Watching a beloved pet age can be a painful process. Joints start creaking, tempers get short, and the sheer goofiness of the puppy you brought home years ago may disappear entirely. Your Older Dog
makes this stage of your dog's life easier through some basic education. Author Jean Callahan has compiled more than 100 pages of information on exercise, nutrition, and common health concerns that you'll find helpful in easing your pup's journey from middle age to the end.
The book begins by walking you through the aging process, complete with average life expectancy for various breeds and a simple healthy-dog checklist. Clear skin and shiny coat? No unfortunate accidents after years of being successfully housetrained? Sounds like you've got a healthy dog. The section on age-related changes goes a bit deeper into specific problems to prepare for, such as urinary tract difficulties, periodontal disease, and arthritis, which are also discussed in detail later in the book. The chapter discussing alternative healing for canines covers herbs, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, and chiropractors. Even if these treatments are difficult to find in your neck of the woods, the author provides helpful tips that you can try at home, such as applying a mint-filled collar for flea deterrence using nothing more than some fabric and some fresh mint.
Suggestions for exercise and nutrition will teach you ways to make sure your dog is having her changing requirements met. Like humans, dogs require fewer calories as they age, so you may need to examine her diet as well. Death and grieving are discussed sensitively, with tips for easing the process for all surviving family members. It may be true that all good things must end, but there is no reason they can't end well. --Jill Lightner
About the Author
Dog lover, author, and freelance health writer Jean Callahan
has contributed to five books and written articles for Self, Glamour, Parenting,
and other national magazines. She has also written and produced many newsletters on health and pets. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts.