Aging Dog Care & Top Dog Breeds

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Is your “top dog” a senior citizen canine?

Join the crowd! Fifty percent of owners share their hearts with pets age 7 or older. Modern veterinary care helps many dogs stay healthy a decade or more, and small dogs sometimes double that and age gracefully well into their twenties.

A longer life increases the odds dogs develop “old fogy” problems, though. Medical help is important, but you can keep your old-timer happy and healthy with simple and/or inexpensive tips for dealing with eight common aging dog issues.

The fine folks including Gina Misiroglu of Red Room care about aging pets, too, and gave me a canine connection with Paw Nation (a great help to bring attention to Red Room and its authors). Please click over to read aging dog home care tips for arthritis, incontinence, senility and more at Paw Nation.

Some breeds are more prone to specific health issues whether they’re an old fogy or youngster. Some of that has to do with breed popularity. Recently the American Kennel Club announced its Top Ten most popular dog breed list.

German Shepherd came in second. WHAT? At my house, the Magical-dawg believes all GSD (and him in particular) should be top dog! But for the second year in a row the top three spots remain the same, with Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, and Yorkshire Terrier securely in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. (Magic still thinks it’s fixed).

The AKC says this year the Beagle swiped the 4th spot from the Golden Retriever, now ranked 5th, and the Bulldog took the 6th spot away from the Boxer. The remaining top ten breeds are Dachshund in 8th place, Poodle in 9th and Shih Tzu 10th.

The French Bulldog made a surprising leap for a little doggy with such short legs—and jumped from 50th to 21st. That’s the largest jump in popularity in the last decade! Don’t get me wrong, this is a great breed—but I suspect a recent popular moving featuring the little guy might have had something to do with it.

Other dog breeds have had similar rise in popularity when media made them famous. Remember the Taco Bell Chihuahua, celebrity “pocket pooches” and Beverly Hills Chihuahua? It was like a giant piñatas filled with the little dogs broke open and people just had to have the prize inside–rescue organizations still deal with the aftermath.

Similarly, 101 Dalmatians and to a lesser extent Snow Dogs (sled dogs) brought focus to these breeds, while the TV show Frazier helped popularize the Jack Russell (now called Parson’s) Terrier.  When a dog breed becomes overly popular, unscrupulous people become tempted to cash in, and start breeding simply to satisfy perceived demand. The attention to health and sound temperament, the hallmark of responsible breeders, falls by the wayside with these show-me-the-money folks.

While I want everyone to admire Magic and love the German shepherd as a breed, I’m the first to say that this is not a breed for everyone! There is no “universal” one-size-fits-all dog breed (or cat breed, for that matter).

The “top dog” in your life is the canine who makes your heart sing, fits your lifestyle, and becomes part of your family—whether he has a mile-long pedigree or an unknown history. And if you want to make a purebred dog your best friend, don’t let popularity sway you from doing your research. The Westminster Kennel Club Show will air February 14-15 and provide a great snapshot history and look at over a hundred breeds.

I’ll be watching with Magic beside me, on the sofa, and rooting for the German Shepherd. But then again, maybe coming in second isn’t such a bad thing.

Woofs & wags,

amy

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