Lets Talk about older dogs and Cats
Personally I think older dogs and cats are great!
But, unfortunately they sometimes get a raw deal
Many issues that could be causing your old dog or cat pain CAN be helped ( not necessarily cured) with some medication.
Unfortunately many owners, without realising it, put many things down to ‘old age’ which may not necessarily be the case.
Your older pet should still be doing these things – all be it at maybe a slower pace!
cats – should still be grooming themselves – they may need help but cats who stop grooming have sometimes stopped caring and given up. If they are in pain through arthritis they may not be able to reach some areas.
cats/dogs – should still be eating – usually cats graze which is fine. Massively increased or decreased appetites or drinking habbits can indicate medical issues, as can changes in urine or faeces – amount,colour and volume.
cats – should still be using a litter tray or asking to go out – dementia (next subject!) can be improved with some meds which can be mixed in food – I know a lot of cats are not easy to dose!
Dogs – should still be taking some exercise – several shorter walks is easier and keeps the muscles going – or if in lock down exercise in the house or garden- again for short periods.
do not do too much standing and throwing a ball or a toy – you can stand in one place for a long time while your dog tears up and back- the stopping and turning can be hard on the joints.
– it is a ‘ use it or lose it ‘ secenario like us really!
dogs/cats – should still be greeting you when you get up in the morning or come in from going out.
Cats will often hide away and not be involved in family comings and goings. Thus can be an indication that they are not feeling well.
Neither cats or dogs should be vomitting up food regularly – either immeadiately after eating it or some hours later- no matter how old they are.
If you have a long haired cat or one that does bring up fur balls or moults a lot I would advise you feed oily fish at least once a week – tuna in oil or pilchards in oil, or use laxapet, katalax or liqiuid paraffin 2-3 times a week. This will help break up the fur.
Ingested fur can irritate the stomach lining and cause vomitting and on going inflammatory gut issues with even short haired cats if they groom themselves a lot.
When cats bring up fur balls they do not always clear all the fur. Fur balls are an indication fur is building up and I would advise on going management of this issue. Imagine licking up fur yourself in your mouth – yuck!
In conclusion, I think older dogs and cats are great and should have access to medical help like the rest of the dog and cat population. Sometimes it is an idea to try a course of anti inflammatories if your dog or cat is struggling – you may be surprised!
I have an old labrador
She came to me as a rescue and must be 12-13years old now
She is full of lumps and bumps and is on several meds
She loves nothing better than lying in the yard in the sun- usually with a cat on her!
Well, she is a lab so she also quite enjoys eating horrid things up the shed where the cows are !
I have her on a good glucosamine supplement – Nutraquin plus- which really made a difference to her movement
I would make sure which ever glucosamine you use it has a good dose of the active ingredients –
99% pure Glucosamine HCL ( must be the HCL as dogs cant absorb the other)- 500mg per capsule- building blocks for cartilage
90% pure Chondroitin Sulphate – 400mg per capsule- helps synovial fluid and is the building blocks for cartilage
Vitamin C – needed to absorb the glucosamine/chondroitin – 40mg per capsule
Zinc Sulphate 20mg- needed for collagen synthesis
75ng Bosweilia Extract – natural anti inflammatory
I like Nutraquin as the company try their best to get ethically sourced ingredients and they don’t use fillers or bulking agents.
They use the pure product
There are many other glucosamines on the market – some with very little active ingredient in them – check your packets!
You may think you are getting a good, cheap product but actually you may be paying for fillers and very little active ingredient.
My dog is dosed at 30kg and has 3 Nutraquin plus tablets as a loading dose for 6 weeks then she is on 2 a day.
Take a look at www.nutravet.co.uk
Another one we have heard good results from is Yumove – pronounced ‘you move.’
She is also on Meloxaid/ Metacam once daily for her weight
Metacam is from a family of drugs called NSAIDS or non steroidal (not steroid) anti inflammatories.
They have their uses in Vet medicine but, like many drugs, can have side effects.
I think it is important to weigh up the good with the bad
Will this drug give my older dog a better quality of life? Yes likely it will.
Side effects are usually gastro intestinal – sickness or diarrhoea usually – always give the drug with or after food and never on an empty stomach
If your dog is sick or has diarrhoea then stop the drug for 24hours, if the symptoms continue again then contact your vet. Metacam may not be the right drug for your dog/cat. Other anti inflammatories are available and may suit your pet better.
NSAIDS can affect your pets kidneys if given long term and if your pet has kidney issues another drug may be more suitable.
My girl is also on Propalin as she has urinary incontinence
She wets the bed when she is asleep
She is now on once daily dosing and this is holding the issue so far.
Propalin contains the active ingredient Phenylpropanolamine – propalin is much easier to say!
It acts on the nerves that control the bladder and help to tighten things up a bit!
Care using this if your pet has heart issues – this drug can affect blood pressure and heart rate.
Dosage at the start is 0.1ml per 5kg body weight 3 times a day
This can usually be reduced to twice daily then once daily (possibly) like my girl is now on, but it can take a while to reduce the frequency.
If your dog suddenly develops incontinence it is always best to get a urine sample tested before going on propalin – urine infections can lead to what looks like incontinence and this should be ruled out first. We don’t want to trap an infection in the bladder as this can track up to the kidneys and cause kidney damage.
Weight is an issue that needs to be monitored in the older dog and cat.
Too much weight on arthritic joints can be harder to manage
Low calorie or light food ( not the same as senior) can fill up your pet but give less calories
I would advise feeding your dog twice daily as opposed to once – if possible – as this gives them more chance to digest it. Also try not to feed a big meal before bed – not eating after 6 ,if possbile, is better for us all. Going to bed on a full tummy is not good for anyone!
There are other diets – like Satiety diets – again making your pet feel full without the calories – they have more fibre so often the pass more faeces.
My old girl, like the rest of my lot are on raw – Nutriment.
The cats – young and old – have nutriment- plus raw chicken wings which the older cats love! It is great to see them pulling at the meat and using their muscles!
Sorry if you are vegetarian- our feline friends are not !
One of my cats – who has taken a while to adjust to the raw feeding thing – was licking at a chicken wing this morning as I hung out the washing. One of my others who is a bit cheeky came over to steal it from him and he hissed at her! Maybe he is converting!