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Natural Ways to Support Your Senior Dog

an older collie sits on a deck in front of a rope fence and field of pink blooms

Claudia Bensimoun author of Natural Ways to Support Your Senior Dog

A holistic approach, combining a healthy diet, regular exercise, environmental stimulation, and massage can help keep your senior dog pain-free, happy, and healthy. With dogs being our best friends, just because they enter their senior years doesn’t mean that their quality of life declines.

CBD as a natural supplement combined with regular massage helps with inflammation and age-related anxiety reduction. In this article, we’ll discuss how to celebrate your dog’s senior years all the while keeping him pain-free naturally.

Regular veterinary visits

As your dog gets older, he’s more likely to be suffering from health-related issues which may contribute to pain and anxiety. That said, it’s important to see your veterinarian regularly to make sure that any potential problems are checked earlier on. Although many vets recommend twice-yearly check-ups for senior dogs, more frequent visits are needed if you feel that your furry best friend is in pain or has health existing issues.

Age-related anxiety from pain

Thanks to cannabidiol today, we’re able to help our dogs with a natural pain relief supplement. Pain may be related to serious health issues. You’ll need to keep your eyes open because sometimes recognizing pain in dogs may be difficult. Your dog can’t tell you that he’s in pain, so you’ll need to watch out for symptoms in your senior dog.

Joint disease

This will usually refer to osteoarthritis (OA), a painful and chronic condition that involves degeneration of the cartilage that lines the ends of bones and are inside the joints. Osteoarthritis in dogs is usually characterized by the formation of bony outgrowths in the joint area, a buildup of fluid inside the joint, thinning cartilage, and chronic pain.

Hip dysplasia 

Hip dysplasia is mostly seen in large and giant dog breeds, and can also affect younger dogs. It is a common disease that dogs face, but can be a frustrating challenge. Dogs that have a mild case of hip dysplasia or that are unable to have surgery may benefit from a combination of treatments.

This may include a weight loss program, naturalCBD supplements for chronic pain and inflammation, restriction of exercises on hard surfaces like roads, physical therapy, traditional anti-inflammatory drugs, and joint fluid modifiers.

Start with canine massage 

Canine massage releases serotonin-like substances and makes your furry best friend feel good. We humans have benefited from massage over the years. Today, the same applies to our dogs. Your veterinarian can perform massage therapy or a licensed animal massage therapist. It’s key to note that dogs with sprains, fractures, or ruptured disks, and even with cancer or fever should not be massaged. Visit your vet to discuss massage therapy. 

Massage therapy for working dogs

Today, massage therapy is often used on working dogs to help relieve pain and aches from strenuous sporting activities. We’re seeing a bigger trend toward natural healing methods for arthritis and numerous musculoskeletal disorders in pets. It can also help your dog become less aggressive, calm hyperactive dogs, as well as nervous dogs. 

Speaking of optimal benefits though, canine massage helps with aging-related problems like stiffness and arthritis, as well as gait-related problems and balance issues. Here are some other benefits that canine massage offers:

  • Improves circulation & lymphatic flow
  • Stimulates or soothes sensory nerve endings
  • Improves mobility
  • Relaxes
  • Promotes pain relief
  • Eases tense muscles and physical tension
  • Helps agility and flyball sporting dogs prevent sporting injuries
  • Improves lung condition
  • Improves skin and coat condition
  • Helps joint lubrication
  • Reduces arthritic pain & increases mobility in all dogs
  • Helps with the recovery process
  • Allows you to find potential health issues or injuries.
  • Five minutes a day of massage is very beneficial for dogs that participate in a daily exercise routine.

Engage in Tellington TTouch

One of the best ways of relaxing your senior dog is by using the Tellington TTouch method.

TheTTouch was discovered by Linda Tellington-Jones, a famous animal trainer and therapist. It was inspired by special bodywork called Feldenkreis and is based on the fact that every single cell in your body has its own intelligence. This is a massage method that has been tremendously popular and still is today. It stimulates circulation in dogs, and releases tension via certain exercises that involve touch, lift, and movement.

The positive effects of massage therapy on the immune system

According to the Touch Research Institute of Miami, Florida, there is some interesting information about the effect of massage therapy on the immune system.

This study was done on HIV-positive men and demonstrated that:

  • After about 45 minutes of massage therapy, five days a week for a month, the men’s anxiety and stress decreased.
  • Also, their numbers of natural killer cells (the first defense of the immune system) increased. This suggests that risk for infections such as pneumonia decreased.
  • Researchers questioned whether massage would have the same impact on cancer patients.

A tan dog gets a massage on a white blanket

Massage and Cancer

Each cell stores a certain energy pattern, which can be changed by emotional reactions. When this pattern is disrupted with various forms of touch therapy and Reiki, it is then possible to help your dog change old habits or find relief from pain. Massage helps with canine cancer patients by creating and establishing a new response.

Nearly every dog loves to touch, and will find comfort in a human’s presence. By creating a safe, comforting, and non-threatening environment, you can help your furry best friend feel better through massage therapy. 

Massage and hydrotherapy as part of a treatment plan

Today, behaviorists, veterinarians, and pet parents are opting for a massage to help with canine behavioral issues like shyness and aggression, including physical and emotional problems. Combine that with hydrotherapy and CBD as part of a treatment plan, and you’ll soon notice the positive effects. 

Cannabidiol benefits and dogs

By now, we’re all aware of the many benefits of CBD. You also understand that your dog will not get a “high” feeling because it has no THC. Cannabidiol also is known as CBD is natural, safe, and is derived from hemp and cannabis. Most CBD PET products will use CBD from hemp. Since cannabinoids have demonstrated numerous health benefits for pets via studies, holistic and traditional veterinarians may recommend a high-quality, organic CBD pet product for dogs suffering from anxiety, seizures, chronic pain, cancer side-effects, and more!

What is pet CBD?

CBD is a natural nutraceutical that is beneficial to both people and their pets. Cannabidiol is one of 120 compounds called cannabinoids.TheNational Center for Biotechnology adds that “CBD is a known non-psychoactive cannabinoid, and due to its low affinity for the CB1 receptor it would be expected that exploratory behavioral activity would be similar among treatment groups compared to negative side-effects associated with THC. These studies demonstrate transdermal administration of CBD has long-lasting therapeutic effects without psychoactive side-effects. Thus, the use of topical CBD has potential as an effective treatment of arthritic symptomatology.” 

What is the Endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid system has two cannabinoid receptors which are CB1 and CB2. CBG has an effect on both CB1 and CB2 by increasing the levels of anandamide (AEA) in the body. That said, the endocannabinoid (ECS) system is important in dogs, and aids in the function of maintaining homeostasis. Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in dogs and people, to keep the body in a healthy balance.

CBD studies

Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of CBD to treat symptoms in dogs like neuropathic pain, as well as an array of other common health issues. A study published in 2019 in the Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain adds that “Clinical studies indicate thatcannabidiol (CBD), the primary non-addictive component of cannabis that interacts with the serotonin (5-HT)1A receptor, may possess analgesic and anxiolytic effects.” The study also explains that “Repeated cannabidiol treatment increases firing activity of dorsal raphe nucleus 5-HT neurons through desensitization of 5-HT1A receptors.”

Other clinical evidence has shown how animals with persistent inflammatory pain have presented with anxiety-like behaviors. 

Studies have shown that that CBD works by enhancing the signaling of neurotransmitter anandamide, which lessens pain signals. Cannabidiol is also beneficial in reducing inflammation, in turn, reducing the pain associated with inflammation, and helping your dog feel better.

A 2019 clinical trial on seizure frequency in dogs adds “Scientists have found in a small study that 89 percent of dogs who received CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures. Nine dogs were treated with CBD, while seven in a control group were treated with a placebo,” adds Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a neurologist and assistant professor at Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Traditional pain treatment

Opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs), and corticosteroids are usually prescribed by a veterinarian as a first option for pain management. These may have side-effects if used long-term.

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CBD as a nutraceutical

Nutraceuticals are naturally occurring compounds that are derived from animal and veggie sources that also include amino acids, essential fatty acids (EFAs), vitamins, herbs, minerals, and antioxidants. When we use nutraceutical medicine we are using micronutrients and macronutrients, as well as other nutritional supplements to help in a therapeutic way. Nutraceuticals are very popular because there are hardly any side-effects when using them, so they are safe.

CBD for joint pain in dogs

There’s nothing worse than seeing your dogs in pain, most especially when your dog is in pain while walking or running. CBD hemp oil supplements (No THC) for natural pain relief in dogs has been found to be effective and is available for every pet parent to purchase legally today.

Joint pain can be helped today via CBD as a nutraceutical. These often have a mix of CBD and glucosamine. This helps dogs that are suffering from conditions like arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, and inflammation. Glucosamine replenishes cartilage and synovial fluid that cushions and protects joints while cannabidiol reduces inflammation and also eases pain.

With both acute and chronic pain, a combination of drug and non-drug methods may be effective in treating chronic pain. That said, the use of CBD for pain management in dogs with osteoarthritis may be effective. CBD as a natural supplement may be a natural, drug-free long term solution to chronic health conditions in pets.

Harvard Health Blog explains that CBD applied to the skin may help lower pain and inflammation stemming from arthritis. That said, another CBD study on the pharmacokinetics of CBD administration found thatCBD can help with depression since it induces antidepressant-like effects comparable to those of imipramine.

If your senior dog has been examined by your veterinarian and has no serious health issues, you can reduce your dog’s stress and pain levels by using CBD. Studies have demonstrated that CBD works by enhancing the signaling of a neurotransmitter, anandamide, which lessens pain signals. Cannabidiol is also beneficial in reducing inflammation, in turn, reducing the pain associated with inflammation, and helping your dog feel better.

Establishing a natural health-care regimen for your furry best friend doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes a combination of holistic and traditional health care for pets allows for optimal benefits.

There are many instances where natural treatments alone cannot be used to treat serious illnesses like cancer but may help to improve your dog’s quality of life. CBD for pain management has been shown to be effective in reducing discomfort and pain. As usual, consult with your veterinarian for the best advice, most especially if your furry best friend has a serious health condition.

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Meet The Author 

Claudia Bensimoun author of article, we’ll discuss how to celeb plly.

Claudia Bensimoun

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.

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