Caring for a senior pet requires compassion, patience, and understanding. We may see pets in their golden years moving more slowly and finding it harder to get up after resting. Your best friend may become sensitive to sounds that didn’t bother them in the past. They may do strange things with seemingly no explanation. This is natural, and I believe we can help our pets age gracefully and comfortably. In addition to a healthy diet, exercise, mental stimulation, and veterinary care, various holistic options can comfort and improve your dog’s well-being, especially as they age. This article focuses on the one condition I see my senior patients suffering from the most—arthritis.
Cold Laser Therapy COURTESY RESCUEDTAILS.COM
The Problem: Arthritis
Arthritis is an extremely common condition in senior dogs. Characterized by inflammation and stiffness in the joints, it can cause discomfort and reduced mobility. Residents of the desert need to be aware that extreme heat can sometimes exacerbate arthritis symptoms in dogs.
Hydrotherapy PHOTOS: COURTESY RESCUEDTAILS.COM
Cold Laser Therapy. Also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), cold therapy is a noninvasive treatment that uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate cellular activity and aid in cell growth. This therapy is particularly effective for reducing inflammation, relieving pain, and promoting tissue regeneration. For senior pets struggling with arthritis or mobility issues, cold laser therapy can offer significant relief.
Hydrotherapy. This is the best form of exercise for a dog with arthritis, in my opinion. This low-impact exercise can be incredibly beneficial for dogs with arthritis, as it provides resistance. The buoyancy of water supports the body, allowing for improved mobility and muscle strengthening without putting excessive strain on their joints. Hydrotherapy all of this in a gentle, soothing environment.
Laser Acupoint Therapy COURTESY RESCUEDTAILS.COM
Laser Acupoint Therapy. Combining the principles of traditional acupuncture with modern technology, laser acupoint therapy targets specific acupuncture points using a low-level laser. This gentle and painless technique helps to balance the body’s energy, providing relief from pain and promoting overall wellness. For senior pets with chronic conditions or those seeking a complementary therapy to conventional treatments, laser acupoint therapy can be a valuable addition to your pup’s care regimen.
Canine Massage Therapy COURTESY RESCUEDTAILS.COM
Canine Massage Therapy. By working the dogs soft tissues, canine massage can help arthritis and various conditions by improving blood flow, alleviating pain, and relaxing tight muscles. Myofacia release is a technique I employ whenever there are trigger points, muscle spasms, scar tissue or reduced range of motion present. Fascia is one of the most important organs in your pet’s body. It’s an intricate, interconnected web of connective tissue distributed throughout your dog’s body. Applying gentle pressure, I’ll use strokes that consist of sweeps, skin rolling, compression, and friction. I have seen massage therapy heal sprains, improve digestion, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress.
Kinesiology Taping. Kinesiology tape is a stretchable cotton material with a rubbery acrylic adhesive. It is applied on the fur of your dog to provide support and stability to muscles and joints. In senior pets, kinesiology taping can help reduce pain and inflammation, improve posture, and support weakened or injured areas. It may be left on for several days, providing ongoing therapeutic benefits. K-tape is best applied by a certified practitioner.
CBD. CBD is short for cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in the hemp plant. CBD is not psychoactive and is known for its therapeutic properties. It is a natural aide to treat arthritis as it can reduce inflammation and pain, in addition to numerous benefits.
Joint Supplements. It’s important to use only bioavailable, tincture-formula joint supplements. Tablets and powders are known to have a low absorption rate, and bioavailable products are fully absorbed so there is no waste of the product’s benefit or your investment.
Everyday Exercise. Keeping your dogs moving is very important. I have two 13-year-old rescues of my own, big dogs who move slower these days, but with exercise and treatments they get around just fine. Dogs are just like us—if we don’t stay active, we can get stiff, experience pain, and even risk injury if we don’t stay active.
Holistic senior pet care is a comprehensive approach to enhancing the quality of life for our aging pets. These treatments work in harmony with conventional veterinary care, providing gentle, non-invasive options for managing pain, improving mobility, and increasing overall well-being. As responsible pet owners, embracing these modalities can make a profound difference in nurturing your companions through their senior years.
Wendy Rall is a Certified Canine Therapist/ Hydrotherpist offering canine therapy in home and at the Canine Wellness Center at Barkingham Pet Hotel California in Palm Desert, CA. Find out more at RescuedTails.com or call 951-704-3374.