Grey Matters Blog celebrates senior dogs and provides a resource for the people who care for them. It draws upon the wealth of knowledge and experience with senior dogs offered by The Grey Muzzle Organization community. Our contributors will share articles on senior dog care, as well as relevant news, success stories from our grantee organizations, and more.
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Grey Muzzle Health and Well-being
Dr. Julie Buzby knew she wanted to be a veterinarian from age three. She knew it was her calling. Fast forward to her senior year in veterinary school when she was in the clinic seeing cases and it hit her - being a veterinarian is just as much about caring for and helping people as it is about caring for and helping animals. As she puts it, “there’s always somebody at the other end of the leash.”
Our dogs and cats are not just pets, but family members. As they age, of course, they need more support from us. Just as people benefit from simple home modifications that offset aging, so do our furry family members. Redfin, a customer-first real estate brokerage, put their real estate and pet experts together to discuss the best ways to modify your home for an elderly pet.
As your dog gets older, you want to make sure that you are making choices that will make their life as enjoyable as possible, including choosing the right food. There are more dog food options available than ever before, including many that are for “senior” dogs. What makes a dog a senior citizen? It can vary based on breed or size, with larger dogs being considered senior at 6-9 years, and small dogs not reaching that milestone until their early teens.
As a veterinarian, I have a healthy respect for anesthesia and understand my clients’ fears. Anesthesia is essentially the process of taking a living being to the brink of death—obliterating many life-preserving reflexes—and then bringing that being back to life again. It is never, ever without risk, but that risk should be carefully calculated from the start—weighing risk vs reward.
Dogs don’t have a human voice. They place implicit trust in us to speak for them and care for them, which goes well beyond food and shelter. It extends into the intangible realm of setting up situations to go in their favor. And a prime example of this is shaping your dog’s experience at the veterinary hospital.
My dog Griffey will soon be seven years old. As a black Labrador/Weimaraner mix, he is a deep black with a splash of white on his chest. In the last year or so, I’ve noticed that his muzzle is beginning to match the fur on his chest and that small grey hairs are starting to appear around his eyes. He also tires of fetch faster than he used to, seeming content to plop down on the grass, put his ears back, and take in the smells.
Traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM), which includes acupuncture, is an ancient practice that has been gaining in popularity in the United States. Our geriatric pets can greatly benefit from these techniques. Even healthy dogs can see improvements in energy, attitude, physical performance and overall quality of life.