Arthritis Relief for Dogs: Chiropractic and More by da-AL 

Any dog that lives long enough, according to my vet, will eventually get arthritis. Worse, when my dogs got it, they weren’t able to tolerate the pain medicines that were prescribed.

Close up of dog nose and teeth
This picture by Sofia Oratowski of her dog always makes me smile.

Chiropractic: Dr. Michelle Zarzana, a chiropractor who works mostly on people (including the humans in my family), did wonders for my two oldsters before they passed away. Here’s a New York Times article on chiropractic for pets. She and her kind staff truly enhanced their final years.

Chiropractor Dr. Michelle Zarzana restores mobility and comfort to my dogs.
Chiropractor Dr. Michelle Zarzana restored mobility to my dogs.

Laser: Dr. Zarzana’s laser treatments also helped. After each session, my dogs walked with improved energy and flexibility. ABC News has this to say about laser for pets.

Exercise: Even the shortest of daily walks helped. In the d-o-g/g-o-d karma of dogs, walking benefited me as well.

Supplements – Glucosamine: An orthopedist explained that the sulfate formula (harder to find than the HCL kind) is best. I believe human supplements are held to higher standards than those for pets, so I bought the people kind. Within days, my dogs showed improvement.

Supplements – CBD Oil: Being in pain is stressful. My dogs would pant and pace when they were miserable. Within an hour of taking several drops of CBD oil on their tongues, they would become calm, yet neither disoriented nor beset with side effects.

What works for your dogs? Or doesn’t?

Now We Are 2 (only): Sweet Lola is Sorely Missed by da-AL

Lola our black Labrador mix dog at the beach.
Lola our black Labrador mix dog at the beach.

Our home is too quiet, too empty without our dear Lola. Last Wednesday, she joined her twin brother, Pierre.

Lola our black Labrador mix dog when she was only a few months old.
Lola our black Labrador mix dog when she was only a few months old.

We were privileged to have her. Like Pierre, she was loyal in every way to the end. The two were trusting, kind, obedient, and fun loving.

Lola our black Labrador mix dog, to the right of her brother, Pierre.
Lola our black Labrador mix dog, to the right of her brother, Pierre.

Second in her heart only to her human family was her adored brother who passed away a few months ago. Hopefully, now they’re together, forever safe and happy.

Lola, our black Labrador mix dog, is sorely missed.
Lola, our black Labrador mix dog, is sorely missed.

A kind fellow blogger said that losing a dear pet never gets easier. Indeed it doesn’t…

Now We Are 3 (only) by da-AL

Pierre, da-AL, Lola, K-D
Pierre a few months ago, at about 14 years old.

This morning I stayed in bed till late. I was awake, but I didn’t want to get up to a house without Pierre in it.

Yesterday I had to put my dog down. Such a gentle euphemism for murder. To put one to sleep. My dear, dear dog-man trusted me, yet I tricked him. First by lulling him into thinking it was a normal day by asking my husband to roast a chicken at home that delighted his nose and soothed his belly. But afterward a vet arrived. She knotted a tourniquet at his rear thigh, shaved an area below it, and injected a sedative. His fitful gasping evened, his pain-blinded stare softened. Amid caresses and loving murmurs, the vet administered a second shot to finish him off.

My dear Pierre at 9 months old.

But Pierre lingered within his peaceful half-sleep. So another shave. Then a third shot to a different leg. That one finally killed him.

Nicer ways exist to frame this, but my heart won’t listen to the many fine arguments for how, whether, and when.

No, I don’t know of a better way to have done it. When his kidneys began to fail, and arthritis increasingly ravaged his days and nights, I promised us two things; he’d never take another trembling ride to a vet, and he’d never be wet again (he was a Labrador mix one-of-a-kind who hated water).

Fortunately, we could afford to have a vet to visit our home for those final injections. Fortunately, I could be with Pierre, my sweetest, most uncomplicated of friendships and loves. Fortunately, he’d lived a good long life, as dog lives go.

Pierre at 8 weeks old.

All the same, this was the awfullest decision I hope ever to make.

Life is beautiful, merciless, humbling.

Pierre (right) with his twin sister.

As much as our recent time together — these months of arranging throw rugs, moving furniture, closing doors so he wouldn’t get tangled among legs or be locked into rooms or slip and not be able to get back up, all which upset him to no end — these months of his hobbled struggle to follow me everywhere and to share walks with his sisters even though he’d fall within a few steps from home — this stoic period when, despite his waning appetite, he’d eat all that my family hand fed him while I experimented with healing remedies and weight gaining foods — this era when we set ramps and nudged him up and I learned the trick to gathering his 55 pounds into my arms to navigate down — these weeks of carrying him outside to pee in the middle of the night because the shame of soiling his diapers showed naked in his eyes (debilitated kidneys need volumes more water to compensate)…

Pierre (right) in better times.

and even though yesterday was the worst, today not a whole lot better…

I am thankful for every moment we shared. Hopefully, he knew he was loved…

Snuggle Dogs by da-AL

Our best friends are those who cheer us through our ups and cheer us up through our downs.

Mr. Gentleman Dog is aging. Growing older is a gift, but it extracts a price. For some of us, the cost is higher than for others.

In Mr. Gentleman Dog’s case, arthritis is wearing away his hips. And his kidneys don’t work as well. Rather than soil stuff, several times a night he rouses himself to ask to go out into the cold and pee.

But every day, he still has plenty of moments that he enjoys. He still loves treats, short walks, and cuddles.

And he loves the warmth of friendship…

Turmeric and Cod Liver Oil for Healthy Joints and Clear Eyes in Older Dogs and Cats by da-AL

My dog and me, each of us happy and healthy.
My dog and me, each of us happy and healthy.

Far be it from me to pretend that I’m an expert in animal health. However, the following remedies have done wonders for my dogs as well as my mom’s cats!

My sweet dogs are thirteen and a half. The day they don’t want to chase balls, go for walks, and bark at the postal carrier, I’ll be worried. Every day, they teach me more about how to grow older with grace. Every day, I do my best to make aging easier on them.

While I know dogs and cats aren’t physiologically exactly like humans, for an extra safety precaution, I often try remedies on myself before enlisting them. In addition, I start off slowly and keep a close watch for possible overdosing and any bad reactions.

Turmeric

This wonderful golden root, touted to aid just about everything, has helped heal my broken knee. Unexpectedly, turmeric also helps me sleep better.

For the past few months, I’ve been splitting an extra high potency turmeric capsule among my pets, sprinkling the contents over their meals. Within two days, they were greeting the day with renewed spryness!

Cod Liver Oil (super fine grade)

About the same time, I found I was constantly wiping gooey/crusty schmutz from the corners of their eyes.

Crusty gooey junk in my dog's eyes.
Muck in my sweetie’s eyes.

Their eyes are different from ours in a variety of ways:

  • They have three eyelids!
  • The placement of their eyes depends on the shapes of their faces and noses.
  • Their rods-to-cones ratio differ from ours.
  • We see color and close-up better. They see movement better.

Ultra fine grade cod liver oil squeezed into canine eyes, I read somewhere, could refresh their eyes and possibly slow cataract formation.

Hmmm …oil in the eyes?! The idea took time to warm up to. With great trepidation (and secrecy from dear ones who would surely have been horrified) I squeezed some into my own eyes.

Cod liver oil capsule in the palm of my hand.
Always use great care with your pets.

Lo and behold, down to the fishy smell, it was no big deal. The wee bit of blurry vision righted within minutes, and there was no sting. Whew!

Moving onto my furry beloveds, to my supreme delight, within two days, their eyes were clear — plus!! — they could see better! As a result, they’re more responsive and obviously happier! The wonderfulness of this makes tears spring to my own eyes!

Mondays have become ‘oil days.’ They’re never thrilled by the application, but any dog with Labradors in it aims to please. All the more so as they age.

More about what I do for my dear furry ones.

More on turmeric for dogs here.

More on canine eyes here and their eyelids here.