Preventing Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Just in the past year, I have seen 2 Chihuahuas come into our home with canine cognitive dysfunction, CCD. And we have had 2 of our personal dogs have CCD issues as well. CCD is an invisible but devastating disease that affects the minds of older dogs, similar to dementia in humans. It is heartbreaking to know that we can heal a dog’s body, but not their mind. While there are things that we can do as owners & fospice parents to help dogs we love to live with CCD, it is not something we can cure. There are both environmental and medicinal therapies that can help as I have discussed in an earlier blog post if you want to check it out on our website, laberoflovepetrescue.com. But we can’t make it go away, and it will continue to worsen as the dog ages.
I have been thinking quite a bit lately about how we can prevent this terrible disease; is there something that we could do to stop it or slow it down from happening in the first place? Nothing has been proven to stop this disease from happening, but there has been some research into ways that may help to delay the devastating effects and give us longer with our beloved pets. I have started to incorporate some of the suggestions in this article already with our personal dogs and with our fospice dog, Chance.
Nicole Laber, Board Treasurer and Fospice Mom

Crate Training

To crate train or not to crate train is a personal preference. The attached article states some benefits of crating your dog at any age. As a pet owner of 4 dogs and a constant foster, I could not imagine managing our k9’s without a crate set up in the house. Our household’s current dog’s ages are 14 yrs to 3 months and they are all crate trained. So, do they all use a crate? No. Each dog uses the crate according to its needs. Whether it is learning to be a calm, appropriate member of our household (puppy) or to help introduce and acclimate a new dog to our current pack(fosters). Also, a medical issue that requires a few days of rest and restrictions. These are just a few ways the crate helps create smooth transitions and comfort in a house (not quite) full of dogs.
I sometimes feel like a broken record when it comes to the benefits of crate training. This is a process that can produce calm, manageable dogs within a few months and will last a lifetime. I have explained it like this before, teaching a dog to relax on their own offers them the gift of being able to live a calm, enjoyable life. And isn’t that what we envy most about our dogs, napping when they feel like it and watching the world go by without a care in the world?
It is never too late to crate train a dog.
Some things to remember are:
*Crate training is not only putting your dog in a crate when you leave the house. This is a big reason dogs do not accept the crate when being introduced to this form of training.
*Using a crate for a reset or time out before you are fed up with a certain behavior is not a punishment, it is part of the training. Make it short and remember to redirect the correct choice when you let them out.
*Your dog will more likely have to be crated at some point in their life so why not set them up for a stress-free experience. This will also relieve some stress for you when having to leave your pet behind.
As always Laber of Love Pet Rescue thanks everyone for their continued support. Loving our furry family members is one of the greatest blessings we are given. Thank you LOL family for doing your part in saving lives and making a difference!

https://www.totallygoldens.com/the-benefits-of-crate-training-a-dog-or-puppy/

Chastity Crowder, Board President and Fospice Mom

Protect Your Pet From Ticks

Enjoying the outdoors with your pet comes with taking some precautions and giving your pet some extra attention.
It seems like every year I am surprised by how early I experience my 1st tick. The reality of it is that tick season starts in the early spring. It is important to take the precautions necessary to ensure your pets’ safety as well as your own. I know those pesky parasites are not going to keep our pack from exploring so we will have to stay alert with our precautions and checking our pets over daily. Jedi loves to go for long walks sniffing and romping in the woods. So, I imagine we will be going out frequently to do just that.
This is another way to care for and support our animals to ensure they live a long happy, healthy life. As always, check with your Veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns regarding what is best for you and your pet.
Chastity Crowder, Board President and Fospice Mom

Planning For Your Pet Without You

What will happen to your pets if you unexpectedly become ill or pass away? Will a family member take them in? Will they be taken to the local animal shelter? Does anyone know that you have them and that they will need taken care of? These are questions that most people have never thought about or considered the answers to. Even though few pet owners have considered these questions, this is a very important topic for responsible pet owners to think about and plan for.
Unfortunately, there are many pets each year that are left alone with no plan. The owner either didn’t think anything would happen or the people they thought would step in don’t for one reason or another. These pets are left with no other option than to end up in a shelter where hopefully someone else will step in to adopt them. Unfortunately, whatever happens, the pet is scared and alone. Being with someone that the pet knows can ease that transition.
Please consider reading this article and taking some time to make a plan for your pets. Hopefully, nothing will happen and you and your pet will never need to rely on this plan, but won’t you rest easier knowing your beloved pet will be taken care of if the unthinkable does happen? I know I will!

https://www.petfinder.com/dogs/bringing-a-dog-home/providing-pets-future/

Nicole Laber, Board Treasurer

Urinary Tract Infection & Incontinence

When you think of the issues senior dogs typically face, urinary incontinence is likely one of the first that comes to mind. There are a variety of reasons a senior dog can start having accidents in the house, and it is best to work with your Veterinarian to make sure you determine the cause and treat it accordingly.
My dachshund, Annabelle, is nearly 17 and has had incontinence issues for several years. As a spayed, senior female, she is more prone to urinary tract infections – and as a dachshund, she is even more prone to them due to nerve issues in her back that sometimes prevent her from fully emptying her bladder. She has even had one drug-resistant UTI! Since she has experienced recurrent UTIs, whenever her Vet suspects she has one, they culture her urine sample and then send it off for a sensitivity panel to determine what antibiotics will best treat the infection. I personally feel this is worth the added expense because it eliminates the trial & error of different medications and allows us to accurately treat her quickly!
UTIs are not the only incontinence issue Annabelle has faced. A few years ago, she began leaking small amounts of urine when she sat, and sometimes in her sleep! The Vet ruled out infection and other causes, and it was determined she was experiencing age-related incontinence. They prescribed a daily hormone (Incurin) – starting at a higher dose and tapering down until we found the lowest possible effective dose. I’m happy to report it’s worked perfectly and stopped her leaking!
If your senior pet is experiencing incontinence issues, check out the article below for more information, and schedule a Vet visit to determine the cause and treatment options! And I can personally recommend Amazon as an excellent source of both disposable and reusable pee pads and doggy diapers to save your floors, furniture, and sanity while you wait for your dog’s treatment to take effect! (Be sure to use Amazon Smile and choose Laber of Love as your preferred charity as an easy way to benefit fospice pets while you shop!)

https://www.seniortailwaggers.com/old-dog-incontinence/

Jennifer Studebaker, Board Member

Spay/Neuter

We hear the phrase “please spay or neuter your pets” frequently. But often the time isn’t taken to explain why that phrase is so important. The article included below does a wonderful job of pointing out the many benefits of spaying or neutering so I won’t go into those. Please take a moment to read it, it won’t take long.
As senior pet lovers, we have seen first-hand the devastating health effects of not spaying or neutering. Mammary tumors can quickly metastasize and cause cancer in other areas of the body and become fatal. A pyometra (infected uterus) can be life-threatening and require emergency surgery. Testicular cancer is also fatal in most cases. All of these things can be avoided by spaying or neutering your pet. Shouldn’t we do all we can to help our beloved pets avoid these awful diseases if we can?
Not only can we help our pets lead healthier lives, but we can all be happier too. As the article notes, unwanted behaviors can be helped by spaying or neutering too! One procedure that can do all this? Yes, please!
Even adult and senior pets can have these procedures performed if they are otherwise healthy. If you adopt a pet or already have one that isn’t already spayed or neutered, talk to your vet. They can advise you on the potential risks for your individual pet if they foresee any. We brought Chance into the Laber of Love family at the ripe old age of 13, and he wasn’t neutered yet. He had some of the issues described in the article, in particular marking his territory inside the house. We were concerned about the possible health effects of him not being neutered, but we were also concerned about possible complications due to his age and long term exposure to smoke. We talked to our amazing vet and did a full blood work-up. She didn’t foresee any extra complications with putting him under anesthesia so the little guy was neutered right away. Chance did great through the procedure and healed very quickly. Both he and his fospice family are definitely happier since we made that decision!
If you haven’t already, please consider spaying or neutering your pets. And if you have already, thank you for helping control the overpopulation and for helping to keep your pet healthy and happy!                                                           https://pets.webmd.com/reasons-spay-neuter-pet

Nicole Laber, Board Treasurer                                                         

 

Heartworm

As responsible pet owners sometimes, we just listen to our vet and do what they know is best for our pets. This is true with our heartworm preventative. Without this precaution we’d be risking our pets contracting more than some annoying parasite or bug, they would be facing a life-or-death situation. This is the condition of our latest fospice rescue Daisy. She will be living out the remainder of her life being heartworm positive due to the aggressiveness of the treatment and the uncertainty the effects will have on her already frail body. But this issue could have been prevented.  Heartworms are transmitted from a mosquito bite. It is suggested to give heartworm prevention year-round and to have your dog tested every 12 months. The treatment for heartworms can be aggressive and hard on the dog to go through. Making them sick and require bed rest for several months while going through treatment. This also can be expensive due to the number of injections and vet visits your dog will need.
This is another disease that can be prevented with regular medication and testing. This will help your dog live a happier and longer life. And give you the peace of mind that you are doing the best for your beloved pet so that you can have them around for many healthy and loving years.
Chastity Crowder, Board President

Benefits Of Adopting A Senior Dog

Getting a new dog as a puppy has many rewards, and I love puppies too. However, senior dogs have so many qualities that make them much more appealing to many people who don’t want all the work of raising a puppy. I am most definitely one of those people. Yes, senior dogs are not with us as long as puppies, but the joy and love they share more than makes up for the lack of time. From the moment we adopted our first senior dog, I knew that senior dogs would from that point forward own my heart completely. Many people have asked me over the years why. There are so many reasons that I can’t put into words. Here are several that I have been able to.

1. Senior dogs are just calmer. They have outgrown the rambunctious puppy stage and the awkward teenage years. Senior dogs have moved on to a dignified stage where they know how to just relax and enjoy being with you, and they know when to leave you alone.

2. Generally already housebroken. This means very few accidents in the house and no headaches in trying to train a puppy to potty outside.

3. Have more training. Seniors usually know tricks such as sit and shake. But more importantly, they know not to jump on people, they know not to dash out an open door, and they know how to act when on a leash. These are all valuable time-savers if the dog already has these skills

4. Don’t chew on everything in sight. Puppies are great, but they can destroy a lot if left alone for just a few minutes. Seniors have left all this behind and are mature and well behaved.

5. You usually know what you are getting. There will be no surprises on how big your dog will become, what characteristics your dog will develop. The dog has already grown to an adult so what you see is what you get.

6. Actually less vet bills for “younger” seniors. Puppy shots are done, spay/neuter is behind you (if you are lucky), and no surgeries to remove that “foreign body” that your dog ate and ended up getting stuck in their digestive tract… For most “younger” seniors, all you have to worry about is annual check-ups, vaccines, and dental cleanings.

7. And for me, this is the best – what senior dogs can teach us. Puppies need to be taught everything while seniors already know it all. Instead, they have so much to teach us – what second chances look like, what it is to forgive past hurts, how to love unconditionally, how to show complete appreciation for the second chance. I have learned all of these from the senior dogs that come into my life. Each one has taught me something new and I wouldn’t trade those lessons for anything.

8. Yes, senior dogs are not with us as long as puppies, but the joy and love they share more than makes up for the lack of time.

Nicole Laber, Board Treasurer

Second Hand Smoke

Most of us know that second-hand smoke can hurt those people surrounding anyone who smokes, but did you know that it can hurt pets too? Chance came to Laber of Love Pet Rescue from a home where the humans smoked very frequently. His coat took several baths to not have that smoke odor, and we were very worried that the long-term exposure to second-hand smoke would have left him with health issues. Those issues could have included lung and heart disease or lung, mouth, or nose cancer. When we picked up Chance we did notice some raspy and heavy breathing so we feared the worst. However, after breathing non-smoking air for a few weeks the breathing issues are virtually gone. The vet didn’t see any damage to his lungs or heart during his exam. Chance was lucky! Issues could still I’ll arise, but so far nothing has shown up.  If you smoke, will your pet be this lucky? How can you ensure your pets (and this includes dogs, cats, fish, birds, and other small pets) don’t suffer because of your secondhand smoke?  Please read the attached articles for important information straight from the FDA.
Nicole Laber, Board Treasurer

Dog Dementia

One of the worst feelings for me as a dog owner has been watching my pet’s mental decline. Their bodies were willing, but their minds were not able to process everyday tasks nor were they aware of their surroundings. Eventually, our boy Chewy didn’t even know who I was anymore. This decline was gradual, and as a pet owner, I noticed little things that made me look twice in the beginning but became more and more clear as time went on. I had no idea at first what it was but I did research and talked to my vet. The diagnosis – canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD). Or more commonly referred to as doggie dementia. This disease acts much like Alzheimer’s in humans and robs pet owners of many good years with their pets.  The good news is, there are ways that we can help our pets cope with CCD and also things that we can do to possibly keep it at bay for our pets. As always, we as the owners are the first line of defense as we know our pets and can spot the early warning signs. However, the assistance and proper diagnosis from a trusted Veterinarian are key as well; there are other diseases that can cause the same symptoms so a proper diagnosis is vital to making a proper treatment plan. A trusted Veterinarian can also help ease the symptoms for your pet and offer guidance and support for you, the owner. The most important thing to remember is to love your pet unconditionally as some of the symptoms are hard to love through, but your pet needs you during this time more than ever.  Please check out this article for key symptoms, how the disease is diagnosed, and possible treatment options.