I have a dog. (Henry). I have a big dog (180 pounds – an English mastiff).
I have a big old dog with hip & back issues (he will be 8 this year).
I have a big old dog that needs my help.
Henry is not unlike many of our furry companions. He is aging gracefully but my husband and I are very aware that everyday with him is a gift. For those of us that are lucky enough to be senior caregivers, time is precious and so is the health of our dogs. We must consider things that didn’t come up when they were puppies…. Grumpy moods, mobility problems, mental/cognitive issues as well as a slew of others! And while I cannot erase the marks of time I see on my big lumbering friend, I have found some ways that I can ease his day to make it a little better for him.
Laser treatments: I love this one!!! Its non invasive, done in about an hour and pain relief lasts about two weeks. It is great for arthritic dogs but also any soft tissue injuries. And lots of vets are doing it these days (not just the holistic ones anymore!)
Massage: This is Henry’s favorite!! The concept isn’t much different than a spa day we all deserve… a certified masseuse applies pressure and compression to tight muscles. It’s relaxing but also helps pain management. As an added bonus most canine massage therapists make house calls!!!
Underwater Treadmill & Swimming: It’s a common misconception to let senior dogs slow down in regard to their exercise regimes. In fact, it is more important than ever! Water is a great way to support their aching joints but still build muscle. Lots of great hydrotherapy places are popping up and some vet offices have treadmill tanks… underwater fun is just an appointment away!
Yoga Mats: Now stay with me on this one…. They provide a great non skid surface for our not so quick on their feet friends. Easy to clean, easy to move from room to room & easy on the pocketbook!
Supplements: Lots of options here so consult your vet for advice! Some of my favorites are coconut oil (omega 3&6 source), Senior Dog Wisdom (soft chewable that has ginkgo biloba as well as several other ingredients for brain health), GLC1000 (glucosamine & chondroitin powder mix for serious joint support) & curcumin (turmeric base that is an amazing anti inflammatory, & antioxidant)
Diet: As dogs age, they can loose their sense of smell… and that is how they taste! If an aging buddy starts to become picky try adding green tripe or freeze dried food (like Stella & Chewy’s or Grandma Lucy Artisan). The stinkier the better!!!!
Long story short… my dogs are my world. If my back hurts from lifting them onto the couch or I sleep next to them on the living room floor instead of my bed, I will consider myself a lucky girl. For one day in the future, all that will hurt is my heart when I have to say good bye. Till then everyday is special & we will make it count!!
Written by ~ Ann Kowal - District Manager