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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


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  • Posted by Hamseh Sweiss on May 13, 2016

    Ann, I love this! Thank you so much for sharing your story and Henry :) They are a precious gift in our world and we need to cherish every minute.

  • Posted by Sue Oswalt on May 09, 2016

    Thank you for these great tips Ann! I am rolling out the yoga mats tonight for our 12 year old golden retriever Jasmine who could use a bit of traction! Love this idea!

  • Posted by CAM on May 09, 2016

    Thanks Ann for sharing your tried and true methods to help our fur kids make more memories with us. We have used most to help our fun loving ever smiling golden with his hip issues. I can feel the love in your writing and most definitely in your pic with Henry. My eyes filled after reading the blog as most of us know how hard the crossing of the rainbow bridge can be. You are so correct, we truly are lucky and blessed to have such loving family members even when they cover us with fur and slobber!! You and the Wet Nose team have been there from the beginning for Cullen and he sends his love and appreciation. He now wants us to schedule his in home massage. Perhaps he and Henry can share a spa day.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Posted by Patti Hodge on May 09, 2016

    Great advise. I have a 12 yr. old St. Bernard/Lab mix who tore both ACL’s 5 years ago & the cold laser treatments really helped. A year ago I started giving her Senior Mobility with red velvet antler & it’s made a world of difference. It took the second bottle to see a change but now she even sometimes runs for short distances.

  • Posted by nwaD and Loki on May 09, 2016

    He’s magnificent!!!! I think we owe a lot of Loki’s healthy years to you and everyone at Wet Nose. He is almost 14 and really slowing down so will consider your suggestions—- the ones we don’t already do.

  • Posted by Sue on May 09, 2016

    Love the fact that he loves his massage! I have also received great advice from Ann (and the rest of the gang) regarding supplements for my two 4 legged family members.

  • Posted by Stephanie on May 09, 2016

    Awesome advice!!!! I appreciate your knowledge every time i come in

  • Posted by Demi on May 09, 2016

    What a wonderful article! Love to our furry pets!?

  • Posted by Karen on May 09, 2016

    What great advice!!
    Two years ago I was able to help my 14 year old shepherd mix extend his life with less discomfort by adjusting his diet, using supplements and laser treatments (all advice I had received from Ann at Wet Nose at the time). Glad to hear these are becoming more readily available and the options continue to grow!
    Your pups are lucky to have you, Ann!
    Thanks for spreading the great advice!!

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