The woes of the Golden-agers

golden-agers

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The woes of the Golden-agers

Your dog is taking a little too long to wake up in the morning, and is also going to bed way before the rest of the family. Just a year ago, Chuck was as cheeky as the first day it set foot inside your home as a puppy. But now, Chuck is 11 years old, and just like that, within a few months its joints started creaking and the occasional snap could be heard when it wakes up from a long, deep slumber. Its walk has transformed from a purposeful gait to a clumsy to and fro sway that reeks of stiff joints and sore spots.

What to do? How can I help my poor dog live a happy, satisfactory life at these later stages of its life?

Through domestication and great leaps in Veterinary Medicine, dogs had to learn to share the burden of old age with us humans. Geriatric treatment is nowadays not only something exclusive to human medicine but it is also commonly being used for the treatment of household pets. There are a number of ailments that afflict elderly dogs.

Arthritis

One of the most common conditions in old dogs is arthritis. This condition is characterised by chronic joint pain and can be observed as a deterioration in the mobility of our elderly friends. There are many things you could do to help the dog cope with this condition. One very effective measure is to make sure that the dog’s living area is warm and dry. This will be very effective at reducing joint pain allowing the dog to live as comfortably as possible. One should also stop arthritic dogs from going up and down flights of stairs, as this puts a lot of strain on the dog’s bones and joints and causes a lot of harm, especially in dogs already suffering from this condition.  It is also advised to speak to the vet and formulate a special diet or ask him to suggest supplements that help with the maintenance and, if possible, improvement of your dog’s condition.

Cataracts and blindness

Does it seem that you need to move closer for your dog to completely recognise you? Is your dog bumping into things or needs to be very close to something to realize that there is an object in front of him? Take a quick look in his eyes and if you feel that one or both eyes look a bit cloudy then your dog might be suffering from cataracts. This is a common condition where protein deposits in the dog’s eye and interferes with the light coming in and falling on the retina. This makes for visual impairment and can sometimes go unnoticed due to its slow gradual development and the dog’s ability to adapt over time. However cataracts can develop to a point where they have a tangible effect on the dog’s life. Fortunately there is a cure for this condition in the form of a surgical procedure. If it is not possible to perform this procedure or if your dog is becoming blind for other reasons, there are other things that you can do to help your dog. When the household is inhabited by a blind dog, it is suggested to never move the household furniture around. This is because a blind dog would have developed a mental map of how things are arranged inside the house and moving things around will only confuse it resulting in unnecessary stress and injury. Animals generally develop a more acute sense of touch and hearing due to blindness. It is therefore suggested for homes with blind animals or those with some degree of visual impairment to maintain their peace and quiet in order to keep stress to a bare minimum.

Loss of dentition

It often seems that dogs end up holding on to only a couple of teeth by the time they get to a ripe age. However, unlike humans, dogs do not have the luxury to wear a denture to help them with their everyday life. It is wise to adopt a preventative approach throughout your dog’s whole life. It is best to go to regular check-ups and clean your dog’s teeth as often as possible while your dog still young and has a full set of pearly whites. Good oral hygiene is essential for the prevention of gum disease and resultant tooth loss. Always keep in mind that your dog is not a shark, and will not grow a new set of teeth if he loses them. Given that a dog’s happiness is highly dependent on its dietary experiences, then one should see the importance in the proper maintenance of what will allow your dog to enjoy life to the max.

Mental health

As the old adage goes, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Mental health and dexterity starts to wane as dogs become older. Learning new stuff takes longer and more effort, and old dogs start to feel less motivated to please. It is wise to teach your dog whatever you want to teach him when the dog is still young and is easy to motivate. Training your dog well at a young age will result in a reliable dog in the future.

Incontinence and bowel movement

Incontinence starts becoming a problem with age. In some cases, incontinence is behavioural where the dog starts to prefer answering to nature’s call wherever they are lying instead of going through the trouble and effort of getting up and doing their business in the right place. Others simply lose control of their bladder and start to drip continuously. This often starts early on in their life and becomes worse as the dog becomes older. In the first case, treating the original cause of discomfort that is stopping the dog from doing its business in the right place, usually solves this behavioural problem. In the latter, medical treatment is often needed; make an appointment with your trusted veterinarian to tackle such a problem. With old age also come kidney problems; these might result in your dog increased need to urinate.

Bowel movements also start taking a slump with age. The intestine of old dogs start to become less efficient at absorbing water and other nutrients sometimes resulting in a change in intestinal flora. Buy your old dog appropriate senior food to make sure that your dog is making the most out of its diet. Speak to your veterinarian to determine the best way to supplement your dog’s diet maintain a healthy intestinal flora and to help it with its old age.


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The following is needed to bring a puppy into Dubai:


  1. All dogs entering Dubai from a low-risk country at least 15 weeks old, and those entering from a high-risk country must be at least 27 weeks old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Dubai must be equipped with either a 9 or 15 digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Dubai must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Valid for 30 days.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Dubai specific vaccinations: Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Parvo Virus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Rabies.
  5. Rabies Titer Test * – All dogs entering Dubai must be tested for rabies no later than 14 days before the planned travel date. ( Only from specific
  6. Parasite check - All pets travelling to Dubai must receive preventive treatments against internal and external parasites in the 14 days before travel by an authorised and competent vet.
  7. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Dubai.
  8. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.


* The United Arab Emirates classifies all countries into two rabies categories:
  • Low-risk countries: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Falkland Island, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Montenegro, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Portugal, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, and Vanuatu.
  • High-risk countries: All other countries are considered high-risk countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Abu Dhabi:


  1. All dogs entering Abu Dhabi from a low-risk country at least 15 weeks old, and those entering from a high-risk country must be at least 27 weeks old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Abu Dhabi must be equipped with either a 9 or 15 digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Abu Dhabi must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Valid for 30 days.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Abu Dhabi specific vaccinations: Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Parvo Virus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Rabies.
  5. Rabies Titer Test * – All dogs entering Abu Dhabi must be tested for rabies no later than 14 days before the planned travel date. ( Only from specific
  6. Parasite check - All pets travelling to Abu Dhabi must receive preventive treatments against internal and external parasites in the 14 days before travel by an authorised and competent vet.
  7. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Abu Dhabi.
  8. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.


* The United Arab Emirates classifies all countries into two rabies categories:
  • Low-risk countries: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Falkland Island, Fiji, Finland, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Montenegro, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Portugal, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, and Vanuatu.
  • High-risk countries: All other countries are considered high-risk countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Hong Kong:


  1. All dogs entering Hong Kong must be at least 3 months old.
  2. Microchip – All dogs entering and residing in Hong Kong must be equipped with either a 9 or 15-digit microchip.
  3. Import Permit – All dogs entering Hong Kong must be equipped with a Special Permit from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Valid for up to 6 months.
  4. Vaccinations* – Depending on the country of origin, your pet might need a rabies shot on top of all the age appropriate vaccinations. Hong Kong specific vaccinations: Canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus and rabies.
  5. Health Check – A Health Check by a veterinarian is mandatory in order to obtain permissions to enter Hong Kong.
  6. Pet Passport – This document verifies that the puppy is fully healthy and up-to-date on their vaccinations.
  7. Captain’s Affidavit – Document to be provided by the airline personnel confirming that your dog has not left its crate or interacted with other pets at any point during the journey.


* Hong Kong classifies countries into 3 groups. Vaccinations against rabies are only required from Groups 2 & 3.
  • Group 1: Rabies-free countries (at least 6 months of residency) Australia, Fiji, Hawaii, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Bailiwick of Jersey.
  • Group 2: Rabies-controlled (at least 4 months of residency) Austria, Bahrain, Bermuda, Canada, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Guam, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Vanuatu, Bahamas, Belgium, Brunei, Cayman Island, Denmark, France, Gibraltar, Iceland, Jamaica, Maldives, Mauritius, New Caledonia, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, The Netherlands, USA (Continental), Virgin Islands.
  • Group 3: All other countries.
** Only for puppies from high-risk countries
Travel Requirements

The following is needed to bring a puppy into Switzerland:


  1. All pets entering Switzerland must be equipped with a 15-digit microchip that is compliant with ISO 11784/11785.
  2. Dogs must be vaccinated against distemper.
  3. Rabies vaccinations are mandatory. Dogs must receive their first rabies vaccine at least 21 days before entering the country.*
  4. The state veterinarian of the origin country must equip the dog with a valid Health Certificate.
  5. Import Permit – all dogs entering from a 3rd level rabies country must carry an import permit issued at least three weeks in advance. Entry points through Basel, Geneva, Zurich.
  6. Different regulations depending on whether it is a commercial purchase or individual and where the dog is coming from.


* Specifications differ for booster shots. ** Switzerland categorises countries by level of risk of rabies in three levels.
  • Level 1: All EU Member States and Andorra, Switzerland, Faeroe Islands, Gibraltar, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Northern Ireland, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City State.
  • Level 2 (Low Risk of Rabies): Ascension Island, United Arab Emirates, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Aruba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Barbados, Bahrain, Bermuda,Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Belarus, Canada, Chile, Curaçao, Fiji, Falkland Islands, Great Britain (including Crown dependencies), Hong Kong, Jamaica, Japan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cayman Islands, Saint Lucia, North Macedonia, Montserrat, Mauritius, Mexico, Malaysia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Russia, Singapore, Saint Helena, Sint Marteen, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, United States of America, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.
  • Level 3: All other countries are considered as having a high risk of rabies.
Travel Requirements