These are some of my favorite products that are free from side-effects, harmful preservatives, fillers, artificial flavoring, coloring, salt, sugar, etc.
Joint Health and Inflammation
Vet's Best Advanced Hip & Joint Dog Supplements – these really helped with his joints. They also have Vet's Best Aspirin Free Aches & Pains Dog Supplements – worked well for over exercising.
Traumeel worked very well on ache joints, it’s back on the market in the US, some places by prescription only. If you buy on amazon, be sure to purchase from a trusted seller. This is great for over exercising, pulls, etc.
Omega 3 and 6 I remember reading about this supplement for helping reduce inflammation so immediately added to Zeus's food around age 1. In addition to controlling inflammation, his skin and coat were flawless. His vet would always ask me what I was feeding Zeus because his fur was so soft and he never had visible dander. My friends that were allergic to dogs never had any issues around Zeus because his coat was soft and his skin naturally moisturized.
The Assisi Loop home laser was a miracle worker. You need to get a prescription from a vet and it’s pricey, but it’s worth it. Long term it's more affordable than taking your dog or cat to the vet for laser treatments and if they are injured, the process to take them to the vet defeats the treatment in ways. For a time I thought Zeus had DM, but using this helped him walk without dragging his back nails.
Some canine PTs call these flipper – worked great to get Zeus to engage all of the muscles in his back legs to pick up his paws from dragging. Flippers should be recommended by a provider with knowledge in veterinary rehab so if you are interested in trying this form of rehab, please get fitted and instructed by a professional.
Senior dogs can develop weakened hind limbs and muscle atrophy in their legs. Here are a few products I've used:
Toe Grips - they were a little tricky to keep on an active dog, however, were much easier to manage than glue-on nails. I also found them to be very helpful with back nail dragging to protect the nails. They also have great customer service and instructional videos.
Pawz worked well for keeping balance when we visited homes with hardwood floors and no rugs. In my experience they were tricky to keep on outside, esp. in the grass, but overall, they would stay on better and were more stable for walking than other boots that were available at pet retailers.
Ladder Therapy - Zeus had some nerve compression in his lower back so it started to get difficult for him to pick up his back paws all the way and his nails dragged a bit. I built this from a trip to home depot http://www.instantagility.com/2008/05/02/footwork-ladder-with-side-rails/ I used freeze dried treats to get him to walk back and fourth, he saw it was play time and loved it. I would work with him for about 5 minutes every other day or sometimes a few minutes 2 x's a day. When his back paws started to hit the pipe, I would call it a day. With senior pets, it doesn't help to push their therapy; slow and gradual will get them to where they need to be.
Massage Therapy - this was remarkably helpful with Zeus. It took me a while to find someone who was trained for pet massage, in addition to being knowledgeable about pet health, almost the same experience as a vet tech. It helped to increase circulation and aid stiffness with older pets. Dogs and cats have connective tissue and muscles just like we do so active pets, as well as not very active pets, would benefit from a massage. A good pet massage therapist will show you how to massage your pet on your own with correct form and pressure. This is very important because it's very easy to apply too much pressure when massaging your pet. My go-to massage therapist in the Chicago area is Beloved Canine http://belovedcanine.com/ Aimee specializes in special needs and senior pets.
Senior Pet Health
Ubiquinol for dogs and cats. CoQ10 is a compound that is produced by the liver. When your pet ages, this decreases, which can effect their energy level, circulation, immune function, flow of oxygen, etc.
Since it's harder for them to produce this on their own as they age, it's very beneficial to incorporate into their diet. This was a staple in Zeus's diet starting at age 5 because he was so active, in addition to being genetically predisposed to heart issues and cancer. Ubiquinol is a more advanced form of CoQ10. I highly recommend any Mercola products, Zeus didn't notice it in his food.
Digestive Enzymes for Dogs and Cats.
As pets age, it becomes harder for them to digest and absorb nutrients. I would also recommend to any age of pet with digestive discomforts.
Keeping up with gum and teeth health is so important in pets, esp. senior pets. Toxins can develop, which can impact overall health, not to mention tooth pain. We as humans know what it's like to have a toothache so imagine what it would be like for our pets. A little prevention goes a long way. Be sure to read all labels for pet toothpaste - a lot of them have food coloring, harmful preservatives, sugar and salt. Here are some I have tried:
Coconut oil - works great for teeth and gum health. Quality really matters so invest in a brand name that is organic
Seaweed Powder - this a great on-going supplement to add to dog or cat food. This was a staple in Zeus's diet. I can't remember when I didn't give this to him and I also gave this to my parent's cat, both of them didn't notice in their food.
*!! PLEASE NOTE - Seaweed products may not be safe for cats with overactive thyroid condition (common in Senior cats) . May worsen the condition due to iodine content.
I have purchased a few orthopedic beds and a lot of them have foam that disintegrates within a few months. This was one of my favorites because it was soft, but firm enough that when he circled around to get comfortable, he didn't loose his balance. I purchased at Farm and Fleet, but I know other retailers have them.
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