I find myself writing this blog today because our practice has seen an uptick in geriatric dogs recently. What is their biggest complaint? Typically, the issue is rear end shaking and an inability to support their weight. The good news is that we are getting great results with this population. In fact, our patients frequently claim to see significant improvement within 24 hours. Why is this and what are some other strategies we can use to help them through their twilight years? Read on to find out.
What is a geriatric dog?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a geriatric dog is any small breed 7 years and older or any large breed 6 years and older. There are many issues that affect this population, but one big one is a decrease in mobility. The body naturally breaks down over time. However, if the joints of the spine or limbs are in poor alignment they will wear down faster. Think of it like a car forced out of alignment. The tires and other parts will wear unevenly and quickly. A similar thing happens in the body.
Why do geriatric dogs benefit from animal chiropractic care?
Geriatric pets benefit from animal chiropractic because chiropractic restores normal function and alignment to a joint. When a joint is out of alignment, it places uneven stress along it. In addition, it initiates an inflammatory response. Inflammation is known for contributing to joint degeneration. Therefore, animal chiropractic is an important intervention because it keeps the joints of the body in normal alignment which helps prevent premature wear and inflammation.
What else can we do to help geriatric dogs?
In addition to animal chiropractic care, there are a number of things we can do to help our pets. These include:
- Controlling your pets weight – Overweight pets are subject to extra forces on their joints.
- Keep exercising – You may need to modify their routine, but movement is important for joint health.
- Supplementation – There are quite a few joint supplements on the market. The goal is to give a high quality supplement that includes glucosamine and chondroitin.
These tips combined with chiropractic care will benefit your pet’s quality of life.
Unfortunately, arthritis and decreased mobility area conditions that will affect many geriatric pets. However, there are ways to slow the progression. This includes adding animal chiropractic care, weight control, exercise, and supplementation. With these additions your pet will enjoy an improved quality of life during their twilight years.