Improving Your Older Pet’s Quality of Life

Have you noticed personality changes in your pet as he ages? Is Oscar becoming ornery? As our faithful companions age, we tend to accept the changes in their behavior and physical ability, rather than challenge it. A bit of physical therapy can make a huge difference to an older animal, improving muscle strength, function, control and flexibility which, in turn, has an overall positive effect on her quality of life.

Just as you feel the effects of aging, so does your pet. Wear and tear on her body takes its toll, making muscle degeneration and arthritis common in our older pet partners. The discomfort associated with these ailments can turn Fluffy from sweet and loving to grumpy and anti-social. As well, it will likely make your pet reluctant to move, which will allow further degradation of the muscles, reducing support of the joints and bones. It’s a vicious spiral of events!

Maggie Wise

Accepting Change

Want to improve your older pet’s quality of life? Should we just sit back and accept these age-related changes in our four-legged friends? Absolutely not! Weight control and an exercise routine can halt, and perhaps even reverse, the physical and psychological symptoms displayed in older dogs. Not sure where to begin? Here are a few tips that should help Kitty and Rover feel better in no time:

  •  Give your pet a full body massage. One area at a time, rub the area around the joints to warm the underlying tissue. Then, place your hands over the area and apply gentle compressions over the area. Establish a rhythm as you press and release. This motion will move fluids through the muscles and remove tension from the tendons surrounding the joints. After completing a massage cycle over the entire body, finish with soft petting to soothe your pet’s nerves. Regular massage may help prevent and/or alleviate the stiffness and pain that accompanies arthritis.
  • Keep your pet dry and warm, especially in the winter months. Extreme temperature changes and dampness can cause arthritic flare-ups in animals just as it can humans. Added heat from heating pads and warm water soaks relaxes muscles and increases circulation, helping to alleviate pain.
  • Ensure your pet maintains a healthy weight as added weight places undue stress on joints. Most major pet food manufacturers offer “senior” brands that tend to be lower in calories, higher in fiber, with added vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Do a little online research or ask your vet’s advice on which brand will be most beneficial to your furry family member.
  • Invest in an orthopedic pet bed. They add extra cushioned support, reducing stress on pressure points.While there is no cure for aging, there are effective methods of making it less stressful. Your beloved, aging pet has blessed you with the best years of his life. Do everything in your power to make his latter years comfortable and enjoyable.




  1. What a BEAUTIFUL DOG in the photo.

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