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Pets For Seniors: Choosing a Companion

By guest blogger Jessica Brody

Are you a senior interested in getting a pet? There are lots of benefits to doing so, from companionship in times of need to mental and physical health benefits. These four points will help you prepare your home, and your lifestyle, for a new addition by making the right choices about type, size, breed, and age.

Pet Type

To start, you need to think carefully about the type of animal you want to bring into your home. Choosing the right pet will guarantee a comfortable and pleasant experience for both parties.

First and foremost, think about the environment you will be able to provide for your pet. Do you live in a house or an apartment? An apartment may call for a smaller animal, such as a bird, a cat, or a hamster. A house may provide enough room for a dog.

Next, ask yourself how much energy you can devote to your pet on a day-to-day basis. If you need a significant amount of time for self-care, or require ongoing assistance, a low maintenance pet may be the best option. If you find that you are generally comfortable caring for your own health and home, a cat or dog are possible pets.

Finally, think long and hard about how long you will able to be the primary caregiver for a pet. Does the idea of ten or fifteen years seem daunting? A young cat or dog may not be the best solution. However, if your health is strong and you have experience handling pets, an animal with a long lifespan may be worth it.

Having trouble making a decision? This article from Best Friends can help you choose the right pet for your home.

Pet Size

The next step is thinking about the size of your pet. This is especially important for dogs, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Do you want a small, medium, or large animal?

A small animal could be a bird, a guinea pig, a turtle, a fish, or a rabbit. These animals all live in cages and are generally easy to monitor. A medium animal could be a small dog or a cat, both of which require far more responsibility. A large animal is usually a dog, such as a Labrador Retriever or a Husky.

Consider these options and ask yourself which size works best for your home and your lifestyle.

Pet Breed

Rarely does breed make a significant difference when it comes to small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, turtles, or fish. However, if you plan on getting a bird, a cat, or a dog, the specific breed you choose can change your experience completely.

The best thing you can do is thoroughly research your options. There are dozens of breeds to choose from, so this could take several weeks to decide.

Pet Age

Once you’ve decided on a pet type, size, and breed, you need to think about age. This depends mostly on how long you believe you’ll be able to care for your pet - in addition to the amount of time you have to put into training.

As a senior, this is likely not the best time to invest in a puppy or a kitten. Instead, you might want to consider visiting a shelter and saving the life of a growing dog or cat. Rescue animals can range from one to ten years in age and often make the best companions.

For smaller animals such as rodents or fish, you should feel comfortable starting young. You can, however, rescue guinea pigs from shelters across the country.

Think carefully about these four factors before choosing your new companion, and you’ll build the foundation for a healthy owner-pet relationship that will last for years to come.


Meow do we love thee, Mom...

Bad hair day? Mom doesn't care.

Feeling sad? She's got you.

Getting rowdy with your pals? No big deal.

Curiosity and all that? No worries here.

  Bed time stories help you sleep? "Once upon a time..."

Who's a derpy boy? You, and mom loves you for it!

Not feeling so hot? Mom'll make it all better.

Who forgives you when you make mistakes? Mom does, that's who.

Who will let her own arm fall asleep so as not to wake you?
Mom, that's who!

 And most important: NOBODY snuggles better than mom!


Rawhide - The Dangerous Chew

By contributor Lyndsay Marvin

There’s a dog chew toy on the market that may seem harmless; but don’t let it fool you, it’s dangerous.

We’re talking about rawhide.









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Photo made by: Rodney Habib

Rawhide is made by splitting cattle hide. The outside part is made into leather, and the inside (the raw part) becomes rawhide. At first glance, consumers don’t see anything wrong with it. Dogs are naturally interested in rawhide, and if your dog has ever had it, you know s/he loves it! It’s branded as a natural product, so what could be the problem?

Well, the problem is the way it’s made (and the serious issues it can cause).

First, the hides are sent for chemical processing to preserve it (i.e. prevent spoiling). They’re soaked in an ash-lye solution or a highly toxic recipe of sodium sulphide liming.

“This process will help strip the hair and fat that maybe attached to the hides themselves,” according to Dogs Naturally Magazine. The extra rawhide is made into human products such as glue and gelatin.

The hides are then turned white with bleach and hydrogen peroxide (after all, hide isn’t naturally white). Artificial dyes and colors are used to turn the rawhide into different colors and smells.






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“In the case of bubble-gum flavoring alone, the Material Safety Data Sheet reveals a toxic confection containing the carcinogen FD&C Red 40, along with preservatives like sodium benzoate. But tracking the effects of chemical exposure is nearly impossible when it’s a matter of slow, low-dose poisoning,” according to The Bark.

Other things that can found in rawhide are arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, and even parts of dog skin (usually from Thailand). So basically, your dog could be eating his fellow friends. It’s incredibly disturbing.

As if this entire process isn’t bad enough, rawhide can also cause blockages and choking. Pieces of rawhide that are too large can get stuck easily in the dog’s digestive system. Often times, emergency surgery needs to be done to remove those pieces. Unfortunately, the surgery isn’t 100% successful.

There are so many dangers associated with rawhide, yet it’s found in almost every grocery and pet store. It’s important to become familiar with these dangers, so that rawhide will (hopefully) no longer harm our furry loved ones.