Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Grey(ing) Wolf - Natural Vet Care for Senior Pets

Woof Woof, Miyuki here again.  Winter is creeping up on us, I can feel the chill in the air! Being a shaggy-coated dog, I love the colder months.  I am really enjoying the cooler days for walking, and despite my age (I am now considered a 'senior dog' for my large breed at 7 years of age), my energy levels and joints can still keep up with me.

I have noticed some other senior dogs around the neighbourhood however who do suffer a little from the cold and damp this season brings.  Their joints seize up and it's harder for them to exercise comfortably.  Dr Renee has been noticing it too, and points out the strange gaits that many dogs are affected by when their limbs aren't working like they should be.

So I thought I would write this post for all the grand old dames and hounds out there, with lots of tips to boost the health and vitality of ageing pets.

First, as Dr Renee always says, a natural, nourishing, balanced diet is key.  A diet made with real, carnivore-appropriate ingredients in their natural form provides necessary building blocks for good health.  It is vital to feed either a balanced, homemade diet, that has been formulated by a Holistic Veterinarian, or a combination of natural foods and a pet food that is as close to nature's design as possible.  Dr Renee can help you to formulate a natural diet that is simple and inexpensive to prepare - visit her at "Roar Kingdom".  She told me she will write a post soon about how easy it is to prepare a natural diet for your pet... so stay tuned for that!

One of the things I really enjoy in my diet is my daily quota of greens!  Including raw, pulped, greens in your pet's diet is very beneficial, as greens provide many necessary nutrients, including fibre (to keep us regular), chlorophyll (maintains clean, healthy blood), and antioxidants (to resist ageing and keep our brains ticking), and they are cleansing and detoxifying.  I was curled up on my comfy bed the other night while my humans were watching a documentary called "Food Inc", and I remember them talking about feedlot cattle being fed an inappropriate, unnatural diet of corn and other cereal grains instead of their natural diet of grasses (which sounds just like commercial dog food by the way).  Apparently, if these feedlot cattle were fed their natural diet of grass instead of grain for just 5 days, they would shed 80% of the nasty, infectious E coli bacteria (the bug that contaminates their meat and kills people) that has built up in their guts as a result of their inappropriate diet and husbandry (which is truly horrific - have you seen a feedlot?).  That proves how great grass is at cleansing and detoxifying!!  Sprouts, leafy greens, herbs like parsley or dandelion leaf, grasses like wheatgrass or the easily accessible couch grass (also known as 'dog grass'!), and seaweeds like chlorella, spirulina and kelp are all very beneficial in the diet of your pet.

Running through a cow pasture - pure joy!  Much better than a feedlot!

Another thing many older pets benefit from in the colder months, is simply, warmth!  We are starting to enjoy a fire every night (the little human baby of the household loves to help her Daddy build it!), and my inside bed is in a corner of the lounge, the perfect distance from the crackling fire.  As you know I have an inbuilt warm shaggy coat, but some short-haired breeds benefit from an extra layer being provided for them, particularly in the twilight years.  I used to share my household with a Pittie who was quite the Princess, and she loved to snuggle up inside a sleeping bag, wearing a warm wooly coat in the winter. 

Chevi the Princess Pittie, snuggled and refusing to move from under a blanket.

Beds for older pets should be comfortable, warm, raised off the ground, and away from drafts.  My kennel outside fits all of these criteria very well - it is a HoundHouse kennel and I LOVE IT!  You could consider using a pet heat mat under the mattress such as the Pet-Mat. There are also lots of eco-friendly pet beds available these days, made from natural and/or recycled materials.  If you are one of my American pals, check out the range by West Paw Design or visit the Earth Doggy shop.  There are not as many options for us Aussie dogs, but Snooza is one Australian company who make durable pet beds from quality materials that last. You could also try your hand at making a pet bed from old cushion or mattress/futon stuffing and cover it in recycled fabric - check out this website link for an innovative upcycled design made from an old suitcase

Relaxing in my HoundHouse Kennel.

There are many other things that can assist your pet to age gracefully, including Western or Chinese herbal therapies, homeopathic remedies, adequate suitable exercise (swimming is great!), minimising and avoiding unnecessary vaccinations, and regular health checks with your Veterinarian.  If all of our health and lifestyle needs are taken care of, we will reward you with health, happiness and vibrance right to the end of our days. 

Doggy version of Aqua Aerobics.

I will leave you now with this quote Dr Renee read out to me from one of her many herbal books ("All You Ever Wanted to Know About Herbs for Pets"):

"An elderly animal does not live in anticipation of death but in celebration of life....  There are some powerful lessons about life and happiness here."

1 comment:

  1. Such a wonderful and inspiring post! I loved reading about it, especially since I have also a senior doggy.
    Can't wait to