Old Dog, New Tricks

Keeping Your Aged Pet Happy and Healthy

Is your dog no longer jumping around like a puppy? Has your playful pooch started to sleep the day away? Dogs mature differently depending on their size and breed, and it is guessed that for every one year of a human life, a dog ages 7. So by age twelve, he's considered the equivalent to an 80-year-old man. Dr. Babette Gladstein, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine (and a practitioner of traditional and holistic healing treatments like acupuncture, chiropractic and massage therapy) helps geriatric pets feel and perform better.

"Wellness is of huge importance to health and a major factor in your dog's happiness and comfort, according to Dr. Gladstein, "Just like us, an aging lethargic dog often feels gloomy, while an invigorated dog faces daily life with a smile. We can help improve the aging process - and help your senior animal mature gracefully and enjoy his/her Golden Years, by creating and implementing a specifically designed wellness program that anyone can give and is easy and accessible."

No two dogs are exactly alike, therefore no two wellness programs are exactly the same. "Changing your dog's lifestyle such as diet, exercise, and physical therapy will help older dogs feel and perform better in their daily lives," states Dr. Gladstein.

For a healthy diet, an older dog should eat food that is specially formulated for them. It should be low in fat and salt for a healthy heart. Dogs should lower their intake of dry food to decrease calories and combat obesity, and they should increase fiber to prevent con- ammalfaircorn stipation. Other foods to avoid include all "nightshade" vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers) as they contain harmful toxins that may harm your pet's immune system.

"There are so many simple ways to help your pet," says Dr. Gladstein. "For instance, at dinner-time, add some Omega 3 essential oils or cod liver oil to their food. This cuts down joint inflammation that often occurs in aging. Other ways to keep your canine happy include scheduling play dates and group visits, gently massaging your animal, and who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Give your "Best Friend" some new toys including those with hidden treats that will amuse them for hours."

"Changing your dog's lifestyle will help older dogs feel and perform better in their daily lives."

Remember, a walk is always the simplest form of exercise. So when the weather is right get on your comfy shoes and do something that will be beneficial to both you and your dog.