From Josie, “As I was saying, older pets need special care and I wanted to share with you some things to assess for the happiness of your own  Furiatrics. I will dictate to Cookie my list of geriatric care tips.  Because I am a very clever Border Terrier, I have come up with this mantra to help you remember. Every Furiatric Must Have Jolly Big Cuddles Always and you won’t miss a thing. ”

Josie shows off her glow strip at the doggie door

Every is for Eyesight  We might be frightened at the top of the stairs, we might walk into the door frame, we might stumble out of the car, because we are short-sighted.

Solution: Plug a child’s night light in down low near our beds. Help us to get out of the car without falling.  Surround our dog doors with glow in the dark strips from the hardware.

Furiatric is for Feet . Our bodyweight is down, our activity level is less so our nails grow long and they HURT.

Solution : Keep nails trimmed and shaped to avoid hurting our toes when we stand up. Regular pedicures are required at least every three months. Check the fur in between the toes, because we cannot twist our feet anymore to allow us to groom mud and dirt out. Matted dirt and filth hurts and causes infections.

Must is for Mouths.  We often have poor muscle tone so chewing tough things is… well, tough! Dry food may be too hard and too big, bones may not be able to be managed any more, teeth and gums are often silently sore.

Solution: Soak dry food if needed, avoid bones and give carrots for chewing and amusement. Essential care is monthly regular checking of teeth for decay, holes, chips, gum soreness and odour from the mouth. If anything is found, don’t put that Vet check off, bad teeth HURT.

Have is for Hearing.  We cannot hear in the very low registers and will be startled easily. Don’t reprimand us if we nip a child who roughly awakens us from a deep sleep.  Don’t start the car engine without checking we are not behind the wheels. Don’t let us off the lead in the park if we have not been taught to respond to visual signals to return.

Solutions are simple: Gentle approaching, making sure to walk heavily to vibrate the floor, and supervise children always. Train us  to respond to hand signals such as a clapping motion to call back. Train us to come to a high pitched dog whistle, we can learn new things!

Josie shows off her new soft and warm jammies

Jolly is for Joint health. ALL Furiatrics have osteoarthritis to some degree due to the thinning of the joint fluid. We will be slow and stiff, maybe can’t jump, will stumble, will circle lots to get comfortable. Sometimes we have trouble getting down to the food and water bowl if our elbows won’t bend and we keep trying to manage stairs, but oh, the pain it causes.

Solution:  Warmth is vital, a soft bed, heated bed, a bed with walls for snuggling into and coats when temperature is under 10 degrees. Non slip surfaces and rubber mats for grip. Joint supplements and nutraceuticals, joint juice injections and pain relief above all else.

Big is for Bottoms. We have arthritis so we cannot go to the toilet well.  Dags will collect around our bottoms because we cannot arch our backs and flex our hips like we used to.

Solution: A Daily Dag Check is needed, keep bottom fur clipped short. Do not tell us off for having a dirty bottom, imagine how we feel about it!

Cuddles is for Coat. We cannot groom ourselves effectively any more. Knots and matts HURT.

Solution: Keep coats clean and brushed and knot free. Use dry shampoo in Winter, do not plunge us into a bath. Spot treat any dirty areas, like cow poo or worm juice or fox wee. LOL. Keep faces and ears and around mouths clean. Unscented non-alcohol  baby wipes are good for dribbles and dirty faces.

Always is for Aid. Just as for old human folks, there are several simple Aids that can make our lives happier in our twilight years.

There are lifting aids for all sorts of situations.  Install ramps and foam stairs, or you can build your own. Then there are the very easy things like elevating our bowls to halfway between the elbow and the shoulder height by using a cake tin.

Josie is signing off with Every Furiatric Must Have Jolly Big Cuddles!

Note from the Dr, a very important part of geriatric pet health is MENTAL health. Do not leave your elderly pets sleeping for 23 hours out of every day. Do not forget they need mental stimulation in the form of a drive to the park, sniffing new smells and reading their smell mail. Make an effort to have their mats/beds in a bustling place in the house so they can feel a part of life.  Chew treats,  fresh plants picked  for Cats who love to smell, pheromone calming diffusers for confused dementia patients, these  are all small steps that add up to a happy seniors life. Most of all, is the need for a  minimum of 15 minutes undivided attention twice a day, with lots of hands on patting and massage to stimulate the “feel good” hormones. Care for your Furiatric well and I promise you a big return on your investment!

©Josie McDonogh and Dr Jedda 2017