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By Bonnie O’Connor
Caring for your pet in old age is very special. The bond you had with your dog or cat is strengthened by the loving care in the twilight.
So many older animals are given to animal shelters with their families after years. Taking care of your aging pet can get expensive, but doing so is a privilege and an honor. The time I took care of my older dog that I lost last year was a special time and our bond grew even deeper. I now take care of my older cat who had hypothyroidism and is struggling with chronic kidney disease.
I have vetized all of my pets, but often supplements rather than medications. When medication was needed, like pain relievers, I used them, but holistic treatments, I think, gave me more time with my best friends. I owed it to them, after all the love they gave me, to do all I could.
Veterinarians who practice holistic dog and cat health will look at the overall health of the animal. You can prescribe herbal remedies or medications depending on what the animal needs. Holistic includes organic food and treats, raw feeding and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, pet massage, laser and water therapy. My dog was treated with both massage and acupuncture during her time
Illness. Both were valuable and helped her to walk again after weakness in her hind legs.
The goal of holistic animal health is to find a natural way to treat the root of the problem and disease. For example, if your dog is itchy, you can try special shampoos, foods, or steroids to control the itchiness, but without knowing the cause, you can only temporarily relieve the itchiness. Holistic health will look deeper to address the underlying medical condition that is causing the itch.
Dietary supplements that may be helpful for your aging pet include glucosamine and chondroitin for aging joints, omega-3 fatty acids for skin and coat, and CBD for pets. Daily exercise can help with stiffness, diet is important as those extra pounds can affect mobility, soft or orthopedic bed, and leg massages will help pets struggling with arthritis.
For more information on nutritional supplements, see Dogs Naturally Magazine. This is a great resource for pet health blogs and quality products.
Be sure to speak to your veterinarian before using any dietary supplement. They will be able to advise you on the correct dosage and ensure that there are no problems taking a dietary supplement with any medication your pet may be taking.
If you would like to adopt an older pet, contact REDFOSA (Redlands Friends of Shelter Animals).
Bonnie O’Connor is a board member of REDFOSA and the owner of Paws and Relax Pet Massage in Redlands.