DEAR LABBY: I think like a puppy, I get excited like a puppy but my body is not acting like a puppy. I’m finding as I’m getting older that the ball is getting harder to catch – I just can’t jump like I used to. I love going for long walks but man am I sore the next day. My human says my vet might be able to recommend something to help my aching joints. –BUSY BRITANY SPANIEL
DEAR BUSY: Your human is right! Lucky for you, there are lots of options to help keep you acting like a puppy again (or closer to it, anyway!). Some of the options include special diets for joints (like Royal Canin Mobility), supplements like Glucosamine or Omegas, and therapeutic treatments such as Laser Therapy or Cartrophen injections. You might want to try one or two of these non-medicated approaches or you can try a combination to see what helps you most. Happy Tails!
DEAR LABBY: My human companion is taking me to the vet again. I swear I was just there yesterday! She claims it was 6 months ago but still! I know I’m 7 years old but does that really mean I need to go more than once per year? I mean, the treats are pretty good but I’d rather be at the park. –BEFUDDLED BEAGLE
DEAR BEFUDDLED: I understand your confusion but after your 7th birthday, you are considered a senior, my friend. With your golden years comes the need to see our medical friends every 6 months. A lot can happen in 6 months for us dogs! Our human friends want to keep on top of any of those changes so they can help us as soon as possible if there are any issues. With bi-annual examinations and blood work, prevention and early detection can really help us old timers live a longer, love filled life with our companions.
DEAR LABBY: My slobbering co-inhabitant has started limping recently. Our human has started giving him glucosamine and something else – I’m not too interested in all the details – that’s supposed to help him. As much as I feign to admit this, I’ve had some difficulty in the joint area myself. I don’t limp and carry on like my brother from another mother but I have noticed little things like I really have to think about that jump before I make it. I used to jump like a young leopard within a fraction of a second – now I pause for a second or two. I know this is a sign of arthritis for me but how can I get my owner to know that I need help too? … Without seeming too obvious about it, of course.–QUEEN OF THE CASTLE
DEAR QUEEN: That’s a tough one. Yes, your canine friends are a little more obvious when it comes to showing signs of pain. Like yourself, those of the feline persuasion tend to be a bit more subtle. Hopefully your owner will start to notice that small change in behaviour as far as your jumping goes. Other things that you may experience could include decreased activity, trouble using the litterbox (those sides are tall and it’s getting more difficult to get inside!), avoiding stairs or even avoiding jumping all together. The thing is, senior cats can benefit from many of the same therapies as dogs when it comes to arthritis. Diet, supplements, cartrophen injections and laser therapy are all options. Hopefully your human will discuss these with your vet soon so you can continue ruling the house as usual.