One minute they’re your mischievous, into-everything, playful pup, and the next minute they love nothing more than pottering around the garden, slowly walking by your side, and curling up in front of the fire. It seems to happen in the blink of an eye.
Whilst ageing is sadly inevitable and comes to us all, there are measures that can be put into place to slow this process and keep your dog feeling younger for longer. And Clinical Canine Massage, combined with a few other important actions, really is the holy grail when it comes to supporting our beloved Golden Oldies!
“How can I make my dog live forever?” It’s a question we get asked a lot! And the answer? “Still working on it!”
Sadly, in reality, with life comes death. But the aim of the game is to try and postpone the latter whilst keeping our senior pets comfortable and happy, with a good quality of life.
Different breeds age at different rates and generally this is dependent on their size, from tiny little Chihuahuas living until they’re 15 to 20 years, through to giant breeds who tend to only make it to around 7 to 10 years.
And just like us, our dogs will experience changes to their physiological and psychological health as they age. Their senses will deteriorate, they’ll lose muscle tone and strength, and they may even become a little senile as the years tick on. And ultimately, their activities of daily living will begin to change, preferring to curl up on your feet and sleep rather than run after their all-time-favourite ball.
The physiological and psychological changes of age tend to happen gradually over a number of years, and often because of this, as an owner, we don’t necessarily notice them. But then one day, we do, and our bouncy puppy is now sat at the open car door because they just don’t have a big enough leap left in their tired legs. And of course, once we’ve accepted our dog is now entering their twilight years and slowing down, we quite rightly make appropriate adaptations to their activities of daily living, perhaps shortening their walks or retiring them from their sporting or working disciplines.
However, what if this doesn’t always have to be the case? What if your dog has become old before their time? We know there are obvious genetic and breed influences limiting life expectancy, but each and every dog is different, and there’s definitely some wriggle room when it comes to prolonging their lives.
Clinical Canine Massage can be profoundly beneficial for your senior pet. Through relieving muscle spasms, debilitating trigger points and areas of prolonged muscular tension, as well as addressing muscles which are overcompensating or working much harder to take the strain off of underlying Orthopaedic Conditions such as Arthritis, massage really can put the spring back in their step. Here are a few of the noticeable changes that often occur with Canine Massage…
Here are just a few of the other things we’ll advise as part of your customised care plan when you bring your senior dog for Canine Massage. These will be discussed in more detail at the time of your consultation, and because we know that every dog and every situation is different, we’ll tailor the advice to suit.
And not just any joint supplement; powerful, supreme grade joint products formulated to provide the best possible joint care for your dog. We personally use and recommend Riaflex supplements and supply these to our clients at competitive prices. We recommend all dogs should be on joint care supplements by the age of 5, and much younger for heavier breeds, sporting or working dogs who are undertaking high impact activities on a regular basis, or dogs who have suffered significant musculoskeletal injuries such as Cruciate Ligament rupture at an early age.
Daily Lifestyle Aids
There are some adaptations you can make to enable your dog to continue their activities of daily living without putting undue stress through their musculoskeletal system. A ramp to get in and out of the car or go up and down steps in the garden; a step to help them get on and off furniture; raised food and water bowls for larger dogs to help prevent unnecessary strain through the body; putting down floor runners or non-slip mats over slippy flooring such as laminate, wood and tiles; and ensuring their beds are supportive, warm and give them enough room to fully stretch out.
Other Adjunctive Complementary Therapies
Massage works on the muscles and soft tissue primarily but other complementary therapies work on other aspects of the body and can offer a different range of benefits. And so, different therapies often complement each other well. Creating a multi-modal approach with other therapies such as Hydrotherapy, McTimoney, Bowen and Acupuncture to name a few, can often work wonders for your senior dog and we often recommend them to complement our work depending on what you’ve told us about your dog and what we’ve spotted.
If you’re the owner of a Golden Oldie who’s starting to show some of the signs and symptoms of age mentioned above, or your vet has diagnosed an Orthopaedic Condition such as Arthritis, Clinical Canine Massage would be a great next step for you and your senior dog.
The Canine Massage Guild have devised The Five Principles of Pain, which is a guide to help you assess your dog for the viability of Clinical Canine Massage therapy. It’s very likely that with an older dog, Canine Massage is going to be nothing but beneficial. However if you’d like to make sure, this useful aid will help you to identify clinical and sub-clinical signs of muscular and myofascial pain that are frequently helped by this powerful therapy. It covers Gait, Posture, Activities of Daily Living, Behaviour and Performance and you can easily classify any observations or concerns you may have within these categories. Click here to download the Five Principles of Pain sheet which breaks down these categories further.
And of course, if you’re the owner of a middle aged dog who just wants to get ahead of the age game by starting a routine maintenance massage schedule, just pop us a message to discuss this further or to make an appointment.
As a member of the Canine Massage Guild, Paw Vida offer a very professional Clinical Canine Massage service and respect the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 and Exemption Order 2015 by never working on an animal without gaining prior veterinary approval. In simple terms, this means we’ll only massage your dog if your vet considers it appropriate and safe to do so. Some diseases and conditions are contraindicative to massage and we, or your vet, will of course advise you of this when you get in touch.
You can download our Veterinary Consent form here. Please note that without veterinary consent, we’ll be unable to massage your dog.
Initial consultation and Treatment
Follow up / Maintenance Treatments
* A small additional travel charge may apply depending on your location.