Older Dogs

Why is Dog Massage Needed

There are Four Common Stress Areas in Dogs

Dogs and their Muscles Need Massage Therapy

There are four common stress areas in dogs, these areas being where several muscle groups attach. When a dog is performing any intense physical exercise, these areas will show tension varying from mild tightness to chronic contracture to even spasms. When a dog is recovery from injuries or surgery, there will be compensating muscle tension on the other limbs, the back and the neck.

The four common stress points are:

  • head and neck
  • shoulders and forelimbs
  • back and rib cage
  • hind quarters and hind legs

A dog uses its head to balance the rest of their body. We can witness this by watching when a dog runs; the downward swing of the head helps propel the rear legs off the ground as the dog runs forward. When a dog plays tug of war there is a huge  amount of strain being placed on the entire rest of the body as well as the neck area. You can start to see how dog massage can really help these robust beings!

For proper athletic performance a dog requires… Continue reading

How to Stretch a Dog

Safely and effectively stretch your dog

 Five basic guidelines to follow:

The following is an excerpt from Chapter Two, on Holistic Dog Care, from my e-book, “The Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs”

• “The muscles should be warm. By increasing the blood flow to the muscles, the tissues get heated up. This in turn lubricates the joints and prevents injuries. It also provides the best stretch and increased range of motion. Warming up the muscle can be done by exercising for a short period first. Over time the joint integrity decreases and so this is very important for older dogs. An excellent exercise for this is swimming, but if that is not possible a short ten minute walk outside or on a treadmill will do.

• The muscles should be completely relaxed. The muscle will not stretch properly unless it is completely relaxed. Make sure you are relaxed and calm when you begin, because if you are stressed or pressed for time the dog will feel it. Place your hands on the dog and stroke her/him while taking some deep breaths. The only way to get an effective stretch is to have the dog lying down. Also recognize that some of the body positions can be intimidating or threatening to certain dogs. If your dog is rigid, excessively panting, shaking, pawing, kicking, yawning, showing the whites of their eyes, licking their nose or squirming, your dog is telling you that they are either stressed, in pain or scared. Stop and give it a break. If your dog growls at you it is advised to see a veterinarian to make sure everything is medically okay.

• The joint needs to be stabilized. If the bones are held properly, it sends a message to the brain that the joint is secure and the muscles can now relax. To achieve this you have to hold the bones above and below the joint confidently and steadily.

• Stretch the limbs using a straight plain movement. This is achieved by holding the long bones of the limbs in alignment with the joint. By stretching in this fashion we prevent injuring the dog by stretching something we never intended to, like the medial ligaments of the stifle. This is very important for the stifle joint and the hip joint. With the frequency of hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and cruciate ligament tears, it places both of these joints at a risk for injury. If your dog has underlying conditions do not stretch them until you have gained clearance from your veterinarian.

• The stretch of the muscle needs to be held for at least 30 seconds. By holding it this long it reaches both the elastic and non-elastic fibers of the muscle. After the 30 seconds of stretching, the fibers will return to their natural state and the integrity of the joint and the muscles surrounding it will be improved.

The following are maintenance stretching routines for a healthy dog…”

You can read more on stretching your dog, along with pictures demonstrating how, in my e-book ,  “The Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs

Do You Have a Constipated Dog?

There are Many Ways You Can Help a Constipated Dog

Constipated Dogs Can be Made “Regular”

There is nothing worse than going on poop patrol with your dog and discovering that nothing wants to come out the other end! When we walk around with our dog and wait and wait and encourage  them to go, and they try desperately but can’t seem to get it to move…we start getting stressed. It’s as simple as that. Now that we all are  stressed, our dog picks up that energy from us and there is no way they will ever be able to go! We have a constipated dog!

The viscious cycle of constipation in dogs is not good for them and it is not good for us. Everyone gets stressed over it and stress is just as bad as a dog with constipation. Just like stress shrivels up our vitality with life so does dog constipation shrivel up their stools and make life more difficult to pass those little rockets and run around enjoying life.

To recognize a dog that is constipated, you will see them straining to go and the end result will be hardened and dried up little balls. The dog may only defecate once every three days and that is not a good thing. A healthy dog will defecate once or twice every day, depending on their doggie diet and lifestyle. There are many reasons… Continue reading

Are Your Dog Paws Neglected?

Dog Paws and Their Needs

Why the Dogs Paw Needs Attention

 Our dog paws need protection from the elements and from injury just like our feet need protection. Despite them having tougher skin and a fatty cushioning for protection, they endure much wear and tear and are constantly subjected to potential injuries. In addition to this, if their nails are not kept trim, their dog feet will suffer and they could wind up with additional injuries.

When we realize that our dogs paw pads are subjected to many adversities, we will look at them a little more closely. In fact, we need to examine their dog feet everyday. By examining them we are not allowing any foreign object to become deeply embedded should there be something stuck in the webbing between their toes or in the paw pads themselves.

Dog paw injuries can happen from any of the following… Continue reading

Older Dog Mobility Issues

Old dogs may have trouble getting around

Different walking aids and carts have liberated the lives of many old dogs

One day your dog will be old and possibly grey like the rest of us or heaven forbid, bald! Somehow bald looks better on people than it does on our dogs. With the exception of the hairless breeds of course. Whatever the situation, as dogs age they may become mobility challenged. The great news is that there are so many different tools available to help them function and get around, giving them the freedom of mobility and a return of their dignity.

In past years an older dog would have been put to sleep if it started to experience difficulty getting around. Today they are fitted with dog carts or dog wheelchairs and there are slings for helping the rear end. There are a number of companies who manufacture these products and custom fit them to your older dog. Some of these wonderful inventions can help avoid costly vet bills and I’ll explain how. Continue reading

Why Your Older Dog Snores

 Here are many reasons why they snore and why not to worry

We just settle into our comfortable bed and turn the lights out and are grateful at the peacefulness and quiet of the night after a long hard day. We have our faithful and loving companions sleeping quietly beside us on their beds or in our beds, and then just as we slowly drift off to never land, the earth shatters with a loud grunting, heaving, rumble! Our darling dog is snoring so loudly a train could have rumbled through the house!

Why do they snore? Old dogs are prone to snoring for a number of reasons. The following could play a role: Continue reading

Older Dog Advice

 Listen to What They are Saying

Your Older Dog and You

Acknowledge the deep spiritual connection you have with your dog. Look for ways to strengthen and deepen those connections. Our pets and all animals feel the same emotions of pain, fear, love and sadness that we feel. When we are aware we are more in tune and connected to them. These levels of communication with them we can all share.

Older dogs are very wise and connected to their caregivers. They may have health issues unfolding and need extra care, but they are very tuned in to their guardians. If we allow ourselves to slow down and be in a calmer state of mind, we are more receptive to live in the present moment. This lends itself to greater feelings of peacefulness and contentment, creating a more harmonious inner core and place from which to care for our older dog.

Many old dogs communicate to us and we are so busy in our day to day life we forget to listen to them and truly hear what they are trying to say.

Here is some advice once given to me by a kindred spirit: Continue reading

Older Dog

There are many changes affecting our older dog. There are orthopaedic and neurological conditions, quality of life issues, pain management, nutritional concerns and environmental issues. With so many conditions to consider, some people would rather give up their geriatric dog than help them through the aging process into their  golden years. I myself, could never give away my beloved dog no matter what they had to deal with or what I had to do to help them live their life out fully to the end of their place here on earth in my care.

When our older dog has to deal with age related illnesses, they need us more than ever. Some of the conditions they may be facing are:

  • cancer
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • kidney failure or incontinence
  • digestive disorders
  • pancreas and liver compromises from medications
  • hormone imbalances
  • heart and lung diseases
  • immune related disorders
  • neurological disorders
  • reproductive issues such as pyometra and prostate problems
  • cognitive disorders
  • arthritis

There are many more changes that occur with old dogs and just like their human counterparts, we all adapt to these changes.

If we keep our dogs mind stimulated it helps with their cognitive abilities. This also keeps them happy and feeling good about themselves. Simple games of hide and seek, obedience commands even though we know that they know them all to well, creates a sense of importance within the dog. Hiding treats under three cups and asking them to find it is an easy and effortless game for  them. Asking them to bring their toys by name, or to speak to you or hold out their paw, all are easy and fun and stimulating that a senior dog can do. Short leash walks and hydrotherapy for their sore joints are all possibilities. you can read so much more about all this in my e-book, “The Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs.” Download the Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs

Look at the possibilities with your companion dog and strive to maintain a healthy balance of mental and physical stimulation for them. We only have them around for a short time and every day lived to the fullest is a day worth treasuring! Continue reading

Older Dog Alerts

There are many signs that we need to be aware of when it come to our older dog aging and them changing their behavior. We get used to the everyday routines and may not notice the subtle changes that are taking place with our companion friend. We need to be aware of all of the littlest of changes to know when something is brewing underneath.

My dogs were showing signs of cognitive dysfunction and I immediately recognized it and addressed it with my holistic veterinarian. We ran the usual geriatric tests and determined that yes, there was something not totally normal in my girl’s body and so some precautions were taken. It can be frustrating at times because you begin to worry about your beloved dog and how their health is.

Senior dogs will have health issues of some sort and it is up to us as their caretakers to look after them. They have given their entire lives and dedicated themselves totally to looking after us, spilling out their love unconditionally, and laying their lives on the line if need be. Aging dogs are here to teach us lessons in life. Continue reading

Vital Signs

So many of us don’t know what the baseline is for vital signs for our dogs.  The last time you want to discover this is when you are having an emergency and your vet asks what is their temperature reading? Believe me, knowing what the  temperature is for normal dogs pales in comparison to knowing that you now have to place a thermometer up your friends butt! Hoping your canine buddy will allow you to do this, it is not the way you want to find out in the last minute! In an emergency it is critical!

I ran across a time when I had to do this and I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when you have a dog who will let you do anything with them because they were very well conditioned as a puppy, and trust you to the end of  the earth, until now! Not only do you have to keep your state of calm, relaxed and in charge mindset, you are panicking inside at the possibility of your dog running away through the house with a thermometer hanging from their bum!

It is very important to practice taking your dog’s temperature when they are a baby. One of the few things most of us don’t do. Older dogs may need to have their vital signs checked regularly and I cannot stress the importance of this enough! If there is an emergency, the more you know the better it is for all involved. Continue reading