How to care for the older dog

We love our oldies, they have a special charm and a unique bond as family members over many years, so naturally we want to do our best for them in their old age – it’s a time in their life where they need us the most.

Older pets often need more veterinary care and regular check ups are important so that problems, such as changes in activity, behavior or eating habits can be picked up quickly.  There are things we can do to help them stay healthy, happy and more comfortable.   Herbal medicines and dietary supplements have an especially valuable place for older dogs as they are gentle on the system and effective in their actions.

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Here are some issues you may have noticed in your older dog:

More susceptible to feeling the cold and heat

Your dog may feel the cold more in the winter, so a warm coat or woolly jumper to wear when they go out is helpful, especially for the short coated breeds.   In the summer they may find the heat difficult so making sure there is a cool shaded place to rest, preferably with a nice cool breeze, will make them feel more comfortable.

 Delicate digestions and gurgly tummies

Dogs find gurgly tummies uncomfortable and we don’t much like the wind that often accompanies it, but unfortunately both these seem to be more common in our elderly pets.  They usually do better with smaller meals given more frequently as the digestive system can be a little more delicate than before.  Try giving Digestive Tablets after a meal to help support the digestion and make life for both them and you more comfortable.

Reduced mobility and movement

Often the first thing we notice may be a slowing down in activity; not running around as before, reluctance to go for walks or in jumping or getting up after a snooze. Joints may need a little support to keep their flexibility and we would firstly suggest that Glucosamine & Chondroitin Tablets are given daily.  These contain easily absorbed ingredients that support joint cartilage and the synovial membrane that produces lubrication for the joints and so work synergistically to maintain the flexibility and mobility in the older dog.

Arthritis

Perhaps your vet has diagnosed arthritis, with stiffness and pain caused by inflammation in the joints.  Our licensed herbal medicines, Mixed Vegetable Tablets and Garlic & Fenugreek Tablets, help relieve the symptoms of this condition and ideally should be given together to help with pain and inflammation making your dog’s  life much more comfortable. Improvement is gradual but within a few weeks you will notice your dog moving more comfortably. These tablets can be given in conjunction with any other medication from your vet.

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Watch their weight

As older pets take less exercise they may be inclined to put on weight and so stress on the joints can increase. Try to restrict the treats and also adjust the size of their meals according to their activity level.

Urinary incontinence and leaky bladders

This can be as upsetting for the dog as it is for the owner.  The bladder muscles might weaken and so they cannot help a little involuntary leaking, often while asleep.  Mixed Vegetable Tablets given daily are effective for this problem by ensuring the bladder is emptied completely, resulting in a reduction in leaking – making life a lot easier for you and your dog.

Confusion and disorientation

Some dogs become confused with age causing changes in behavior which is upsetting for them and for us too.  This can be intensified if they are a little deaf or losing sight and cause anxiety and an inability to settle.  Giving Scullcap & Valerian Tablets daily to help relaxation and reduce anxiety will make them feel calmer and less fretful.

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Look at changing feed requirements

Often the elderly pet may become more picky about food.  Varying the diet may suit them better but adjust the amount to take account of their activity and avoid extra treats and titbits that may increase weight. If they are reluctant to eat harder foods have the teeth checked to make sure there are no problems; raising feeding bowls is a simple thing that makes life easier too, especially for larger, taller dogs. You can buy raised stands or just use what is available, a stool or a box, to bring the bowl to a more comfortable height – simple but helpful.

Keeping healthy

We recommend giving Keeper’s Mix® daily as this general  herbal conditioning supplement contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals needed to maintain general health in older dogs.

By Mary Boughton MBE

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© All rights reserved. Dorwest Herbs 2017.

Note: If you are ever concerned for the health of your pet please consult your veterinary surgeon, we are not vets and can only advise on the general use of our products.

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