Category Archives: Canine Health

Deciding when it’s time-the quality of life discussion

posted on July 02, 2019 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

One of the worst part of owning pets is that they don’t live as long as we do, so at some point it will be time to say goodbye.  However, we do have the ability to end a pet’s life with dignity and to relieve suffering.  But many people aren’t sure when it’s time.  We here at Heritage Animal Hospital have recently had to make these decisions for both our clinic dog and cat, so we understand what you’re going through.

First of all, if you are unsure, you can always make an appointment or call us to discuss.  As veterinarians, we are trained to look for signs of suffering, pain, and diminishing quality of life in our pets, so we are often a more objective source to help make the decision.  Second of all, if you feel it is time for whatever reason, we will not second guess or judge you for this.  You know your pet the best.

Things we often recommend looking at include is the pet eating/drinking, is the pet able to move on it’s own, and is the pet still interacting with you.  Does it enjoy the things it used to?  (Note-a 15 year old dog is the equivalent of a 90 year old person, so it may not enjoy frisbee anymore, but might still get enjoyment from being outside or going for a walk).  Is the pet having accidents, and is it able to move out of them or is it covered in it’s own feces and/or urine?  Is the pet in pain, and if so, are we adequately controlling it with medications, supplements, etc.

Pick a couple things that make your pet special.  Are they still doing those things?  A pet that always greats you at the door and suddenly won’t get up when you come home, or a pet that follows you from room to room suddenly stays in it’s bed alone in a room are signs that it may be time.

Because this decision is very difficult, it can be hard to balance emotions with reality.  Using things like penny jars for good or bad days/events, marking a calendar, or using scales like the one below can help give you a visual, concrete representation of how your pet is doing.

Ultimately you know your pet best, but we are here to help you make these tough decisions, and can help by telling you when we think it may be time when you can’t make this decision on your own.  Please let us know if we can help.

In Loving Memory of Jack and Harry

CBD-the conversation we aren’t having

posted on March 01, 2019 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

We are having more and more clients asking about products containing CBD oil, so I thought I’d address this via blog.

At this time, all CBD products are still illegal to sell in Minnesota and other states across the US.  Yes, that’s right, illegal.  Therefore, we cannot recommend these products at this time.

However, the DEA is unlikely to go after every pet owner giving CBD oil products to their pets, and I know some clients are using them, so here is more of what we do know about them.  Please, if you are giving them, tell us when we ask what medications and supplements your pet is on so we can make the best possible recommendations for your pet.

CBD oil is supposed to contain less that 0.1 % THC (the active agent in marijuana). However, since the products are illegal, they are not being regulated.  This means the product could contain varying amounts of THC-from none all the way up to toxic levels.  The FDA usually closely monitors and requires rigorous testing to label a drug for sale including monitoring active ingredient levels and label claims for diseases they are used to treat.  There is none of this currently in the industry for pets.  The ASPCA Poison Control Center has been seeing cases where pets are exhibiting the same signs of marijuana toxicosis when they ingest CBD products.

CBD manufacturers widely claim their product helps with a variety of illnesses and ailments, from GI issues, seizures, osteoarthritis, to helping anxious pets.  Unfortunately, very little research has been done to confirm any of this.  It is possible that it may be beneficial in some of these cases, but we have very limited data and cannot safely recommend it at this time.  We also have no data on how CBD oil interacts with other medications or organ functions.  For instance, a pet with seizures is often put on phenobarbital.  Phenobarbital is a barbiturate class medication, meaning it can cause nervous system depression.  THC is also a nervous system depressant.  At this time we do not know if these medications can be used in conjunction safely in our pets.  Opioid pain medications are also used for some conditions, and may cause a similar issue with nervous system depression.  Pets who have arthritis tend to be older pets, who may have other health issues such as kidney disease or heart disease for instance.  We again do not know if CBD products are safe to use with these conditions.

Overall, until CBD becomes legal and we get some research and regulation, we are not recommending these products at this time.  If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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Cold weather and cabin fever

posted on January 31, 2019 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

With the polar vortex swirling freezing air around, there are a few safety and sanity tips we’d like to share with you!

Keep pets inside!  This may seem obvious to some, but it bears repeating.  While some dogs have thicker/double coats and are adapted to colder temperatures, these negative temperatures are too cold for all pets.  Frost bite is possible on sensitive skin such as paw pads.  Limit exposure to short bathroom breaks, and use protective wear such as booties, paw balms, and/or sweaters and coats.

If you have pets that cannot be kept inside, make sure they have access to shelter and unfrozen water.  Consider offering shelter in your garage or shed, or providing “nest boxes” for neighborhood strays.  Leaving pets outside in extreme cold temperatures, especially without adequate shelter, can be construed as animal cruelty and may be cause for legal action.  If you see a pet outside and are concerned, you can contact your local police for guidance.

Wipe feet after walks outside-sidewalk salt can be irritating and may even be toxic.  Use a warm, damp rag to wipe feet after walks outside to prevent your pet from licking these.  Or invest in the aforementioned booties.  Use pet safe salt on your own driveways and sidewalks if you are able.

Stay off ice-even with the extreme cold we’ve been having, it is possible to get injured, loose control of your pet when there is no traction, or in the worst case scenario, fall through ice.

Monitor for signs of hypothermia.  Shivering, lethargy, progressing to slowed heart rate and respiratory rate (breathing), coma, and even death can occur.  Warm pets slowly, and avoid heating pads and other hot items when rewarming.  Call a veterinarian if you are concerned your pet may be suffering from hypothermia.

Make noise when starting vehicles-stray cats and other critters are drawn to the warmth of a recently run engine.  Tap on hood, honk horn, and check for animals before starting your vehicle.

If you are using antifreeze, make sure to keep pets out of the area and clean up any spills immediately.  Antifreeze is sweet and draws your pets’ attention, and is extremely toxic.  Call a veterinarian immediately if your pet gets into antifreeze.

Be prepared-if the power goes out or a blizzard strikes, make sure you have enough food and medications for at least 5 days for your pets.  Keep an emergency kit for your pet in case you need to relocate due to the weather-include food, medications, grooming supplies, vaccine records, and your veterinarian’s information at a minimum.

Lastly, leave your pet at home.  You’re probably bringing extra clothing for yourself in these extreme cold temperatures in case the car gets stranded.  You cannot do the same for your pets.  It is too cold for them to sit in the car waiting for you while you run errands, so unless you need to specifically bring them somewhere, leave them home and warm.

Now, as for the cabin fever from being stuck in the house.  Play games of hide and seek-hide treats around the house and let your dog sniff them out.  Play chase with a toy with your cat or dog.  Dogs can play fetch in the house going up and down stairs or hallways.  Puzzle toys encourage your pet to interact to get a treat.  Find a recipe for homemade pet treats that you can bake for something for the whole family to do and your pet to enjoy.

 

A new approach to an old problem

posted on November 01, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Allergies are a common complaint in our animals, with up to 15% of dogs suffering from atopic dermatitis.  Treatment focuses on diminishing exposure to allergens (special diets, bathes, HEPA filters), treating secondary skin infections, and altering the immune system so it does not react.  Antihistamines and steroids are the most common methods of changing the immune response, with immunotherapy injections being another option.  However, steroids can be broad spectrum in their effects on the body, so newer medications and modalities are constantly being researched.  There are more specific medications available such as Atopica and Apoquel.  An even newer approach is Cytopoint.

Cytopoint is an injection given every 4-8 weeks.  It differs from steroid injections in that it targets specifically itch receptors instead of the immune system at large.  Cytopoint is an antibody against a chemical called cytokine IL-31, which is a chemical that triggers the process of sending itch signals to the brain.  By targeting this signal, it is able to interrupt the itch cycle before it even starts.

Cytopoint is a safe medication as it mimics the dog’s own immune system.  It is used and broken down inside of cells into amino acids and peptides.  It is not converted into reactive or toxic metabolites in the body.  It is not metabolized by liver or kidneys, and is not excreted in the urine, meaning it should be safe to use when there are other disease processes present in your pet. (Please note, it is still up to your veterinarian to determine if it is safe to use Cytopoint in your pet’s specific condition and instance).  Cytopoint can be used in conjunction with other medications, including many that are typically used for allergies.

The local dermatologists have been using Cytopoint for a few years, and we were happy with their results, so we are now proud to also offer Cytopoint injections here at Heritage Animal Hospital.  If you feel your dog is suffering from allergies, please schedule an appointment to discuss options for your pet!

Apoquel and Cytopoint are trademarks of Zoetis.  Atopica is trademark of Elanco.

The good, the bad, and the ugly: A Focus on Grain Free Foods

posted on October 01, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

There seems to be an increase in marketing and media attention these days on every aspect of our lives, including dog foods.  One popular trend we are seeing is grain free foods.  What are grains?  Are they bad for dogs?  And are grain free foods the answer?

There are many sources of grains that can be used in foods.  Grains are seeds of plants that are used as a source of nutrients.  Things like wheat, oats, barley, corn, rye, sorghum, millet, and rice are all considered grains.

One reason people think grains may be bad for dogs is allergies.  In humans, grain and gluten sensitivity is becoming more noticed, and so many people are wondering if their dogs are also allergic.  In truth, only about 10% of dog allergies are to foods, and of these, the majority of the allergens are to beef and dairy.  It is estimated that less than 1% of dogs are sensitive to grains.

Are grains fillers?  Absolutely not!  Grains provide a number of nutritional benefits.  Grains are easily digested, and are utilized just like other carbohydrate sources.  In fact, they can be higher in protein and lower in sugar than alternative carbohydrate sources such as potatoes, which makes them healthier!  They also provide healthy fats and antioxidants.  Grains support healthy skin and hair, as well as helping support the immune system.

Many people are concerned that dogs are carnivores.  Dogs are actually omnivores, meaning they require both plant and meat sources for their nutritional needs.  Grains do not cause obesity-excess calories cause obesity.  Since fat has twice the calories of carbohydrates, foods that are higher in fat tend to be more likely to cause obesity-and many grain free foods have higher meat sources which are higher in fat!  Likewise, grains do not cause diabetes.  Diabetes in dogs is similar to type I diabetes in humans, meaning something has destroyed the pancreas cells, and it is not caused by diet.  Cats are more likely to get type II diabetes, which can be related to diet, but related to diet because of obesity.

So are grain free foods bad for pets?  Unfortunately, recently there have been some new worries arising.  Dilated cardiomyopathy is a type of heart disease that until recently was found in higher incidence in some dog breeds such as Doberman’s, boxers, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and in pets that were deficient in an amino acid called taurine.  Veterinarians started noticing a rise in the disease in atypical dog breeds including golden retrievers, labradors, miniature schnauzers, and French bulldogs, as well as mixed breed dogs.  While looking into these atypical cases, a correlation has been found in that these dogs were being fed grain free or boutique foods.  The FDA has gotten involved and is looking into this further.  Some of these dogs were taurine deficient, while others were not.  Some of these dogs are improving with a diet change.

At this time, we are not sure that the diet is the cause of the disease.  However, given the correlation, we are concerned that there may be an issue feeding grain free foods.  At this time, we are alerting owners to the possibility, and are discussing whether a grain free food is right option for your pet and their situation.  If you are currently feeding grain free foods, please discuss with us what options may be best for your scenario.  Options may include finding a diet with grains, a limited grain diet, or a hydrolyzed diet if there are allergies/sensitivities.  We know you were probably feeding the grain free because you want what’s best for your pet, and we do too!

Please see these links for additional information:

https://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/newsevents/cvmupdates/ucm613305.htm

http://vet.tufts.edu/wp-content/uploads/DecipheringFactFromFictionGrainFree.pdf

http://vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2018/06/a-broken-heart-risk-of-heart-disease-in-boutique-or-grain-free-diets-and-exotic-ingredients/

 

Guest post: Introducing a new baby to your dog

posted on August 02, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

This month I asked Dr. Alger to write a blog about a topic near and dear to her at the moment.  Please read on for more information about what to expect when you’re expecting and already have a fur child!

 

August is due date month for me and seemed fitting to write a blog to discuss introducing a new baby to your dog. My household consists of my husband, myself, and our 10 month old Bernese Mountain Dog, Walter, who currently weighs in at a whopping 100 pounds.

We adopted Walter just before Christmas and found out I was pregnant about a week later. It is natural to worry a bit about how your pet(s) will transition to your new life and I immediately wanted to know how to prepare Walter for a baby so that I could start the process as early as possible. So, the question I will focus on this blog is: What are the appropriate steps to take to prepare a dog for the new baby? I will touch on some of the important things I found and have implemented into training and preparing my own pup for the new addition to our family. 

First and foremost, determine what kind of relationship you want your dog to have with your little one. Ask yourself, is your dog calm in nature or have more fearful, excitable, or aggressive tendencies? Is your dog known to be protective, possessive, predator driven, timid, overly-friendly? Is the baby’s room going to be off limits? It is important to determine these things prior to the arrival of your baby to ensure that you are doing the proper preparation that fits your dog. Some dogs may need formal training in order to transition properly.

One of the most important steps is to take the time to implement changes and training before the baby arrives. The arrival of the baby will create a lot of changes in the household related and unrelated to your dog, and he will pick up on most, if not all of them. In order to avoid your dog feeling displaced or like it needs to compete, plan to start training them for the baby as early as you can.

Training

If you haven’t already, teach your dog to sit or lie down on command and to stay until it is permitted to get up. I will be honest, Walter is still working on ‘staying’ when things get exciting. These commands should never be associated with punishment because they will be used a lot with the baby and it is important to avoid punishment of the dog in association with the baby. With these skills, you will have better control when it comes to initial introduction and other moments of excitement and you will be able to avoid injury to yourself, your baby, or your dog.

Schedule

You can expect your schedule to change with an infant in the house, and when your schedule changes, so does your dog’s. Try to figure out a schedule that works with your pet and a new baby and implement that schedule at least a few months prior to the baby’s arrival. This includes a feeding schedule, a walk or two, individual attention that you will be giving to each pet, and any other scheduled events you may have in your day. It is important to maintain this schedule no matter what, and therefore it is important to make it a schedule that you can see fitting into your new life with an infant.

Attention

Your dog will likely be receiving or feel like it’s receiving less attention than it did before the new baby entered your life, and it will definitely recognize this and maybe even feel that the attention has been transferred to another individual, which can promote attention seeking behavior. One thing that may help avoid this is including the baby and your dog in positive things together, like exercise. This may help allow the dog to associate positive attention with the baby. The more exercise you can do with both your pet and the baby, the better everyone’s relationship will be.

The Baby’s Room

If you are not going to allow your pet into your baby’s room, you can train them to sit outside the door with the door open (assuming you’ve trained them to stay until told otherwise), or put a gate up. This way, they can still feel included and don’t feel the need to figure out what’s going on in there. If you do not need to put a gate up, be sure to shut the door when you are not using the room so they cannot enter the room when you’re not paying attention.

If you plan to allow your dog into the baby’s room, like we do with Walter, allow him in there prior to the baby’s arrival. Give him a chance to sniff around, seek out spots, and feel free to set boundaries for what your pet can and cannot do in there. For instance, we have a basket full of stuffed animals and Walter has mistaken them for his own in the past. After much training, he now knows that he has his own basket of toys and he leaves those alone.

The Introduction 

This is where you put all of your training to the test. One way that may make it slightly easier is letting your dog stay home while you are at the hospital with someone watching him instead of an unfamiliar space. This way, there aren’t too many changes or negative emotions associated with the baby. Prior to coming home, have someone bring an item that smells like the baby (a blanket, hat, clothing, etc.). When you finally come home, you will have been gone for a few days so it is a good idea to greet your dog like you normally would without the baby. It is best if you can have an extra hand can hold the baby while you greet your dog. Most dogs get pretty excited to see their owners, try to allow enough time for the excitement to settle before bringing in the baby. When you finally introduce your new bundle to the dog, it is best to have the dog controlled on a leash. The goal is to have gradual, pleasant and supervised initial exposure. If he is interested and calm enough, let your dog sniff the baby. If he gets a little too excited, take a break from the introduction and try again once he has settled down again.

Sometimes, your dog may need a little extra help, whether its in the training process of after you’ve introduced the baby. There is nothing wrong with having a professional behavioralist help you and your dog through this transition. 

Regardless of how great your dog does with the baby and the transition into a new lifestyle, accidents happen and it is not ever recommended to leave your baby and dog in a room unsupervised.

Lastly, enjoy your new life and the new relationship that is about to blossom between your baby and your fur baby!

 

Time for Ticks

posted on April 02, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Despite the April’s Fools trick Mother Nature played on us, April usually means the start of tick season here in Minnesota.  We recommend a variety of monthly preventatives based on your pet’s lifestyle, as well as the Lyme vaccination. But what happens when one of those buggers still gets through our best defenses?

Every time your pet goes out in tall grasses or wooded areas, a thorough search for ticks should be done as soon as you get home. Feel through the coat, making sure to check near face and ears, neck, armpits, groin, and even between toes as well as everywhere else.  If the tick is not yet attached, removal is much easier and this prevents disease transmission.

If you find what you think are ticks, please ensure that it is a tick!  Ticks can be black, brown, tan, or gray and should have 8 legs.  Be sure you aren’t trying to remove a skin tag, nipple, or other growth; your dog won’t appreciate that! Ticks can be as small as the head of a pin, but when engorged can be up to the size of a dime or larger!

If you find a tick, you can try to remove it at home.  Gloves are recommended as ticks can carry disease.  A tweezers can be used to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible without actually grabbing the skin.  A straight, steady motion should be used.  Try to ensure the head and mouthparts came out with it.  If parts are left behind, they can cause an infection, although the body will try to push this out on it’s own given time.  Place the tick in rubbing alcohol to kill it, or stick it onto tape.  Ticks inject a substance to keep the blood flowing, just like mosquitos, so it is not uncommon to feel a bump after you remove the tick.

There are tick removal tools available as well.  Generally these have a slotted end where you push the tool flat against the skin and put the tick’s body in the slot and use it to gently pull the tick out.

We would be happy to remove the tick for you, or check the site if you are concerned with it’s appearance.  We can also discuss tick borne illnesses and their symptoms if the tick was attached and engorged.  Please give us a call if you have any questions or concerns!

Posted in: Canine Health

Responsible Pet Ownership

posted on February 01, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

February is National Responsible Pet Owners Month.  Pets are a joy to own, but they are also a commitment.  Dogs and cats can live 10-20 years, and some pets such as birds can live even longer.  They depend upon us fully to care for them, but in return they give us unconditional love.

So what are some ways to be a responsible pet owner?

  •  Spay or neuter your pet.  Unfortunately in the U.S., there is an overpopulation of companion animals, with many dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, and other pets living in shelters and rescues.  Spaying and neutering helps prevent further overpopulation, and has some health benefits as well.
  • Get pets from reputable sources.  On a similar note, when looking to add to your family, consider rescues and shelters.  There are many pure bred rescues if you want a pure bred, and mixed breed animals often have the benefit of fewer health issues.
  • Go to the vet annually.  While your pet may not require yearly vaccinations, the physical examination is the most important part of your visit.  Pets are very good at hiding pain and problems, and going to the vet regularly may help catch issues earlier, when they are easier to prevent or treat.
  • Microchip or otherwise identify your pet.  Tags with phone numbers are important, and having a microchip with current information can help reunite with your pet should you get separated.  Make sure to keep microchip information current if you move or get a new phone number.
  • Go to training.  Training your dog helps strengthen your bond, and can help prevent or reduce behavior issues.  Things like agility can also give you both something active to do together.
  • Provide good nutrition.  Your pet needs a well balanced, nutritious diet to have a long, healthy life.  At the same time, don’t overfeed.  Obesity is a major issue affecting our pets and can cause multiple health issues.  Talk with your veterinarian about recommended foods and amounts.
  • Provide regular grooming.  Almost all dogs need their nails trimmed periodically, and most dogs need a bath every once in awhile.  Some pets require regular brushing to keeps tangles at bay, and some dogs need professional grooming to maintain a health coat and skin.
  • Hygiene is important as well.  Ears should be cleaned periodically.  Anal glands may need to be emptied on a regular basis.  Teeth should be brushed, ideally daily, with a pet tooth paste.  Regular veterinary dental care may be required as well.
  • Be prepared for emergencies.  Have a basic first aid kit handy; there are even some made specifically for pets.  Know that certain human medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen (Aleve) are toxic to pets.  Have emergency veterinarian contact information handy.  Keep a file of copies of bloodwork and other important health information handy in case you need to see a veterinarian other than your regular vet.
  • Have pet insurance or a savings account for your pets’ health.  There are multiple options for pet health insurance that may be able to alleviate the cost burden and financial part of making decisions in an emergency.  Having a regular savings account for your pet’s yearly care, with a buffer for emergency situations is another way to handle this.
  • Provide mental and physical stimulation.  Exercise is important for our pets, helping control weight, as well as giving a release for pent up energy that could otherwise feed unwanted behavior.  Mental stimulation such as scent training, puzzle toys, and foraging for food/treats is also important for that same reason.
  • Travel safely.  Pets should be confined when in a vehicle for their own and your safety.  There are multiple seat belt and harnesses available, as well as carriers, confinement nets, or crates.
  • Pet proof your house.  Wires and cords make tempting play toys to puppies and kittens.  Plants may pose a toxic threat.  Yards may have unforeseen escape routes or dangers.  Imagine yourself at their level and educate yourself about potential toxins to keep out of their reach.
  • Clean up after your pets.  Dogs can spread disease to other pets and humans via their feces, so if they have a bowel movement in public, be sure to clean it up.  This is also just the nice, neighborly thing to do!
  • Teach children to respect animals.  Discuss with children how to ask before going up to strange animals.  Teach them to understand basic dog and cat body language cues, and teach them how to approach and pet animals appropriately.  Supervise children and pets when they are together.  Lead by example.

Overall, there are many things that play a role into being a responsible pet owner.  These are just a few examples of things that contribute to having a healthy, happy pet for many years!

Pain in our pets

posted on January 02, 2018 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Since pets aren’t able to speak, it can be difficult to determine if they are in pain.  Pets tend to be extremely stoic, and may eat despite rotting teeth, may walk despite broken bones, and may wag their tail despite having just had surgery.  So how do you tell if something is amiss?

Some pets will vocalize when in pain, whether a whine, whimper, howl, or growl.  However, not all pets will, so this is not always a good indicator.  Sometimes there are physical signs of pain that are visible-limping, trembling, dilated pupils (unless the eye is what is painful, then may see squinting, and dilated or constricted pupils), increased heart rate and increased respiratory rate, changes in gait, posture, tail and/or ear position, mobility, or even changes in the way they sit or lay (leg cocked out, prayer position, curled up or stretched out differently).  Overgrooming an area or barbering the hair can indicate pain, as can a complete lack of grooming.  Changes in eating, drinking, urination, defecation, and sleep habits may all indicate pain also.

More often, pets will have subtle changes in their personality.  They may act more anxious-whining, pacing, licking, panting, seeming unable to get comfortable/or unable to relax.  They may also be agitated, and may even become aggressive.  Some pets may become less social, actively hiding or avoiding interactions with other pets and/or humans.

Since many of these signs can be a bit subjective, it is always best to seek veterinary advice to determine if your pet is in pain and what may be the cause so appropriate treatment can be pursued.  Always finish all pain medications prescribed unless otherwise directed by a veterinarian.  Lastly, many human pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and even aspirin can be toxic to our pets, so please do not administer these to your pet.  Veterinarians have pet safe medications they can dispense when appropriate.  If you think your pet is painful, please call today!

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month!

posted on November 02, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Senior pets in shelters are the least likely to find homes, sometimes making them most likely to be euthanized in crowding situations.  Many people think that if an older pet is at the shelter, it means that they were problematic.  This is not the case however.  Many older pets belonged to households that had changes in them such as children, new jobs, moving, or an elderly person who is no longer able to care for them.  This month we take a look at why adopting a senior pet is such a great thing!

Adult dogs tend to have had some training.  Most have been through obedience classes, may already have been taught simple commands and tricks, and have had time to become socialized and acclimated to living with humans.  This often means most dogs are already house trained, meaning you don’t have to wake up every two hours all night like you would with a puppy!  It also means that these pets tend to be less destructive, and are less likely to chew your favorite pair of shoes.

That being said, you can teach an old dog new tricks.  In fact, older dogs tend to be more able to focus than young puppies, meaning they may actually pick up on new tricks easier.  They tend to be eager to please, and are grateful to be given a second chance.

You know what you are getting when you adopt an older pet.  There is no guessing what the hair color will be or how big the pet will get when they are already full grown.  It is possible to get pure bred senior pets as well-most breeds have their own specific rescue organizations if you are looking for a purebred pet.

Senior pets tend to be a little more relaxed than the energetic puppy or kitty.  They make good companions for elderly people or families that have a more sedentary lifestyle.  However, many still have plenty of spunk left to go for a walk or play ball!

Lastly, adopting a senior pet will fill your life with love and will make you a hero in your pets’ eyes.  They often seem to know that you gave them a second chance and spend the rest of their life showing you how thankful they are.  You can take pride in opening your house and heart for an otherwise less likely to find it’s forever home pet.  So the next time you are looking to add to your fur family, give those senior pets a second look!