pug in a blanket

Caring for Aging or Disabled Pets Part I

Sometimes our fur babies need a bit of extra care from us if they suffer from a congenital or hereditary disability or limitation or acquire one due to illness or advancing age.  Cats and dogs (and most other animals) can suffer from many of the same physical health issues humans do and, although our fur babies can be a bit more stoic about difficulties than we are, they are still struggling and in need of our help and attention.

This is Part I of our roundup of advice and resources for pet parents with fur babies who have any of the physical health issues discussed below.  For advice regarding mental and emotional health issues, see our articles on why dogs dislike certain people,  separation anxiety remedies for your pup and cat, natural remedies for obsessive and compulsive behavior by your favorite feline, and ways to work on canine aggression.

Unconditional Love and So Much More

Our companion animals can and do take care of us in more ways than we can count.  They:

  • dog with familykeep us company;
  • give us unconditional love;
  • read our emotions and react accordingly;
  • provide us with entertainment and distraction;
  • accompany us on trips;
  • get us out of the house on walks;
  • allow us to live in the moment;
  • enable us to live full lives and cope with our issues by acting as service, therapy, emotional support and psychiatric service animals;
  • perform a wide variety of jobs as working animals; and
  • even help medical professionals determine when the end is near for their patients.

So, when our fur babies have special needs, it is only right that we should return the favor and take care of them.  Read on for our first installment of guidance to help you navigate the issues surrounding our pets’ special needs.

Basics: What and When

Here is a partial list of some of the issues our fur babies may deal with which affect their physical wellbeing and require additional support and care from pet parents:

  • dog in painArthritis: One of the most common issues faced by pet parents is the onset of arthritis in our canine fur babies.  We have listed below a number of therapies to help you lessen your animal companion’s pain.
  • Deafness: Hearing loss can be partial or total and congenital or due to age or injury.  Here  is our comprehensive guidance on the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss.
  • Vision Loss: Here is our list of things you can do when your fur baby begins to lose her eyesight.
  • Seizures: Here is Dr. John Simon’s guidance on holistic treatment options when your fur baby suffers from seizures.
  • Mobility Issues: In addition to Arthritis, your fur baby may suffer from general mobility issues or may have an injury or age related or congenital physical limitation such as a missing or damaged limb, limited use of the back legs or spinal issues. One option for you may be to explore the benefits of Osteopathic Veterinary care. We also discuss below specific types of therapy and exercise and suggest some special equipment you may want to consider using.
  • Pain: Most of these physical issues will cause your companion animal some degree of pain, from mild to severe. Here are some natural options to address your cat’s pain and your dog’s pain.

Types of therapy and exercise

When your fur baby suffers from a physical limitation or disability, you may wonder what you can do to help.  Here are some options for you to consider:

  • dog swimming in a poolAquatherapy:  This low-impact form of therapeutic exercise is great for pets suffering from mobility issues due to arthritis, injury and even depression.
  • Massage: Who doesn’t love a good massage?? Read here for your step by step instructions on massaging your canine baby  and your favorite feline.
  • Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese medical art is now recognized by the AVMA as a viable treatment options for animals. This includes cats and dogs, as detailed by Dr. Beth Hirschfeld here and here.
  • Exercise: Exercise is essential to all of us and it doesn’t have to be a chore. Here is our list of fun things to do with your pup to keep both of you healthy.
  • Reiki:  Reiki is a gentle, non-invasive, Japanese form of healing used to create positive energy flow and aid in healing and pain management, among other things.
  • Light Therapy:  Used to treat and alleviate chronic pain, thereby increasing mobility.
  • Stem Cell therapy:  Your dog’s or cat’s own stem cells are extracted and then re-injected to treat a number of ailments including arthritis and aid in the recovery from injuries.

Special Equipment

Part II of this topic will feature Onpets’ picks for equipment and tools you may want to use to help your fur baby with specific physical issues. To get you started, however, here is some information we previously provided on the following equipment:

  • exercise physio ballPhysio Balls:  Most dogs (and even cats) will experience decreased mobility as they age. Physio balls can be used to exercise your pet and increase mobility.
  • Wheel chairs and support harnesses: Here is our initial basic summary about wheelchairs and support harnesses. We will publish a detailed roundup of specific products next week.
  • Beds: One of the easiest things you can do to ease your pet’s physical issues is to get him the right bed. Pet beds come in all shapes and sizes including heated, cooling and orthopedic beds.  We will include our favorite bed picks in next week’s equipment roundup.

Product Roundup: Onpets’ picks

Stay tuned! Next we will do a product roundup of Onpets’ picks of the equipment and aids you may want to use to help you assist your fur babies lead full and active lives in spite of their physical challenges.



©Onpets, LLC 2017.  All rights reserved.

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