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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dandy Dog Books:
Your Dog's Golden Years

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© Jennifer Kachnic
My Golden is quite the ham. He's not yet a senior, as you would quickly glean if you saw him at the dog park. I've been asked if he is part Greyhound when folks see him run like the wind. 

Today I'm sharing a new book that may appeal to those of you with dogs who have reached their 'Golden' years: Your Dog's Golden Years, by Jennifer Kachnic. Jennifer owns Canine Wellness in Colorado where she provides alternative therapies. In her book, she and 19 other canine experts share their tips on helping your senior dog live a healthier, more comfortable life using natural and complementary options.

When I perused the table of contents I immediately knew this is a book I MUST read, if only to improve my management of Tanner and Oliver's senior years. It's not that I did a bad job of handling Xena's golden years, but I knew I could learn more. I highly recommend this book to all of you who anticipate having a senior dog in your life at some point. Read it now; read it early; be prepared.

You'll find the book at, Amazon, and other online bookstores. Money saving tip: Currently the book is $2 cheaper at the website than at Amazon. If you're into the local market, check your bookshops and ask if they have it in stock or can order it. Check your library as well. It doesn't matter how you get it, just get it! Your dog will need you to have read this sooner than you think.

Your Dog's Golden Years is a 'How To' book, a genre that always get my motor running. Sounds geeky, I know. But I love learning better ways to solve problems, and this book is packed with tips for making sure your older Fido is getting his needs met. 

I loved the first chapter's way of getting the ball rolling. Written in Claude's voice, the book's spokesdog, I learned a few new ways to help me tune into pain or discomfort. For instance:

  • A dog in pain may lie under furniture or away from its owner. If this is an unusual behavior, take notice.
  • A sudden change in temperament when you ask for a particular behavior can be your dog's way of saying "I don't want to do that because it hurts".
  • During long walks, note when your dog begins to slow down, sit down, or simply stop. He's letting you know that this is too much for him. Maybe it's time to modify your route and shorten it up.
  • Changes in eating often indicate lessened ability to taste or smell; add variation with toppings that appeal to the senses for better appetite.
  • Digestive issues often plague older dogs. Serving calming foods and offering more frequent trips outside will handle these problems for a while.
  • With less energy and activity, many senior dogs gain excessive weight. Owners may want to reduce their rations accordingly to keep their weight at a healthy level.
  • When decreasing your dog's intake, consider supplementation, not only for his regular nutrition, but also for any health issue that he could be prone to. Check with your vet for input.
  • Stress caused by pain is sometimes reflected in body language or signals--yawning, lip-licking, excessive grooming. Pay attention when you see these signs.
Note that if any of these behaviors have been normal throughout your dog's life, then they are not necessarily a communication of discomfort. What you're really watching for are changes in behavior, even if only small ones.

Jennifer's book includes a very wide range of alternative therapies, written by experts in their fields. You'll find many options here, allowing you to select for trial those methods you feel best match your dog's needs and your comfort level in assisting. This reference book is one you'll probably wish to keep for years to come. It will serve as a guide for each dog, as they all have their own quirky way of handling life's little hiccups. 

I hope you enjoy learning some new ways to care for your senior. Watch for a giveaway of this terrific book, starting tomorrow. Happy tails!

Want to learn more? Check out the book's Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

The giveaway mentioned here is being provided by Jennifer Kachnic as a promotional opportunity. I have not been paid to offer the giveaway or share my opinions about the book.


Amber said...

Sounds like a good read. I'm hitting 13 this year and although I would be considered a senior, I'm hoping the best years are here to come!

Unknown said...

You're right. This IS a "must read," but I'm really having a hard time reading this book after losing Dannyboy only last year. So much of it reminds me of him and the way he acted the last couple of years. I can only read a few pages a day--until something hits me and I start crying. I wish I'd had this book the last couple of years of his life.

I really wish I'd known about some of these therapies for him. I'm hoping that they're commonplace in our area by the time Vlad & Barkly get old. I'll be keeping it prominently in the bookcase so that I'll have it to refer back to in about 9 years.

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