Senior Dogs

Senior Dogs - 5 ways to keep them safe and healthy on a walk

5 ways to keep senior dogs safe and healthy on a walk

Just lately I’ve seen a lot of senior dogs out and about being walked by their owners.

I’m not saying there are more senior dogs out than normal. I think I just notice them more because I’m the owner of a senior dog.

In fact the age range of a senior dog is really quite wide. Many class a dog as a senior when they hit 7 years, which seems young. But in good old dog years (1 dog year = 7 human years) this makes the dog 49.

But you can actually break this down depending on the size of a dog. It’s well known that giant breed dogs don’t live as long as small dogs.

So you can use the following as a rule of thumb for your dog reaching senior citizenship:

Small dog: 11 years

Medium dog: 10 years

Large dog: 8 years

Giant breed dogs: 7 years

senior dog resting

What’s been troubling me lately is that I keep seeing senior dogs out on walks falling over. It literally breaks my heart.

The one that really got me was a dog that had a poo on the pavement then proceeded to stand up and staggered and fell into his own poo.

The dog had two owners with him so they were able to get him up and wipe him down. But what a horrible situation to be in.

Firstly it makes you stare the hard truth in the face. Your dog is getting older and approaching the final stage of their life and they are struggling.

Yes we can see that over the years they’ve got grey hairs spouting on their muzzles, they may be sleeping more, they could have arthritis.

But nothing wakes you up to the fact that your dog is old when they struggle to get up or walk.

Senior dogs

I've got 5 tips to help your senior dog enjoy walks that won't hurt them.

Take them to the vets. Only your vet can really assess whether your dog is in pain. Most of our dogs are very stoic and we can’t tell if they are in pain. Any signs of pain they give are so subtle that us mere dog owners will miss.

Our dogs will also carry on walking or running because they like it. They will not think to themselves, hang on I think I need to rest up. Your vet can advise you if your dog needs medication to manage their pain.

Supplements. Cod liver oil is great for us and our old bones and it’s great for dogs too. There are so many supplements for dogs. I have seen amazing results with Yumove. It does take around 6 weeks to work but can work wonders.

I like to give my dog sardines in oil once a week. Both the fish and oil help with keeping him supple plus it’s cheap and easily available. Sardine Sunday’s are a winner here! If your dog has any specific medical condition, on regular medication or allergies then you check with your vet first before starting any supplements.

Stop pounding the pavements. Pop your dog in the car (now might also be the time to look at a ramp for your dog to get into the car) and drive to a place where you can get straight onto grass.

If a dog does fall then grass is a much safer place for them to do so. This is essential if your dog is wobbly on its paws.

Have a rest day. I can not say this enough, no dog needs to go for a walk everyday. And this is certainly true for a senior dog that is struggling. Take them out one day and then have a day off.

With older dogs you rarely have to worry that they are going to destroy your house because they haven’t had enough exercise. You can play brain games with your dog on a rest day, but chances are they will be sleeping. Senior dogs sleep as much as a puppy.

I know that you probably got a dog so that you could enjoy long walks together but you need to face facts that your dog won’t be able to manage those long walks now. Enjoy the shorter walks and remember the long ones. Don’t force an old dog that is wobbly on its legs for a long walk just because it’s what you have always done.

Use a dog stroller. If your older dog really is struggling to walk then use a dog specific stroller. Your dog will appreciate seeing the sights and fresh smells but without causing him any further discomfort. You can get strollers of various sizes. It’s always worth looking on selling sites for one.

Old dog laying down

My own dog is almost 14. Everyday is a blessing to have him still with me. He can’t run like he use to or walk great lengths. His stamina has gone. But we have sporadic short walks, trips in the car and plenty of brain games. He is happy. He loves his little outings but they do tire him out.

As much as I don’t want him to be old, he is and I’ve had to adapt how to care for him. Have you adapted the care of your dog so that it suits his age?

You can get your FREE copy of my ebook ‘Engage & Entertain’ here. It’s full of brain games that have all been tested out on my 13 year old dog.  Tea towel surprise is his favourite!

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, Woofers Dog Services,  she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. Sally is also the author of  “The Lockdown Dog” and “Dazzle Your Dog” You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

Dog Walking and Training Haverhill

4 ways to protect your puppy from dog theft

Dog theft is on the rise - is your dog safe?

One of the things that has been on the rise as we come out of lockdown is dog theft. In particular puppies are being stolen in high quantities.

Lockdown saw a huge demand for puppies. For many prospective pet owners, it was the ideal time to welcome a puppy into their homes.

Most people were at home, either working from home or on furlough which meant puppy wasn’t on their own for too long, which is ideal when you are teaching puppy a new routine, toilet training and generally how to be a good pup!

Sadly, this meant that some unscrupulous people saw this as a way to make money. And lots of it. Prices of puppies ridiculously increased due to the demand, simultaneously causing dog theft to rise.  In fact, according to Dog Lost there was a 65% rise in dog thefts during lockdown compared with last year.

So, what can you do to protect your puppy?  I have come up with 4 ways for you to help keep puppy safe.

haverhill puppy

1. Don't splash them all over social media

I know they are incredibly cute, and you want everyone to see your beautiful fur baby but you could potentially put your pet at risk.

Instead, why not set up a private Facebook group. You can invite trusted friends and family to see your puppy’s adventures that way.

Or set up an Instagram page for your pet. Just make sure your location is never shown on the post and be careful about giving away your location in photos. Of course, you could always make your account private.

And be careful with hashtags. If you are wondering what hashtags are, they are basically an easy way to find what you are looking for on the internet. So if you use a hashtag such as #newpuppy you could be making it easier for them to be targeted.

dog theft haverhill

2. Make sure you never leave your dog unattended in the garden

Yes you want them to go out as they need to but you have to keep an eye on them.  Always. A lot of dog thefts are opportunistic. You could be busy on the phone, puppy is in the garden and suddenly they are gone.

Gardens are the most likely place for dogs to be stolen for. Which is just awful. The Pet Theft Census reveals that 52% off dogs are stolen from gardens.

Likewise make sure your garden in secure. Don’t just rely on a bolt at the top of your garden. Put a padlock on it. Then add another bolt and padlock further down your gate where no arm can reach over to.

Whilst you are making it secure make sure that you have got lights in your garden to.  Security camera can get on your nerves by keep going on and off, but they do that for a purpose.

If you have a low fence, then now is the time to invest in a 6ft fence.

Puppy security

3. Set up a security system

I know it seems a bit drastic but you have no doubt paid a lot of money for your puppy so pay out a bit more to keep them secure.

Set up a security camera on the approach to your house. Depending on what sort of house you have then you certainly should consider adding more cameras to the side and back of the house.

At the very least put up some dummy cameras and out notices up on your back gate and fence to say your property is protected but take down any that say you have a dog.

dog theft suffolk

4. Be vigilant on walks

As I said earlier most puppy thefts are opportunistic so walks out are just as much of a threat.

Make sure puppy has a dog tag on (it’s the law – you can read more about that here.) It maybe an idea to have a couple of tags so that you can hear puppy jingling when they move.

Only let puppy of the lead if they have unquestionable recall. Can they resist the lure of steak from an unknown person?

Take your puppy to a secure dog field for off the lead fun. Go to local classes to work up to that awesome recall. In the meantime use a long lead for a bit of leeway.

Our duty of care to our dogs are to keep them safe. Especially more so to a vulnerable, unworldly young puppy. Yes you may have to invest to keep your puppy safe, but wouldn’t you rather they were with you all their life than just for a few weeks?

We cover recall in all our puppy and adult dog classes.  It’s never too late to work on recall.  Find out more about our classes here

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. Sally is also the author of  “The Lockdown Dog.” You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

Dog Walking and Training Haverhill

Dog Tags – The Truth

I’ve been looking online for an identity tag for Frank.  I began to wonder what actually should be on them.  I asked friends and family and everyone had something different to say. People were split on whether you should have your dog’s name on it or not.  Some people seem to think now you have the microchip law you don’t need a tag.  Others would tell me it was owners choice.  I needed something a bit more concrete.  So I researched it and today I am sharing my findings with you.

The Truth

It is the law that every dog must have a tag. If you choose for your dog to not wear a collar you need to ensure that your dog, at least, wears one in public. The Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved on it, or engraved on a tag.  Your telephone is optional but considering that this law was passed in 1992 and mobile phones were only starting to make an appearance, I would highly recommend you put a contact number on it.

So what about putting your dog’s name on the tag?  Well according to the law its optional.  There are 2 opinions.  The first one is that if your dog got lost the person who found your dog would be able to help it settle if they know its name.  Then there is the flip side.  If your dog was stolen it could easily be sold on as it would react to its name and the potential new owner would not suspect that the dog was stolen.  So it’s your choice whether you put a name on the tag or not.

Did I mention you can be fined if your dog does not have an identification tag?  You can be fined up to £5000.  Dog tags are cheap, you can get them of Ebay, Amazon or at your local Timpsons. 

An example of what to put on the tag (by law) is:

Mr A Smith, No 54, BH17 7TD 01202 232218

Or

Mr A Smith, No 54 Letsbe Avenue, BH17 7TD 01202 232218

I’ve now ordered new tags for all my dogs, they cost me £4.80 each of Ebay,  and I have put the following on mine (but with my details):

IF I AM OUT ALONE I AM LOST PLEASE FIND MY OWNER: SMITH 54/BH17 7TD 01202 232218

Happy tag shopping, and whilst you are getting one done why not get a spare one done at the same time.

Love Sally xx

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

Dog Walking and Training Haverhill

Your guide to keeping your dog safe at night

There is no getting away from in, the nights are starting to creep in.  At the end of this week the clocks go back, and we will all probably have to walk our dogs in the dark at some point.  Dark dog walks bring their own pros and cons.  Personally, I love a crisp frosty walk early in the morning before the sun has risen, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea!

I’m lucky that I don’t have to walk my dog, Frank, in the dark.  I’ve also worked my business so that I don’t walk any of my customers dogs in the dark either.  For me personally, I can’t keep a dog safe if I can’t see all around me.  As I walk dogs that are reactive (including my own) it’s really important to have a clear view so that I can distract the dog I’m walking, if need be, or move in a different direction.

If you walk your dog off lead, then this makes dark walks a bit more challenging but not impossible.  There are plenty of hi vis coats, collars and leads available for your dog.  There are also lights that you can clip on to your dog’s collar.  It might also be worth putting an extra tag, or something that will make a noise when your dog is moving round so you can at least hear them. 

If you are going out for a walk with just you and your dog at night, try and always let somewhere know where you are and how long you will be out for.  There are different kind of apps for your phone so that it can be tracked if that makes you feel safer.  It is best practise to walk in an area with street lights, but always worthwhile popping a small torch in your pocket or think about a head lamp (I know what you are thinking, sexy!) This is also a time when you should not have earphones in.

Although you may not be able to walk your dog off lead, when it is dark,  it’s much better to be safe.  Your dog can and will benefit from a walk on lead.  Keep the long walks off lead to the weekend or when you can get out in the daylight.

If your job means that you won’t see daylight during the working week, now is the perfect time to think about a dog walker. A dog walker can get your dog out in the daylight and let your dog off lead, if applicable. Yes, it will cost you some money, but you will be giving your dog an adventure rather than just a stroll round the dark pathways.

We have already talked about what you can buy for your dog to be seen, but what about you? You could wear something that has got reflective material on it.  Lots of sportswear has this on. Think about appropriate footwear for dark walks.  You may not always see what is on the ground so footwear that is flat and has a grip on will help.

Here are some links to reflective dog collars, collar lights and hi-vis jackets for dogs just for ideas, always do your research for what is best for your dog. The ones shown are just a very small selection that are available.  Many retailers sell similar products.

Reflective dog collar

Reflective coat

Lights for dog collars

Please keep you and your dog safe.

Love Sally xx

Dog Walking and Training Haverhill

Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!  

After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.

Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. You can also find Sally chatting as a guest  on dog related podcasts.

Why you need to stop walking your dog in the afternoon heat

Hot weather brings out the worst in people in my humble opinion.

We are all feeling hot, sweaty, had enough of the bugs and tired because it’s too hot to sleep which makes some of us a bit grumpy. Me included.

However what the heat also does to some people is that it fries their brains and renders them unable to make a sensible, informed decision.

This is now my fourth summer as a professional dog walker and I’m still seeing the same stupid and irresponsible actions taken by some dog owners.

On my page earlier this week I talked about a woman walking her long haired German Shepherd dog in the afternoon. And it was hot, bloody hot let me tell you.

However, playing devils advocate I suggested that the woman was under the belief that the hottest part of the day was between 12 and 2. Doctors and sun cream makers have been ramming it down our throats for years to stay out of the sun during those times. So it stands to reason that we may believe that to be the hottest time.

In fact it’s the time the sun is at is strongest. The hottest part of the day is actually between 3-4pm. If you think of the sun as an portable heater, go on just for me! Now that heater is on full whack. It’s at the top of the stairs.

You are at the bottom of the stairs. It’s warm but it’s bearable even though it’s on full whack because it’s way above you.

Now imagine that heater on full whack on the fourth step from the bottom. Chances are that you are going to be feeling pretty hot now as it’s in your face.

As the sun moves from its midday position it warms the ground up more. By 3-4pm the temperature is at its hottest. The sun’s heat has been building up since midday and more heat is present at the surface than what is leaving it.

So potentially you could be causing your dog more damage on an afternoon walk than a lunchtime walk, depending on the overall temperature of course.

What should you do then?

How about not walking them? I know it’s a crazy concept isn’t it, especially from someone who earns her living from walking dogs.

And yes I have lost money this week. It’s a fine balance between the welfare of the dogs and earning enough money to pay the bills.

Keep your knickers on though. Of course, dog welfare comes first. I take into account things like owners going on holiday, being ill and extreme weather, and I charge my prices accordingly.

Some dog walkers don’t and maybe that’s why they still walk the dogs in the crazy hot heat. Devils advocate again. I need to stop making excuses for them, they have obviously lost their minds. 

I’ve heard some dog walkers say that the owners haven’t asked them not to walk their dog. Well big fat face slap to them idiots. 

Yes they are idiots. And not very business savvy. I have it in my contract with my owners about extreme weather. Unless an owner cancels their dogs walk then it will be my decision on whether that walk goes ahead.

I don’t lose one bit of sleep over it either (mainly because it’s too hot to sleep, but you know what I mean!)

For me it’s simple, I treat my owners dogs like I treat my own. You must realise how attached we become to the dogs we regularly walk. I talk all the time about relationship building and it’s not just the dog being comfortable with us. 

For that half hour, 45 minutes or 60 minutes that dog is mine. My mate, my companion, my responsibility, my everything. 

So it stands to reason that I’m going to do right by them. I’m lucky that I have a great relationship with my owners as well. Not one of them has ever had to ask me not to walk their dog.

Because I’ve already made that decision and they respect that I’m doing it out of care and welfare for their dogs.

There are plenty of blogs and articles out there about how to keep your dog cool. 

I have to be different. The message isn’t getting through. 

For me it’s about realising that you don’t need to walk your dog in this heat even if you or the dog wants it.

I grew up on that saying “I wants, don’t gets.”

It’s all about the dogs needs, and they can happily survive without a walk.

If I’m prepared to lose money, and I’m not talking the odd fiver here, for the welfare of a dog then you should take my advice and keep your dog at home.

They won’t die. They literally won’t die from not walking. If you do decide to walk them please set your alarm and take them out real early. 6am is a beautiful time to walk your dog on those toasty days. And don’t forget to take plenty of water with you. For your dog. They might let you have a slurp if you give them your best human eyes!

Love, Sally xx