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Bold Strokes: Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Wish your pooch could pop a breath mint? Better step up his dental care. Contrary to popular belief, dog breath isn’t supposed to stink. If it does, it could be a sign of gum disease.

To keep Max’s mouth in optimal health, the best thing you can do is brush, brush, brush.

Like their human companions, dogs can have gingivitis, receding gums, and even tooth loss from too much tartar buildup, so regular cleanings are a must. To make the experience go as smoothly as possible, follow these simple steps:

Buy the right brush: Get a doggie toothbrush, which is smaller and has softer bristles. You can also opt for one that fits right over your fingertips. For toothpaste, buy one that’s made specifically for your furry friend -- the human stuff can upset their tummies.

Prepare your pal: To get your dog comfortable with having his mouth touched, gently massage his lips. Next, dab them with a little toothpaste so he’ll get accustomed to the taste. (See if he’ll lick some off your fingers; if he does, reward him with a treat!)

Make your move: Gently lift up his lips, and hold the brush to his teeth at a 45-degree angle. Using small strokes, start by cleaning the upper canines, then finish the rest from top to bottom. Don’t fret about brushing the tooth’s inner surface -- doing the front is enough to tackle tartar.

Along with home brushing, your vet may recommend regular professional cleanings. Clean teeth and healthy gums can add approximately 3-5 years to your dog's life!

Thursday Apr 8th - 2010

Pets For Life


Walking a dog has potentially greater health benefits as a buffer against stress in senior citizens than walking without a dog.


 seniors walking dog in park


As Australia’s over-65 population increases, there is growing interest in supporting older people to continue as active and healthy members of society. According to the latest research, pet ownership is an important part of doing just that. Walking a dog has potentially greater health benefits as a buffer against stress in senior citizens than walking without a dog according to a report published in the Medical Journal of Australia in January 2006. These latest benefits of dog ownership among older people are not surprising according to Associate Professor Eleonora Gullone, from Psychologists for the Promotion of Animal Welfare.


“Owning a pet has clearly been shown to have health and well-being benefits for the general population and for older people it is shown to have specific positive benefits." Studies of the elderly have shown that older pet owners visit the doctor less often and take less medication than non-pet owners.


In fact, a landmark study published in the Medical Journal of Australia in 1992 showed that pet owners had significantly lower risk factors for cardiovascular disease than did non-owners,” says Dr Gullone. “Pets can also help the elderly feel they are a part of the social fabric. Caring for a dog involves taking it for a walk. This is thought to be the reason that older people who have contact with a pet are less likely to report feeling lonely and are less likely to visit their doctor.”


Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that more than 13 per cent of Australians were aged 65 years and over at 30 June 2005 and the median age of Australians is steadily increasing. Dr Gullone notes that some elderly people feel concerned about whether they will be able to continue to care for their pet as they get older. “There are now innovative programs, such as the Pet Companion Program run by Knox Community Volunteers, which support older people and people with a disability in caring for their pets including co-ordinating vet visits, bathing, grooming and walking dogs.


This can be of great benefit for someone who is concerned about their ability to manage a pet. Australia is a nation of pet lovers. It is estimated that 64% of the 7.5 million households in Australia have some type of pet and 52% of these households own either a dog or a cat.


Over many years, Australian and international research has shown that owning pets can help improve a person’s mental and physical health; reduce the effects of stress; help children learn about responsibility; facilitate social interaction between people, and build a sense of community.


“It also seems that some of the accommodation options that are specifically designed for older people are acknowledging the importance of companion animals either by having a resident pet or encouraging visiting pet programs. It is clear that our pets create significant medical, social, and psychological benefits and for many people, pet ownership is a relationship that they want to continue throughout their life,” says Dr Gullone.


Saturday Apr 3rd - 2010

Benefits Of Dogs To The Elderly


Within the past 10 years, one of the main reasons animal therapy has become an extremely popular therapeutic option with consistently positive outcome is because animals provide a constant source of comfort and focus for attention. They have the natural ability to make people feel safe, accepted, loved and needed. Having an animal around, even occassionally, can help to eliviate lonliness and depression, and provide a welcome change from routine or distraction from pain and infirmity. People often talk to dogs and share with them their thoughts, feelings and memories. While petting encourages use of hands and arms, stretching and turning, stroking a dog can also reduce a person’s blood pressure.


A dog can make it easier for two strangers to talk, by providing a common interest or a focus for conversation. Many people in hospitals or group homes have had to give up pet ownership, and they miss the casual acceptance a pet gives them because a dog pays little attention to age or physical ability, but rather completely accepts people as they are. More and more research is showing that owning a dog can have a positive impact on the life of an elderly person, and can provide a variety of health benefits and a greater sense of well being. The following are just some of the advantages of dog ownership for seniors:

Seniors with dogs are more physically active:
Researchers have shown that elderly pet owners were more likely to be active than non-pet owners. A dog benefits from a daily walk and this may be just the impetus an elderly person needs to get out of bed in the morning and start moving. Seniors with dogs go for more walks and are generally more active than those without dogs, and they often find it easier to make new friends.

Seniors with dogs feel less isolated and alone:
A loving and affectionate dog can help an elderly person feel less isolated from the rest of the world, and provide a strong sense of security. Plus, caring for a dog can mean daily walks which puts an elderly person in contact with the rest of the world. People are less likely to be lonely with a canine friend around.

Seniors with dogs have a stronger sense of purpose:
When an elderly person doesn't have a family to care for, a dog can make them feel needed. The responsibilities of feeding and caring for a dog can give an elderly person a special sense of purpose. Dogs are great friends and can benefit everyone in different ways.


Seniors with dogs may experience health benefits:
While a national study of heart patients showed that the presence of dogs lowers blood pressure, dog ownership at all age levels has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Research shows that people who own dogs have a longer life span, have fewer sleep problems, make fewer trips to the doctor, complain of fewer medical symptoms and require much less medical care for stress-induced aches and pains than those without dogs.


Seniors with dogs have better mental health:
Elderly people with dogs have a lower incidence of depression and, in general, have higher mental health scores than those without pets. Seniors take good care of their dogs and better care of themselves when they own dogs. Dogs can also help ease loss.

Seniors with dogs live longer: In a study conducted at City Hospital in New York, elderly heart patients who owned pets were significantly more likely to be alive a year after they were discharged from the hospital that those who didn’t own pets. A pet’s presence was found to boost the survival rate more than having a spouse or friend.


It would appear that dog ownership can have a healthy effect on both the physical and mental well being in an elderly person; even boosting self-esteem and social functions, but it's important that they select a dog that's compatible with their health status and living conditions. A smaller or older dog that has lower exercise requirements might be a more compatible choice of pet.


If you miss the companionship around the house, the exercise and the sheer sociability of dog walking, or if you think your pets would welcome a bit of company, please consider joining our friendly network of host families!


Benefits to the Host or Host Family:

  • Enjoy therapeutic companionship without the permanent commitment or expense
  • Receive a daily commission for your commitment and earn extra income from home
  • Get exercise visiting parks and an opportunity to socialize with other pet owners
  • Take advantage of our free, hassle free collection and drop-off service
  • Benefit from our host-discount if you use our service for your own pets
  • Enjoy our full-time staff support; 24 hours per day, 7 days per week
  • Become part of a loving organization’s kinder alternative to kennels
  • Provide a much appreciated, worthwhile service to pets and their owners 
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