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Senior Dog Care Guide

Entering the "Senior Dog" era is a special privilege that will be both the most rewarding and teaching moments of your life with your dog, but also can be the most worrisome, costly and heartbreaking periods you will go through. I find so many owners are not prepared for the changes that seniors require and I created this guide in hopes that I can coach owners on how to best support your dog through this next chapter of your lives! The good news is that these changes can be small and simple but can make big changes in our seniors longevity and comfort ❤️

Many owners choose to just let their dogs "do what they want" as they age and continue the feeding, exercise and training as they did when the dog was younger and in peak physical shape - and I COMPLETELY understand this as no one likes restricting things their dog loves but lets consider this....allowing your dog to over exert themselves as seniors exposes them to risk and higher chance of injury or illness and as they age, that may not be something they recover from. If they tear their ACL or cruciate ligament for example, they will spend their remaining time with us in recovery, being totally restricted, confined and uncomfortable with or without doing surgery (which again, is a high risk or not an option at all for some seniors). A 2 year old dog will do just fine after this intense surgical procedure and recovery, but a 13 year old dog with bad hips likely will not. Instead, we can slowly pull back on intense exercise (dog park sprinting, long duration runs/bike rides, multiple activities a day, full days of dog daycare, etc etc) to more appropriate forms of stimulation (low impact and shorter walks, swimming, brain enrichment/training and transitioning to more rest) and help their body adjust to their aging changes to better protect their bodies against injury and illness.

Also important for those, like myself, that have both younger dogs AND aging seniors at the same time....your dogs DO NOT need to do everything together and IT IS OK (and a safer, better option) to leave your senior dog at home when you take the younger one for a bike ride, run, walk in the summer heat, dog park trip and maybe have them just join them for a shorter afternoon activity or a solo walk later instead. They most often will try to keep up with the younger dog and over exert themselves and can lead to exhaustion and injury.

As long as you are still dedicating attention, exercise and stimulation for each dog at some point, you are doing a great job. The young dog can go to daycare for 8 hours or run at the park for 2 while your senior enjoys a cozy morning on the comfy couch at home with a nice walk in the evening. It doesn't make you a bad owner, it makes you a responsible senior dog owner!

My two seniors and the wild boy!

Simple at home changes that make a BIG difference!

There are many hazards that become more dangerous to our dogs as they enter their Senior years. There are some things around our house that we can do in order to minimize injury and keep them safe.

So many of us have slippery floors. We don’t think about them as slippery for dogs because they're easier to clean, but they're hard for dogs to maneuver. So wood floors, even tile, linoleum can be pretty challenging, and sometimes just putting a yoga mat around the corner can save a lot of slips and falls. Repeat “little” slips here and there can make significant changes over time.

Think about how they leap up and down off the couch. Everybody has a different rules of their house but, a lot of our dogs are sitting on the couch with us. But it's getting harder to get up on that couch and harder to get down from that couch and can be a recipe for disaster. A runner, rug or yoga mat in front of the couch can make a big difference for your dog. It shouldn’t be a big deal to have a bit of an eye sore like a yoga mat, because it’s worth it to keep our dogs safe. Same goes for the bed!

Watch your dog walk around your house, take a step back and, and really just watch them maneuver. I kind of push the slippery floors issue, but it's so huge, and it can make such a big difference. Think about it how you feel walking across ice, you tighten up, tense up and walk really slow and hope you don’t slip and fall. If you have a senior dog and slippery floors, you can watch them walk in the same way. Note the areas where your dog doesn't feel very comfortable. You can fix it so easily!

Eating off of the ground can be hard on our aging dog’s body as well. Having to bend over and forward while eating can put lots of strain on their neck and back and lead to soreness or even prevent them from eating a whole meal comfortably. Raised feeders at about elbow height are great for this.

Keep in mind that they have vision and hearing changes as they age and helping them get around this house easier is important. You can help them navigate in the house when their vision is going by keeping some more lights on and adding more such as the plug in lights along the floor and the outlets where they can get more light on their level.

Try and keep the surroundings consistent for them. Avoid rearranging furniture as this can lead to confusion when they have vision/hearing changes. Your dog has a “map” of your house and it can be stressful if there are big changes such as changing a whole living room around. If you know anything about me, you know blind dogs are my thing and part of that lifestyle was pretty much giving up on ever redecorating….or owning a coffee table! Lol But those are sacrifices I happily make for my dog’s wellness and luckily, the pool noodles over sharp corners works out for the little human we have running around anyway 😂

If your dog frequents the car and is too large to lift, a ramp for entering and exiting the vehicle is very important. It is a very hard impact on their joints to jump in or out of a car and any small slip up can result in a huge injury, and a negative aversion to getting in or out. Ramps are simple to make, are available at pet stores and often easily fold up for storage.

Lastly, many senior dogs need extra hind end support for stairs, vehicles, couches, beds, etc. A well fitted body harness with a back handle can go a long way in just giving your dog a hand getting up and around as they need it. This specific style can be very helpful in lifting and supporting them. An under belly sling works great for the car also.

Chronic Pain Management

Dogs can be in chronic pain for numerous different reasons including joint degeneration due to injury or age, cancers and other medical conditions, past surgeries such as a cruciate repair which can cause stiffness and soreness. Signs of pain in our dogs can be subtle. Any, even slight, change in your dog's typical behaviour is always worth an examination with your trusted Veterinarian. Signs of pain can include

  • Change in behaviour such as being "snappy" or "grumpy" or being antisocial

  • Having accidents in the house

  • Panting when in a resting state

  • Pacing

  • Whining

  • Reluctance to being handled or pet

  • Changes in sleep patterns/not settling at night

  • Holding their posture low, tucking their tail

  • Shaking or Trembling

  • Changes in typical eating or drinking habits

  • Excessive grooming such as respectively liking a specific area

You know your dog best and pain symptoms can range for every dog. If at any time you feel your dog might be in pain, a trip to your veterinarian is in order. Once established what is causing the pain response, we are start to look at healthy management tools to integrate into their daily routine. There is a time and a place for both holistic medicine and traditional medicine and it's important to realize there are pros and cons to both sides. The point at the end of the day is that we need to find and understand what works best for our dogs. Our late dog, Mayson (2013-2022) had his hip and spinal pain managed through a balanced diet enhanced with optimal joint support and has been doing really great and through the help of our Veterinarian, we decided to add a monthly injection of Cartrophen to his regimen and the results have been amazing. Natural Ways to Help Control your Dog's Chronic Pain and What to Avoid

Weight management and regular, low impact exercise

  • The absolute best thing you can do for your dog in regards to keeping their pain down is keeping them at an optimal, lean weight. ANY extra weight puts stress on your dogs joints and internal organs. Your dog should have a defined waist and you should be able to easy feel the ribs upon light palpation.

  • Often times when people have a painful dog that they should avoid exercise, but that isn't the case. Taking away your dogs regular exercise can lead to muscle degeneration which will lead to joint pain. Instead, we need to find optimal ways to exercise our dogs! Walks on soft surfaces like grassy fields and parks and low-impact exercise like Hydrotherapy can be a great option for dogs, especially seniors.

✅Optimal levels of Omega 3

  • Many diets (especially kibble) are lacking in Omega 3 fatty acids. Diets that are high in Omega 6 can contribute to inflammation and Omega 3's combat that and bring inflammation down within the body. Ensuring your dog is getting optimal levels of this by including whole fish (sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon), high quality fish oil or Green lipped mussel powder. (more information below)

✅Arnica Montana

  • Arnica is a natural herb used very commonly in human medicine. The active ingredients are called sesquiterpene lactones and the main one is called Helenalin. These substances help open up capillaries, increase lymph drainage and also influence many inflammatory pathways in the body, which reduces swelling. Helenalin also inhibits blood clotting and can improve blood flow which in turn reduces bruising, congestion and inflammation.

  • Pure arnica is not safe for your dog. The only safe way to administer arnica to your dog is in its diluted form, which is in the form of homeopathic pellets.

  • The proper dosage and potency of arnica for your dog are based upon the symptoms they’re experiencing. Often, minor injuries require lower doses of 30C but Osteoarthritis pain may need a slightly higher potency. Dr. Judy Morgan (DVM) suggests 1-2 30c pellets given every 4 hours for 48 hours, then dropping to every 8 hours. Place pellets in the dog's cheek or dissolve in small amount of water and administer that way.

  • The Adored Beast "Jump for Joynts" contains Arnica and can be used for pain management.

✅CBD Oil

  • CBD Oil is derived from a special strain of cannabis known as hemp which is high in a cannabinoid compound called Cannabidiol. CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory that doesn't carry the same risk of side effects as drugs. It works by binding to CB1 receptors in the brain. These receptors stimulate the immune system to reduce inflammation within your dog's body

  • This study found that there was "...a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity with CBD oil for dogs with osteoarthritis."

  • More in depth article and review of CBD with brand link and discount here

Physical Therapies

  • Dog massage, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture and Red Light Therapy (click here to read my post on this) are all great natural ways to help manage your dog's regular pain.

  • Massage can relax your dog, increase circulation and lymph drainage and soothe stiff and sore muscles. For dogs who are afflicted with arthritis, however, massage plays a particularly therapeutic role, by increasing circulation and breaking up adhesions that form in connective tissue. Combined with stretching the limbs, massage helps to loosen up tight and strained muscles, increasing flexibility and mobility. All of this helps decrease inflammation and pain, leaving an arthritic dog feeling much better. (More below)

Veterinary Options As mentioned, you should be having open conversations with your trusted vet about your dog's pain management routine. Some dog's need more help when it comes to managing serious long-term pain and that is when we can turn to modern medicine to give us a boost. There are different options you can discuss with your vet, but always ask and learn about any side effects from the option you settle on.

⚠️Metacam / Meloxicam (use with caution)

  • Many dogs are on this medication to manage pain because it works, and that's great, however, there can be serious side effects to regularly dosing your dog with Metacam

  • First, what is Metacam? "METACAM is a prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used to control pain and inflammation (soreness) due to osteoarthritis in dogs."

  • NSAIDs help stop the the production or function of prostaglandins (enzymes) that are involved in inflammation

  • While NSAID medications can be very effective for pain, they do come with a long list of side effects including Kidney failure. Dogs on Metacam require routine blood work to monitor kidney levels while on it. You can make the personal decision to use this for your dog, but please do your research and ask questions.

  • Metacam is not approved or safe for puppies under 6m of age

This is direct from the Metacam product information insert: "As with any NSAID all dogs should undergo a thorough history and physical examination before the initiation of NSAID therapy. Appropriate laboratory testing to establish hematological and serum biochemical baseline data is recommended prior to and periodically during administration. Owner should be advised to observe their dog for signs of potential drug toxicity and be given a client information sheet about METACAM. Precautions: The safe use of METACAM Oral Suspension in dogs younger than 6 months of age, dogs used for breeding, or in pregnant or lactating dogs has not been evaluated. Meloxicam is not recommended for use in dogs with bleeding disorders, as safety has not been established in dogs with these disorders. As a class, cyclo-oxygenase inhibitory NSAIDs may be associated with gastrointestinal, renal and hepatic toxicity. Sensitivity to drug-associated adverse events varies with the individual patient. Dogs that have experienced adverse reactions from one NSAID may experience adverse reactions from another NSAID. Patients at greatest risk for renal toxicity are those that are dehydrated, on concomitant diuretic therapy, or those with existing renal, cardiovascular, and/or hepatic dysfunction. Concurrent administration of potentially nephrotoxic drugs should be carefully approached. NSAIDs may inhibit the prostaglandins that maintain normal homeostatic function. Such anti-prostaglandin effects may result in clinically significant disease in patients with underlying or pre-existing disease that has not been previously diagnosed. Since NSAIDs possess the potential to induce gastrointestinal ulcerations and/or perforations, concomitant use with other anti-inflammatory drugs, such as NSAIDs or corticosteroids, should be avoided. If additional pain medication is needed after administration of the total daily dose of METACAM Oral Suspension, a non-NSAID or non-corticosteroid class of analgesia should be considered. The use of another NSAID is not recommended. Consider appropriate washout times when switching from corticosteroid use or from one NSAID to another in dogs. The use of concomitantly protein-bound drugs with METACAM Oral Suspension has not been studied in dogs. Commonly used protein-bound drugs include cardiac, anticonvulsant and behavioral medications. The influence of concomitant drugs that may inhibit metabolism of METACAM Oral Suspension has not been evaluated. Drug compatibility should be monitored in patients requiring adjunctive therapy." Due to this statement, I do not recommend long term Metacam use unless absolutely needed for the dog's quality of life and all other healthy options have been explored. ⚠️Opioids

  • Used for more severe pain, this class of pain-relief medication includes morphine, codeine, fentanyl, buprenorphine, and hydromorphone. Opioids are used to treat severe surgical pain and may also be used in advanced cases of cancer or to control severe arthritis pain. Opioids have a place in selected cases to maintain a good quality of life for a dog experiencing extreme chronic pain. These are a last resort and extreme case basis.


  • Cartrophen is a MUCH better option for a chronically sore dog. Cartrophen is a Pentosan Polysulphate Osteoarthritis drug from plant origin that has very minimal side effects and is NOT and NSAID.

  • It is given as 4 subcutaneous injections, once a week for 4 weeks and then it is given as needed monthly, or every 2 months. It works by inhibiting the enzymes that break down cartilage and stimulates the natural inhibitors of these destructive enzymes. It increases blood circulation and stimulates the production of lubricant and cartilage building molecules.

  • It has been concluded in studies (read one here) that Cartrophen injections come with very minimal, mild side effects. Most common being vomiting 15 minutes after injection. There is no evidence, unlike Metacam, that this treatment does any damage to internal organs when given long term.

Senior Dog Fitness and Exercise

The more active we are, the stronger we are. The more we exercise and get fit, the more we are able to keep ourselves healthy and dogs are no different. There are a lot of benefits that we can get with exercise and fitness. Aside from having an active and lively lifestyle, it also lengthens our lives! And nothing beats a kind of life without pain, right? With frequent exercise, our dogs can have a better way of living.

They won’t have to deal with some mobility issues or anything that hinders them from enjoying their life and as pet parents, we have to realize that our dog’s life doesn’t just depend on their genes or what they intake because their life also depends on us and what we can do for them.

In general, most people sit back and allow their dogs to age instead of realizing that activity is really important to keep them mobile, injury-free, and pain-free. Keeping them active and fit, and their joints moving will make it so much better for them and it is essential to living longer.

What to watch for when exercising your Senior Dog


  • Signs of fatigue come in many different ways, it can be as simple as refusing to do the exercise

  • Another sign of fatigue is when they could do it in the proper position before and suddenly they can't

  • Pay attention if the exercise overloads the muscles too much as it actually lends more towards injury, you want to make sure that you're not asking too much of the dog.

Senior Dogs and their muscles

Dogs have 60% of their body weight forward and 40% in the rear all the time but as they age, oftentimes they become more dependent on their front and less dependent on their rear, which causes that muscle loss. But that muscle loss can be prevented if you keep your dog active.

Why is exercise and fitness important for longevity of our Senior Dogs?

  • They need activity in their life

  • They need to be challenged

  • They need to move to embrace life rather than watching it go by

  • Improving their posture improves the way their body feels

  • Immobility is not good for the joints, it's not good for the body, it's not putting more air into their lungs and not feeding the body the way it needs to.

Great, low impact exercises for Senior dogs include:

  • Shorter, more frequent walks over long duration single ones (focus on walking them on softer surfaces like grass)

  • "Sniffari" decompressing walks where the dog and their nose leads the way. You cover less distance but your dog will be exhausted from smelling ALL the good smells!

  • Swimming, hydrotherapy is an amazing exercise outlet for your senior dog! Mayson LOVED swimming more than anything. It brought him joy and was a way to exercise in a weightless, pain free way while building up and maintaining his muscle mass.

  • Scent Work is a super fun option for the both of you and is a great way to mentally and physically tire out your dog without heavy exercise. Here are some ideas to get you started for fun, and if you love it don't forget there are training classes and clubs for this activity!

  • Training! You absolutely can (and should!) keep teaching your old dog new tricks! Trick training, or training in general, boosts your dog's confidence, strengthens your bond together and keeps their aging brain as sharp as possible. Learning a new skill takes a lot of brain power!

  • "Ditching the bowl" is a concept that carries over to exercise. Consider feeding your dog without using a food bowl and give them their food in an enriching way such as a quick training session, hide it around the house, yard or obstacle course for them to forage and find and use interactive puzzle toys. We love Snuffle Mats for treats and kibble enrichment and the Westpaw Toppls for stuffing with raw food!


  • If you want to do some exercises with your dogs, pick one or two exercises, but pay attention to posture (see below)

  • Don't try to do “too much too fast” because imagine that you haven't been to a gym in a year and you run off because you're excited about doing the workout and the next day, you can barely walk. This is what will happen to your dog.

  • Organized fitness can just be a few days a week because you also want to make sure that they have time for mental and physical recovery

  • The key to a strong Senior dog is to start fitness while they are still young and keep it going!

Posture Evaluation:

  • If you are looking at your dog from the side, basically, the front feet should be straight down from the shoulders and their rear feet should be straight down from the base of the tail.

  • The back should be reasonably flat. So, some breeds have a little bit of a slope, and that's okay, but most dogs can get a pretty flat back.

  • If they're all roached up, oftentimes, they're just not standing right. So teaching them how to stand is very

  • beneficial

  • In a sit, the knees should be level because we want that “sit” to be square. So, we want the rear feet to come in, right behind the front feet and the back flat

  • If the dog has shorter legs, and a longer back, their back is going to be rounded. And that's perfectly normal. So, we don't look at the back position as much initially, just because it's all structure-related.

  • To check our dog’s posture we have to ask ourselves, “Do they go down in a straight line? Is their spine straight when they go down? Or are their knees level? Oftentimes, when dogs have something wonky going on, they kind of go down at a curve and that's usually a red flag as there must be something going on. But usually, there are other signs, like they're not sitting square, or they're sitting off to one hip, or it all kind of goes together.

For aging dogs, we can also implement "Power Training" Exercises for those still in good physical condition.

Like humans, dogs as they age, become weaker and slower. Those activities that they often enjoyed before can no longer be endured by their bodies. Activities like running, jumping, and playing, are just some of the wonderful memories that are forever imprinted in their minds. Like people, these dogs would still love to do and enjoy those things that brought them so much joy!

It’s just that sometimes, the body itself doesn't permit them to do so.

Exercising both for animals and humans is essential as it prevents weakness and keeps us from having a sedentary lifestyle. It lets our seniors still do the things they love and continue to enjoy the perks of having an active way of living. As pet parents, our goal should be centered on strengthening our dogs, especially the seniors. We should focus on how they can preserve their muscle’s power and help them live longer and happier.

Power Training:

Why is Power training important for Seniors?

  • With aging, we tend to lose our type two muscle fibers, and those are the ones that provide strength for speed

  • Type one muscle fibers are your slow-twitch fibers, whereas your type two muscle fibers are more of the faster ones, so a dog can sprint or do something quickly

  • The ones that allow us (humans and animals) to do something quickly, tend to diminish with age

  • With power training, it can help preserve the strength of the type two muscle fiber.

The importance of Power in Seniors:

  • Losing the power of type two muscle fibers would impact the ability of the senior to climb up the stairs, for example.

  • Once it’s totally diminished, seniors will have a hard time getting onto the couch, in and out of the car, on your bed, etc.

Power Training Considerations:

Conditioning phase - we start slow!

  • Need to focus on strengthening familiarization with an exercise

  • Might take two to eight weeks depending on how conditioned the dog is, what the dog knows and how physically fit they are

  • May do some basic strengthening exercises

  • Needs to recognize that before doing some power exercises, the body has to be warmed up first (a 10-15 minute walk works great)

Kinds of Power Exercises:

  • Step-ups (stepping on and off a platform)

  • Playing tug of war

  • Sit to stand up a hill

  • Hillwalking/stair walking

  • Destination jumping (jumping onto something)

  • Crawling under things (This is a total body workout which engages the core while lengthening through the spine and engaging the shoulders and hips.)


  • better cardiovascular capacity

  • improvements in endurance

  • improvements in health

  • blood pressure, blood glucose and muscle strength will improve


  • If your dog has lumbar disc disease, so there's compression of the nerves at the base of the spine or other neurologic conditions. These dogs may just sit and owners can’t get him going because the dog is basically tired and nerves are getting pinched, so you can't push those dogs.

  • If your dog has known cardiac problems, do not push them as hard either

  • If your dog has breathing problems like laryngeal paralysis, you should not push them to do these high intensity activities

  • Rule of thumb is always talk to your vet, before starting an exercise program with your dog that has a known condition

How much is too much?

  • Rule of thumb is always the dog should not be significantly worse after exercise, or that night or the next day. If they're exercising, pain must be tolerable. Let's say they run up the hill and they seem to be really slow. We have to ask ourselves, is it tolerable for them and does it diminish in a set period of time? If we see them having a hard time, we have to ensure that they’re doing pretty good before making them try that hill again

  • If they're sore and a little bit stiff that night, that's okay. After 24 hours, if they're not feeling fine, reduce the intensity of exercise you do the next time

  • Take note of joints because we might have some dogs that have arthritic joints; We don't want to find that there is swelling or joint pain after an exercise

Importance of Weight Management

One of the BEST things you can do for your dog, of any age, but especially in the senior years is to maintain a healthy weight. We live in a society that loves a fat dog! Many people relate an overweight dog to "a well loved" dog but in reality, extra weight can cause some serious issues for our senior dogs and even shortens their life span.

Researchers put 48 Labrador Retrievers into pairs, feeding one dog 25% less food than the other, and this was done for the entire lifespan of the dogs. The results were ground breaking!

The study concluded that the dogs fed 25% LESS food lived longer than those fed a "normal" amount!

They also concluded

  • Median life span of dogs in the lean-fed group was extended by 1.8 years (15percent) beyond the control group.

  • The age when fifty percent of the lean-fed dogs required treatment for a chronic disease was 12.0 years of age vs. 9.9 years for the control group.

  • The lean-fed group had lower serum triglycerides and trilodothyronine, and lower insulin and glucose responses.

  • The lean-fed group had a two-year delay in the late-life loss of lean body mass compared to the control group. (the average onset of decline was 11 years vs. 9 years.)

  • As observed, the control dogs exhibited more visible signs of aging (graying around muzzles, impaired gait and reduced activity) than the lean-fed dogs.

Now, I am not saying immediately take away 25% on your dogs food! I am however, encouraging you really look at your dog's body weight and see if there is any room for improvement. The average dog fed as per guidelines is likely getting more food than they actually need (larger portions leads to buying the food more frequently).

Another study from 2019 showed that overweight dogs had a significantly shorter lifespan regardless of breed. Overweight dogs lived up to 2.5 years less than lean dogs!

According to Small Animal Clinical Nutrition

The only nutritional modification known to slow aging and increase the lifespan consistently in multiple species is caloric restriction. Reducing caloric intake by 20 to 30% of normal, while meeting essential nutrient needs, slows the aging process and reduces the risk for cancer, renal disease, arthritis and immune-mediated diseases in several animal models (Sheffy and Williams, 1981; Kealy et al, 2002)

We know what obesity does in humans and it is no different in our dogs. Heart disease, diabetes and other major issues can quickly become reality for an overweight dog and here's the thing: it's completely in our control.

Damage to joints, bones, and ligaments

Being overweight is extremely hard on your dog's already aging joints and it contributes to fatigue and predisposes a dog to muscle and ligament injuries. Our seniors are already at a higher injury risk and excess weight only makes that risk greater.

If the joints and bones are required to carry excess weight, they usually start to become damaged. Arthritis can develop and the joint changes and pain associated with hip dysplasia can become markedly more severe as well. Extra tension on joints caused by an increased weight load can also lead to the damage of certain ligaments. One of the ligaments in the knee, known as the anterior cruciate ligament, is very prone to strains and tears. If this ligament is torn, the knee becomes very unstable and the dog will be reluctant to use it. Usually Surgery is required to repair this torn ligament and sometimes surgery is extremely hard, or not an option when a dog is a senior.

Other risks of being overweight include

  • Diabetes mellitus

  • Heart disease and increased blood pressure

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Decreased stamina

  • Decreased liver function

  • Increased surgical and anesthetic risk

  • Digestive disorders

  • Decreased immune function

  • Increased risk of cancer

  • Decreased quality and length of life

Signs Your Dog Is Overweight/Obese

  • Ribs are not visible. When feeling for the ribs, you’ll notice thicker padding above them.

  • Waist is barely visible or even bulges out, when viewed from above

  • Belly may look round and fall to either the same level as the chest or even further to the ground than the chest, when viewed from the side

  • Fat deposits and skin folds develop near the base of the tail, back, and neck

Signs Your Dog Is an Ideal Weight

  • Ribs can be felt, but not easily seen

  • Waist slightly cinches, when viewed from above

  • Abs tuck up, when viewed from the side

And if you find your dog is on the less ideal range of this scale, don't focus on feeling guilt. Instead, let's look forward to all the benefits and how good your dog will feel when we DO get them to an ideal weight!

Importance of Dental Care

Our health is important and like us, humans, our pets also have the right to enjoy their lives. There are lots of ways to do it. Some would say, the key is through proper diet, exercise, or regular check-ups and indeed, all of those were right, because if we wish to stay away from illnesses or any kinds of diseases, doing preventive measures is the answer.

Dental health is something that owners must be proactive with, especially with senior dogs. It needs to be monitored as sometimes and often dental disease can lead to a much more serious matter including painful abcessess, serious infection and even kidney failure. Prevention is key and if we don't ever let the teeth get bad to start with, we will give our dog's a much better chance at better health.

  • It is important to take care of our dog’s mouth and teeth as dental disease is very painful and seriously effects their quality of life

  • Bacteria in the mouth can contribute to organ damage and infections

  • Bacteria in the plaque can enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart, liver, and kidneys

  • There are a lot of factors that contribute to it such as carbohydrate-loaded food, food texture, treats and brushing or lack thereof

Bacteria in the mouth

  • Every time they chew they're pushing that bacteria, not only down into the gastrointestinal tract, but they're also pushing it through the body

  • Those factors that can be just potentially quite deadly like bacteria in the mouth drops directly into the lymphatics then, drops directly in the heart; So you're dropping all that trash into the top of the heart. And then the heart pushes that everywhere, so this is where dogs can get things like valvular disease

  • It can then be pushed elsewhere like the kidneys and the liver

  • The bacteria that are in the mouth cavity of the dogs can easily live somewhere else in their body

Periodontal Disease

  • A serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and, without treatment, can destroy the bone that supports their teeth

  • Can cause teeth to loosen and lead to pain and tooth loss

Signs of Dental Disease:

  • Halitosis (bad breath)

  • Plaque

  • Irritation (red/swollen/bleeding gums)

  • Favoring a side when chewing/eating

  • If there's an actual abscess it can migrate into the end of the sinuses and cause issues in the nasal cavity, eyes etc

  • Having trouble picking food up

  • Being reluctant to chew certain textures of things, pick up toys, tug, etc

  • Pawing/rubbing at the face/mouth (sign of pain)

What you can do at home

  • Avoid high carb, starchy diets that stick to the teeth (low quality kibble)

  • Brush your dog's teeth (I make a homemade tooth powder and recipe will be included!)

  • Invest in a proper, Veterinary dental cleaning at some point in their mid-years if possible

Home made Dog Tooth Powder A dog-safe and all natural tooth powder for removing plaque build up and combating bacteria to prevent dental and gum disease.

Mix the following (can be found at natural/herbal stores, amazon and

  • 2 tbsp organic alum-free baking soda

  • 2 tbsp food grade bentonite clay

  • 1 tsp kelp powder

  • 1 tsp bone meal

  • 1 tsp dried spearmint leaves

  • 1 capsule activated charcoal

Requires healthy fat (coconut oil/MCT or olive oil is preferred) or water to mix into paste. Brush onto teeth and gums. Lick safe.

On that same note, I'd like to touch on why I do not recommend Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings.

We are seeing an increase in “Anesthesia-Free Dentistry”, or more accurately “Non-Professional Dental Scaling” (NPDS), at pet stores, grooming facilities, and more. This seems appealing because it's cheaper and your dog is not put under or sedated.

Unfortunately this is a " too good to be true" situation and likely not worth the money because

  • Dental tartar is firmly adhered to the surface of the teeth. Scaling to remove tartar is accomplished using ultrasonic and sonic power scalers, plus hand instruments that must have a sharp working edge to be used effectively. Even slight head movement by the patient could result in injury to the oral tissues of the patient, and the operator may be bitten when the patient reacts.

  • Professional dental scaling includes scaling the surfaces of the teeth both above and below the gingival margin (gum line), followed by dental polishing. The most critical part of a dental scaling procedure is scaling the tooth surfaces that are within the gingival pocket (the subgingival space between the gum and the root), where periodontal disease is active. Because the patient cooperates, dental scaling of human teeth performed by a professional trained in the procedures can be completed successfully without anesthesia. However, access to the subgingival area of every tooth is impossible in an un-anesthetized dog. Removal of dental tartar on the visible surfaces of the teeth has little effect on a pet’s health, and provides a false sense of accomplishment. The effect is purely cosmetic.

  • A complete oral examination, which is an important part of a professional dental scaling procedure, is not possible in an un-anesthetized canine patient. The surfaces of the teeth facing the tongue cannot be examined, and areas of disease and discomfort are likely to be missed.

  • Lastly, the issue of getting the actual procedure done in itself. I have never known of a company to allow owners to witness their dog have their teeth "cleaned" and why is this? Because it's not a relaxing spa day for your dog as they advertise. Realistically, the physical restraint that would be needed for this procedure would be extremely stressful, if not traumatizing for your dog. ESPECIALLY for a senior dog. Avoid at all costs!

Nutrition Considerations and Supplements for the Senior Dog

Limiting Carbohydrates

Protein, carbohydrates, and fat, the three macronutrients in a dog’s diet, all provide energy to the body. However, there is no requirement for carbohydrates for dogs (not to say they aren't beneficial in smaller appropriate amounts). Yet, most commercial kibble is relatively high in carbohydrates.

A dog's digestive system is not generally designed for carbohydrate digestion, even with the evolving it has done over time. Dogs cannot produce the enzyme amylase in their saliva that helps break down starch. They do produce a small amount from the pancreas which means they are capable of digesting some sources like grasses, seeds and plant matter but due to the lack of amylase, digesting processed food that is full of carbohydrates puts huge pressure on the digestive system that can lead to many health issues like obesity, diabetes and cancer.

Getting energy from glucose for dogs is a highly inefficient process that involves a series of complex chemical reactions. Dogs create all the natural glucose they need through a process that turns non-carbohydrate substrates (amino acids) into glucose called Gluconeogenesis.

The Glycemic Index is Important

The glycemic index of a carbohydrate tells you how quickly it passes through the digestive tract and into the bloodstream. Increased blood sugar and insulin levels are more likely to occur with foods with a higher glycemic index (GI).

Low GI means a high-quality carbohydrate will break down gradually over time and won't lead to hypoglycemia or insulin spikes. High glycemic carbohydrates should be avoided in dogs, such as corn, wheat, white rice, potatoes and peas.

Over time, with insulin spikes and a series of chemical reactions that force dogs’ cells to essentially create space for excess fat, dogs are at an increased risk to develop diabetes, obesity, and even cancer.

The Carbs in Processed Food

To increase shelf life, processed food has sugar in the form of starch, fat, and salt. Processed foods may additionally contain palatants, thickeners, artificial colors, and other additives in addition to starches in order to extend shelf life. Not only are the carbs the least expensive ingredient to use, but they are also used to bind together all ingredients found in dog food.

Dogs who regularly eat lower quality kibbles are essentially consuming fast food, all the time, every day. Imagine what that could do to our body, then imagine how your dog is feeling as they eat one 'fast food meal' after another. Yes, they are surviving, but their health can be greatly impacted.

Carbs and Cancer

In the exact same sense as humans, sugar feeds Cancer and carbs are just that, sugar.

As more sugar is taken in daily, cell-resistance to insulin develops meaning more and more is released into the blood stream. Insulin is a stimulate of cell growth and gives fuel to a cell. However, cancer cells have up to 20times the insulin receptors as healthy cells, meaning they binge on glucose and multiply.

Canine Cancer is a huge rising problem. I find the biggest regret of owner's of dogs that have passed on from Cancer is that they didn't educate themselves on nutrition when that could have been a major tool in their dog's recovery and wellbeing.

There, currently, is no scientific study or evidence in favour of feeding a high carb diet over a long term period being safe for our dogs, but we do know that scientifically sugar feeds cancer and should be restricted - especially for senior dogs.

The Gut Microbiome

It is usual for bacteria to colonize the gastrointestinal tract shortly after birth and remain there throughout life. Recently, the importance of gut microbiomes has become widely recognized, earning it the nickname "the forgotten organ."

A symbiotic relationship exists between microbiota and its host, which is your dog in this case. There is a rich environment in which the bacteria thrive. The host relies on them to maintain metabolic homeostasis and develop normal immune, endocrine, and nervous systems. A healthy gut flora prevents pathogens from invading the body.

Dogs' gut microbiomes are complex communities of bacteria, viruses, and fungi constantly evolving. Despite the initial colonization of bacteria occurring at birth, your dog's microbiota is highly adaptable over its lifetime due to genetics, environment, and age. Dietary changes significantly impact the composition of the gut microbiome, affecting how the gut microbiome processes protein, carbohydrates, and fat, ultimately affecting the body’s overall health and biological functions.


Dysbiosis is a condition caused by an imbalance in gut flora. The immune system function is directly affected by gut flora imbalances. Dysbiosis is frequently caused by the use of antibiotics, which significantly decrease gut flora diversity and richness.

Dysbiosis in dogs has been linked to obesity, metabolic diseases, cancer, GI tract disorders, and neurological diseases.

The Gut Microbiome and the Gastrointestinal Tract

In addition to fermentation of fiber, bacteria in the gut produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), lactic acid, biotin, vitamin K and amino acid metabolites. SCFAs decrease intestinal pH and slow pathogenic (disease-causing) bacterial growth. Thiamine and vitamin B12 are also produced by the bacteria.

Bacteria within the gut lining assist with transporting the nutrients across the intestinal wall, allowing them to enter the bloodstream.

The condition of dysbiosis is typically accompanied by chronic or acute intestinal inflammation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, and leaky gut.

The Gut Microbiome and the Immune System

The gut microbiome plays a significant role in supporting the immune system; it makes up 70-90% of the body's immune system. Gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) is found in the mucosa of the GI tract and is a source of lymphocytes, T-cells, and B cells that are part of the immune system. As antibodies are secreted into the lumen of the intestine and then into the bloodstream, the GALT regulates their local production.

Bacteria can act as pro- and anti-inflammatory agents in a healthy and balanced microbiome, preventing excessive inflammation while responding rapidly to infections.

Immune system functions are responsible for allergies. Many "food allergies" are actually food intolerances caused by dysbiosis. In the case of undigested macronutrients, especially proteins, the immune system will interpret the food particles as allergens, triggering inflammatory reactions in the skin, sinuses, and gastrointestinal tract.

The Gut Microbiome and the Brain

A brain-gut microbiome axis has been discovered by studying how tryptophan and threonine are metabolized by microbes and how they interact with other neurotransmitters.

The brain-gut axis concept describes how gut bacteria communicate with the brain. The gut produces a variety of essential chemicals and hormones, including:

  • Serotonin- also known as the "happy chemical," helps to promote emotional well-being. There is wide recognition of the effects of serotonin on the brain. Many antidepressants and antianxiety medications aim to maintain brain serotonin levels. About 90% of the serotonin produced by the body is derived from the intestines, either by bacteria directly producing the chemical or by the body consuming its precursor, tryptophan.

  • Dopamine- responsible for motor functions, decision-making, and hormone regulation, is a neurotransmitter and precursor to other substances, including epinephrine. In the body, at least 50% of dopamine is produced by the GI tract.

  • GABA- A neurotransmitter or chemical called Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) regulates stress and anxiety. Your dog's sleep patterns are also affected by GABA. GABA is regulated by intestinal bacteria.

  • Norepinephrine- a neurotransmitter responsible for increasing heart rate and blood pumping and increasing blood pressure when required. In addition, it helps the body produce more energy by breaking down fat and improving blood sugar levels.

  • Acetylcholine plays a crucial role in cell-to-cell communication.

Understanding how the gut flora contributes to the production and regulation of serotonin, dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine helps understand how gut microbiomes impact your dog’s behavior.

Achieving a happy gut leads to a happy, healthy dog and helps your dog stay well into their senior and geriatric years.

Pre and Probiotics

So as you now know, gut health is crucial is keeping our dog's system running smoothly and relates to every system in their body! It's super important that we are not only feeding the gut bacteria with probiotics, but also PRE biotics that feed the probiotics!

Not all probiotics are created equal and there is some things we want to watch out for

  • We want species specific probiotics for dogs. They require different bacteria strains than us, for example. Feeding a human probiotic will not have great absorbable benefits for your dog.

  • We want to avoid products that contain vague ingredients like "animal digest" because we don't know what these sources are.

Veterinarians will prescribe "probiotics" in the form of FortiFlora in little black and purple packets and here's why you should AVOID this product...

  • It’s a concentrated flavoring agent made up of hydrolyzed animal protein. But it’s not actually the contents of the digestive tract. It’s a reference to the way the manufacturer processes the animal protein.

  • It means the manufacturer hydrolyzed the protein with heat, enzymes and acids to break it down into amino acids. But this changes the chemical structure of a protein. And that can void or reduce its nutritional value.

  • And the wording is intentionally vague. We are not told what type of animal is in this component of the supplement.

  • Purina claims that the digest uses animal protein supplied by a USDA-inspected facility. But they don’t state that the animal protein itself is USDA-inspected and that’s a problem. Why? Because this includes USDA-inspected facilities that process euthanized animals. Some facilities also use 4-D livestock (livestock that’s dead, dying, diseased and downed).

  • The second ingredient in FortiFlora for dogs is Enterococcus Faecium. It’s the only bacteria strain in the entire ingredient panel. Having only one bacteria strain is a problem. The digestive tract is home to hundreds of different types of bacteria and each one thrives in different sections of the digestive system. A supplement with only one bacteria strain will likely not serve the whole GI tract

  • The remainder of the ingredients are synthetic.

Is it better than nothing? In some cases. The Vet's are on the right track, but we can do much, much better.

The Adored Beast is a Canadian company that makes the highest quality, species specific pre and probiotics. Their "Fido's Flora" is product that is the first of it's kind on the market and the results have been amazing! Love Bugs, Healthy Gut and Gut Soothe are all great products to choose from.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

While animals can produce some types of fatty acids out of other nutrients, certain types of fatty acids must be directly supplied via the food eaten. These fatty acids are referred to as essential fatty acids (EFAs).

Linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, is essential for all animals to stay in good health. Other fatty acids considered essential for dogs are the ALA and/or EPA and DHA. All of them are omega-3 fatty acids.

When it comes to health benefits in dogs, research has shown that EPA and DHA are most powerful. While the metabolism of dogs is able to convert limited amounts of the less powerful ALA to EPA and DHA, this process is not very efficient. Therefore, it is recommended to enrich the diet of your dog with omega-3 fatty acids high in bioavailable EPA and DHA.

Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Helping Arthritis Pain by Reducing Inflammation

Extensive research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids rich in EPA and DHA can form a crucial element in the treatment of arthritis. The dog owners involved in some of the studies confirmed that supplementing the diet of their pets with omega-3 fats resulted in significantly reduced discomfort, lameness and joint severity.

Improving the Ability to Fight Cancer

Omega-3 fatty acids have shown that they are able to slow or even inhibit the development and metastasis of certain cancers. This effect has also been confirmed in a study involving 32 dogs with lymphoma. The supplementation of their diet with omega-3 fatty acids high in EPA and DHA, significantly increased their disease-free intervals and survival times.

Benefitting the Immune System of Dogs

Research has shown that the supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids (rich in EPA and DHA) to a canine’s diet positively effects their immune system. Effects described a range from alleviating the harmful effects of allergies caused by an over-reactive immune systems response, to substantially higher antibody titers after vaccinations.

Boosting the Heart Health of Dogs

Several studies involving dogs of different sexes, age, breed, size and weight, have shown considerable positive effects of omega-3 on canines suffering from different heart conditions. The positive effects include improved heart function and appetite, lower blood pressure, inflammation and reduced muscle loss. As a result, those dogs reported longer survival times in comparison to those dogs that did not receive omega-3 fatty acids.

Improving the Health of Dogs Suffering From Chronic Kidney Disease

Omega-3 fatty acids rich in EPA and DHA have significant positive effects on the health of dogs suffering from chronic kidney disease. The same study has also shown that feeding omega-6 rich vegetable oils significantly worsens the condition of the dogs.

Contributing to the Skin and Coat Health of Dogs

The positive effect of omega-3 fatty acids on dogs suffering from the harmful effects of allergies, fur loss and itching have also been extensively researched during the last several decades. These studies have shown that adding omega-3 fatty acids to a dog’s diet has an alleviating effect on their over-reactive immune systems. This leads to reduced itchiness and substantial improvements of their skin health and coat quality.

If you cannot offer whole fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon, herring) , it is best and ideal to rotate through different Omega 3 fish oils to get broad spectrum benefits.

*Hemp oil is not the same as fish oil as it is not EPA/DHA which is the form of omega 3 dogs require. However, there are studies to show that dogs may effectively convert ALA (hemp's form) into EPA/DHA they can utilize. Not all research on this agrees which is why I only recommend it in a rotation with fish oil unless needed for allergy concerns.

Along with fish oil, you can also use Green Lipped Mussel Powder (GLMP) and it has an added benefit!

Green lipped mussel powder is a great choice for Senior dogs. Not only does it contain our healthy Omega 3's but also provides fabulous joint support!

Green Lipped Mussel Powder is awesome for a few reasons:

  • While fish oil contains two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids – Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) – the green-lipped mussel also contains a third called Eicosatetraenoic Acid (ETA). While all omega-3 fatty acids have the ability to reduce inflammation by blocking the enzymes (lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase) that contribute to it, ETA is a rare form that goes one step further: it actually works at the gene level to lower the production of cyclooxygenase. This means less inflammation, less pain, and more mobility for your our dogs.

  • ETA found in the green-lipped mussel is hundreds of times more potent than the EPA found in fish oil, you can give your dog a comparatively lower dosage.

  • Studies have shown that extract of the green-lipped mussels are an extremely powerful natural anti-inflammatory even when compared to pharmaceutical drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and Metacam without any of the potential side-effects.

  • In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, the green-lipped mussel is considered a superfood because it contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fats, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, and many more nutrients.

Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM and Hyaluronic Acid

Joint care is of the up most importance in senior dog care. Of course, we want our dogs to move as comfortably and pain free for a long as possible and one of the best ways to keep their joints in great shape is supplementing with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and Hyaluronic Acid.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate are commonly recommended natural health products for treating osteoarthritis in aging dogs. Glucosamine regulates the synthesis of collagen in cartilage and may provide mild anti-inflammatory effects while chondroitin sulfate inhibits destructive enzymes in joint fluid and cartilage. The two also contribute to the synthesis of glycoaminoglycans and proteoglycans, which are building blocks for the formation of cartilage.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)

MSM is an organic sulfur containing compound that is well known for its joint health benefits. It has been so effective in helping patients since its introduction that it has almost surpassed glucosamine and chondroitin as an analgesic dietary supplement, as well as for allergy relief and as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid has the ability to bind with water, creating a stiff viscous, almost jelly-like structure. When the binding occurs within the synovial (joint) fluid, it results in a more viscous joint fluid. Since the key purpose of the joint fluid is to lubricate joints, HA helps with this function. Higher joint fluid viscosity is associated with better lubrication and more potent shock-absorbing capacity.

Sound overwhelming to add all of those to your senior dog's diet?

I've tested many products over the years but have found a supplement that not only contains all of the above but one that really does produce great results. It is TriActa Joint Support and we use the extra strength!

Integricare designed TRI-ACTA H.A. to be an effective joint treatment option for your pet that is experiencing age-related soreness, osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, significant pain, or immobility. The high quality ingredients found in this supplement improve and support aging joints (it's also a great preventative) and was especially important for Mayson, who suffered from Hip Dysplasia and Scoliosis.

It contains 2 forms of Glucosamine (sulfate & HCL), Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Chondroitin Sulfate and Hyaluronic Acid. Many other joint supplements only have a few of these ingredients and this specific combination is ideal for maximum benefit.

"TRI-ACTA is designed to provide maximum protection against deterioration of cartilage while actively working to repair worn out cartilage, reduce pain and inflammation, and improve the viscosity of synovial fluid.

TRI-ACTA H.A. enhances the synthesis of new cartilage, muscle tissue, and ligaments, treating the cartilage matrix at the cellular level allowing the body to heal itself.

This supplement is designed to help:

  • Accelerate formation of cartilage

  • Eliminate inflammation

  • Expedite the healing process

  • Increase joint fluid viscosity

  • Enhance protective response of joint tissue

  • Improve mobility and reduce pain

We love this product. We have tried every joint supplement combination and this one by far has gotten the best results and kept our dogs the most comfortable as they age.

At Home Massage

Lastly, I want to show you how to give your sweet senior dog a relaxing and soothing full body massage that you can do in the comfort of your own home at the end of a long day. This is also a fabulous opportunity to do a thorough physical exam (which should be done as often as possible) to note any changing pain responses, warm spots or finding new or monitoring other lumps/growths on your senior.

The goal for us is to keep our seniors moving comfortably as long as possible. The quality of that movement is really what matters. The better a dog moves, the more comfortable the dog is for a longer period of time. Providing your dog with massage therapy improves their circulation, can manage pain and play a role in keeping them active.

Signs your dog may be uncomfortable and may benefit from body work

  • Sitting to one side

  • Hunched back

  • Muscle Spasms when touching down their back (owners almost always say "oooh I found an itchy spot!" but most times this is actually a muscle spasm and signs of discomfort)

  • Tenderness over muscles when petting

Although formal, full-body massage is best performed by a trained individual, elements of dog massage can be easily demonstrated and taught for application at home. In fact, by learning how to perform certain massage techniques and interacting with your dog in this intimate and healing way, you can really expand your relationship with him. The kind of physical contact that is such a critical part of massage can help strengthen the bond with your dog.

While there are hundreds of different ways to perform massage, there are a few main techniques that can be used to help your dog improve their health.


Long, flowing strokes that are usually done at the start and end of a massage sessions. This helps to warm up the tissues. All Swedish massages begin and end with Effleurage.


Kneading and twisting the skin and tissue to help remove adhesions, and massage the underlying tissues beneath the skin.


Light vibration, hacking, clapping, tapping and pounding. Stimulates proprioceptors, improves blood flow, relaxes the muscles.

What a Basic at Home Massage Looks like

We start with simple petting from one end of the dog’s body to the other, this generally used to start and end a massage session. This simply involves running the hands with light to medium pressure over the dog from the head to the tail and down each of the limbs. By starting the massage with long, light-touch stroking, we can help relax the dog and set the stage for the rest of the massage. It also gives an opportunity to gauge the condition of the tissues, noting areas with increased tension, and to detect any lumps, swelling, or temperature differences from one area to another. It’s also worthy to note that your dog may be confused with what you’re doing the first few times before they understand. Go slow and take your time.

A typical massage session will move next to effleurage. Effleurage involves a gliding stroke using the whole hand and applying medium pressure. This massage stroke is generally oriented along the lines of the muscles and affects the superficial tissues. Effleurage is used to assist with circulation of both blood and lymph and can be quite effective at resolving edema (swelling caused by fluid accumulation in the body).

The next deeper level of pressure in a massage is applied with petrissage. Petrissage involves a kneading compression stroke of the muscles and the skin over them. It is used to relieve muscle tension, knots in the soft tissues, and muscle spasms. The actual muscles may be lifted and rolled between your fingers.

A variation on petrissage is skin rolling. Skin rolling can release adherence of the skin to the deeper tissues, and it can increase circulation of both lymph and blood in the skin and subcutaneous tissues. Most dogs really enjoy the sensations associated with skin rolling!

Finally, the massage may involve Tapotement techniques. Light-medium pressure chopping, tapping and cupping (in which the hand is cupped and the edge of the hand and the tips of the fingers form a circular surface as the point of contact with the patient’s body). All of these strokes energize tissues, causing increased circulation of lymph and blood.

Watch my "Foundation Strokes" video to see examples of how to massage your dog at home!

Find a certified Canine Myo-Manipulative Functional Therapist (CMFT) like myself in your area through this website.

If you've stuck with me this far, your dog(s) and I sincerely THANK YOU for being the caring and proactive owner you are! I hope you feel a sense of pride along with confidence in taking control of your senior dog's health! Any questions or additional guidance please reach out to me at or come say Hello at Roving K9 Kare in Kamloops BC during the week!

Love and Tail Wags,

🐾 Chayse

Certified Canine Trainer (ABCDT), Nutrition Consultant (CERT.CN) and Massage Therapist (CMFT)



  1. All sources and studies cited in texts

  2. Small Animal Clinical Nutrition chapters 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 30, 37, 47

  3. "The Forever Dog" By Rodney Habib and Dr.Karen Becker

  4. "Optimal Nutrition" by Monica Segal

  5. "Feeding Dogs" By Dr. Conor Brady

  6. "Dog Food Logic" by Linda P. Case

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