Archive for the ‘Pets and the Elderly’ Category

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5:19 8 March 2012

Detecting Pet Cancer

  Last night I spoke with yet another client who has recently lost her pet to cancer.  She had a lovely Golden Retriever who had a tumor on her heart.  Her dog had no symptoms whatsoever until she just collapsed.  She was only 7 years old.  In her honor she is having a Pet Headstone made to place above her grave in their backyard.
In doing some research about Pet Cancer, I learned that some 6 million dogs and 6 million cats a year are diagnosed with Cancer.  As humans we need to be ever vigilant and watch for signs so our pets can receive professional care and treatment.  There are now Pet Oncologists who specialize in pet cancer treatments, and pets can now receive Chemotherapy and Radiation.  Pets who once have had Cancer can be Cancer-free and go on  to live long, fulfilling lives due to new medical procedures that have become available in the past few years.  So what should we watch for in our pets to catch the symptoms early?  Here is a list of things that could be caused by Cancer and should be checked out immediately:

1.  Unexplained weight loss; 2. Loss of Appetite; 3. Abnormal swelling; 4. Bleeding; 5. Offensive odor; 6. Difficulty swallowing; 7. Lameness or stiffness; 8. Difficulty breathing; 9. Difficulty urinating or pooping; 10. Sores that don’t heal; 11. Hesitating to exercise; 12. Loss of stamina.  These symptoms can be cause by other illnesses as well, but should be checked by a Vet as soon as possible.  We need to prevent pain and suffering in our beloved furry friends by getting them professional attention just as soon as any of these symptoms appear.

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8:47 15 June 2010

Pets VS Fur Children

Pets come is all sizes, shapes, breeds, and of course their interpretation by us of what they are supposed to do.  On one end of the spectrum, pets serve as a working animal.   They herd sheep, cows, goats etc. and are used as a work force on the farm or ranch.  The generally sleep outside with the stock and stand guard while the owner is not around or is asleep.  They can include horses used for work on the farm or ranch, and are generally regarded as some kind of means to an end – helping out the human.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are those pet owners who consider their furbabies as member of the family.   Most fur children don’t know they are an animal – we regard them as “human”.  If you are reading my posts, I presume you have the latter and you don’t consider your furry friend a pet, but rather more of a child.   When you really come to think of it, they are actually nicer “people” than most of the 2-legged kind.  Did you ever have a best human friend that was ever so devoted?  Does you spouse or significant other follow you around to every room (including the bathroom), sleep up against your  back, lay at your feet, and never leave your side when you are sick?  Have you ever known someone so excited to greet you at the door when you come home, even if you were gone for just a few minutes? 

Pets don’t care what you wear, how you look, how you smell or what you watch on TV.  They are just happy to be in your company whether you are happy, sad or even grouchy.  Their undying devotion is unmatched.  They are also easier to raise.  They don’t ask for money, they don’t borrow the car, they don’t complain, and seldom “talk” back.  My 1250 lb furbaby was the joy of my life. (Pictured above)  He never knew he was a horse.  The bond we develop with these family members cannot be broken even by death.  I look forward to the day when I can ride him through the meadows of Heaven.  If you have a special fur child, and would like to make a personal tribute that will last for generations, laser-etched Absolute Black Granite Headstones make beautiful family memorials.

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8:03 10 June 2010

What is MSM?

MSM is a popular arthritis supplement used for both humans and animals.  But what is it and what does it do for us and our 4-legged furry friends?

MSM stands for Methylsulfonylmethane and it contains sulfur in the form a body can readily use.  Sulfur is necessary for the production of collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin which are the building blocks of cartilage.  Sulfur is also necessary in the formation of glutathione which is one of the body’s best known natural antioxidants – which can help prevent illness. 

I have personally used it on aging horses with great success, and my arthritic parents swear by it’s effectiveness in treating pain and stiffness.  Make sure you consult with your Vet to get the best brand of MSM and the proper dosage for the kind, breed and weight of your pet.  It is also sold in a combination with Glucosamine and Chondroitin to support joint health.  Before starting any arthritis supplement for your furry family member, make sure their diet includes a high quality food that is high in protein and low in grains and starchy carbohydrates.  One of the best things you can do for your aging pet is to keep him/her lean.  This includes regular exercise,  preferrably on a daily basis.  Make your daily outings more fun by with a personalized, humorous Dog Bandana.

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7:47 10 June 2010

Human Vs Pet Supplements

Many people ask if they can give their pets Human arthritis supplements.  Is there a difference?  It would be so much easier to give “Fido” what I have already in my medicine cabinet.  The answer is “NO”.

It is true that pharmaceutical grade glucosaimne and chondroitin that are used for humans are found in some arthritis supplements for dogs.  But, joint supplements for dogs also contain ascorbic acid to help in the uptake of the ingredients by the animal’s body.  In additon, canine joint products are dosed in the correct size for dogs and are often flavored to make them more palatable to pets.  Pet supplements are also available in granules that can be easily mixed with food.

Glucosamine and chondroitin products are often used in cats and horses and appear to work very well in support of joint health.  Make sure you check with a trained professional before starting any pet arthritis supplement. 

Remember too that exercise is the BEST arthritis treatment you can give your beloved pet.  Make it fun by putting a comical, personalized Pet Bandana on while you go out for your daily venture.  Make the best of life in your pet’s golden years!

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9:34 4 June 2010

Pets Can Add New Life

Many of you may have experience the new life a pet can bring into a home, especially to the Elderly.  Recently I visited my aging parents and I was pleasantly surprised at what I found and wanted to share it. 

My parents are in their mid 80’s and have not owned a pet for many years.  They claimed they were too busy traveling etc. to be tied down by pet ownership.  Then 2 weeks ago, they decided they would “just look” at some puppies.  My mother has been assisted by an electric wheelchair for years and does not get around well without it.  But, when they met the dog broker in a restaurant parking lot, she did not hesitate to walk all the way across the parking lot and back too see the litter of pups.  After scooping up the little runt of the litter, she dared anyone to “pry it out of her hands.”  So began her new way of life.

Mother wakes up eagerly every morning to be greeted by her new bundle of joy.  Miss Lady, the puppy also waits eagerly to hear her wheelchair coming down the hall and runs to greet her.  Mom gets out of her chair and fixes 3 puppy meals a day, takes her outside often, and even spoon feeds Lady in her lap.  After each meal she wipes her face and wiskers, and wraps her in a towel for a nap.  My parents have even fashioned a ramp for Lady so she can walk up it into their rocking chairs so they don’t have to bend down and pick her up.  I was especially amused at them both laughing at the new pup as she chewed on Mom’s nice pair of shoes.  Who would have thought?  This little blessing was just what the Dr. ordered.  At age 84 the mothering instinct has taken over and my once home-bound mother now looks to the care of this new family member as top priority in her life.  Lady has brought new life back into their home.  To share similar stories or to leave a Pet Tribute to a beloved pet, please visit our website.

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10:17 6 January 2010

Pet Loss and the Elderly III

Loved and Cherished CasketPet Loss for our elderly friends and family members can be especially tragic.  Most of the time the pet was the only family member that person had left.  Older folks have already experienced much loss, of a spouse, friends and family members.  Losing their beloved animal companion can be just as traumatic for them as a human death, for them pets are just as much a family member as anyone else.   Sometimes there is even a deeper connection with a pet than with another human that only pet owners can understand.  If the pet was a gift from someone now gone, the final symbolic link to the deceased loved one is lost.  If there is incomplete resolution of past losses, the pet’s death can also trigger unresolved grief for the pet owner.  It can also be a reminder that one’s own health is failing or that the later days of one’s own life are soon approaching. Do you have an elderly family member or friend who is facing the loss of a beloved companion animal?  Here are some more suggestion of what you can do to help.

Sometimes elderly pet owners are concerned about what will happen to the pet in the event that they themselves become ill, are in an accident, are hospitalized or die.  Many are fearful that their pet will outlive them and will have no one to care them.  Sadly these concerns can motivate euthanasia of a healthy pet, or may discourage an elderly person from getting another pet after their loved one has died.  You can encourage your senior citizen friends or family members to: 1. Carry a note in their wallet with instructions on pet care, a list of the pets, and who should be called in case of an emergency.  2. Help them draft an estate provision of where the pets will go.  3. Make prior arrangements with family or friends for the pet’s care.  Finally, be there for them when their pet passes.  Help them make arrangements to bury their pet in their back yard or in a pet cemetery.  They may also want to place their lost loved one is a Pet Casket to properly intern them.  Help them do the best they can to bid farewell to their beloved companion, it will lessen their grief.

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2:36 5 January 2010

Pet Loss and the Elderly II

Lighthouse UrnIf you know of an elderly person who is facing the loss of their beloved companion animal, here are some suggestions on how you can help.

1. Keep in mind that many seniors cannot afford costly diagnostic and treatment proceedures.  They may be forced to make life and death decisions for their sick or injured pet based on finances.  If you cannot help them financially, please be willing to give them extra support and understanding at this delicate time in their life.

2. Older Folks may be basing their decisions on outdated information or prior bad experiences they may have had with a pet death or euthanasia.  They made need encouragement to discuss their questions, concerns and options more openly with their Veterarian.  You may want to accompany them on this visit since they may need more time to process what is being said to them, especially if they are upset or hearing impared.  You may need to ask the Vet to speak slowly and clearly and repeat the information if necessary.  You may also want to write down the material that may be forgotten.

3. Seniors may express their grief differently than you do.  They may be more stoic and quiet in their grief and do not outwardly express it like younger generations.  They may also be a bit wiser and more “seasoned” to grieving, maybe better able to cope.  Rather than assuming that you know what is best for your elderly friend or parent, please observe, listen and ask what it is they really need.

4. Before the death of a senior’s beloved pet, help them plan how they will intern it.  Where they want to bury it, do they want to have a special tribute made, or do they want to have some of the ashes placed in a special Pet Memorial Jewelry urn they can wear around their neck to keep their beloved pet close to their heart after the loss.

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12:48 5 January 2010

Pet Loss and the Elderly

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Losing a  beloved pet and companion is hard on everyone, but it takes a special toll on our elderly friends and family members.  The most consistent experience at their stage of life is loss.
By now most have lost parents, spouses, siblings, children or close friends to death.  They have less physical strength, stamina and mobility and with retirement even their identity with a prior occupaton is lost.  If they are living on a fixed income, even their former standard of living is gone, and so it their opportunities for socialization in the workplace.

Being deprived of so much, it is not surprising that older folks develop such a deep, meaningful attachment to their pets.  Such relationships are significant and enduring and meet a whole range of physical and emotional needs for them.  Pets can help the elderly feel more productive, useful and needed.  The pet helps them to engage in a more active life-style as they depend on them for food, water, exercise and medical care.  4-legged loved ones also give companionship and a feeling of closeness, thereby helping the elderly feel more secure, protected, supported and no longer alone.  They can also motivate a person to take better care of themselves out of a sense of responsibility for the pet.  They help them to feel touched both physically and emotionally, have someone to talk to and communicate with, and pets also love unconditionally – they don’t care what you look like, how much money you make, or where  you live.

Until we realize the significance of an animal in an elderly person’s life, we cannot begin to appreciate the magnitude of loss and the intensity of their grief.  Their pet may be the only family an older person has, and when the pet dies, there is no family left.  There is no longer the sense of of being needed, no companionship, no one to talk to, no one to sleep with, no one to make them feel important.  The house becomes to empty, too quiet, too lonely.  There is no stimulus to keep them going, no structure or meaning to daily routines.

Friends and family members can help by being patient, by listening, by just being there so they can talk honestly and openly about their loss.  You may also consider helping them place their lost loved one in a Pet Urn where they can keep their lost pet close by – on an end table or on the fireplace mantle.