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Pain Management For Terminally Ill And Senior Dogs

Pain Management For Terminally Ill And Senior Dogs - Paws at PeaceMost pet owners that have had the pleasure of spending many wonderful years with their best friend will tell you how sad, and hurtful it can be when they are diagnosed with a terminally ill condition. We all know that sooner, or later our pet is going to reach the end of his life, but we’d rather not think about it until it is upon us. However, there are things we can do to make our pet feel better in his last days. This article will discuss some of the things we can do to make our terminally ill pet feel a little more comfortable during those last days, and when to consider euthanasia as an option.

End of life care for our beloved pet doesn’t always mean pain and discomfort, because now there are many things we can do to ease their suffering, unlike many years ago when the only option would have been to euthanize him or her. With so much progress being made with medication’s now, pain can be managed much better, so our pet doesn’t need to suffer and feel the discomfort that pain brings. Moreover, this is the time we, as responsible pet owners, can show our pet just how much they are loved by taking extra special care of them in their time of need.

One of the first things we need to do with our elderly pet, or a pet that has been diagnosed with a terminal condition is to make sure we keep appointments with the vet, so that our pet can be monitored and catch signs of any deterioration. In addition, make sure your best friend is surrounded by his, or her favorite things, like a special toy, warm blanket, or maybe a favorite cushion he loves to snuggle into. Pets with very limited mobility can develop sores, so be sure to check this often, especially on the joints, and provide an extra soft pillow for them to lay on.

Many older pets can develop incontinence and lose bladder control, so you should check them often throughout the day for wetness or soiling. Having said that, you can help them when they need to defecate, or urinate by supporting them with a sling, or a alternatively you can use a towel that can support their belly to assist them. Moreover, making them as comfortable as possible in their final days will let them know that you still love them as much as when the day they came into your life, reassuring them by talking to them, and staying in sight as much as you can will help them too.

Another option for terminally ill, and senior dogs is pet hospice care, where your pets final days, or weeks are made much easier with the use of carefully managed pain medications. As well as pain management, hospice care will also include dietary changes, and strategies along with human interaction, allowing your pet to live their final days with dignity. Hospice care generally requires constant supervision, and interaction, with you as the primary carer, and nurse while working together with your vet to make your pets last days as comfortable and pain free as possible.

Euthanasia is clearly a last resort, and not everyone likes to think or talk about it, but in many cases it is wise to at least consider it, especially if your pet is suffering greatly, or pain medication isn’t working. Your vet is specifically trained to enable him to carry out this procedure in a humane manner providing your pet with a pain free, gentle way to go, just like he was falling asleep. Of course this decision lies solely on you as the owner, and sometimes keeping a diary of his final days can allow you to weigh up if it is time to make this decision.

Finally, when it comes to an older pet, or a terminally ill pet, decisions can be extremely hard to make due to the stress, worry and not wanting our best friend to leave us. In the end we have to think of our pet, and his level of suffering, and our job as a responsible pet parent should be to base our decision on what is best for him or her. It is hard to say goodbye to a loved one whether it be human or pet, and there is nothing anyone can say to alleviate the pain we feel when losing a loved one, but we will always have the memories to cherish forever, even after they are gone.

Paws At Peace Pet Health

Obesity In Older Dogs: Things To Know

obesity in older dogsThings To Know Regarding Obesity In Older Dogs

Obesity in older dogs is an increasing problem for many dog owners, and although sometimes it is caused by a health condition, many times it is something simple, like diet. In fact, in a recent study it showed that over 50% of dogs are overweight to some degree, some worse than others. In this article we will look at the things that can make an older dog obese, and what we can do about getting their weight to a normal level, in turn helping them live longer, happier and healthier.

With an older dog weight gain is a double problem, because an older dog has slowed down, needs less exercise, and his whole metabolism has slowed somewhat. Moreover, being overweight can increase his chances of developing health issues due to carrying around more weight than he needs to. Just like an older human, breathing can become labored, he can develop respiratory conditions, joint problems and more, so let us look at what diet changes should occur when a dog reaches his senior years.

All dog owners believe they are feeding their dog correctly, and many don’t even notice a slow gain in weight over time, because your dog is around every day. Many people will say “but I’ve been feeding him the same food since he was an adult”/ and don’t realize that as he gets into his senior years his calorie intake, as well as fiber and protein intake needs to change. Having said that, once he is in his senior years it’s not going to solve anything by just going shopping for a dog food labeled ‘senior dog food”, because you have to take into account his nutrition needs for his age, activity level and health.

Another thing to take into consideration is that all breeds are different.
Moreover, some breeds reach their senior years quicker than others, for instance, a large breed may be in their senior years at age 7, whereas a smaller breed may not reach that stage until 10 or even 12 years of age. An older dog that has gained a lot of weight may need a diet with less protein, but again this depends on the food he has been getting in the past. If, the protein is in the ingredients by way of poor quality protein like bone meal, or meat meal he is not getting the right amount. A real source of protein that is going to be beneficial to him would be real meat in the ingredients like chicken or beef.

Keep in mind, that poor quality protein is difficult for an older dog to digest, and provides little nutrients, and can even put a strain on their major organs. Another point to mention, is that if an older dog is overweight they may also benefit from a lower fat diet, and some even benefit from added supplements. Changing diet can help return your older dog to its normal weight over time. However, you also need to incorporate some exercise, because many owners stop taking them for walks, and just because you let him out in the yard for an hour, doesn’t mean he is actually exercising, he may just be laying down basking in the sun.

Diet change can be difficult for the owner, because there are no guidelines as to what goes into ‘senior dog food’ and it’s left up to the manufacturer to put whatever they feel is good into their product. Look for a dog food that contains whole grains, and vegetables, because these have good carbs with a low glycemic index. In addition, as mentioned earlier you should look for a food that contains real meat, like beef, or chicken as real meat is easily digested, and absorbed by the body. Furthermore, look for a food that contains minerals, and vitamins that include zinc, copper, vitamins A,D,E,K, folate, and biotin as these are the beneficial ones.

Finally, if your older dog is overweight or obese, take him to your vet to get a thorough checkup to make sure it is not a health condition that is causing his obesity. If it is just diet related, it makes sense to give him a food that will be beneficial to him, as in the long run he will live longer, and you will be able to enjoy his company for longer too. Leave out the table scraps, and talk to your vet instead about how much food you should be giving him, as sometimes older dogs need less food, and by getting him to his correct weight it will help give him more energy, and you may be surprised to see him return to his old self once his diet has improved.

Learn more about common health problems in older dogs in our blog.

Dr. Kim Simpson Fur Babies Paws At Peace Rainbow Bridge

Fur Baby: In Memory of Jill

 

This post is to the memory of Jill, another fur baby that was transitioned a few weeks ago.

To leave your own memorial for your beloved pet please click here.

Dr. Kim Simpson Fur Babies Holiday Season Paws At Peace

Pet Stress: Sometimes the holiday season can get stressful…

Sometimes the holiday season can get stressful and put your lead to pet stress. Keep in mind our fur babies are precious gifts from God, all ways loyal, and forgiving. When the day is long and stressful, and you are tired. Just go love on your fur baby for a few minuets, the stress will magically disappear.

 

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