November Newsletter


November marks the official start of the holiday season.  It is a time to reflect on all the things we are grateful for. 
I know that I am always grateful for my compassionate, giving and hard-working co-workers.  I am grateful to have a profession that I love and that is incredibly rewarding. 
I am grateful for the wonderful vets I work with. 
And I am grateful for YOU!  All of our clients go the extra mile to care for their pets.  It is such a pleasure to have all of you in my life! 



We all love our dogs.  But seniors hold a special place in our hearts.  Their muzzle is turning grey, they’re a bit slow to get up, and can’t move like they used to.  But the tail never stops wagging when you're around. 
We know aging is a normal process, but we feel so helpless. However, there are things we can do to help our dogs age gracefully and to help manage their pain.  A well-rounded exercise program with minimal impact on aging joints can give your senior dog a new lease on life!
First, we encourage you to identify the signs that your dog is physically aging.  Remember, younger dogs will exhibit more subtle signs.  
Signs of aging include:
            *  difficulty moving from sit to stand, stand to sit, down to stand; reluctance to sit; sits on a hip; difficulty negotiating stairs, jumping onto couch or bed, getting into/out of the car and less time playing with other dogs at home;
           often you will see an increase in muscle mass in the front (due to compensating for a weak rear) and a loss of muscle mass in the rear;
*  stiff when getting up in the morning, after a walk or playing in the yard, after lying down for a period of time;
            *  Intermittent lameness in the front or hind limbs;
            *  straight knees when walking, shortened stride length, weight shifted onto front limbs, hind legs are close together (weakness) or far apart (for balance).
The normal aging process in dogs is similar to that in humans.  With age muscles lose elasticity resulting in stiffness.  This in turn leads to a loss of range of motion (most notably in the hind end).  Not using the full length of the muscle causes atrophy and weakness, leading to a lack of mobility and a decrease in activity.  Finally, you see a decline in balance and proprioception (knowing where the body is in space). 
Exercises that specifically target the back legs can break this cycle.  In addition, one of five dogs suffer from pain caused by arthritis.   Because muscles act as shock absorbers for joints, strengthening muscles helps protect joints and manage pain.  Mild weight-bearing exercise helps stimulate cartilage metabolism and increases nutrient diffusion in the joints.  Senior dogs’ neck, shoulders and back muscles get tight and sore from overuse due to compensation.  Simple stretching exercises and massage help maintain range of motion and manage pain.   
(NOTE:  Make sure your dog is cleared by your veterinarian to participate in a low impact exercise program.)

Grab some treats and start exercising your best friend.  You can help your senior dog stay mobile and decrease pain during their golden years.  In addition, your senior dog will love the mental stimulation of “working” with you.  
With a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step, your dog will say “Thanks!”  What a wonderful gift!




Maya is a 13-year old Labrador and a perfect example of how beneficial therapy is for seniors. 
Maya started coming to Aqua Paws in September 2018 for severe arthritis in her hips.  She had lost a lot of muscle tone in her hind end and struggled to get up and move around.  She was unable to do the things she loved like swimming, going on nice walks and playing with her dad. 
Maya gets aqua therapy to increase her overall strength, laser therapy to reduce inflammation and manual therapy to regain range of motion and manage pain. Her mom and dad tell us that they have seen a huge improvement in her quality of life.  Maya is more comfortable, and most importantly, playing catch with her owners again. Her veterinarian is also thrilled with her progress. We are all so happy for her!


We are excited to announce that Chica has been adopted by a wonderful family!  Every member of the Aqua Paws and Playful Paws staff helped train and socialize Chica to make her more adoptable.  We look forward to continuing our work with the Randolph Regional Animal Shelter.

Randolph Regional Animal Shelter

We are also working with New Jersey South Hills Pet Rescue.  They are a very small rescue based out of Chester.  They do not have a kennel.  All of their dogs go to foster homes.  However, sometimes there is a need to board a dog for a few days or a few weeks while awaiting a foster home.  These dogs will be staying with us at Playful Paws at Petra's.  We are all happy to work with this Rescue!  Greyson was with us for a few days and stole our hearts.  He is incredibly sweet.  Sadly, he is still up for adoption. 
Please help spread the word!

Petra Ford