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Caring for the Older Pet

July 18, 2023

Caring for the Older Pet

As our pets age, simple everyday things may become a little more challenging. Here's a few ways we can help them in their twilight years.
During Winter, snug coats make a huge difference, keeping those hips and kidneys warm. Draught-free warm bedding is a must. Pet heat pads are often welcomed. There are some wonderful dry beds available that wick moisture away from your dog if they have become a little incontinent. Toilet trips may become a little more frequent so allow them regular opportunities.
Hearing and sight may become dulled, so routine and familiarity of environment are important.
For mobility issues - steps or ramps to allow access to favourite places, raised bowls, lower sided litter trays. Mats on those slippery floors for better traction.
Dogs will do their utmost to keep us with us, and can be struggling more than they let on, so let them walk you at their pace.
Pets (esp cats) can suffer silent pain, as masking pain is a survival mechanism. Observe your pet unrestrained, look at body posture, behaviour changes, sensitivities to touch, changes in appetite or fluid intake, toileting habits, grooming ability. A senior pet check is always a good idea if you have concerns, even if just for regular nail trims, teeth checks.
That scratch or good brush behind the ears and around the neck is really appreciated as stiff joints may no longer allow feet to reach. Cats appreciate a warm damp cloth if they are having trouble grooming.
How about a daily relaxation massage - this can help release tension imbedded in the network of the fascia. The fascia records all events of life, physical and emotional. Gently feel into the tissues of the body, carefully rolling the skin under the fingertips to release tension, stimulate blood flow and encourage lymph drainage. Watch the non-verbal communication - eyes, ears, breath, take note of any flickering or twitching of the skin, heat spots, and of course this is an excellent way to notice any unusual lumps etc.  
An ancestral diet is a wonderful way to manage inflammation. If you are not feeding raw then high quality wet food. More frequent meals are good. There are some really good supplements that may help with many age related issues.
Think of the support our pets have provided us unconditionally over their lifetime.  It's time to give back while we can.

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