Nutrition For Our Older Dogs
By: Dr. Jeannie Thomason
Our precious dogs! They love us unconditionally through out our lives together. There are the new family members, strange hair-dos in different styles, our weight gains, they are there for us in the celebrations and devastating losses in our lives. They move with us from one state to the next never asking where we are going or why. We, in turn, just expect them to adjust without any questions. God bless them, for they always buffer our bad moods with sloppy kisses and warm soft coats to bury our faces in and drench with tears. They anxiously await our arrival home at the end of a long day.
Life flies by and eventually, one day, the time in their lives that we never are prepared to face comes into being. The first signs can be anything from less of an appetite to not coming immediately when we call them. The signs are usually very subtle at first, maybe they just don't run up the stairs anymore, we tell ourselves it is nothing too serious, maybe we are slower these days too. Then we may notice that singular bad day is stretching into a string of bad days or even weeks. We come to face the fact that what we thought was disobedience is in fact hearing loss and the extra naps, not a sign of laziness, but just plain weariness.
Did you know that the maximum life span of our dogs should be 25 - 30 years?, unfortunately, the average dog living in this day and age, only lives to be approximately 10-15 years. Ever wonder WHY??? The first place to look is at nutrition or the diet our dogs eat daily. Oh yes, they come in these beautiful, colorful bags that our veterinarian so highly recommends. The commercials tell us that they are 100% nutritionally complete and "good for our dogs!" If this were true, then why in the last 30 years have we begun to see such a huge increase of dogs with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, periodontal disease and arthritis?
Could it possibly be what we are feeding them? It sure is the number ONE reason! (over vaccinating is another reason but that is for another time). With our older dog, it is obviously very important to supply him/or her with the best and healthiest possible nutrition available. Now notice, I didn't say anything about the "best food" that is available, because the best food that is available does not come in a bag or a box, it is fresh, raw meat and bones first and foremost and then next would be ingredients that you could cook for your dog. I know, a lot of you are saying this is not possible, because of your busy schedule, but honestly, feeding a fresh raw meat and bones diet is the best you could do for that special older companion and it really isn't that much of a chore once you learn that you don't have to mix in grains or veggies, much less spend time cooking for them (although the next best thing to feeding raw is to cook for your dog).
Older dogs that have not had optimal nutrition during their lives, tend to exhibit signs of debilitating diseases such as arthritis, liver failure, kidney failure, diabetes, hyper or hypo thyroid conditions and on and on. If your older dog has been on kibble or some kind of processed food for most of his/her life and been vaccinated yearly, what most veterinary naturopaths and holistic veterinarians like to recommend is to begin with a very gentle detox or cleansing of the blood with the herbs God gave us for this purpose. These herbs or homeopathic remedies are available in tinctures or tablets I personally use with my own my dogs as well a recommend to my clients -- If your senior dog's immune system is strong and healthy, then your dog will be strong and healthy and will be able to ward off invading pathogens and diseases and live a longer and healthier life.
Why do I recommend a "cleaning of the blood"? Because the blood is either carrying nutrition to the cells of the body; restoring the cells that have been broken down during the day or the blood is carrying toxic materials to those cells. How do you know if the blood is contaminated and carrying toxins instead of nutrition? Disease, illness or weakness of any kind will begin to appear in your dog's health. Again, optimum nutrition is the foundation to all health. If your pet is "going down hill", it is almost always due to malnutrition even though one is providing what they feel may be the "best food money can buy".
Another important step is to support this older dog with nutritional supplementation in the way of trace minerals, natural vitamins, enzymes and probiotics to balance the flora in the dog's body. These have been shown to contribute to the rebuilding of the dog's bones, teeth, eyes and muscles throughout the body. I have seen case after case of this protocol of a home cooked or raw diet in conjunction with a twice yearly detox, probitotics, digestive enzymes, minerals and vitamins restore the health and happiness of the older dog and get them completely off any drugs that had in actuality contributed to the dog's decline. Don't we owe it to the special animals in our lives to help them live longer and healthier lives? They deserve nothing but the best!
About Dr. Jeannie Thomason Jeanette Thomason, VND is a Veterinary Naturopath, Natural Pet Care Educator, Pet Nutrition Consultant and a Natural Rearing Dog Breeder. Dr.Jeannie is also the founder of Natural Rearing Breeders Association and author of several articles, some of which she has co-authorerd with her friend and co-host from the internet radio show, Animal Talk Naturally and have appeard in Natural Animal Wellness Magazine. Dr Thomason has dedicated herself to extensive research and education as well as an exploration of hands-on experiences in practicing animal nutrition and natural health with her Naturally reared dogs for last 20 years. Website: The Whole Dog
*DISCLAIMER The purpose and general goal of the veterinary naturopathic consultation offered by Jeannie Thomason, VND is to educate the client about their animals body systems in relation to function and ability pertaining to maintenance of overall homeostasis (balance) through the removal of various, and typically specific, obstacles to their health, this thereby encouraging their body's own natural healing processes. Dr Jeannie Thomason does not function as a traditional allopathic veterinarian by diagnosing disease, treating disease, or performing invasive procedures, nor do her services replace that of a traditional licensed allopathic veterinarian. The information offered by Dr Thomason, is intended to provide general guidance. Nothing on the web site or during a regular consultation constitutes traditional allopathic veterinary advice. Always consult with a licensed veterinarian before undertaking any course of "treatment" for your animal or changing treatments or medications your own veterinarian has already prescribed. This consultation will hopefully suggest additional options to think about, and other areas to explore, based on your dog's condition.