Sunday, August 15, 2010

Senior Dogs

Every February I go to a vet conference that is in my area. It's one of the bigger events, and so we're lucky to have 1-2 behavior tracks every day. There's occasionally great behavior speakers in the shelter track or the vet tech track too.

Much of the focus is on behavior problem treatment and puppy/kitten training/prevention of problems. Sometimes there are talks about nutrition and behavior or working with trainers and enrichment.

Last year, there were more than one talks emphasizing an overlooked aspect of companion animal behavior: the treatment and prevention of senior cognitive dysfunction/decline.

There was a lot of vet-pertinent information given (nutrition, diagnosing cognitive dysfunction, medication options) and a lot that's appropriate for me to pass on to students either directly or to comment on even for those in class with puppies (food toys are great ---forever!).

A few of those points:
- Appropriate exercise.
- Learning new behaviors is good, and important, even for senior well behaved pets.
- Enrichment activities (food toys, new scents, walks in other locations).
- New experiences (places, learning things, different toys and chews...)

I'm trying to be good about adding and keeping these things as part of Blaze's life, even though he's far from a normal senior dog to start with!

Off to the tug workshop and to get Blaze's new meds.

No comments: