Dog Care
How to Care for A Senior Pet

How to Care for A Senior Pet

So, today I am going to talk about how to care for a senior pet – that pooch that is starting to get up there in years. When one says a dog year is the same seven human years it seems weird to figure out an actual timeline. It really is different for different sizes of dogs – small, medium, and large dogs all have slightly different life spans and age-related issues.

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Contrary to common belief, dogs do not age at a rate of 7 human years for each year in dog years. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association: The first year of a medium-sized dog’s life is equal to approximately 15 years of a human’s life.

At the age of 9-months, my dear Tazuna is closing in on early teenager-hood rapidly. What a joy it will be to have TWO teenagers in the house (said with a lot of sarcasm). Before we know it, she will be sporting that grey tinged muzzle and walking at a slower pace.

Fear not – I know we have several years before that really happens, but it WILL happen. (sigh)

Regardless, we want to have our pups with us for as long as possible and that requires everything from good preventive dental care to having the right veterinarian. Sadly, they do age and here are a few things to keep in mind.

How to Care for A Senior Pet

One of the most common things for ANY aging dog is Arthritis.

What is Canine Arthritis?

Arthritis is the term used in both human and veterinary medicine to describe any type of joint inflammation. Several types exist, including rheumatoid, degenerative, and infectious arthritis, each having a different cause. Infections, autoimmune diseases, trauma, and certain drugs, such as sulfa antibiotics, can promote joint inflammation.

The clinical signs associated with joint disease are basically the same. Stiffness or lameness involving one or more limbs is often the most obvious sign of a joint problem, usually aggravated by cold weather and/or exercise. New medications and surgical techniques have been introduced in the treatment of canine joint disease.

Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, describes the condition in which a cartilage defect or erosion occurs. It can be inherited but is usually a part of the normal aging process in older dogs. Infectious arthritis is caused by bacteria that gain entrance to the bloodstream causing inflammation in one or more joints. Bacteria from the gums, periodontal disease, or Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease can cause damage to the cartilage and joint structure.

See- I TOLD you it was important to take care of your dog’s teeth.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune-related disease seen frequently in toy breeds. Caused by an overactive immune system, antibodies coalesce within the joints causing inflammation. Fever and depression are also features of these diseases. Hip dysphasia refers to a hereditary arthritic condition that begins as a partial dislocation of the hip joints. In time the cartilages lining the joint surfaces wear down because of abnormal strain on the joints.

How to help your dog with Arthritis

The key to lessening the effects of any form of arthritis is early detection and treatment. Your veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics, immunosuppressive drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as vitamins and supplements, and even cortisone if needed. The real key is you and your observations to your veterinarian.

The immediate response of many dog owners that have discovered that their dog is infected with arthritis is to go to the nearest veterinary. Though this is good, you need to be aware that there is a better alternative to the problem of arthritis in your dog. The solution is a natural treatment for dogs with arthritis.

Not many people are informed about natural treatments for dogs with arthritis. It is not as complicated as many think. And also, there is nothing diabolical in it. It is just an alternative solution to the medical aid we get from our doctors.

The following are tips that will greatly assist your ailing dog with arthritis.

Here are some tips on how to care for a senior pet:

Make regular appointments with the veterinarian. 

Your vet will likely begin to monitor for diseases that are more common in older pets. Pets who have conditions may require frequent appointments.

Take steps to help your pet maintain a normal body weight. 

A special diet may be required or you might need to go for extra walks, especially if your senior pet has become a bit of a couch potato.

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Accommodate your pet’s physical restrictions. 

If your older pet has achy joints, hip problems, or balance problems, it may be necessary to make modifications to your home. Your pet might not be able to jump high anymore or climb stairs as easily.

Get a good footing

It is essential that you have your dog placed on slip-free flooring. A slippery floor will not be of help in the treatment of arthritis in your dog. This is because your dog needs to have a firm grip on the floor while recuperating. It is therefore recommended that you have a rug or carpet in place.

Water therapy

Swimming has been discovered to be of great help in the treatment of arthritis in dogs. Swimming is a non-weight-bearing activity that will help your dog recover quickly from arthritis. It is advisable that the swimming is monitored so that the dog doesn’t drown in the pool. Swimming will help exercise all the parts of the body of your dog.

Make the bed

It is recommended that you give your dog a soft bed in the quest for recovery. Your dog needs all the rest he or she could get on a soft bed that can cushion its ailing body. Just like a slippery floor is detrimental to your dog’s recovery, a hard bed is not ideal for him either.

Peace and Quiet

A peaceful and quiet environment is what your dog with arthritis needs to recover from the disease. Let your children be informed of this as your lovely dog may not be tolerant of their noise and playfulness while recuperating.

Massage

A good massage could also be what your ailing dog needs to get off arthritis. A gentle massage from you might provide the much-needed assurance of your love for the dog. But if you cannot do it for some reason or other, it is advisable that you employ a professional animal massage therapist to do the job for you. The massage will increase flexibility, blood circulation, and calmness which go a great length in giving your dog the good health he or she deserves.

Here is a GREAT video on how to give your arthritic dog a massage that actually helps them

Above all, you must be aware that the recovery of dogs with arthritis takes a while. Hence, it is worthwhile giving them that extra attention that they need.

Give enough time to your dog as he or she recovers from arthritis. A natural treatment for dogs with arthritis is highly recommended when you can’t afford the huge fees charged by veterinary doctors out there.

Natural Dog Joint Health Supplement – Velvet Antler

Just as we take supplements to stay healthy, our dogs need nutritional supplements to help prevent the damage caused over time to joints, bones, and cartilage and to improve mobility, flexibility, and promote overall energy and well-being.  It is just part of how to care for a senior pet.

Most dogs who are diagnosed with arthritis or hip dysplasia are prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs.  Many of these drugs actually prevent the growth of collagen in joints, causing further cartilage degeneration.  These drugs can also produce other serious side effects such as deterioration of the gastrointestinal tract lining, liver and kidney damage, even death.  

There are many “natural” joint care supplements on the market with the main focus being on glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate which, conventionally is derived from swine, cattle, and shark cartilage, and shellfish remains and requires the destruction of the animal. Velvet antler, however, is an all-natural supplement derived from the antler of the male elk.  

Velvet antler contains 40 key compounds that research has shown rebuild cartilage and bone, build cells and boost energy, reduce infection and inflammation, and protect blood cells, the heart, liver, and lungs.

Elk have an amazing ability to heal their own broken bones and to recover quickly from damage to muscles and tendons and even recover from poisonous snake bites in a matter of days.  This same ability is what allows the animals to produce huge antlers every year.

Velvet antler is harvested from domestic elk under conditions that ensure the comfort and safety of the animals.   The antlers are harvested when they are in the soft or “velvet” stage.  It is at this stage when the antler has the most nutrients.  After the velvet antler is harvested it is wrapped and frozen.  

It is then taken to a special facility where the whole antler is freeze-dried and made ready for processing.   Male elk regrow a new set of velvet antlers every year making it the only renewable source of glucosamine and chondroitin, essential nutrients for the cartilage and joint support.  

You can also try these 5 things you might have in your spice cabinet: – Turmeric, Ginger Root, Cannabidiol (CBD), Alfalfa, or Cayenne like this video talks about:

Note: You should consult a veterinarian before trying to treat your dog at home. It’s important to fully understand the cause of the pain before treatment. Your vet will also assist you in considering the pain relief options available, and which will be best for your pet.

Schedule tooth cleanings for your dog

As pets age, their immune systems become weaker, and neglecting oral hygiene can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This can lead to heart failure, kidney failure, and more. This is yet one more simple thing you can do to care for your fur baby.

These are just some tips on how to care for a senior pet! Can you think of anything I missed?

Check out these other great tips for dogs:

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