Caring for your Senior Pet
Recently my 13 year old Lab Casey was diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia which can be a debilitating for her and a struggle for me. I also live with a 19 year old cat, Virgil who also is having some health issues that I am dealing with on a daily basis.
Owning a senior dog, which is any dog over the age of 7 or 8, can bring on all sorts of health issues and hip dysplasia is a minor one when you consider all the different types of ailments that dogs can develop at that phase in their life.
With an aging dog comes also cost with their ailments. If you don’t have pet insurance, the costs can become high also. And if you pet already has a preexisting condition, some medications can’t be administered to them due to complications. For example, Casey has Addison’s Disease and because of it she cannot take Rimadyl, which is a common anti-inflammatory pain medication.
Keep in mind, certain medications are processed through the liver or kidneys and this can put a strain on a dogs system if they are given multiple medications.
So being a good Dog Mommy, I took Casey to the vet and she was given a pain medication that won’t interact with her other medication that she is given; Tramadol is what was prescribed to her. This has helped her a great deal and I give her other medication also.
Casey is also given 3000 mg of Glucosamine Chondroitin and she gets a 30 c of Zeel.
Zeel is a homeopathic that is for arthritic pain or discomfort.
In a week I have seen a big improvement in her mobility. She still struggles with certain everyday activities, but now she is back to going up and down steps and also isn’t slipping on the floor as much.
I did make some changes in my house also. I have strategically placed throw rugs or rubber mats so she has good footing at various places she may need it.
With any joint problems in a dog, the first thing you have to consider is the weight of the dog. All dogs carry 60% of their weight in the front and 40% in the back legs. So maintaining a healthy weight in your dog is very important as they age. Dogs should have an hour-glass figure when you look down from the top. You should be able to feel their ribs without pressing into their skin.
Another activity I started with Casey was giving her a massage at least once a day. Not just petting her but actually rubbing her muscles and stretching her legs.
When giving your dog a massage have them lie down on a comfortable surface. You start out at the neck, because dogs will tighten their muscles in their neck to compensate the weakness in their rear legs. You start out just by rubbing the muscles with your hands. Grab their skin and muscles with your hands just like you would massage a human body, you just don’t squeeze the muscles. Rub them back and forth. Believe me your dog with love it!
Work down their back along the spine continuing the same rubbing hand motion. When you get to their hind legs you would rub the muscles using both hands.
Put one hand on the top of the hind leg and one underneath the leg in the groin area and rub the muscles. You don’t use pressure; just massage the muscles with your hands, following the leg down to their knee. Move your hands back and forth along all the muscles at the top of the leg.
Stretching may be a little harder because some dogs don’t like their feet touched. But if you can hold onto their rear paw and slowly straighten their leg out toward you. Do this slowly using one hand on their paw and the other hand you want to hold onto their “thigh” muscle guiding it straight. Do not PULL on their leg, just slowly straighten it.
Than you want to put their paw in the palm of your hand and press the paw upward into their body just like when they sit. Do not FORCE it; just go as far as they feel comfortable. Repeat this 2 or 3 times and than rub the muscles in their legs again.
Now flip them over and do it on their other side.
You can also use heat on joints but don’t leave it on for more than 10 minutes.
Providing this “exercise” or activity with your dog will help them feel better and it also doesn’t take a lot of time.
Continue also with a regular walking routine. Pay attention to your dog, they will let you know how much is too much for them. There are also facilities in the area that offer heated pools so you can take your dog swimming, which is a great exercise for your dog.
If you want any more information regarding massaging your dog or exercising your dog, feel free to contact me and I will help you with your inquiry.
Here are some links too for you to review for massaging your dog.
I will talk about caring for the senior cat next.
Have a Happy Pet Day Everyone! Remember Adopt Don’t Shop!