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Geriatric Pet Care And Recipes

Updated on February 1, 2015

We wish they lived as long as we do but unfortunately our pets do get older and they will develop problems that will cause them to need special care. These times can be frustrating for you and your pet. You will need a boatload of patience and to remember that your dog has given you years of unconditional love and its time to return the favor. Things can happen quickly which can make you and your pet feel scared and out of control. The good news is that eighty is the new fifty and there is plenty of help out there to get you through the tough times. Read on for some more helpful hints.

1. The good news is there is a new age chart and our pets are living longer. With all the medical advances dogs don't age like they use to. So in the new chart a dog 0-6 years old is considered a young dog, dogs 7-11 years old are considered middle age and everything after 11 is geriatric.

2. Problems come on slowly, and we may not notice them until they are advanced. You may think your dog is ignoring you when in actuality they have started losing their hearing. And dogs don't have to be geriatric to start losing their faculties. They may start limping and have aches and pains. Does this sound like your dog? Dogs can have a lot of the same maladies people have. Being aware of changes in your pet is the first step to helping them feel better.

3. You may have to help your loving pet do things they were once capable of doing on their own. Let them do what they can and help when they are having trouble. They may not like it, but if you are gentle and caring they will most likely accept the extra help. You may have to put a towel under their belly and help them squat when they relieve themselves. Don't ever make them feel bad for needing extra help.

4. Slick floors can pose problems for older pets. If you have hardwood floors or tile you it might be a good idea to put area rugs around for them to lie on. Your dog may have trouble getting traction or they may have trouble with balance. You want to make your house a safety zone This may mean moving furniture around so they don't run into it or it may mean not moving any furniture if your dog starts losing their eyesight.

5. Aging can cause strange behaviors in your dog. They can become very clingy and follow you everywhere. They may bark when you leave the room, after all life becomes scary when you can’t hear or see. You may need to pay a little more attention to their pleas and reassure them that they are still safe. Give them lots of love and encouragement. If you have to leave the house give your pet a treat. Let them know you are going out and that you will be back, believe me they know, and them give them another treat when you return. You may also want to leave a television or radio on while you are out even if they can't see or hear they can feel the vibration.

6. Keep their routine as regular as possible. Reward them when they do things on their own. If they make it outside to go to the bathroom give them an extra pat and a “good dog”. They still want to know they are useful. If they have an accident don’t make a fuss. Clean it up and go about the normal routine of the day. Although you may have to feed them less feed them the same time every day.Keep their potty breaks the same time, but don't wake them up if they are sleeping. Keep their bowls, bed and toys in the same place.

7. Much like us, animals develop aches and pains as they age. Arthritis is very common in older dogs and sixty-five percent of our four legged pals will get it in some form. Most pains are a result of old age, but old injuries and surgeries can also trigger discomfort. Walks just naturally become shorter and toys don’t have the same appeal as they once did, so you will have to adjust walk time and play time and replace it with affection time.

8. You may notice your pet is having digestive problems. Just like humans their stomachs become more sensitive as they age. Their normal pet food may now cause diarrhea or vomiting. If you haven’t already done so this is a good time to switch them over to a home-cooked diet. You can better control what ingredients are going into their diet if you are cooking for them. You can pick good all-natural, bland ingredients that will not only agree with their tummy, but can actually enhance their immune system. You may want to add a multivitamin to their food as well. If their treats are too rich for them try replacing them with fresh fruits, vegetables and yogurt. After switching them to a home-cooked diet don't be surprised if you see them perk up. This is one of the many benefits of cooking for your dog.

9. Because they hurt exercise can start to hurt. You may have to invest in joint supplements and make other accommodations for exercise. Their natural instinct will be to just lie around, but you must keep them moving. Dogs can become stiff very quickly and lying around can cause them to become depressed. Even a little exercise can do wonders to keep your dog moving. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for geriatric dogs. Its non-weight bearing so it’s easy on the joints. It helps to keep muscles toned and provides aerobic exercise and when they can't chase ball on land anymore they can still chase a ball in water. You can also ask your vet for some physical therapy manipulations to keep your dog's legs moving.

10. Older dogs can get various forms of dementia. Confusion is very common among geriatric pets. They can get lost in their own house. Please don’t ever laugh if your dog suddenly one day walks into a wall. Always, always be kind to your geriatric pet. Treat them as you would want to be treated. Your dog may stare off into space as if there is something on the ceiling. Just reassure them you are still there.

11. Have you been noticing wet spots on the carpets? Your, aging pet may be leaking or having accidents in the house. These are the times you have to remember how much they have given you over the years and repay the favor. Puppy pads help keep carpets and furniture dry if your pet leaks while sleeping. Change the puppy pad in the morning and use baby wipes to clean your dog. Remember your pet may need more potty breaks during the day. This doesn’t always mean a walk, but merely a chance to relieve themselves. If your aging pet does have an accident in the house don’t scold them and don’t make a fuss. Clean it up and go about your day. Keep towels and puppy pads under your pet at all times. You may also want to invest in doggie diapers.

12. Aging pets need regular vet check ups. This way you can catch an issue before it gets out of hand. Geriatric pets should see the vet for regular check ups every six months as opposed to yearly. Be sure to keep up with their dental care as well. Good oral care prevents a myriad of problems. Ask for anesthesia free dental. as most veterinarian offices offer it now.

13. It is the hardest decision you will make, but know when to say good-bye. Animals are not afraid of death. They are in tune with the energy around them. They have no problem moving on. It is much harder on us than them. I’ve lived through it a few times and it’s never easy saying good-bye. When I saw my dog not enjoying her life anymore I had to love her enough to let her go. I didn't want to see her suffer. Use your friends and relatives as a support system. And getting another dog will never replace the one you lose, but it can go a long way in helping you heal.

14. When the time is right understand that your dog will want you to have another pet. There are many beautiful dogs and cats that can fill your heart and fill the void. They will never replace your beloved pet, but they can help you heal from it.

Yogurt & Berries

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1tbsp frozen mixed berries

Mix berries and yogurt together and serve. Leave the berries frozen for an extra special treat on a hot day.

Starter Stew

1 1/4 cups ground turkey

1 1/2 cups yams

1/4 cup celery

1/4 cup turnips

Dice turnips, yams & celery. Throw all ingredients in a crock pot for 6-8 hrs. Mash stew with potato masher and serve warm. You can quadruple the ingredients to make a bigger batch. Refrigerate enough for three days and freeze the rest. Give your dog the normal amount you would feed them. If you fed them 2 cups of dog food each meal that is how much stew you give them as well. I always included a multi-vitamin with my dog's breakfast.


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    • Dog Ma profile image

      Dog Ma 5 years ago

      Thank you for your comments. I wrote a three part series to0 help people deal with the end stages of their pet's life. I work in dog physical rehab and we see a lot of end stage dogs. We do what we can to help the pet and then we do what we can to help the human companion deal with the loss. I have lived through many a dog passing and each one is devastating.

      Hope you read the other two articles. Thanks for checking in.


    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Well done. It's always hard when it comes to this point in your pets life. Very helpful hub. Voted up and more.

    • getwellsoon profile image

      getwellsoon 5 years ago from US

      Wonderful hub on aging pets...thank you!