and have been well looked after. Surrendered dogs are often stressed out in refuges, they may be timid and not be as active in seeking attention and tend to be looked over. They may be different once they get home and are more relaxed.

The life span of dogs depends on their breed, lifestyle, medical history and the care they recieve. Mature dogs may need a bit more vet care but any dog requires regular medical checks. Vet science has developed special diets, medication and exercise routines to suit elderly dogs.

The Australian Veterinary Association recommends four ways to give aged dogs a good quality of life.

You need to meet their physical capabilities such as swimming for arthritic dogs and gentle, slower and smaller walks are still essential.

Mental stimulation is vital for delaying canine dimentia. They can still benefit from toys and small food puzzle games with out being physically taxing.

Regular vet checks can reduce small issues becoming major health problems. Your vet can also suggest specially designed dog food to match certain ailments. Scientifically tailored dog food can be expensive, but this depends on the size of dog.

Teeth are essential to a dog's health. Dental decay can be painful and many dogs tend not to display this and continue eating regardless. Poor mouth hygiene will also cause bad breath and is a sign of decling health. If eating becomes too painful the dog may reduce eating all together, missing out on vital nutrition at a time when they need it the most.

Of course there is the obvious issue of their decline. Elderly dogs may not be with you as long as a puppy, but knowing the time with them is limited makes it all the more special. Dogs of any age can become sick or die early yet with proper care, diet and love you maybe extending the life of a dog that may not have had that long to live while stuck in a cage waiting for some one to come along.

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