With pets, as with all creatures, life happens! Along with the joy of having fur friends in our life, we need to understand that life challenges can and do occur, often without warning. You never know what is ahead in life, so making the most of every day with your pet will strengthen your relationship with each other.
This bond can be vital in helping you support your pet should an accident or illness occur. You want to be able to help your pet handle these challenges as safely, gently, and comfortably as possible. Examples of some unforeseen events include blindness, deafness, dementia, incontinence, limb loss, or loss of mobility.
Safety is essential.
Creating new barriers and reducing potential hazards can offer a sense of security as your pet regains confidence. Pet gates at doorways and stairways can help create a safe haven and reduce the risks of accidents. Leash walking is crucial in some cases rather than allowing your pet to roam freely. Fatigue can set in much quicker in pets faced with health challenges such as aging, arthritis, cancer, and heart issues.
Monitoring daily exercise/playtime is crucial so pets get some mental and physical exercise, but don’t overdo it. Over-exercise can perpetuate more damage, and increase pain.
Health issues, old age, or traumatic injuries can cause either gradual or sudden loss of vision. If your pet exhibits loss of vision, such as bumping into things where he or she never used to do so, or if your pet experiences injury, veterinary care is in order, and adjustments need to be made to accommodate this new life challenge. Sticking to routine and keeping familiar objects such as water bowls, beds, and furniture in the same place will help with navigating the home safely. Guide your pet around the home so he or she becomes more familiar with the setting slowly and safely. Remove potential hazards. There’s also a device (halo) you can buy or make that attaches to a dog’s harness or collar. It offers head protection and acts as a bumper, allowing your pet to better navigate both familiar and new environments.
Loss of Limb or Mobility
This can occur due to aging, paralysis, nerve damage, arthritis, cancer, deformities, etc. Regardless of the cause, animals tend to adapt pretty well, provided we help them all we can through the process. Avoiding their becoming overweight is vital. For senior pets with mobility issues, or those with paralysis, nerve damage, or limb amputation, there are ways to help them get around, such as using slings and/or carts. I have a three-legged dog (amputated before six months old) that has gotten around very well over many years. She is 12 now and arthritic, along with having other health issues. She cannot walk long distances anymore, so we use a dog stroller for long walks. We also have an outside ramp for her to use to avoid climbing steps, and we lift her into and out of vehicles, or use a small ramp. We may consider a rear wheel cart for her in the future.
This can come on gradually due to aging, or occur from an injury or illness. Certain dog breeds are genetically prone to hearing loss. Senior pets typically develop a gradual hearing loss due to degeneration or chronic health issues. Regardless of how or when this occurs, your pet can live a very normal and happy life! Learning and then teaching your pet hand signals can be particularly helpful. Using other sounds like foot stomping, clapping, or using a flashlight, etc. can help get your hearing impaired pet’s attention. Fencing your yard and walking your pet on a leash at all times will help to avoid potentially dangerous situations. An “I am deaf” tag can be added to your dog’s collar.
Regardless of what may come along with your pet’s health, remember to enjoy every moment, and play and have fun!
*Readers are reminded it is entirely of their own accord, right,and responsibility to make informed and educated decisions/choices with their pets’ health care. Jenny Magli disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Jenny is a Certified Natural Health Consultant for pets and their people, Healing Touch for Animals (Level 2) and NES Bioenergetics Practitioner. Consultations are done over the phone and via email. To contact, call (906) 235-3524 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excerpted with permission from the Spring 2020 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2020, Empowering Lightworks, LLC.