The aging process is an inevitable part of life. With age comes an increased likelihood of medical conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, which can make elderly pets uncomfortable.
It’s important for pet owners to be aware that there are many relief remedies available today that might not have been around when their pet was young or healthy. Each pet should be considered on an individual basis, but some of the more common treatments used in older pets will be described in this article such as adjustments to diet and using natural supplements like CBD for pets.
Let’s get started!
- Vet Prescribed Solutions
Many folks go the route of vet prescribed medication for their dogs. Of course, this should be done in consultation with a vet who knows your fur kid and their history very well so that the right solutions can be chosen.
Let’s take a look at some of the commonly prescribed medications that dogs receive.
The first type of medicine that is prescribed by veterinarians for older pets is Rimadyl. It is used to treat the pain associated with arthritis and various other conditions linked to inflammation.
The second type of medication that a veterinarian may prescribe for an older pet is Adequan. This medication can be used to reduce pain and stiffness in older dogs that suffer from degenerative joint disease.
The third type of medication that might be given to an older pet is Elavil. This medication can help relieve depression in older animals and can sometimes help them sleep better.
None of these medications should be given without consulting a veterinarian first, as interactions with other medications are possible and this could make the problem worse.
In addition to medication, there are certain diets that vets might recommend for older animals.
Seniors-kidney and seniors-diet foods can be good choices because they help pets with urinary tract problems and diabetes mellitus.
Milk products should also be excluded from a pet’s diet if he/she has IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) because they can irritate the intestines and exacerbate the problem.
Although most pets will eat whatever food is put in front of them, making sure that they are getting a healthy diet is important for their well-being as they age. Feed foods with high-quality ingredients and be mindful of fat content.
With any new type of food or medication, it’s important to introduce changes slowly over time so that your pet’s body can get used to the new substance.
Providing older pets with supplements like glucosamine/chondroitin is important for their mobility because it helps decrease inflammation in the joints and cartilage and promotes joint repair. Owners should speak to their veterinarian about which type of glucosamine (i.e., oral or injectable) would be most beneficial for their pet.
Many different brands of fish oil supplements are also available. They can also help ease joint pain in older pets. One that is free of mercury and toxins like PCBs will work best. Pets usually enjoy the taste of fish oil, so you don’t have to force it down your pet’s throat. In fact, it is often available in a liquid form which can be added to their food to entice them to eat more.
Another great supplement to consider is CBD oil for dogs as its anti-inflammatory properties will ease pain, but it is also known to relieve stress, promote calm and help promote better sleep patterns. And if you’re looking for something different, CBD dog treats and options for cats also exist.
Most veterinary hospitals offer high-quality supplements for pets, but you can even find them online as well. Be sure to check with a veterinarian before purchasing an over-the-counter supplement so that you know it’s safe and beneficial for your pet.
Another important factor when considering relief remedies for older pets is to make sure that they are getting enough exercise. This becomes more difficult as pets age, but it is important that they get some type of regular physical activity.
For many older dogs who no longer have the energy for long walks or playtime with other animals, a good alternative might be playing fetch inside or in an enclosed space. Or you can even go for shorter 10- or 15-minute walks down the street and back.
The exercise that older dogs can do will vary depending on their age, condition and their overall body strength. Owners need to consult with a veterinarian before beginning an exercise regimen for older pets because some of these pets might have arthritis or other conditions that could make it difficult or impossible for them to engage in certain activities.
- Herbal Therapies
Many plants contain phytochemicals that act as anti-inflammatories, antioxidants and pain killers. For this reason, herbal therapy is another common relief remedy for older pets.
Several herbs have been shown to decrease inflammation in the body and provide pain relief. Some of those herbs are turmeric extract, ginger root and capsaicin (found in chili peppers). Turmeric and ginger have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat a variety of conditions.
Since turmeric and capsaicin are both anti-inflammatory, they can potentially help protect joints from further damage and provide pain relief. Capsaicin works by depleting the body’s supply of Substance P, a chemical that transmits pain signals to the brain. However, capsaicin is not recommended for pets with kidney or liver disease because it can cause additional damage. Again, this is why you need to consult your vet!
Turmeric extract and ginger root are both available in powder form at health food stores and some grocery stores. These can be added to your pet’s food.
- Laser Therapy
Want to get high tech?
A laser therapy machine might also provide pain relief for older pets or those suffering from joint issues in general. The laser light boosts production of endorphins and other chemicals in the body that can have a (pain-relieving) calming effect.
Laser treatments also stimulate cells to release nitric oxide, which acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. Your veterinarian might be able to offer a referral for an integrative veterinary practice in your area.
- Massage Therapy
In addition to taking oral supplements, getting laser therapy treatments and increasing exercise, older pets might also benefit from massage therapy.
Pet massage is a relatively new concept for many. In recent years, veterinarians have begun studying the effects of pet massage, as well as incorporating this technique into their practices.
Massage helps provide relief because it relaxes muscles surrounding the joints and increases blood flow to these areas, bringing increased amounts of oxygen and nutrients that help repair damaged tissues.
Many older dogs will also be sensitive to the touch, so it’s important for owners to learn proper pet massage techniques from their veterinarian or by seeking out a professional instructor.
Your Pet Relies on YOU!
Since owners are their pets’ primary caregivers, they will be the first ones to notice if there is a change in behavior or activity. This means that they may be the first to recognize when pet discomfort becomes significant enough to need relief remedies of some kind.
It is important to consult with a veterinarian before beginning any treatment option, especially if your pet has other medical problems. Never give a pet any medication or supplement (over-the-counter or otherwise) without first consulting with a veterinarian to avoid interactions between different medicines or supplements.