As our pets get older it becomes clear that there are some actions, activities and feats that they have trouble accomplishing. Here are some tips to keep your senior pet warm and comfortable.
Day to Day Tips:
• The use of ramps in and around the house e.g to avoid stairs, to get on and off the bed, couches, to get in and out of the car etc
• If you have tiles or floorboards, which are slippery surfaces, strategically placing rugs can provide traction for those weaker old legs.
• Placing food bowls in appropriately elevated positions can make eating more comfortable, so they don’t have to stretch down bending sore necks and elbows.
• May be, for those outside pets, being allowed to sleep inside in “their spot” for the winter could be a nice change. Their sore joints will appreciate it!
• Comfortable bedding – nicely padded spots for your pet to rest, which are easy for them to get in and out of.
• Winter attire for their wardrobes! Older dogs and dogs with shorter coats definitely feel the cold in winter. Most dogs love rugging up for winter!!
Diets for senior pets
Just like us, as our pet’s age their dietary requirements change. There are many medical conditions where diet can be used to help manage and control that condition. Today we’ll talk about the condition of Osteoarthritis.
We are lucky enough to have a diet tailored specifically to canine arthritis. Royal Canin Mobility CP2+, it is a complete and balanced diet which helps maintain mobility in dogs and helps support joints after orthopaedic surgery. It is formulated with a joint complex containing tumeric extract, collagen and green tea polyphenols. Not only does it have enhanced palatability but its calorie content is moderated to manage weight, something that is of vital importance in arthritic pets.
Cats also have a similar diet Royal Canin Senior St 2 which meets the nutritional needs of ageing cats. This low-calorie complete and blanaced diet is enriched with green-lipped mussel and reduced phosphorus content to help support aging cats.
Glyde for dogs is a product that we are now stocking on our shelves to improve mobility in our senior and active patients. Conveniently it comes in a new soft tasty chew! It contains two cartilage protecting agents as well as a natural anti-inflammatory to relieve joint pain. Glyde chew is the perfect treat for any active or aging dog. It also comes in a powder form for those fussier pets which can be easily mixed in with breakfast or dinner.
Exercise for our older pets
Exercise even for our older pets is an important part of their lifestyle. For those pets suffering from arthritis certain forms of exercise can help ease the pain while maintaining muscle mass. It is also a great form of enrichment essential to every pet at every lifestage!
“As a rule of thumb – regular, short duration, low impact exercise”
Gentle leash walks and swimming are wonderful forms of exercise. Keeping to levelled ground and avoiding stairs can take the pressure off those joints substantially. Hydrotherapy whether at a designated dog pool, at the beach or in your own home is a great way for your pet to use muscles without the pain of impact on sore joints.
Working with your veterinarian enables you to tailor an arthritis management plan specifically for your pet’s needs. For some cases the pain of arthritis can be such that analgesia and anti-inflammatories need to be used. Some pets may require daily use of these, others may only require the extra help on ‘bad’ days, or in those instances where they may have aggravated their arthritis for e.g. over doing it at the dog park. Given the older age of your pet your veterinarian is likely to recommend blood testing before starting certain types of pain relief. This testing enables your vet to make the right decision about the medication best suited to your pet’s health.
These can be a nice starting place when your pet is in the early stages of osteoarthritis and showing some of the milder signs. We offer Pentosan Polysolphate injections. The course starts with 4 injections at weekly intervals. Depending on your pet’s response to these injections, some only require a booster course say once a year before winter (when arthritis is most painful), others benefit from monthly injections there on out. These injections as well as the joint supplements can be used to even minimise the use of other stronger medications as mentioned above.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at the clinic on 55721278