If your dog is ten years old or more, he or she is an older dog.
They are more fragile and less agile. They could begin to have joint pain, cardiorespiratory problems, and fatigue of liver and of kidneys. They could also live another ten years, but from now on, they will need more rest and special care and attention. They will begin to suffer more from the hot weather, to get tired during walks and during swims. And, since they will ignore it, it is your care to protect them from their exuberance and from their desire to explore the world and to follow you in these explorations.
Reduce their physical activity, shorten the daily walk, choose warmer hours in the winter and cooler hours in the summer, take them in more quiet places, do not expose them to unnecessary dangers. Let them have their space. Older dogs sleep more, eat less, see less, ear less, sniff more, stagger, start if there are loud noises, and seek your presence more than before. They are weaker, become sick more easily, and heal with more difficulty.
They could no longer bear the medicines, which you usually give them. Read the precautions for use and the contraindications on their instructions before giving to them, and consult your veterinarian. If he or she does not convince you, change him or her and find another doctor, who is more sensitive to these issues. Many drugs can not be given to patients with hepatic or renal insufficiency, when the assimilation and the elimination of the medicine can be radically compromised. Some drugs can cause heart and vascular diseases among their side effects. Others expose to the potential risk of serious cardiovascular reactions, including heart failure.
Someone could suggest you to change food and to buy expensive bags of specific dry food for dogs with kidney problems or for dogs with liver problems, to reduce the protein content. To reduce proteins, there is no need to spend a fortune on special industrial food. Think about other alternatives for a healthier nourishment: fresh, whole and organic food, vegetables, fruit, mousse of legumes, and cereals. If they are no longer able to chew well because of dental problems, there is the soft, whole and organic bread already sliced . Now, these “human” products are also available at large supermarkets and discount stores at normal prices. Have you tried with rice or pasta timbales, eggplant rissoles, cutlets with lentils or with chickpeas, rice balls, eggplant “parmigiana”, or potato gateau? Prepare the food for them yourself, also cooking in advance and keeping the portions in the refrigerator or in the freezer for the next days. Make several attempts and see what they like the most.
Older dogs often suffer from incontinence. Do not isolate them and, instead, arm yourself with very much patience, with a cloth for floor cleaning and a bucket with water and a detergent as much organic as possible and, above all, with baking soda for a dry washing. To remove unpleasant odors, strew well the baking soda on dry floors and let it work for some hours before removing.
When you have to give the remedies, use gentle methods. Tablets or granules can be hidden in a rissole, also made with soft bread crumb or with their favorite dessert. Here is the recipe (in Italian) for a vegan chocolate cake, which dogs usually like much. Give the rissole in one bite, do not mix it with other foods, and make sure that they swallow it at once. Then, give other rissoles to them with no medicine inside. Also liquid or drop medicines can be added to these single special bites, there is no need to sprinkle them in their mouth with the syringe without the needle, as many people suggest doing. If the taste of the remedy is bitter, you can sweeten it with brown sugar or with raw organic honey. If the remedy contains alcohol, you can let it evaporate for about ten minutes before giving. In short, use your sweetness, your creativity and your imagination.
Here are some natural remedies, many of which are vegan, that you can use for your older dog. They are extremely effective and quick in their action, so use them carefully and do not exaggerate. When they talk you about the placebo effect of these substances, they are joking: the placebo effect does not work with dogs.
It is a homeopathic medicine for internal use in granules. For prescriptions and dosages, you can contact a veterinarian specialized in homeopathy. It is used for joint pain, when the dogs totter, stumble, fall and find difficulties in standing up and walking. It is anti-inflammatory and analgesic and acts quickly in case of trauma, haematoma, sprain, contusion, and dislocation.
In our case, it is a remedy for internal use. It is a plant resinous substance collected by bees on some poplars and used to cover the hive. It is available as a tincture, or water-alcohol solution, in drops. It has a very bitter and unpleasant taste, which then must be appropriately masked. It is a powerful natural antibiotic.
They are a remedy for internal use in drops. They are flower essences diluted in brandy, acting on an emotional level. For particular prescriptions and for dosages, you can contact an expert of the sector. In case of emergency or of a sudden, emotional and non emotional, trauma, you can use the rescue remedy of the five flowers: cherry plum, clematis, impatiens, rock rose and star of Bethlehem. If the dog can not swallow, gently raise his or her lip and let the drops fall down on the gum.
It is, in this case, a remedy for external use for washing and disinfecting abrasions, and skin lesions and wounds. They are dried flowers. You can use the infusion of chamomile in the water, also very diluted. You can make compresses or rinse with cotton wool soaked in the infusion. It has bactericidal, decongestant, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and pain reliever effects.
In this case, we consider it as a remedy for external use. It helps in the treatment of wounds, cuts, abrasions, and bedsores. You can use the leaf of the plant, peeled at the moment and directly applied, with a light pressure, on the area of skin to be disinfected, to be cured and to be healed. It also works with deep and large wounds.
However, your cuddles are the most powerful remedy. An ocean of cuddles.
Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering
Translation of the Italian blog post: Paola Morgese, Rimedi naturali, anche vegani, per cani anziani