Pets are living longer and healthier lives thanks to developments in veterinary care and dietary habits. However, that doesn’t change the fact that their health begins to decline in their senior years at around the ages of six or seven.

Follow these simple tips to ensure your pet’s senior years are also its golden years:

1. Increase veterinary visits. Dr. Mitsie Vargas a veterinarian based in Winter Haven, Florida says, “It’s important to take your senior pet for a checkup twice a year because that is when a lot of situations can be found out earlier and treated cheaper and with a better outcome.”

2. Watch for changes in behavior. Before any medical symptoms appear, behavioral changes can provide signs that something is wrong. Examples of behavior changes include confusion, decreased interaction with humans, house soiling and changes in sleep cycles.

3. Watch for weight changes. Dogs tend to gain wait as they age. Overweight older dogs are at increased risk of health problems.

4. Consider modifying diet and nutrition. As pets age, their dietary needs change. Senior pets may need easily digestible foods or foods with different calorie levels and ingredients that include anti-aging nutrients.

5. Keep pets physically active. Just as with older humans, it is very important to keep senior pets moving. Maintaining mobility through appropriate exercise will help keep them healthier.

6. Play stimulating games. Even pets can show signs of senility. Games (such as playing with food puzzle toys) that require time, patience and problem-solving abilities will help keep pets mentally active.

7. Be aware of health risks and symptoms. Some pet breeds and lifestyles have increased risks associated with them. For instance, dogs that have not been neutered or spayed have a higher risk of developing mammary, testicular and prostate cancers. As pets get older they develop many of the same illnesses that are present in humans such as cancer, heart disease, kidney and urinary tract diseases, diabetes and even senility.

These seven tips will help maximize your pet’s senior years, but always check with veterinarians for specific guidelines on pet care.

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There is no shortage of beautiful, high-end accessories for your dog today. Well, here are some more things to add to your wish list: The Cambria Pet Collection from Pottery Barn.

Cambria Pet Food Canister: $129

Cambria Pet Treat Canister: $59

Cambria Pet Bowl and Stand: $19.50 to $49.50

The whole set looks beautiful together.

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Off leash dog parks are a great place to let your pup burn off some energy and have a little leash-less freedom.

Not all dog parks are equal though if you have a smaller dog. Little dogs can get overwhelmed, or even injured, if they are in the same area as roughhousing large dogs. Some dog parks have small cracks or holes in the fence that a small dog can squeeze through.

Here are five Seattle area dog parks where your small dog can stay safe while having fun:

  1. Golden Gardens Off-leash Park (Seattle)
  2. Warren G Magnuson Off-leash Park (Seattle)
  3. Luther Burbank Off-leash Park (Mercer Island)
  4. Jasper’s Off-leash Park (Kirkland)
  5. Westcrest Off-leash Park (West Seattle)

All of these off leash dog parks have a separate area for small dogs. Most of them have spaces in the larger dog area where you can get away from the crowd with your small dog.

To read more about these areas from a small dog perspective, read the article 5 Seattle Area Dog Parks to Delight Your Small Dog.

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Saturday, August 23

Best Friends Animal Society’s Strut Your Mutt; San Francisco, Calif. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost: $30 plus individual fundraising. Choose from the 4k fun run, 1.6 mile walk, or 1 mile walk routes and enjoy some exercise with your pooch for a good cause. The strut will be followed by a doggie-themed festival that includes pet contests, photos, doggie goodies, and fun activities for the whole family. For more information, and to register, click here.

Sunday, August 24

No dog friendly events were found for Sunday, August 24. If you know of one, or are hosting one, please let us know in the comments below!

There are 7 dog friendly events listed for this weekend on our CityDog Social Calendar. Check it out for more events in Washington, Oregon, and California.

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When a woman and her five-year-old son suddenly lost their dog to cancer, they created “Michael’s Dog Blog,” to help them overcome their grief.

The blog turned into a book, Bash and Lucy Fetch Confidence, starring their dog Lucy and teaching kids about sports, friendship and life. The book won a Mom’s Choice Silver Award and a USA Best Books Award.

The picture book is about a boy who brings his dog Lucy to soccer practice but Lucy is almost kicked out of the game because she keeps interfering with the ball. The boy talks his coach into letting Lucy stay and teaches kids how dogs can help them, even in sports.

Kirk Mango, National Champion, Hall of Famer, said “Such a cute book…awesome illustrations, too. I really like the idea of using the dog to help teach the concept of teamwork, the importance of confidence, and how the dog represented to the boys these ideas. It’s a nice story that can teach some great lessons to kids in sports.”

You can purchase the book here.

You can also follow Michael’s Dog Blog to learn dog facts for kids, watch Michael’s video reviews of the best dog books, and get updates about Bash and Lucy!

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Spiff up your pup and and then let them show of their best look at the CityDog cover dog model search.

Saturday, August 16

4th Annual Mutt Strutt; Liberty Lake, Wash. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pawpular Companions Boutique, 21950 E. Country Vista Dr. Cost: Collect pledge monies to benefit Higher Ground Animal Sanctuary. The “Strut” consists of a 2.5 mile route to honoring the memory of long-time Liberty Lake resident Chris Anderlik. This walk honors and contributes to, her dream of “GOING AN EXTRA MILE TO PRACTICE TRUE COMPASSION FOR ANIMALS!” For more information, and to register, click here.

Scrub-a-Mutt; Marysville, Wash. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Strawberry Fields Athletic Complex, 6100 152nd Street NE. Cost: dog washes are $5 for small dogs and $10 for large dogs. Come wash your dirty dog for a good cause.  In addition to dog washing stations, you can have your dog’s nails trimmed and browse the dog-themed vendor booths. The first 400 dogs washed will receive a stylish bandanna and a “doggy goodie bag.”All proceeds from the dog wash fundraiser proceed local animal rescue groups. For more information, click here.

Sunday, August 17

Dog Days of Summer CityDog Cover Dog Model Search; Seattle, Wash. 12 p.m. to 2 .m. at the West Seattle Thriftway, 4201 SW Morgan St. Cost: $10 per dog to benefit Doney Memorial Animal Clinic . Let your pooch walk the catwalk and strike their best pose for a chance to be featured on the cover of CityDog Magazine. Each and every participant will appear inside the magazine. For more information, click here.

For more events in Washington, Oregon, and California, check out our CityDog Social Calendar.

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We’ve had a really great summer in Seattle. All this sunshine can make for a really hot dog though. Making popsicles for your dog, or pupsicles, is a fun way to keep your dog cool.

The ingredients below can be mixed together in different variations to make easy and simple pupsicles. A lot of these ingredients may already be in your refrigerator or pantry. Just freeze your mix of ingredients in an ice tray or a paper cup (tear off the cup before you give it to your dog).

●      Peanut Butter (all-natural, no sugar)

●      Yogurt (low fat, sugar-free)

●      Honey

●      Canned Tuna or Salmon (in water, not oil)

●      Canned, 100% Pure Pumpkin

●      Pureed Fruits and Veggies (steamed veggies are best; no grapes or onions/garlic)

●      Cheese (low-fat cheese is best)

●      Chicken Breast or Beef (cooked, small pieces)

●      Chicken or Beef Broth (sodium free)

●      Applesauce (sugar free)

You can also make this Healthy Green Smoothie Both You and Your Dog Can Eat and freeze it into cubes.

Do you have any favorite pupsicle recipes? Please share in the comments below.

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Bringing a new puppy home is very exciting. Katie Pottenger, pet nutrition expert and CEO of Parker’s, A Natural Dog & Cat Market, lists some common mistakes to avoid.

1) Putting Off Vaccinations

Without a doubt, seeing a vet and planning the immunization shot schedule is the most important task for a new puppy owner. The three booster shots have a sensitive time frame and are extremely important to follow, as they will set a puppy up for a lifetime of good health.

2) Socializing Puppies Too Early

Play dates are one of the premier joys of owning a puppy. However, a common mistake that many new owners will make is letting a new pup play with other dogs too early. Without the booster shots, puppies can contract just about everything from anything. As much as possible, owners should try to avoid having their dog around others until he or she has received all of the critical shots. Until then, skip the dog park.

3) Inconsistency

Consistency is of great importance during the training phases. Just like a child, the mind of a puppy is exceptionally malleable. This is a double-edged sword; whatever a dog learns in their youth will be almost impossible to change in the future. Implementing and consistently enforcing house rules will yield a well-behaved companion for life. Neglecting to be consistent will leave room for bad habits to grow.

4) Encouraging Poor Potty Habits

Puppies have a knack for making houses a little damper than they should be. For instance, a three-month-old dog will need to relieve itself every three hours. Start to use commands such as, “Do you have to potty,” before leaving. Then using phrases such as “Good Potty” or “Good Boy/Girl” along with a treat will let your dog know that the grass is preferable to the carpet. For longer trips away from home, remove the water bowl half an hour before taking the dog out and putting him in the crate.

Tip: Never reprimand your pup for going to the bathroom in the house unless you saw it happen. Your dog will get confused and no longer understand commands if the potty mistake had been made a while before the punishment.

5) Forgetting to Puppy Proof

Do you have young children? Do you leave chocolate out on the table? Are the cords for your electronics covered? Puppies are fickle creatures and will get into anything they can get their paws on. Small toys, harmful food, and bare wires are just a few of the hazards that can harm your pup. If your dog can access a room, every inch of that room needs to be safe.

Avoiding these five mistakes will help keep your new family member happy and healthy.

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Enjoy a glass of vino with your furry best friend at your feet. Don’t have a furry best friend? You might find one at the adoption event on Sunday (see below).

Saturday, August 9

Canines Uncorked Wine Tour; Willamette Valley, Ore. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost: $40 (or $45 day of) for a “License to Taste.” Your passport includes wine tasting and dog activities at each of the 14 participating wineries. While you taste a Pinot Noir, for example, your dog could be enjoying a pet massage. While you sip a Chardonnay, your dog could be navigating an agility course. In the mood for a Gewurztraminer? Perhaps Fido would enjoy sampling a dog-friendly ice-cream sundae? For more information, see the Oregon Humane Society website.

Sunday, August 10

Kitsap Humane Society Adoption Event; Poulsbo, Wash. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Petco 21700  Market Place. NW. Cost: Free. Come meet some cute adoptable dogs and possibly discover your new furry best friend.

For more events in Washington, Oregon, and California, check out our CityDog Social Calendar.

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We’re jumping on the Throwback Thursday trend and re-sharing some travel and getaway posts from our archives.

Summertime is great for relaxing with friends, enjoying some great wine, and chatting into the evening. The experience is even sweeter if you can enjoy those good times with your pooch.

One of our top winery choices is Rust Ridge Ranch and Winery in Napa Vally, California because dogs are allowed to nose around the tasting room. Rust Ridge sits on 450 acres just a 15-minute drive from the Silverado Trail and boasts three yellow Labs, 13 cats, 17 horses and 14 turkeys among the wildlife.

Find out more about Rust Ridge Winery, and 9 other wonderful wineries in California, Oregon, and Washington in our article, Top 10 Wineries.

Photo by Jamie Plughoeft

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