Natural Solutions - - Food Matters -

KEEP THEM MOV­ING The mind/body con­nec­tion can slow down just as much as the phys­i­cal body. If you have a dog, have him walk up and down hills and step over logs— it helps to use vary­ing sur­faces. And when his mus­cle mem­ory kicks in and he doesn’t think he can do it, don’t feel sorry for him! Take it slow and be­lieve in him.

Some­times if you cre­ate an ob­sta­cle course or find a spot out­side where he has to walk over sev­eral things quickly, he won’t have time to think about whether he can or can’t do it; he will sim­ply re­spond. Have him step up on a curb, over some sticks, etc. This will keep ev­ery­thing mov­ing.

If your in­door cat isn’t jump­ing like she used to, make grad­ual ris­ers with her fa­vorite treat at the top. She will use her en­tire body in a way that she oth­er­wise wouldn’t if you weren’t chal­leng­ing her.

TRY MAS­SAGE AND BODY WORK Start by stroking Fido from the top of his head to the end of his tail to in­crease cir­cu­la­tion down the spine. Then, fo­cus on the top of the head down to the bot­tom of each foot: The bot­toms of the feet are the be­gin­ning point of many of the merid­i­ans in Chi­nese medicine. These are very im­por­tant acu­pres­sure points that con­trib­ute to the health of the im­mune sys­tem as well as ob­vi­ous cir­cu­la­tion ben­e­fits. GET THEM UP AND DOWN AT NIGHT Just like hu­mans who sit too long in our ad­vanced age, an­i­mals get creaky and groan as they get up. Even though we don’t want to bother our an­i­mal com­pan­ions be­cause they look like they’re in pain, this is ac­tu­ally the time to con­sider get­ting them up and down. When cir­cu­la­tion lessens in age, there is a greater ten­dency for the hind limbs to fall asleep, and as a re­sult, get­ting up is more painful if they can’t use their back legs. Wak­ing them up from a deep sleep a cou­ple of times in the evening is good for their cir­cu­la­tion (and can ease arthri­tis pain).

WATCH THE FOOD As is also the case for hu­mans, treats for our pets should be min­i­mal. Weight on an­i­mals is hard for not only their joints, but also their in­ter­nal or­gans. Although it is hard to re­frain from spoil­ing our el­derly an­i­mal com­pan­ions, we want them to be as healthy as pos­si­ble, even down to their last breath.

If you are go­ing to give treats, con­sider veg­eta­bles such as green beans or asparagus. These are healthy and hold wa­ter, which is ben­e­fi­cial to ag­ing pets be­cause some­times they have dif­fi­culty stay­ing hy­drated. Car­rots can be a good treat, too, but have a fair amount of sug­ars. As long as your pet doesn’t suf­fer from in­sulin re­sis­tance, veg­eta­bles with nat­u­ral sug­ars can be great treats when given in mod­er­a­tion. HAVE FUN ON YOUR OUT­INGS TO­GETHER This is im­por­tant for ev­ery­one. You may have one el­derly pet, or a house­hold with pets in vary­ing age ranges, but there are some an­i­mals we may never have the plea­sure of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in old age. The ones that grace us with their age are truly a gift. Yes, it can be dif­fi­cult and hard as things start to fall apart, but they are still with us be­cause they are truly tough souls. By mak­ing the lit­tle things fun, the whole house­hold gets a mo­ment of joy.

With all of this be­ing said, it’s also true that we don’t know the time clock on the other an­i­mals in the house­hold. As an an­i­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tor, I have seen a client fix­ate on the older an­i­mal, only to lose one of the younger an­i­mals in the time of de­cline. In fair­ness to the en­tire house­hold, lev­ity is a great thing.

There is noth­ing like see­ing a tooth­less dog smil­ing or hear­ing an old cat that can barely groom her­self purring as if there was no to­mor­row. Ev­ery­one ben­e­fits from fun!

Joan Ran­quet is an an­i­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tor, speaker, and au­thor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion With All Life. Learn more at joan­ran­quet.com.

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