“Senior” Pets - Older Pets Can Be Healthy!
I am a senior? But I don’t feel old?
Did you know that your dog could be considered a senior as early as 6 years of age (depending on their size), and your cat at the age of 10?
With the improvement in pet foods over the past few years, and the rising popularity of the raw food diet, we are so happy that finally we are seeing pets live longer, healthier lives! This will only get better as we see generation after generation becoming more vital than the last through healthier diets, reduced vaccine protocols, exercise, and supplementation!
We want your “senior” to help inspire others to give your food/ exercise/supplement regime a try on their pets. Tell us what you are doing to keep your “senior” pet young!
Skylla is over 10 years old and is an extremely healthy, and active, “senior”. She has been fed a healthy, raw food diet since she was a puppy! Skylla is the reason that Brent and Tamara Hauberg started Tail Blazers.
Brindel, Porter & Dante
I was inspired to open a Tail Blazers store many years ago when I first began to notice health problems in my dogs. My oldest (brown and white Boxer in video), Brindel, who is almost 9, had issues with her stomach and later in life with mast cell tumours. She is now on a product called “Dog Immune” for her immune system which has kept her tumour free for a year. She is also on “Recovery SA” for her joints, and of course a raw fed diet and reduced vaccine protocol. They are also on a probiotic made for pets by “Mercola”.
My middle boy (brown Boxer), Porter, who is just over 8, has had issues with environmental allergies since he was 6 months old. He is following the same protocol as Brindel with the addition of a herb by “Nature’s Herbs for Pets” for allergies. Porter also had his heart ultra-sounded by a specialist when he was a puppy and we were told that he had a class 5/6 heart murmur - we were advised against any heavy exercise (I guess that guy didn’t know he was dealing with a Boxer?? Porter didn't listen.). His murmur is now undetected by his vet! He is doing better now than he was as a pup!
Finally, Dante who is almost 8 (black Boxer mix) has never had much in the way of issues with health. He was lucky to get started on a healthy path right from the get go! He's on the same regime as his siblings.
Boxers are considered seniors by the age of 6 years old and their life expectancy is only to about 10 years old. My Boxers act like they are 2 and I can't see them going anywhere anytime soon! I have always tried to keep them lean as I believe that obesity contributes to so many problems in dogs and cats.
Holly - Co-Owner of the Copperfield Tail Blazers
I am the proud owner of a senior boxer. Her name is Roo (Numero Uno) and she still amazes me with all her energy and vitality. I know part of it is the fact that she is a Boxer BUT she is almost 10 for goodness sakes. She eats a raw food diet, is supplemented with glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM and gets her share of healthy treats (fruits, veggies, doggie treats). I know that doing all of this for her keeps her healthy, her joints well taken care of and contributes to her overall wellness. We are happy to do all of this for her because she is totally worth it!!!
The Traverse Family
PS She is starting to gray in the face...but I tell her it makes her look more distinguished!!! ;)
PPS Her 10th birthday is November 14th!!! We plan on celebrating with a yummy dog friendly cake/muffins or special treats!!!
Kiera is a 10 year old border collie who was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2007 and at the same time had a cancerous lump removed off of her back end near her tail base. It turned out to be a fibrosarcoma which is not great news, but the surgeon was very aggressive and got very good margins and the lump was completely removed and no cancer moved into her chest or abdomen. At this time she had a very large shaved area and I decided to shave her whole body to make her look more even and not so obvious that she had surgery. This was however a horrible idea. Her hair didn’t grow back to the same border collie gleam that it had been prior to her surgery at all, it was more like a puppies coat in that it was very thin, sparse and very dull. I tried every test out there to get it to it’s original lustre. I added some omega’s to her food-no change. I biopsied her skin-no conclusive results there. I sent away a very expensive adrenal panel to a veterinary college in the United States-no conclusive results there. I tried shaving her down again in hopes that things might grow back-no luck. I tried a veterinary formulated home cooked diet of salmon and peas-no luck there.
Finally I decided to try raw food which was a very hard decision for me as I work in the veterinary industry as a veterinary assistant (now a technician) and everything I had ever been taught, read, heard was that raw diets are the most horrible thing you can feed to your dog. I was willing to try it though as I also have a younger dog who has very bad allergies that were being poorly controlled with steroids, immune suppressants, and a special “vet” diet (Medi-cal skin support). I decided to try the food for 2-3 months, take some blood samples at the end and evaluate from there. I didn’t really have much to lose at this point.Well, by the end of 2 months I was completely shocked! My previously mangey, unthrifty dog had totally replaced her coat with a glossy, shinny, beautiful coat. On top of this her appetite was amazing-I had always struggled to get her to eat her “vet” kibble (Iams Fish and potato, Hills T/D etc) and had to bribe her with peanut butter or cheese on top or she would go for days without eating. Now I have her eating Bison, chicken, turkey, rabbit, venison, chicken necks, chicken backs and a variety of raw meaty bones. She also gets an omega supplement daily, probiotics daily (thanks to Dr. Chapman) and a glucosamine supplement. I occasionally give her yogurt or raw eggs, which she loves! Her old tartar covered teeth started to become white and glossy again. I had tried brushing them and dental treats such as CET chews, dentabones and denta sticks which made no difference at all. Now her teeth look amazing.....stained and worn in her old age but no tartar or gingivitis at all! One other amazing change I saw in her was her activity level and spunk. After the cancerous lump was removed she had seemed to be getting older and older. She would sleep for long periods during the day, was reluctant to even go outside and do her business. My younger dog could rarely get her interested in playing and she would get annoyed at him very easily. She seemed very sore in her hips and x-rays showed mild arthritis but nothing to account for her slowness to the extremes that they were. After 2 months on raw however, we had a new dog! She was spunky, silly and raring to go again! She enjoys going for walks now, loves to chase around her younger brother in the backyard and bark at the cows in the neighbouring farmers fields. Everyone comments on Kiera’s new found appreciation for life. Also, some additional added benefits after doing bloodwork-Kiera's liver values had improved, and her thyroid levels had improved so I could give her a lower dose of her medication. Raw food has changed both of our lives and I truly hope that someone reads her story and switches their dog over to raw food. I expect Kiera to live a long and healthy life now and I owe it all to a BARF
Elvis is an 8 year old Jack Russell Terrier. Not what I would classify as a senior dog...
Elvis loves to dig in the mud, play agility & flyball. He has his flyball master (FM) title and is still running hard. He also loves naps under the blankie, and god forbid you disturb his beauty sleep :)
He has been raw fed for the past 2 years. I don’t think Elvis will ever be an “old” dog
-Cristine Camp & the Cracker Jacks (Elvis & Ruby)
Teagan is an 11 year old Flat Coated Retriever. When people see her they can't believe she is 11. She has tiny flakes of grey on her muzzle, that are only visible up close and she looks and moves like a 5 year old. And her coat… when she comes home from being groomed by Cheryl at Tailblazers her coat just shines!
Teagan has had a rough life but thanks to healthy foods and treats, lots of water, holistic supplements, endless walks and trips to the off leash park and plenty of love, we hope to have her with us for a few more years.
Teagan was born a happy, healthy, show dog. Diet and exercise were paramount to keeping her in tip top shape so we purchased only the highest quality foods and spent lots of time letting her fetch balls at the off leash park. However, being a show dog she could not be spayed and here is where our problems began… At 5 years old we found 3 little lumps the size of tic tac candies on her belly. These turned out to be breast cancer tumors – a common problem in unsprayed female dogs. These were removed and she was cancer free. Then at 7 we suspected spleen cancer so back under the knife she went only to discover the tumors were benign (yeah).
Life went on until December 2009 when Teagan turned 10. One evening she began to act very strange and kept going in and out of the house and she kept trying to throw up. Off we went to emergency and to our shock Teagan had bloat and a twisted stomach. We had always been so careful to elevate her food and water, feed her good quality food and not exercise her right after eating; so how could this be? We were devastated! But thanks to the amazing vets we have here in Calgary Teagan made a full recovery.
Alas, her problems did not end there. In early January 2010 we found some more tiny lumps on Teagan’s belly and once again we were faced with breast cancer. She had barely recovered from her surgery in December but we could not just sit and do nothing – doing nothing would have been a death sentence. So with our 10 year old fur-baby back under the knife we spent yet more heart breaking hours waiting for “the call”.
Our sweet, strong, Teagan thankfully pulled through again. So you would think that after all this we would deserve to have some peaceful, stress free, senior years but this is not to be. In April, during some routine follow up tests we discovered that Teagan is now in early stages of renal failure. Her kidneys are struggling but we caught it early. So with some additional support of probiotics and holistic pills we hope to be able to enjoy a few more years with our lovely Teagan.
On December 11, 2010 we celebrated Teagan’s 11th birthday. Although we have to watch her diet, we found a low protein, healthy, dog birthday cake at Tailblazers (thanks to the wonderful newsletters we get from Holly, Carie and Sara). Teagan was thrilled with her cake and her long visit to the off leash park that day in addition to a couple of extra walks. So we will treasure the time we have together because who knows what will come next.
Jake is an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix, born sometime in May 1998, and up until Jake turned six years, he was fed food like Pedigree or Purina, with Alpo thrown in if someone felt like splurging. It was around 2003-2004 that I began learning about dog nutrition and I finally decided it was time to get him on actual GOOD food. I was 16 years old, still living with my parents, but I was adamant that buying food from my weekly allowance was what I wanted. We started off small, feeding Nutro first, building up to Natural Balance, which was the best our city had to offer (at the time). What I REALLY wanted to feed was the top of the line stuff like Wellness and California Natural, but alas, this was not available here yet. Eventually, though, Tailblazers opened up a store in November 2004, I think it was. I dropped in about a month after it opened, with Jake, and was flabbergasted that here they were, the BIG guys, brands like Wellness, California Natural, Innova, Timberwolf Organics. I was in heaven! (I also want to note that I returned to the store a month later, without Jake in tow, and the owner of the store instantly recognized me and asked about Jake, which surprised me and stuck with me) He went right onto California Natural, pronto! Actually, it was the day he came home after ACL surgery that I bought the bag of CA Natural and began feeding it to him (I considered it a present). Jake has tried a variety of kibble brands and spent three years on a RAW diet. He is now 12 1/2 years old and can easily pass for, say, six years old. He's starting to get some gray hairs, and has begun looking a bit rough around the edges, but for twelve years old, he looks fantastic. Everyone comments on it, especially my parents who were so concerned about my outlandish ideas on buying expensive food. They can see now that I was telling the truth, and they’ll tell anyone else how much good food really does work for an animal. The cats are all sleek, shiny and soft as silk as well, and they comment on it practically every time they touch them.
As for Jake, when he was about six years old, he looked grizzled and rough, and had some weird patches on his head that were black on the outside (normal) but were a rusty brown color near the root. Once he started eating good food, those spots disappeared. Also, when he went in for ACL surgery in 2005, the vet discovered signs of advanced arthritis in the joint, but with Glucosamine, he’s now twelve years old and doesn’t show even a sign of a limp, even with the leg and his age. His body might be stiff upon first waking up on a cold winter morning, but he’ll shake it off and that’s it. He has some fatty tumors, but they’re all tiny little bumps. He only has one on his belly that’s about the size of a dollar coin, and a lump on his hip that was removed last week. All in all, everyone who asks about my dog while on walks are always taken aback when I tell them how old he is. His energy backs it up. He may be a “senior,” but he doesn’t know it. He’s still clocking in the hours while working to keep our cats in line. All day long, he’s just waiting for one of the cats to misbehave, and then off Jake goes, squealin’ and prancin’ and thundering his feet and tail to beat the band! Suppertime is a noisy affair, with one cat hollering for her food, another leaping on the counter to help herself, yet another cat is roaming aimlessly in another room, and Jake is running back and forth between all of them. You should hear his “Rooorff!!” of horror the first time Buffy leaps on the counter, and then again when she leaps on the refrigerator. He’s not “slow-and-steady,” he’s “go-go-go!” all day long. Part of that is because of his breed, but I’m absolutely certain that part is also due to the effect his food has had on his body.
The top picture is Jake in 2004, and the bottom picture is Jake now!
Kona is a 12 year old Golden Retriever who has had an amazing and eventful life. Kona contributed to her community while living in Vancouver and worked for Metro Vancouver Regional District Parks for 4 years, patrolling as a Dog Ambassador, alongside her owner who patrolled Parks and educated dog owners on proper etiquette in Parks (Pacific Spirit Regional Park). Kona won over many of the Park users and the Parks staff. Kona has had a very active life, hiking and walking in Vancouver, Calgary, and Banff and Canmore. When Kona was 11, she was diagnosed with a mast cell tumour on her leg. At the time, Kona was living in Vancouver and had surgery to remove the tumour. On a visit to Calgary in January 2010, Kona visited the C.A.R.E centre where she had a full workup to make sure she was cancer free. The news was good. Kona and her owners moved to Calgary in April 2010 and Kona's health has improved greatly since moving here. Kona’s owners believe Trail Blazers and the dry Calgary weather has helped Kona's health improve and they regularly visit Tail Blazers for Kona’s healthy food and treats.
Kona and Nichola
Just thought I’d share my “senior tale”. Bruno, a 9 year old newfie / golden cross, came into the rescue organization I volunteer with after a local vet refused to euthanize him, asking instead, for permission to work with rescue as alternative to ending his life.
Bruno came to us lethargic, overweight, painful in his back end, seriously grumpy and with an awful coat made worse by all of the matting. A trip to the vet determined he was: a) overweight; and b) suffering from hypothyroidism, explaining many of his ailments. We started medication to treat the thyroid disorder and to alleviate the pain he felt with movement. In addition to the medication, we started him on good food, short walks and regular groomings. The combination of all have resulted in a total change in his behavior, his happiness and his interaction with those around him.
In August 2010 we adopted Bruno on his one year anniversary of being our foster! We couldn’t be happier to be his forever family!
Thanks for the chance to share our story!
My name is Belinda and this is my story on my senior dog Buddy. He is going to be 10 years old this coming week.
Buddy has lived with us since he was about 1 years old. He is a very active dog, very loyale, kind and loves to play. He is starting to get up in age 10 years this coming week. He has a lot of gray around his face and he sleeps more during the day. How we keep our senior pet healthy and young at heart is by a few things I would like to say first is his partner in crime, my nephew, he so adores Buddy. Everytime when my nephew is over Buddy has the chance to play with him. Buddy loves to play with toys balls, his favourite toy is the ones that squeaks.
Buddy loves to go for walks he knows the word “walk” and will whine like a baby till we take him out. we also have another dog a quieter type female Sheena but they get along so well. So this is my story how we keep Buddy our senior healthy and young at heart, with the love he gives us and the love we give back, his daily walks and play time has surely pleased us all.
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