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Old dogs can be incredibly sweet and affectionate, and have charms that counterbalance their younger, more active puppy counterparts. As the world of rescue grows, an increasing number of shelters are specializing in senior adoptions, while the field of veterinary medicine and the pet product industry are increasingly invested in showing animal lovers how to best care for these loving and loyal companions.
As dogs' lives have been augmented by improved veterinary medicine, better diets, and an increased owner awareness about how to help dogs live healthier, longer lives, the pet industry has begun catering to owners of geriatric pets (around age nine and beyond). Specially formulated kibble, beds that are gentle on arthritic joints, ramps to ease access to favorite perches or car seats, and even therapeutic herbal remedies and supplements are appealing to doting pet owners who want to keep their best friends comfortable for as long as possible.
Anyone who has had their heartstrings tugged by Marley & Me or experienced life with an elderly animal knows it can be gratifying, heartbreaking, uplifting and patience-trying, as a recent article from Boston.com illustrates. Singer Fiona Apple recently penned a heartfelt apology to her fans when she chose to cancel an upcoming tour to stay home and care for her ailing, nearly-fourteen-year-old pitbull, Janet. Most experts agree that the most important thing you can do for an aging pet is to keep them engaged in life, interacting with family members and the world around them, and to cherish every fleeting moment in their all-too-short lives.