How to help relieve dog dementia symptoms

How to Help Relieve Dog Dementia Symptoms

How to help relieve dog dementia symptoms

The love of my life, Red, lived with dementia for 2 ½ years and I was always looking for ways to help relieve her dog dementia symptoms.

I’ve written a lot about my experiences and struggles with canine cognitive dysfunction. I say “my” because dementia doesn’t just affect your dog, it affects everyone living in the house and in your circle.   

A tough thing to reconcile

Red’s dementia diagnosis, made by me BTW, was such a shock, but the biggest shock came when my vet said there was only one treatment available. I like options and hearing there were none was a bit scary, okay frightening, especially because there was obviously no guarantee this “one” thing would work. The treatment I am referring to is Selgian, the prescription medication available here in the UK and Anipryl, available in Canada and the United States. I’m afraid I can’t speak for other countries.

The next biggest shock came when I started my Facebook group for senior dog parents, Senior Dog Care Club. There were so many stories from members who spoke about the apathy of their vets when it came to helping them care for their “golden oldies”, not to mention being told there was nothing to be done for dementia. The number of animals who must be suffering needlessly is too much to bear.  

I know from my own experiences many vets won’t recommend a medication if they don’t feel it works for enough animals, or the evidence is anecdotal. While I intellectually understand that attitude, I disagree with it because what if it would have worked for my pet and I didn’t know about it?

How to help relieve dog dementia symptoms

Don’t worry, there are options!

Thankfully there are many alternatives and natural treatments available, so you do have options

Disclaimer

Because of the climate we live in, and I don’t mean weather, I have to write this. First of all, I have no personal association with this company. I am also in no way suggesting you take matters into your own hands, throw caution to the wind and try every snake oil treatment you might have read about. What I am suggesting is to find yourself a vet who is compassionate and caring towards senior animals, do your research, join a group, read about others experiences and make a list of what makes sense to you. Then have a conversation with your wonderful vet and talk about what you’d like to try. A holistic vet is also a great option to consider.

Now to the good stuff!

Have you heard of Senilife? I’ve read many stories reporting great results, including from members of my group, so I felt it was important to delve into this product a bit more deeply.

Can Senilife help relieve dog dementia symptoms

What is Senilife?

Here is a short description taken from the company website. “Senilife is a supplement containing a unique blend of antioxidants — phosphatidylserine, pyridoxine, ginko biloba extract, resveratrol and d-alpha-tocopherol — which work together to help reduce brain-aging behaviors in as little as 7 days.”

Let’s take a look at what each of the 5 components are and how they combine to help with aging brain issues. Explanations for each component are in quotes and also taken from the website.

Phosphatidylserine – “Improves nerve-cell communication and helps this process continue working effectively.”

Pyridoxine – A naturally occurring form of Vitamin B6 it is “essential for normal brain development, function and heath.”

Gingko Biloba Extract – “Improves cerebral blood flow, increase glucose metabolism, and has a strong antioxidant effect.”

Resveratrol – “Antioxidant which protects neurons from toxic substances which can cause cell death.”

D-alpha-tocopherol – “Natural form of Vitamin E with strong antioxidant action and proven effectiveness on cognitive decline.”

 

I came across this article, “Improvement of short-term memory performance in aged beagles by a nutraceutical supplement containing phosphatidylserine, Ginkgo biloba, vitamin E, and pyridoxine.”  Okay I know the title is heavy, but you might find it of interest. 

Will Senilife help?

I know the heartbreak of watching a much loved pup live with dementia, and wanting a guarantee that XYZ will work. I wish I can say this will, but the truth is I have no idea.

What I do know is, just because it didn’t work for one dog doesn’t mean you will have the same outcome. What I also know is how happy I am products like Senilife exist.

There are so many positive results, in my opinion it’s worth a try, but please speak to your vet about it to make sure the ingredients won’t conflict with other medications your dog may be taking.

Will Senilife help relieve dog dementia symptoms

Can Senilife be used as a preventative?

The makers of Senilife believe you should start giving it to your dog as soon as he or she reaches “senior” status, but what age is that? Opinions vary, especially with all the mixed breeds out there, so this is the guide provided by the company.

  • Dogs up to 21 lbs –  8 years
  • Dogs 22-49 lbs – 7 years
  • Dogs over 50 lbs – 6 years

Will it guarantee your dog won’t get dementia? I don’t think anyone is in a position to make that claim, but it may postpone it, slow down its progression and lessen the symptoms.

Is it easy to administer?

It comes in a capsule which can be given whole in food or a treat, or emptied into/onto the same. Many dogs are too smart for their own good and refuse to eat anything that has “foreign” matter in it. No matter how you try and disguise it he’s not falling for it! I know because I live with one now!

If your dog knows when you’re trying to slip him something, this post has lots of helpful ideas to outsmart him. 

What senior dog parents are saying about Senilife

There were so many positive reviews and this product came recommended by our veterinarian so I gave it a try. By Day 8 I started to notice small improvements and by Day 21 I had my old (not senile!) dog back! Our biggest issue with canine cognitive disorder was the sundowners. Every night brought anxiety, pacing and panting. Now our old lab can peacefully sleep through the night again.

After researching the things I was observing, I quickly realized that maybe she did have doggy dementia. I started her on this supplement, not having high expectations. I can say she is a new dog. She is back to sleeping through the night, very energetic and playful during the day, knows which way the door opens and much more. Her cognitive function has improved drastically, she’s well-rested and always ready to play with her toys. We are still on our first bottle of Senilife, but this is definitely worth a shot if your dog is experiencing a cognitive decline.

I have a 16 year old cairn terrier who has been declining for the past year, and I decided to give this a try. Prior to starting on the Senilife, he had lost all signs of friskiness and enthusiasm for food and his movements were very slow. He frequently exhibited signs of dementia (confusion, not knowing where he was, etc.) After a couple of weeks on the Senilife, he started bouncing around periodically and seemed to regain some of his previously vibrant personality. Don’t get me wrong–he is still 16 and sedentary 90% of the time, but he just seems happier and more comfortable in his skin. He even runs in the backyard occasionally, which I hadn’t seen him do in at least a year. So I believe this has returned a noticeable degree of quality of life, and i couldn’t be happier. He recently had a complete blood workup (after 6 weeks on Senilife) and his bloodwork was great, so i don’t think it’s having any invisible negative effects. If your dog is going through similar life changes, it’s worth a try.

BUY IT !!!! This has literally saved my older dog with dementia!!! I cannot promise results but it has helped our older dog so much it is almost a miracle! Our rescue collie was dx’ed with dementia and our Vet AND a more holistic friend both recommended this so I thought it most likely works. After almost 2.5-3 weeks our baby has quit walking into walls, staring at nothing, and the panting and pacing (all night long!) has almost completely stopped! I was this close to sending him to the Rainbow bridge and am beyond thankful this is working for now. Quality of life is always first and foremost and I strongly recommend trying this but giving it time to work before other things, but always check with your vet first! It has not stopped the incontinence but that is another issue. Love this stuff!!! Make sure to order the proper weight size!

Great tip to help relieve dog dementia symptoms

Where are the negative comments?

Of course there are negative comments, it’s to be expected, and they were from people who didn’t see any results, and that too is to be expected.

Senilife, yay or nay?

As long as my vet felt the ingredients were safe for my dog, I would absolutely give it a try. Imagine if this was “the” product that made a difference in your dog’s life! So what’s it going to be – yay or nay?

 

 

Sharing helps others so please leave a comment below, or on my Facebook page.

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**

 

**There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I make a few pennies…literally. That money helps me help homeless animals through donations and fostering, as well as keeping this blog running. **

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would your senior dog benefit from New Zealand green lipped mussels

Would Your Senior Dog Benefit From Green Lipped Mussels?

Would your senior dog benefit from New Zealand green lipped mussels

Are green lipped mussels the next “great thing” for our senior dogs? Let’s take a look and see!

What are they and are they really green?

Green lipped mussels (or GLM) are a type of mussel found only in New Zealand, and the shell is rimmed in green.

Benefits  

  • Natural inflammatory
  • would your dog benefit from New Zealand green lipped musselsReduces pain
  • Protects joints
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Strengthens bones
  • Helps in repair of cartilage
  • Preventative

What makes green lipped mussels so powerful?

Just like fish, green lipped mussels contain Omega-3 fatty acids, but it is the combination of fatty acids, minerals and antioxidants found in the mussels that makes them so powerful.  

How much to give

There is no set answer for this one, as the amount of GLM that will be beneficial for your senior dog depends not only on his or her size, but also the severity of the condition. The amount given may also have to be increased or decreased depending on the results you see…or don’t see.

Here are some suggestions to help get you started 

Speak to your vet and ask his opinion

Follow the recommendations on the label of the brand you purchase

In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, significant improvement was seen in dogs given the following amounts –

  • Dogs weighing less than 25kg/55lbs – 450mg per day
  • Dogs weighing 25-34kg/55-75lbs – 750mg per day
  • Dogs weighing more than 34kg/75lbs – 1000mg per day

How to administer green lipped mussels

While it is often suggested the most effective way is to sprinkle it onto your dog’s food, the study I mentioned above suggests dogs showed significant improvement whether it was given that way, in a treat or as an ingredient in dog food. The fact it is helpful in various forms, increases the likelihood you will find something your dog will accept.

How long until I see results?

Natural supplements tend to take longer to have an affect than medications, so it may take several weeks for you to notice a difference.

Side effects

There don’t seem to be any concerns about side effects, although there is a very slight chance your dog could be allergic to shellfish. If you see any symptoms such as your dog scratching, upset stomach, difficulty breathing or lack of interest in food (possibly due to nausea), please call your vet immediately.

Are all green lipped mussels supplements created equal?

Not all supplements are created equal, and green lipped mussels are no exception. It’s important to understand the manufacturing process in order to choose the best brand. Heat destroys the nutrients naturally found in the mussels, so if they are steamed open you want to stay away from that brand. Look for cold extracted instead.

There are also many supplements that contain GLM but it’s not always easy to determine how much it actually contains, or the manufacturing process.

You may want to start by checking with your local health food store, and speaking with a knowledgeable salesperson.

Are GLM better than anti-inflammatories?

It depends what “better” means to you. When the “right” medication is found and dosage determined, then they absolutely do help with the pain associated with arthritis. By the same token there are often side effects that come with these drugs, and may be experienced by your dog.

More and more pet parents are looking for natural alternatives, and GLM are definitely worth looking into.

Keep in mind not every drug or supplement will be effective for every dog.

Are other supplements for mobility needed?

There is no definitive “yay” or “nay” answer to that question, but more a matter of the severity of the pain your dog experiences, and what will work best for him or her.

You may find you are able to reduce the amount of pain meds, or eliminate them completely, once you’ve started GLM

Some dog parents find the greatest effect when taken with glucosamine/chondroitin, while others add fish oil as well.

What the studies show about efficacy

Evaluating Complementary Therapies for Canine Osteoarthritis Part I: Green-lipped Mussel

Effect of a diet enriched with green-lipped mussel on pain behavior and functioning in dogs with clinical osteoarthritis

Improvement of Arthritic Signs in Dogs Fed Green-Lipped Mussel (Perna canaliculus)

Always check with your vet

I always advise checking with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet, and that includes the addition of supplements. In my case because Red had chronic pancreatitis, it was critical I kept an eye on the amount of oils in her diet and that definitely included fish oil.

If your vet isn’t as familiar with alternative therapies as you would like, bring an information sheet with you. If he still isn’t able to offer you the advice you seek, a visit to a holistic vet may help. If you do end up with a second vet, communication between all parties is key for the safety of your dog.

 


Do you give your senior dog green lipped mussels? What condition are you treating? Do you see any positive results? Sharing helps others so please leave a comment below, or on my Facebook page.

 

I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.

 

*There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I make a few pennies…literally. That money helps me help homeless animals through donations and fostering, as well as keeping this blog running.

 

 

ThunderShirt for dogs product review

ThunderShirt for Dogs – Product Review

Thundershirt for dogs review

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Your senior dog has dementia and can’t stop circling or pacing
  • You are about to start campaigning for a ban on fireworks
  • The sound of rumblings in the sky sends you into a panic
  • ThunderShirt for Dogs Product ReviewYour dog is left out of family fun days because he can’t handle a car ride
  • It’s a wrestling match trying to take him or her to the vet
  • Your dog is destroying your home when left alone
  • You can’t find the “off” switch when he starts to bark

Don’t worry because help is finally here!

My dog Red has been living with dementia for over two years, and until recently her condition has been stable. Unfortunately her treatments are no longer working and I’ve been searching for an alternative…preferably drug free! I came across this anxiety wrap called a ThunderShirt, and with an over 80% success rate, backed by science and a 100% money back guarantee, I was intrigued and had to learn more.

Get more information and buy now on Amazon.com >>>

Features and Specifications

  • Easy to use, no training required just put it on your dog
  • Available in 7 sizes
  • Over 80% success rate
  • Claims are backed by scientific support and customer feedback
  • Rated most effective solution for anxiety by vets in a 2011 survey
  • Safe to leave on your dog for extended periods of time when needed
  • Made from a thin, breathable fabric
  • Can be washed in cold water on regular cycle using regular laundry detergent, and hung to dry
  • Money back guarantee

If you like supporting companies that do good in the community, then you’re going to love this next feature. Thunderworks, the company that created this product, donates ThunderShirts to adoption organisations around the country. Selections for recipients are made monthly. How fab is that!

Get further details and buy now on Amazon.com >>>

Customer Feedback


“I’ve spent a fortune over the years on plug ins, pheromone sprays and prescription medications and nothing has helped with LuLu’s anxiety. I put this shirt on her and no more panting and pacing, she lay on the sofa next to me all night!”

“My dog has had dementia for the past 2 years and it’s been a struggle trying to find something to calm him down. He’s anxious all the time – paces, circles, barely rests. I am on a tight budget, I don’t sleep well and I was feeling desperate so I ordered one. I had to try it 2 or 3 times before Charlie started to relax, but the difference in him now is incredible. He’s like a new dog. Thank you, thank you!”  

“This was a great choice for our big move! We had a 7 hour car ride with my senior dog who has quite severe anxiety if she’s in the car too long. It worked like a charm and she slept most of the way.”

“ThunderShirt absolutely 100% works.”

Drawbacks

The only “drawback” is there is no guarantee it will work for every dog, but they never claim it will. With its’ high success rate in treating dogs for a wide range of anxiety issues, and personally knowing many people who have seen amazing results, I highly recommend giving this product a try.

Buy now at Amazon.com >>>

When you have a dog that suffers from anxiety, no matter the cause, it is heart breaking to watch, and you’re willing to try anything to help. Personally I love the idea of a drug free solution, and with the number of satisfied Thundershirts for dogscustomers and pups as a testimonial, the ThunderShirt is that solution.

With so much potential reward, how can you not take the chance? If it turns out it doesn’t help your dog there is a money back guarantee. They’ll even give you a refund if you donate it to an animal shelter…as long as you can prove it!

I am happy to recommend this product to anyone who lives with an anxious dog, and am particularly encouraged by how much it has helped dogs suffering from dementia (canine cognitive dysfunction).

I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.

 

*There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I make a few pennies…literally. That money helps me help homeless animals through donations and fostering, as well as keeping this blog running.

 

everything you need to know about bone broth for dogs

Everything You Need to Know About Bone Broth For Dogs

everything you need to know about bone broth for dogs
credit: Jennifer Lee Allen

Have you heard the talk about bone broth for dogs? I feel like it’s been popping up everywhere lately, yet it’s been around forever. I must admit I didn’t know much about it, having never researched it as a possible nutrition source for any of my dogs. Why? I have no idea and it’s as simple as that!!

So what’s changed? A few months ago I started a Facebook group called Senior Dog Care Club. It is a place where parents of senior dogs get together and ask for advice, share experiences, offer help and even just vent. Bone broth is something that’s talked quite a bit about as something very helpful for their dogs, so it only makes sense for me to write about it if it can help others. After all, that’s my entire goal not only with the group, but my Caring For a Senior Dog website as well.

So what is bone broth?

It is the liquid left over after simmering raw or cooked bones for several hours. Yep that’s it. It couldn’t be easier to make just throw some bones, water, and apple cider vinegar into a crock pot and let it simmer. Don’t worry there’s a recipe below.

What’s all the fuss about?

It’s been called an immune boosting super food, extremely nutritious, easily digestible, chock full of vitamins, minerals and a whole lot more.

Can’t I buy readymade beef or chicken stock? Surely it’s the same!

Nope I’m afraid not. Stock typically has added salt and onions, artificial flavours, and who knows what else your dog should be avoiding. You also don’t know if it is made with the meat and bones of animals fed antibiotics. Only Everything You Need to Know About Bone Broth For Dogsby buying the bones yourself can you know the quality of the product you will be producing. Also, the stock is cooked at high temperature for a short period of time, which cannot provide the same nutrition as a bone broth that uses only bones, vinegar and water and is slow cooked for several hours.

What is it not?

It is not a replacement for a nutritious balanced diet but a boost when needed, and a supplement that can be added to your dog’s regular diet.  

When is bone broth helpful?

  • Sick dogs
  • Recovering from illness or surgery
  • Gut irritation
  • Hospice animals who are refusing or can no longer eat
  • Picky eaters
  • Senior pets who aren’t eating as much as they should  
  • Excellent supplement for dogs of any age

How much to give and how often?

It varies depending on the circumstances. Some users give it to their dogs every day, some twice a day and others just as a boost when their appetite isn’t what it should be.

I always prefer to start small and see how things go, so one spoon on one meal would be right for me.  

Consult your vet

As amazing as the testimonials and experiences with bone broth are, I still say it’s a good idea to ask your vet if it’s suitable for your dog. I contacted my vet and he said it is absolutely not the right thing for my dog Red who

bone broth for dogs
credit: Dana Wabner

suffers from pancreatitis. I was sure that would be his response, but I wanted to confirm.

Benefits

Great for joints

Bone broth is loaded with glucosamine, chondroitin, gelatine and hyaluronic acid – all joint protecting compounds.

Promotes a healthy gut

Have you heard of leaky gut? There’s a lot of talk about it in humans, but it’s an issue in dogs as well. What is it? Well, the lining of the intestines contains millions of tiny holes digested nutrients pass through. Factors like a

everything you should know about bone broth for dogs
credit Jennifer Lee Allen

poor diet, high stress and too much bacteria can make existing holes bigger or create new ones, and that’s what is known as leaky gut.

When things pass through the bigger holes that shouldn’t, the body sees them as foreign invaders and starts attacking them, causing allergies and food sensitivities. 

Bone broth is loaded with gelatine that plugs/narrows the holes, and the glycine soothes the inflamed gut.

Healthy way to moisten dry food

If your dog isn’t always enthusiastic about eating his kibble, adding some bone broth to moisten it may get him interested. It’s also an easy way to increase the nutrition content.

Nourish a sick dog

We all know how a sick dog can lose interest in eating or drinking, and that can be very dangerous, especially in a senior dog. Weight loss, especially if he’s already underweight, and the possibility of dehydration are very worrying consequences. Bone broth will not only provide much needed nutrients until he’s feeling better, it will keep him hydrated. 

Helps with poor/no appetite

Along the lines of what I just mentioned about nourishing a sick dog, if you’re dealing with a finicky eater or a dog who’s having trouble eating, adding some bone broth to his diet may spark some interest. Think about microwaving the food for a few seconds to release the smells, it helps my dog eat.   

Immune booster

Bone broth contains the vitamins and minerals used by the immune system to fight off infection.

Detox

The liver and kidneys can be quite overworked, having to process the pollutants and chemicals faced on a daily basis. The amino acid glycine found in bone broth, helps detox those organs.  

Fur, skin and nail growth

The benefits of bone broth are not restricted to the internal, but also help keep your dog’s fur, skin and nails in excellent condition.

Bone broth recipe


My research turned up so many different recipes, I stopped counting at 9. To be fair they were all pretty much the same with slight variations, so I combined them into this one recipe.  

Ingredients:

Raw, fresh, frozen or cooked bones from the butcher or your own meals (chicken, turkey, beef, duck, goose). I did read about someone who uses a whole organic chicken, cuts the chicken off to give the dogs after it’s been simmering for a couple of hours, then leaves the carcass to simmer another 20 hours or so.

Raw apple cider vinegar/regular vinegar/lemon juice – it’s up to you but ACV is most often used.

Water

Some of the extras people use:

  • Chicken feet, joints, and knuckles (joint bones have extra cartilage)
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Parsley
  • Kelp
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash
  • Turmeric

Cooking method:

The most recommended way to make the broth is to use a crock pot because of the number of hours it needs to simmer. You can of course use a pot on the stove, but you couldn’t leave it there unattended so a crock pot is the safest.

Instructions:

Put all the bones into your crock-pot

Add enough water to cover the bones by about 2-3 inches

Add 2-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. This helps pull all of the minerals and nutrients out of the bones and into the broth

Turn your crock pot on high for about an hour to get things started, then turn to low and let cook for 16-24 hours, but 24 hours is the time most people cook it for. Keep an eye on it in case more water is needed to cover the bones

Strain well because you only want the broth, the bones will be too soft and dangerous for your dog to eat

Let it cool

What it will look like:

When it comes out of the fridge you should see a hard layer of fat on top, so just remove it and throw it away. Underneath that layer the broth should have the consistency of jelly, but don’t worry if it doesn’t it just means you

didn’t add enough vinegar so add a little more next time. The bone broth will still be beneficial and packed full of goodness.

Storage:

If kept in the fridge it must be consumed within 3-4 days, frozen it can last up to one year. If you do freeze it pour into ice cube trays for easy to use portion sizes and for a treat on a hot day. What about freezing some in a Kong? That will keep your dog busy for a long time!!

bone broth for dogs made into molds
Credit: Sarah-Jane England

Sarah-Jane England, a member of a FB group I belong to, kindly allowed me to use this image. She adds powdered pig gelatin to the broth, spoons into molds and lets it set in the fridge. It takes about one hour then she freezes them in a bag and gives one a day to her dog. Each mold weighs 6 grams and either gives it whole or heats it a few seconds until it turns to liquid, then adds to his food. 

The flip side

I found more articles then I could count praising the benefits, but I wondered if I could find one that had another point of view. It’s not because I was being negative I was just wondering if it was all a bit too good to be true. After much digging I came across an article on the raw feeding community website called “No Bones About It: The Scoop on Bone Broth For Dogs.

Resources

Here are a few articles you may find interesting if you’d like to read more about it.

Bone Broth: The “Soul Food” Perfect for Sick Pets Who Won’t or Can’t Eat

Bone Broth For Dogs – What’s the Big Deal?

An Introductory Guide to Bone Broth For Dogs

Bone broth for dogs – conclusion

Well there you have it. A super simple recipe to make, but packed full of healing ingredients your dog will benefit tremendously from. Remember to check with your vet first though to discuss its suitability for your dog. Bring along the recipe in case he’s not familiar with it.

 

I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.

 

 

massage to naturally improve mobility in senior dogs

How to Naturally Improve Mobility in Senior Dogs

how to naturally improve mobility in senior dogs

Aging is a fact of life. Our dogs depend on us for affection, training, exercise, and nutrition. As our pets age they require more special attention. You notice your dog taking longer to get up; moving more stiffly and slowly. It seems suddenly your dog doesn’t want to jump up on the bed or take the stairs like they used to when younger.

Most dogs will show symptoms of arthritis as they age. Symptoms will usually appear by the time they are 6 or 7 years old. Arthritis happens when immune system attacks tissue in the joints. This leads to cartilage becoming thinner and allows the joins to rub together, causing inflammation and pain.

Steroids and pain medicine can help, but for most pet owners this is a last resort. What is the best way to naturally improve mobility in your senior dog? Prevention, certainly.

Reducing Symptoms of Arthritis

There are a number of natural ways that you can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis and increase mobility for your senior pet.

Reduce inflammation = reduce pain = improve mobility

Nutrition and Supplements

how to naturally improve mobility in your senior dog

To slow the arthritis process, feed your dog an anti-inflammatory diet rich in Omega 3’s. To compliment this there are many natural supplements on the market that will naturally improve your pet’s joint health. The best option is to use a naturally-occurring supplement high in glucosamine and chondroitin. These are the building blocks of cartilage and support healthy joints.

Green-lipped Mussel

 

super snouts joint power green lipped mussels

Green-lipped mussel is one of my favorite mobility supplements, and one I’ve introduced to my own dog. Naturally occurring in New Zealand, this shellfish is ecological, environmentally sustainable, and extremely high in fatty acids and glucosamine.

Powder form of the greenshell mussels are most potent, but they also come in capsule and droplet form. Be aware the freeze-drying methods, resulting in dog treats, or high heat affect the quality of the supplement.

Sourcing: The greenshell mussel is found only in the harbors of New Zealand. Different companies will harvest and create the supplement in different ways but for this, time is of the essence.

I recently ordered the Super Snouts Joint Power for Gonzo. A small amount of powder is all that is needed daily and so far I’m happy.

Phytoplankton

freeze dried marine phytoplankton

All ocean life depends on phytoplankton. It is the very basis of the food chain.  This microscopic plant helps your pet absorb nutrients and dispose of toxins. Marine phytoplankton has more omega-3s by weight than any other food source and is touted as a superfood.

Sourcing: always check where the supplement is sourced and that it is not man made in ponds or lakes, which may be subject to toxins. Phytoplankton comes in powder or liquid form and does not need to be refrigerated so is perfect for travel.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is perhaps the most well known source of Omega 3’s. Ironic considering fish do not naturally contain these. In fact, they get them from phytoplankton that they ingest. Additionally, fish oil must be refrigerated and may cause side effects such as gas and bad odor. So best to steer clear and choose the other options above.

Acupuncture

An ancient Chinese technique that uses small needles on meridians (pathways) of the body to aid self-healing and provide balance. This is a non-invasive procedure that is usually very well-received by animals. Acupuncture has shown many benefits for senior animals with arthritis.

Needles are usually placed for 10-20 minutes and performed every 2 weeks until symptoms are alleviated and then every 3-4 weeks for maintenance. Only veterinarians certified in acupuncture techniques are legally able to perform this therapy in the US.

Chiropractic Manipulation

Chiropractic manipulation is performed by some veterinarians. Adjustments are done to the joints of the spine and the extremities. Realigning the vertebrae may help to alleviate muscle spasms and stiffness of arthritis. Due to possible risks, only veterinarians should provide this therapy.

Sports Massage

massage to naturally improve mobility in senior dogs

My favorite of all holistic modalities and one that I’ve chosen as my profession. A certified canine sports massage therapist will use their hands and fingers to manipulate muscle and remove spasms in the body. In doing so, we increase circulation, improve synovial fluid to the joints, and release endorphins-

which results in natural pain relief and reduction of stiffness.

Regular treatments every 2- 4 weeks are best to relieve symptoms and improve movement.

Reiki

Reiki is the Japanese technique of energy healing. Like many other eastern modalities, this is a non-invasive technique based on the notion of universal energy and providing balance within your own body.

“Like acupuncture, Reiki is based on the belief that essential life energy runs through each person, and disruptions in energy flow can cause pain and other problems. … The Reiki practitioner positions his or her hands over specific points of the client’s body, attempting to guide essential energy into it.” Arthritis Health

Cold Laser Therapy

Cold Laser treatment for dogs employs deep-penetrating light to promote a chain of chemical reactions called photobiostimulation. It promotes cell regeneration and increases circulation while also desensitizing the nerves. The laser wavelength must be precise to correctly effect to reduce pain and desensitize the nerves. The machinery is expensive, and is usually done by a holistic or integrative veterinarian who has been trained in this therapy..

Laser treatments are cumulative and regular treatments are required to create the most improvement. The benefits of cold laser therapy?

  • Non-invasive
  • Non-surgical
  • No chemicals
  • Quick treatment- usually varying in length of under 10 minutes per site.

The beautiful thing about cold laser therapy is that the process is quick, painless, and can often be done alongside acupuncture or sports massage for increased benefits.

Aromatherapy

aromatherapy products

Nature’s medicine for thousands of years, aromatherapy takes the roots, flowers, and leaves of plants in liquid form (essential oils) for their various benefits. Depending on the plant’s properties essential oils can be antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and more.

There are many ways to use aromatherapy and essential oils. As an inhalant, topically, or even ingested under a professional’s guidance.

Through my practice working with canine arthritis clients, I formulated a signature blend of essential oils to topically relieve pain and reduce inflammation. However, each animal has different sensitivity.

The best results for your senior dog’s mobility with arthritis is using a combination of these alternative therapies. It is ideal to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief naturally, rather than relying on chemical means that may have a large number of dangerous side effects. With their owner’s support, love, and willingness to try- senior dogs can live happy, pain-free lives for as long as possible.

 

 

Heather Wallace

About the writer: Heather Wallace of Monmouth County, New Jersey is a certified equine and canine sports massage therapist, co-owner of Bridle & Bone Wellness LLC, and equestrian & canine blogger at Bridle & Bone. She is an adult amateur equestrian in unrequited loved with an OTTB and has two rescue dogs, Gonzo and Beau. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter @bridleandbone.

 

Reiki healing for dogs

Reiki Healing For Dogs

Reiki healing for dogs

As any dog person knows, our canine friends are such beautiful souls and a big part of our life. They’re always there to greet us with wagging tails even if we’ve only been gone a short while! These years of fun and boundless energy are followed by the senior years, when the whole dynamics of caring for a dog can change. This can be where we need to support them even more, and reiki therapy can be so helpful for this time. Here are some positive ways reiki can help your senior dogs.

Pain relief

Older dogs can suffer from chronic issues that can cause physical discomfort. Arthritis, stomach and digestive issues and general aching from old age can surface as they grow old. Thankfully reiki can help relieve the symptoms and can even help injuries heal quicker. Cortisol, the stress hormone, inhibits cell regrowth and there is good research to show reiki healing changes the hormones for several hours and is cumulative. Of course, we need to follow our vet’s advice, but by including regular reiki treatments we can help to combat these issues safely and naturally.

Reiki is very relaxing, so if a dog has a physical pain it could be tensing the area. What happens during a reiki session is that the dog will fall into a super relaxed state, enabling their own body to begin the natural healing. It works further by balancing the body’s energy fields to support their whole being.

Emotional Support

Just like us humans, when dogs get older they can sometimes get confused and slower. Thankfully reiki can help with this too. By providing them with a deep sense of peace it can help their mental focus, much like the effects of meditating. Reiki is kind of like a meditation, and the energetic flow that comes from this attracts animals. Quite often when opening a reiki session you will find your cat or dog will approach you and drop down to enjoy the healing energies. Sometimes there is a loud sigh that comes from dogs when having reiki treatment as they release old stresses. It can be quite powerful for the animal.

The Fear Factor

Dogs can also become more fearful of things, such as travelling in a car, meeting other dogs, loud noises etc. This can lead to anxiety which I have found to be something reiki can really work well for.

Fear can lead to many things, including not wanting to go outside or to be around other dogs or people. It is an emotional factor that reiki can assist in releasing. Research shows that during reiki treatments the stress hormone called cortisol is reduced. To see a dog have a fear of something released is quite wonderful, knowing that they can now live a fuller, happier life.

Passing Over

It’s something we all have to go through with our dogs and there is no easy way through it. When it’s time for our canine friend to pass over to the other side we ourselves find it emotionally crippling both during it and for a long time afterwards. Sometimes our animals are ready for the transition but it can be beneficial to use reiki to help ease some of them over. It helps by offering a sense of peace and grounding to their mind and body. This is a time when having a reiki session yourself can help too. I find it is best when the dog’s human joins in the reiki session as it helps both parties and help build the bond between them.

Here are some of the issues that Reiki can help with:

  •           Anxiety
  •           Physical injuries
  •           Behavioural issues
  •           Arthritis
  •           Stomach trouble
  •           Nervousness
  •           Pet/human relationship
  •           Appetite loss
  •           Fear and aggression
  •           Terminally ill animals
  •           Pain management

So how does reiki work?

It is said that a form of reiki was originally developed hundreds of years ago in Tibet, but was rediscovered by a Japanese monk named Dr Usui in 1922. He found that we can learn to harness the energy that surrounds us all to bring about a balanced mind, body and spirit. By channelling the reiki energy through a practitioner they can transfer it to the patient to rebalance the body’s natural energy centres. This in turn allows the body’s built-in healing abilities to work as they should.

The great thing about dogs is they always look on the bright side, even when they’re older. They rarely complain and have a great knack of just living in the moment, content with what they have. There are things we can do to help them and complementary therapies such as reiki can really help them cope with the change in their mind and body. Your local vet must always be consulted but by going down the holistic route we can get the best of both worlds with a scientific approach coupled with alternative treatments. It’s an approach your dog will appreciate and you will see the difference with your own eyes.

 

This guest post was written by Jason, a fully qualified reiki practitioner, specialising in reiki for animals. He also offers animal communication readings and lives in Worcestershire. You can book a hands-on or remote reiki session at www.talkingtoanimals.co.uk for your pet.

allopathic and holistic veterinary care

Allopathic and Holistic Veterinary Care: Is It “Us V. Them” or Can the Twain Ever Meet?

allopathic and holistic veterinary care

One might assume that since I am a holistic practitioner, I do not endorse allopathic veterinary care.  Remember what our grade-school teachers warned about what happens when we assume, as this is simply not true.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am definitely not a fan of what veterinarian Ian Billinghurst, the founder of the BARF movement, refers to as “Fake Industrial Foods,” which allopathic vet clinics peddle for top dollar as premium quality fare.  Nor do I support their common practice of pushing harmful, repeated, not to mention non-mandatory vaccinations as part of the regularly scheduled annual exams.  (Don’t believe me?  Do your own research into findings by prominent immunologist Hugh Fudenberg, MD, and the UC Davis studies on the effects Allopathic and holistic vet careof brain- and nerve-damaging aluminum and dendritic cell-disrupting mercury  — in the form of Thimerosal, the two most common adjuvant ingredients found in vaccines, and draw your own conclusions.  Then there’s the issue of ingredients including MSG, animal proteins, potential contaminants and a host of other nefarious additives.  I could go on for hours, er pages!)

As our dogs get older, their bodies in general, and their immune systems in particular have to work harder to cope with age-related challenges – some hereditary, but most a result of a lifetime spent living in the conditions of an unnatural modern-age world.  Feeding ridiculously costly, carbohydrate-based, GMO-laden, protein-poor processed food full of potentially rancid fats, and synthetic vitamins and minerals adds a whopper of an unnecessary burden on these animals.  Sticking them with needles that deliver toxic chemical cocktails wreaks further havoc, and unleashes a virtual cyclone of systemic chaos that can reach the dog’s deepest level:  the vital force itself.

So, that said, are there instances when allopathic veterinary care may be the best choice?  In my opinion, yes.

In an Emergency, West is Best

Even die-hard, holistic-only practitioners will tell you if your dog has been hit by a car, ingested a suspected poison, or is showing beginning signs of gastric torsion (AKA bloat), it is not the time to call a holistic clinic, crack open your homeopathic Materia Medica for an appropriate remedy, or, worst of all, do an Internet search asking “Dr. Google” for the best herb or supplement.  Use common sense and run, don’t walk, to your nearest emergency veterinary clinic.

In these cases, surgery may be the only thing that can save your dog’s life.  Sure, there will be unwanted side-effects from anesthesia, medications, and the mere trauma surrounding the circumstances, but I believe such scenarios are cases of “get help STAT and deal with the fallout later.”

Non-Emergent, Acute Cases of Mouths and Muscles

Most dentists will tell you oral health is an indicator of one’s overall state of health.  Like his human guardian’s, a dog’s mouth is the gateway to the rest of his body, and deserves regular inspection and care.

Bad breath; swollen and discolored gums; and loose, abscessed or fractured teeth warrant immediate veterinary attention, as, left untreated, these conditions may lead to arthritis, and liver, kidney and even heart damage.  dog dental careUnfortunately, most of these situations require a dog be sedated at best, or more likely anesthetized, in order to receive proper treatment.   If teeth need to be extracted, procedures can easily cost hundreds of dollars or more, and often times the poor dog is sent home with post-op antibiotics and pain medications.  Again, this is a case of help now, clean up later.

If your former canine athlete sustains an injury that seems more serious than the garden variety stumble or strain, a good old-fashioned X-ray or ultrasound may provide a definitive diagnosis, after which time holistic treatment options such as acupuncture, tui na (a form of soft-tissue manipulation), homeopathy or body work may be considered instead of NSAIDs, outdated recommendations of strict rest, and potent opioid painkillers.

Now that we’ve learned about these two very different approaches to veterinary care, let’s explore what’s behind Door Number Three.

Chronic Conditions Call for Combination

Some of us have senior dogs who are in pretty good shape, and don’t really need a lot of medical care.  For these fortunate fellows, why not seek the help of an integrative veterinarian? 

They’re really not so hard to find these days.  Many vets are willing to offer natural alternatives to the standard components of the multi-faceted Senior Wellness Package. 

For example, it really wouldn’t hurt to have your dog’s vet perform the blood and urine tests, but it seems silly to subject your dog to harsh de-worming agents when it’s so easy and non-invasive to run a fecal exam to determine if it’s even necessary in the first place.

While we’re talking about parasites, why not forego the traditional topical, or worse, oral flea and tick products that not only poison your dog, but also the environment; and roll up your sleeves, mow your lawn, sprinkle it with holistic veterinary caresome non-toxic (except to the fleas and ticks!) diatomaceous earth or cedar pellets, and attach a Shoo Tag or ultrasonic medallion to your dog’s collar to keep the bugs at bay.

If your dog has arthritis, an integrative vet can offer herbal or food-based joint supplements that actually treat the condition, rather than suppress or palliate the symptoms.

Finally, don’t forget the diet!  No dog would object if you offered to feed his joints with treats like bovine trachea, chicken or pigs’ feet, and delicious bone broth – all rich in elastin, collagen, glucosamine and chondroitin.  If your dog has tender teeth, these offerings can double as safe, fully digestible recreational bones so he can get his gnaw on without incident.  Bone appétit!

 

This post was kindly written by Dr, Reema Sayegh. She holds doctoral degrees in Holistic Nutrition and Naturopathy, and has over 20 years experience in the field of integrative medicine and holistic health.  After she rescued a nine-year-old Great Dane mix named Zeus in 2004, Dr. Reema was inspired to “shift gears” and has since become a Reiki master teacher, certified holistic pet consultant, published author, public speaker, and animal welfare advocate.  She works in tandem with veterinarians and their clients to provide companion animals adjunct natural wellness modalities, and, when indicated, specialty geriatric and hospice care.  Dr. Reema resides in California with her husband and the love of their lives: a spirited canine teacher, healer, and gigantic, fun-loving goofball named Dakota.  She can be reached at drreema4pets@yahoo.com.

Natural Remedies for Seizures in Dogs

Natural Remedies For Seizures in Dogs

Natural Remedies for Seizures in Dogs

Did you know there are natural remedies for seizures in dogs?

I have to say something up front, and yes I know it’s obvious but I’ll say it anyway. Don’t stop giving your dog his medication or add supplements without the advice of a vet or holistic vet.

Now that I got that out of the way…

A little background info

When it comes to my own healthcare I have long preferred a more homeopathic whole person approach, and I am extending that philosophy to the care of my animals as well.

Red, the love of my life, is a 15 ½ year old (approx.) Chihuahua/Min Pin mix. For too long she has been on more medication than I was happy with. Yes my previous vet was absolutely amazing, and yes the drugs were helping, natural remedies for seizures in senior dogsbut I couldn’t help but feel they may have been hurting as well. I have wanted to add a more natural element to her care, but that was not possible…until now.

She is being treated by a holistic vet, and I’m feeling really good about it. He replaced 3 of her medications with supplements, and has taken her off a prescription diet in favour of a homemade, whole food diet he created specifically for her needs. He has also recommended acupuncture, which Red will be starting this coming week.

While he agreed she has been extremely well cared for by my previous vet, he was saddened by what her little 9lb body was forced to cope with.  

Red and seizures

Red started having seizures around 2 years ago. Thankfully they are few and far between and last only seconds, so no medication is required. Having said that, I am interested in what holistic treatments are being used to treat/manage this condition.

Holistic options

I know from my relatively new experience, holistic care never consists of “one thing” as it seems to in traditional veterinary medicine. What I mean is – when Red had a problem, a drug was prescribed for that problem. Now a multi-pronged approach is being used and that has, and will include: supplements, a homemade wholefoods diet and acupuncture.

The same approach can be taken for the care of dogs with seizures, with remedies, acupuncture and chiropractic care part of the plan.  

Remedies

One article I found of interest called “8 Natural Remedies For Your Dog’s Seizure” was published in Dogs Naturally Magazine. I have re-printed the recommendations below (with permission of course!).  

Aconite

Useful for both attendant and patient! The sudden onset fits the picture, and fear is sometimes seen just prior to the fit.

Belladonna

Another remedy where suddenness is a feature, together with the violence of the convulsions. There is great sensitivity during the fit, and the slightest external stimulus will keep it going. The attack usually involves a single fit rather than a cluster. As it is the acute of Calc carb, it is often of use where that is the indicated constitutional remedy.

Bufo

This has the reputation of the keynote of fits occurring during sleep. In actual fact, the link is to night and sleep combined. The other feature is worse in a warm room. There is often a howl at the start of the fit.

Cicuta virosa

A distinctive feature here is that during the spasms, the head is thrown back and to the side, so that the muzzle rests on the shoulder blade facing towards the tail.

Cocculus

A very useful remedy, its connection with vertigo gives it its place in this context.

Hyoscyamus

Related to Belladonna and Stramonium, this is also an excellent “local” remedy. Its picture is characterized by excessive movements of the face, both prior to a fit and at other times.

Kali brom

As Potassium bromide this is used as a conventional anti-convulsant and it is also employed as a homeopathic remedy. The timing of the fits is often linked to estrus, and there is marked excitement before they start.

Silica

Silica, having both convulsions and “ailments from vaccination” in its picture, is extremely useful when seizures are vaccine induced.

For additional holistic treatments, I was interested in what this article “Holistic Treatments for Epilepsy in Dogs” had to say.

I hope you will find the information as useful as I have.

Natural remedies for seizures in dogs – conclusion

Whether you are a staunch believer in “natural” all the way, or you’ve been hearing a lot about holistic care and are curious, I do hope that you found this post on natural remedies for seizures in dogs informative and perhaps even eye opening.

 

Does your dog experience seizures? Do you treat him with medication or holistically? Has the information presented here gotten you curious about a more natural approach? I would love to hear from you so please share your story in the comments section below, or on my Facebook page.

 

Supplements for dogs a whole foods approach

Supplements for Dogs: A Whole Foods Approach

Supplements for dogs a whole foods approach

In a perfect world, we would not need supplements.  That said, this is not a perfect world.  Far from it.  No corner of the globe, however remote, escapes the far-reaching side effects of today’s society:  air and water pollution; topsoil erosion and soil depletion; radiation; exposures to toxic chemicals from pesticides, herbicides, immunizations and medications; and, with all due respect to those who deny its existence, climate change.

Even if we have state-of-the-art air purifiers and top-drawer water filtration systems, unless we live in our very own biosphere, never receive vaccinations or take pharmaceuticals, grow all our own produce, and raise and butcher our own animals, we will most likely have to resort to supplementation in order to combat the ravaging effects of the modern age, and to meet our nutrient requirements.  And as we age, this becomes even more important.

The same is true for our dogs.  No matter what we feed our canine companions, I would wager my beloved home on the fact that, if we were to send samples of our dogs’ suppers out for laboratory analysis, we would be surprised at best, and horrified at worst, to learn how many nutritional gaps would be found.

As guardians of older dogs in particular, it is up to us to ensure these animals are getting enough critical nutrients to prevent, and in some cases, minimize the effects of, age-related issues like inflammation (such as gastrointestinal conditions or arthritis) and oxidative stress. 

As I am first and foremost a holistic nutritionist, I believe in the concepts of Fix It With Food First and Food as Medicine.  If we approach supplemental support for these conditions from a holistic perspective, we may be able to avoid, or at least reduce the need for, NSAIDs, steroids and pain medications, and drugs like Adequan and Anipryl, which come with both high price tags and serious health risks.

Back to Basics

Let’s take a closer look at three, all natural, easy-to-find, affordable, and most importantly, safe whole food supplements that you just might already have in your kitchen cupboard.

Bone broth

First on the list is bone broth.  Ridiculously popular with Paleo and GAPS diet devotees, bone broth has been enjoyed by myriad “primitive” societies for centuries, albeit without the stoneware slow cookers and mason jars.

All you need to brew a great batch of this rejuvenating superfood is a large stockpot, filtered water, raw apple cider vinegar, and, you guessed it, bones (though feel free to get creative and toss in some carrots, celery, parsley or even mushrooms).  It’s best to select cartilaginous bones such as beef knuckle bones, chicken feet, or even that turkey carcass from last Saturday’s soiree in order to yield plenty of collagen, glucosamine and other gut- and joint-supporting nutrients. 

The key to good bone broth is to take it slowly.  Start a batch early in the morning, and let the apple cider vinegar work its magic as the hours pass, even overnight, as the acetic acid extracts the minerals from the bones.  It’s best to cook the broth for 24 hours or more on the lowest possible heat setting, stirring occasionally, and then allow to cool before you remove and discard the cooked bones; and then refrigerate, de-fat, and finally strain, the remaining contents of the pot.

I fasten a piece of fine cheesecloth over open mason jars for one last strain when I am ready to pour the final product, then I simply pop the sealed jars in the fridge, where the broth keeps for as many as five days — though it never lasts that long!    (If this seems like too much work, you can always purchase ready-made or instant, powdered bone broth.  Just be sure it isn’t made with onions, as onions are toxic to dogs.)

Alpha-lipoic acid

Next on the list is the antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid.  This powerhouse nutrient is found in every body cell, and works hard to convert glucose to usable energy. 

Antioxidants fight free radical damage, which occurs as a by-product of cellular metabolism.  This damage contributes to oxidation (think about what happens to metal when it is exposed to the elements – a sort of rusting process occurs that, over time, degrades and ages the metal), hence the need for something that attempts to combat this: an “anti-oxidant.”

Some holistic veterinarians call alpha-lipoic acid the Fountain of Youth because it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier in order to assist in prolonging sound mental and emotional states of dogs well into old age.  Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks?  Take that, canine cognitive disorder!

There are many ALA supplements on the market, but why not feed your dog his ALA?  It is found in abundance in foods including beef heart and liver, broccoli and spinach.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Finally, don’t forget about omega 3 fatty acids.  Many people feed their dogs commercial dog food that contains fish oil.  I do not support this, for these reasons:  even the best fish oil is very fragile, and starts to turn rancid when exposed to heat and/or air, and even when frozen; and most of the fish oil that is used in commercial pet food is not suitable for human consumption, and has been chemically treated, often times with dangerous solvents. 

A better option would be to feed your dog a fish oil-free commercial or home-prepared fresh food diet, and add human-grade (small bodied) fish oil, or phytoplankton to his meals just before serving.  This way, your dog will benefit from the stable, inflammation-fighting, brain-building fats he was designed to eat.

Hippocrates had the right idea when he advised: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  After all, some say he lived to be over 85 years old, during a time when the average life expectancy was 40 years!  Just food for thought.

 

This post was kindly written by Dr, Reema Sayegh. She holds doctoral degrees in Holistic Nutrition and Naturopathy, and has over 20 years experience in the field of integrative medicine and holistic health.  After she rescued a nine-year-old Great Dane mix named Zeus in 2004, Dr. Reema was inspired to “shift gears” and has since become a Reiki master teacher, certified holistic pet consultant, published author, public speaker, and animal welfare advocate.  She works in tandem with veterinarians and their clients to provide companion animals adjunct natural wellness modalities, and, when indicated, specialty geriatric and hospice care.  Dr. Reema resides in California with her husband and the love of their lives: a spirited canine teacher, healer, and gigantic, fun-loving goofball named Dakota.  She can be reached at drreema4pets@yahoo.com.

the natural path toward a springier step

The Natural Path Toward a Springier Step

the natural path toward a springier step

As anyone fortunate enough to have a senior canine knows, these animals are in a class all their own, and, as such, warrant specialized care.  Much like their two-legged counterparts, senior dogs tend to develop age-related health challenges that may involve any or every body part, from mouth to gut to joint to bone to brain, and beyond.

For example, dogs with conditions like arthritis, degenerative disc disease, or orthopedic problems may not fare so well using solely the typical allopathic approach that employs pharmaceutical-induced symptom suppression and physical therapy or rehabilitation.  Based on my opinion, plus years of experience with both my own dogs and those of my clients, a more fitting protocol might include diet changes, veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic, cold laser therapy, and massage.

In some circumstances, this may not be enough, or, conversely, may prove to be “too much” for a more sensitive canine.  To this point, as our dogs develop some twinges in their hinges, veterinarians often write prescriptions for hydrotherapy.

However, after having patronized some highly reputable facilities, I remain concerned about several things:  the amount of chlorine in the water; the high temperature of the water; the number of ailing dogs confined to a small space (picture a liquid dog park filled with fatigued, nervous canine curmudgeons and their harried guardians, a natural path toward a springier stepcoming and going all the time); and, most importantly, the oft-reported negligible benefits gained by dogs who suffer from auto-immune forms of musculoskeletal conditions.

This information motivated me to pursue less taxing, more natural modalities that could not only improve a dog’s physical state, but his mental and emotional states as well.

To this end, why not spend our money on a doggie life vest, harness, and maybe even booties, and head for a nearby lake or river?  We wouldn’t be exposing our dogs to noxious chemicals or hordes of hounds, and the water would be cool and inviting, with plenty of fresh air and sunshine. The pups would get a good workout, without stress or strain, doing what comes naturally.  If that doesn’t lift one’s spirits, what does?

If we want to stress less, let’s take a look at Reiki

The word Reiki itself is an amalgamation of two Japanese words, rei (universal life) and ki (energy).  During a Reiki session, a trained practitioner acts as a conduit for this energy, which is directed to the recipient using either a hands-on technique, or a hands-off method where hands hover over the body.  This method is ideal for touch-averse, itchy, or painful dogs. Reiki is quite popular now, because word has spread that it promotes profound levels of relaxation and well being, and awakens innate healing mechanisms in order to achieve a more balanced level of mind-body interaction.

I have found Reiki to be as valuable as Tellington Touch, massage, acupressure and flower essences for rescued, reactive, nervous dogs, including those who have been diagnosed with the canine form of PTSD and impaired cognitive function.

And finally, a magic circle?

According to manufacturer Assisi Animal Health, the Assisi Loop is a hand-held, portable device that delivers targeted Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEFT) as a non-invasive, drug-free form of pain management for assisi loopmany inflammatory conditions.  The Assisi Loop is available through veterinarians, or by prescription, and may reduce the amount of, or even the need for, NSAIDs, steroids and pain medications.

Even better, the Assisi Loop can be used by a guardian, in the comfort and privacy of a dog’s own home (or, better yet, back yard), at any time of the day or night.  This can be ideal for those of us with crazy schedules, or with big dogs who have a hard time getting comfortable in the standard exam room environment.  We can even take it on long car rides, in order to make travel more enjoyable.  And nothing reinforces the human-canine bond or says I Love You better than a cozy pre-bedtime session to promote sound sleep and sweet dreams.  Good night!

 

This post was kindly written by Dr, Reema Sayegh. She holds doctoral degrees in Holistic Nutrition and Naturopathy, and has over 20 years experience in the field of integrative medicine and holistic health.  After she rescued a nine-year-old Great Dane mix named Zeus in 2004, Dr. Reema was inspired to “shift gears” and has since become a Reiki master teacher, certified holistic pet consultant, published author, public speaker, and animal welfare advocate.  She works in tandem with veterinarians and their clients to provide companion animals adjunct natural wellness modalities, and, when indicated, specialty geriatric and hospice care.  Dr. Reema resides in California with her husband and the love of their lives: a spirited canine teacher, healer, and gigantic, fun-loving goofball named Dakota.  She can be reached at drreema4pets@yahoo.com.