Supporting Your Aging Dog: Body Work Modalities, Part 1

My Daisy has been by my side for the past 12 1/2 years.  She is truly a gift from heaven. Even though I rescued her, her mother, and her siblings from a horrible place, I was the one rescued that day. We’ve been on many adventures together, several moves, boyfriends, the loss of our beloved Great Dane, a pregnancy and so many other milestones.

This past year has really been hard on my old girl and I know her time on this earthly plan is limited; as it is for all of us.  I am so blessed to have this girl grace my life with her companionship, devotion and deepest love. This past few month has been extremely hard watching my best friend struggling through the day.  I know her time to enter the spirit world is drawing close, but until she takes her final breath, I will support her any way that I can. I have created this blog series to provide the details of how I am supporting my sweet aging girl.

*Disclaimer* This information is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 

Supporting Your Aging Dog with Body Work Modalities

Body work is a form of alternative medicine using manipulative or energy work.  There are many forms of body works and most are used on both humans and animals.

This blog outlines some of the most common forms of Body Work used to support aging dogs and what I have been activity doing to assist my own girl.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture is the use of thin needles inserted into the skin to stimulate specific points on the body where there are areas of high concentration of small blood vessel and nerves.  The needles stimulate the nervous system and causing transmission of signals through the nerves, spinal cord and into the brain with the result of changing the neural output to the body.

Benefits of  Acupuncture helps restore normal blood flow, which in turn caries oxygen, nutrients, hormones and neurotransmitter throughout the body.  In dogs, acupuncture is extremely helpful in treating arthritis, hips dysplasia, intervertebal disk disease, weakness, paralysis, seizures, kidney failure, inflammatory bowel disease and skin problems.  It can also be used to aid in the treatment of behavior disorders, urinary disorders, upper respiratory infections.  It’s also a wonder adjunct to cancer treatment.

Acupuncture Laser Therapy: Laser Therapy is another great options, especially for dogs that might not be able to lay still with needles for an extended period of time.  Laser therapy uses light to stimulate healing at the cellular level by increasing blood circulation and decreasing nerve sensitivity and pain.  The laser is applied to the acupuncture points. Some of the benefits of Laser therapy are it aids in healing wounds, decreases inflammations, and reduces pain.

Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic care addresses various physiological and biomechanical aspects including structural, spinal, musculoskeletal, neurological, and vascular. Spinal adjustments are used to correct these misalignment and restore proper function to the nervous system, helping the body to heal naturally.

Some signs that chiropractic treatment may be beneficial for your dog are back or neck pain, joint stiffness, poor performance and an altered gait. Benefits of Chiropractic care are aids in correcting alignment, addresses joint degeneration, pain reduction, and improves neurological function.

Hydrotherapy:  Hydrotherapy is great way to exercise your aging dog. The buoyancy and resistance of the water make it a safe and effect method of exercise and rehabilitation.  The use of an underwater treadmill or swimming can be extremely beneficial to your dog.  The warmth of the water if using an underwater treadmill helps to increase the flexibility and mobility of muscles, tendons, ligaments that surround the joints as well as enhance circulation.

Some of the benefits of Hydrotherapy are  provides comfortable movement, muscle strengthening, increased Cardiovascular stamina, Neuromuscular Re-Education and weight loss.

Exercise: As Daisy has aged, we can no longer go on our 5 mile hikes.  Walking down to the mailbox, can sometimes make her lame for the rest of the day.  Exercise is important for old dogs, gentle and appropriate daily exercise helps keep an older dogs joints, ligaments and muscles strong and supple, improve blood flow, reduce pain and/or inflammation, boosts mood and improves overall quality of life.  Swimming is a great exercise for older dogs, it’s low impact exercise and can be used for both cardiovascular benefits as well as muscular development/maintenance.

I am not currently using hydrotherapy for Daisy, but during the summer months, we do swim.

Massage: Massage utilizes soft tissue manipulation to achieve different goals such as relaxation, stimulation, and relief of muscle problems. Massage increases circulation bringing oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. Benefits of massage are increased circulation & oxygenation to the cells of the body, decreases pain, soreness & stiffness, restores muscle tone, improves muscle function, increases flexibility & range of motion and relaxation and stress reduction.

I usually spend 10-15 minutes a day doing a massage and Reiki session, which I have found to be very helpful for Daisy’s mobility and reducing her anxiety.

Reiki: I was introduced to using Reiki on animals when I was a kennel manager several years ago.  The humane society had several practitioners that would come in to work on the animals on a regular basis.  I saw first hand how it calmed down stressed dogs, lifted spirits, and just added to the dog’s overall well being.  In 20015, I became a certified Reiki Master.  I practice Reiki on my girl regularly.

Reiki is an energy healing modality that aids in the reduction of stress and promotes relaxation and healing. The technique was developed in Japan and is administered by the laying on of hands. The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. It is based on the idea that all living things have a special energy flowing through them called life energy.

My girl really enjoys Reiki sessions.  I’m not so sure if it’s for the healing properties, or more for the touch.  But either way it’s a great way to connect with you dog and really tune into their body.

A dog at any age can benefit from any combination of these modalities and so can YOU!!! Creating a wellness practice for you and your pets can have powerful benefits to on your overall health and well-being.

 

In Love, Light and Magic
~Jen and Daisy~

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