Dogs and cats can get seriously ill and even die if they consume chocolate and here is why:
Chocolate contains ingredients that are toxic for our companion animals and those are caffeine, theobromine and xylitol (this is a sweetener often used, however not always).
This is why it really is important to keep your companion animals away from the garden if you’re going to hide Easter eggs there.
My top tip:
Count the number of Easter eggs you will be hiding for your kids, draw a little map of where in your garden you hide them or even take photos on your phone. Then when your kids are done searching, count the eggs to make sure all are found before letting your beloved companion animals back in the garden.
The symptoms to watch out for are vomiting, diarrhoea, higher body temperature, increased heart rate, staggering, tremors and acute weakness.
What to do if you suspect your companion animal has eaten chocolate:
Try to establish how much has been eaten and the brand/type of chocolate, so wrappers are crucial at this point, then phone your vet immediately. The darker the chocolate, the higher the theobromine content and so this is very useful information for your vet.
Why caffeine, theobromine and xylitol is toxic for animals:
Xylitol acts quicker than the other two toxic ingredients and your companion animal could be comatose within 15-20 minutes after eating it. This is because the pancreas confuses it with real sugar, therefore releasing more insulin. This in turn removes the real sugar from the body, causing blood sugar levels to drop rapidly (this is called hypoglycemia). Xylitol also causes liver failure in dogs (renal failure), however not much seems to be know about how. Xylitol is also commonly found in chewing gum / bubble gum, many sweets and candy so keep all your sweet treats to yourself!
Caffeine and theobromine both stimulate the central nervous system and heart muscle, but relax the smooth muscles used for breathing. This means that it interferes with the heart pumping blood and the animal’s breathing. Dogs especially metabolize theobromine much slower than humans so it stays in their systems much longer (perhaps the same for cats, but as they are generally picky eaters, there is less information available). Death from respiratory and/or cardiac failure can occur within several days of consuming chocolate.
So, this is definitely an opportunity not to feel selfish and just have all the chocolate and Easter eggs to yourself as you’ll be keeping your companion animal safe! Offer a hard boiled egg or sprats (little dried fish) instead if you are after a nutritious and safe treat for them
Healing Aggressive Behaviour In A Rescue Dog – Hugo’s Story
Aggression in dogs can be common, especially with rescue dogs and so if you feel you’ve tried everything with your dog, then this might help you. Healing Aggressive Behaviour In A Rescue Dog is Hugo’s story of coming to the UK from Romania, being rather a challenge to rehome, and then really coming into his own with a very heartwarming outcome.
Back in 2017, a dog fosterer named Rachel got in touch with me after hearing about the work I do with animals, as she was deeply worried about her foster dog Hugo who was termed as “aggressive”. With Rachel’s dedication, my suggestions, energy healing and something new that I tried, I can say with joy in my heart that Hugo’s behaviour drastically improved and he found his forever home, being adopted by a new “Dad”.
Rachel was pregnant with twins and Hugo’s “aggressive” behaviour was making it a challenge for her and the animal shelter to get him re-homed / adopted.
As a rescue dog from Romania, it was clear he had experienced some sort of trauma as he tended to skip doing a warning growl and go straight for a very hard nip to indicate he wasn’t happy. This could be to any friends or strangers coming to the house, or even Rachel and her husband. It was curious to watch and experience him enjoying a lovely stroke and then in a split second, show his change of mind with his nip to the hand. It was quite sad and rather a shock to hear from Rachel that a dog trainer through a leading animal shelter (not the one who she fostered him through) had said that if Hugo was in their system, he would have been put to sleep by now with this “aggression”. However, I sensed in our first session that he was fearful, and that his so-called “aggressive” behaviour was rather “defensiveness” from being a scared little boy.
By far the most incredible aspect of our work together was when I tried something new, slightly altering what I’d learnt in my training.
I have done a few Animal Communication workshops and courses where they teach you to listen to what the animal has to say. This time, I got the idea that instead of just listening, I needed to talk to Hugo. I did this in a sort of telepathic way both during sessions and any other time I felt it right in a sort of meditative state. One of the things I did was to explain to him that he is missing the step before a “bite” and that a growl is sufficient to notify us when he’s not happy with something. It was absolutely amazing with our next session to be stroking him and then notice his top lip quivering. He had never done this before so I backed off and then praised him for so delicately notifying me that he wanted the stroking to stop. I pointed it out to Rachel that he’s not even growling, that the top lip quiver is now his cue for wanting something to stop or being unhappy with something. Breakthrough!
I did energy healing each session with him relaxing, even closing his eyes. This relaxed state remained longer as we did more sessions together and I gave Rachel many suggestions and tips to implement at home. She was amazing, because her love and support for him, coupled with the healing and suggestions, is what reached the fantastic end results.It’s one thing me doing a healing, but if the family isn’t on board then the fear and anxiety could be reinforced back at home, negating a lot of the energy work I’ve done. But it’s also a multi-pronged approach. For example: to help his fear of strangers, I worked on his Brachial Major chakra that helps him interact with humans and Rachel needed to implement formal introductions with anyone entering the home. Just a couple of minutes telling Hugo who was arriving and getting the person to acknowledge Hugo, not just walk past him, giving him time to sniff their scent in the air. I remember Rachel once mentioned they had forgotten to do this when a friend arrived late for a dinner party, and Hugo launched at the friend heading down the stairs, luckily not reaching her. This emphasised the importance that these introductions held for Hugo. He needed to be acknowledged because this was his (temporary) home and he felt his role was to protect the home and his family.
After the fantastic news that Hugo had been adopted and was going to his forever home, Rachel told me that she had given my contact details to his new “Dad” in case Hugo needed a few more sessions with me. I haven’t heard from him and had wondered if he simply wasn’t into complementary therapies. However, Rachel gave me even better news: Hugo is doing incredibly well, has supported his “Dad” incredibly and simply hasn’t needed further sessions. Wow! Hugo remains in my heart and I now frequently advocate talking to animals, thanks to him.
If you’re looking for some extra support during rehabilitation for your rescue dog, click here to book an Animal Healing session. I work remotely on Zoom and so can help dogs worldwide.
A wonderful testimonial from Rachel:
“A few years ago, I fostered a very troubled dog called Hugo. He was a rescue from Romania. He’d had a terrible time. I don’t know his history but he was terrified of men, and became very aggressive to anyone carrying an umbrella. I think he associated it with a stick, probably he’d been beaten? It took time but he began to trust me and eventually my husband, but he was a handful and hard to train. He wouldn’t let anyone into our house that he didn’t know and he’d bark non-stop at our neighbours! However, I knew he had a lovely heart, I was heavily pregnant at the time with twins and we’d spend all day together where he’d sit with me and press up against my bump almost protecting my babies. When he felt safe, he was a really sweet animal but when was scared I just couldn’t calm him down and he was often aggressive to strangers. It was stressful and embarrassing.I worked with two dog trainers who helped him, but I needed more assistance on a deeper level. My friends told me about Liz and her remarkable work. We visited her every week over a few months and I know it made a difference to his confidence. Liz’s approach is very calming. For a dog who could hardly sit still, she would lie him down and work with his energies, he was quiet and relaxed the whole time. It was incredible. He would dose off and at the end of each session he seemed more at ease with the world and not on edge. Liz’s work was so calming even I would nod off. It’s hard to explain how but I know it helped. Hugo just seemed more relaxed and able to trust. Working with a rescue dog takes a lot of time and of course it’s tricky as they can’t really tell you how they are feeling. Liz enabled us to connect and help Hugo on another level. She is uniquely talented. As I was about to have twins, I had to urgently find Hugo a permanent home. I couldn’t imagine that anyone would take him as he seemed so fierce to new people. I searched and searched for many weeks with no luck. After our final session we suddenly met a man who was to become his new owner, they took to each other immediately. The timing was uncanny, a gift from the universe and one I am sure assisted by Liz’s incredible work.”
Boost your immune system with this easy to make tea, that many of my clients report back as actually tasting quite nice! The ingredients have a host of benefits for your body, including being antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and having antioxidant effects.
Our best defence against viruses, respiratory tract infections, common colds and the flu is to support our bodies with rest, as well as consuming good quality foods and beverages that can be utilised to fuel our inner armies. It’s a known fact that antibiotics cannot fight viruses and are only effective for bacterial infections, so these won’t be prescribed for viral infections.
So, your best plan of action is to do what you can to support your body with natural remedies and rest.
A kinesiologist once suggested garlic tea to me in order to boost my immune system while I was fighting a virus. I have to admit, I was definitely put off as it doesn’t sound like it could be the nicest tea to drink. However, she assured me it wouldn’t be so bad as you just cut the garlic clove in half, you don’t mince it. So I tried it and she was right, it wasn’t bad and it didn’t leave me with “death breath” as I call it. I decided to combine it with other immune boosting ingredients that I like, and so I’ve come up with this immune booting tea as my go-to beverage whenever I’m exposed to people who are unwell or if I’m feeling a little under the weather.
Benefits of the ingredients:
Garlic is both antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal, having been documented for centuries and in various ancient civilizations as being used medicinally. It has also been said to help reduce the severity of upper respiratory tract infections, with some studies showing that it either prevented contraction of common colds or significantly reduced the length of time suffering.
Thyme is also antiviral, antibacterial and really supports the body being a source of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, both encouraging a healthy immune system. It has been said to have high antioxidant levels and aids digestion. It was used by ancient civilizations and by some people to protect themselves during the Black Death / plague.
Ginger has wonderful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It helps the body fight the flu and common cold, has been used as a digestive aid and reduces nausea (think of ginger biscuits for travel sickness). It has been suggested as possibly being able to reduce muscle pain as well as help menstrual cramps. It has also been said that ginger can inhibit the growth of many types of bacteria and has been shown to be effective in fighting a virus that causes respiratory tract infections.
Good quality honey is a wonderful antioxidant and I really would look out for raw honey from ethical beekeepers. You don’t want anything from a hive fed on sugar as opposed to the bees flying free collecting nectar, that’s where the health benefits are. It is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory having been used since ancient Egypt to treat burns and wounds. Honey has also been said to help reduce cough symptoms.
Lemons have antiviral and antibacterial properties, and the high Vitamin C content supports the immune system. They are said to prevent infection and bacterial growth (think of all the household cleaners with lemon in them), plus can apparently loosen chest congestion and help throat infections. They are a diuretic so great for urinary tract infections and regular use has been said to possibly help joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Serves 2 mugs
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Garlic x 1 clove peeled and cut in half (not minced!)
Thyme x 2 fresh sprigs or more
Ginger x 2-3cm chunk peeled and sliced
Honey x 2 teaspoons (preferably raw)
Lemon x 1 (juice of a whole unwaxed lemon)
Water x 550ml (I prefer filtered water)
– Place the water into a pot.
– Add the garlic, thyme and ginger to the pot.
– Pour the squeezed lemon juice into the pot. I use one of those hand held lemon squeezers and then if your lemons are unwaxed, feel free to drop the rinds into the pot too.
– Turn on low heat and let this slowly heat up. Ideally you want the whole lot steeping for at least 10 minutes.
– Don’t let it boil and so if it starts getting too hot, remove the pot from the heat and place the lid on for the remainder of the steeping time.
– Some of the water will have evaporated so you should then have just enough to pour out 2 mugs (if I’m alone, I’ll leave the 2nd portion to steep longer and have it later).
– Stir 1 teaspoon of honey into each mug and enjoy!
If I’m pressed for time and/or don’t have all of the fresh ingredients, I then use a lemon and ginger teabag, adding dried thyme but I still use fresh garlic and raw honey. The brand I like best is Pukka with their lemon, ginger and manuka honey teabags as they’re also organic. Let this steep in a mug for at least 10 minutes with a saucer on the top to keep the heat in, stirring the honey in at the end.
The information contained within this blog is purely for informational purposes and is not intended to provide medical advice. Neither the author nor the publisher take any responsibility for any possible consequences from any dietary modification or action which results from reading or following the information contained in this blog. This blog does not replace the advice of your doctor or other health care providers. The reader must seek the advice of their doctor or other health care providers before implementing any of the suggestions contained herein.
Listen to this guided meditation to help your body and mind relax in preparation for a good night’s sleep. Starting with a deep breathing exercise to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, you will then connect to the calming and sedative properties of the Amethyst Crystal.
In this podcast, I’m hosted by Steve Nobel at The Soul Matrix to talk about my 7 Tips For Better Quality Sleep.
One of the issues I work on with my clients is sleep disturbance. Many of them report back to me that they’ve had the best night’s sleep in a long time after a healing session with me. I used to swing between insomnia and chronic fatigue, so I know first-hand what’s it’s like to really struggle with quality of sleep. I became so desperate that I’d try any suggestion or old wives tale that I heard about, which even found me bathing in chamomile teabags (it didn’t shift the insomnia, in case you were wondering, but it had a lovely relaxing scent). At one stage many, many years ago, a GP even prescribed me sleeping pills to try to break the cycle, but they just offered me a temporary state of being unconscious without the refreshing feeling of being recharged after a good night’s sleep. I had to find another solution and so I’d like to share with you my top 7 tips for better quality sleep that I have found to work for me personally. As with many things, we are all individual and unique, however you might find a few of these tips work for you too.
You can listen to it on YouTube or SoundCloud, or read it as a blog below.
There is very seldom just 1 magic thing that fixes everything, and so what I have found is that a combination of things is what does it for me. None of the following tips seem to work on their own, however put together, and I’m sound asleep, waking refreshed in the morning.
1). Mobile Phones / Cell Phones
I have come to learn that a lot of these sleep tips are to do with messages to the brain and so my first tip is to switch your mobile phone to flight mode and silent at least half an hour before bedtime, for me it’s an hour before. I then use that time to slowly get ready for bed and read a bit before lights out. The reason is that the blue light emitted by your mobile phone screen stimulates your brain in a way to be awake and alert. This is obviously a problem if you’re wanting to relax and enter a sleep state and so it takes much longer to reach the specific brainwaves for optimal sleep if you’ve been staring at your screen until late at night. The same goes for tv and other electronic devices such as laptops and tablets. I’m also very sensitive to the electromagnetic wavelengths emitted by these devices, which is why I really do strongly advise putting them on flight mode (or aeroplane mode as some countries say). So, all electronic devices are ideally turned off and put away a minimum of half an hour before bed and if you’re going to read, it needs to be a proper book or one of the old style kindles with no backlight. (*blue light disrupts melatonin production.)
2). Dark Bedroom
This relates to my next tip which is to do with having a dark bedroom and so you want to turn everything off that emits any sort of light, getting the room as dark as possible. It’s been written about in many articles that even the very small red light of your tv in standby mode can affect your brain, telling it to be alert. I can believe it because I’ve struggled to fall asleep when I’ve accidentally put my electric toothbrush on charge in my bedroom. Even with my eyes closed I can still sense the little charging light. One of the windows in my bedroom has the blind hanging about an inch away from the window. I found a change in the quality of my sleep after moving to this home, which rectified itself once I covered this window with thick black paper cut specifically to size and stuck on with blutak just at night. Proper lined curtains and blackout blinds really are worth it!
Lights in general need to be considered. It’s only with the invention of the lightbulb that we have been staying up later at night. Our ancestors would have been in bed not long after the sun went down as there’s not a lot that can be done by candlelight with no TV. So I suggest that from about 7pm onwards, use dimmers or side lamps to light your home so you experience a nice transition between day and night. These new LED light bulbs are great, however most of them are blue light* and incredibly bright, therefore telling our brains to be active and alert. Definitely not conducive to gearing the body and mind for sleep. You can get special light bulbs that are termed “red light”, or like I say, just use side lamps for several hours before bed so the light is softer on the eyes. You can also get motion sensor floor lights to light your way to the bathroom if you need to get up in the middle of the night, rather than switching on a bright light that makes you feel like you’re being interrogated as you stumble through. (*blue light disrupts melatonin production.)
4). Pajamas / Sleepwear
Something I never considered but makes so much sense, is that even the clothes we wear send messages to our brains. If you go to bed wearing anything you have done exercise in, you’re telling your brain to get the body ready for a workout (I’m definitely guilty of this as I used to often grab yoga leggings out of my cupboard if my pajamas were in the wash). You then curl up in your bed but your brain is saying “Hey, I thought we were going to do exercise?” and so takes much longer to reach a proper sleep state. So only wear proper pajamas that you do nothing else in but sleep, so your brain and body can associate them with rest.
5). Work-free zone
Which takes me to my next tip on leaving all work and office related stuff out of the bedroom so your brain can associate your bed with rest. So many of us sit up in bed with our laptops catching up on work, or even sending that quick email from our mobile phones before lights out. This can lead the brain to associating the bed and bedroom with work, so you put your head on your pillow and your brain is fired up, being active and alert for cognitive function. You’re definitely going to be counting sheep!
6). Lavender Essential Oil
Every night I rub a little bit of lavender essential oil on my temples and jaw as it has relaxing and mild sedative properties. It’s suggested to dilute it with a carrier oil, avoiding the eyes, and a little goes a long way with just 1 or 2 drops needed due to it being so concentrated. It’s very important to get a good quality brand as there are many synthetic products out there that have zero of the plant’s benefits, they just smell nice. I use the brand dōTERRA but I’ve heard that Young Living and Tisserand are of a similar high quality. You can even put a drop on your pillow or use it in a cold water diffuser while you sleep.
7). Relax, Your Brain Is Half Asleep
Now for what I’ve found to be the absolute game-changer when all of the above just isn’t enough:
There is an author called Anthony William (you might know him from the Medical Medium series) and in one of his books he mentions that when we wake in the middle of the night, half the brain is still “asleep”. So the key is to relax in the knowledge that at least half of your brain is resting, don’t panic while tossing and turning, desperately wishing to fall asleep again. I tested this out over time on a few rare nights where I couldn’t fall back to sleep. Instead of waking up in the morning feeling mildly hungover with a dull headache, I was actually surprisingly alert and feeling pretty refreshed. So just relax, perhaps do some deep breathing and I find using the time to be mindful can also help, such as focusing on the softness of my pajamas, how comfortable my bed is, my feet feeling coolness as I move them under the duvet and how cozy I feel if it’s winter.
A few other tips to mention briefly are to stop drinking caffeine from the early afternoon onwards, keep your room temperature cool as heat can disrupt your sleep, and try to go to bed at the same time each night to establish a routine.
Guided meditations can be hugely beneficial in relaxing the body and mind, preparing you for a peaceful sleep and so look out for the Sleep Meditation I’ve specially recorded for you. Click here!
I hope these 7 tips are of some help for you to have better quality sleep and it will be wonderful if you could add any of your top sleep tips in the comments below.
Einstein knew it and you might know it too: everything is energy. What’s not commonly known is the rest of the quotation: “Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” Everything is vibrating at different frequencies whether solid, liquid or gas. This means that we can channel and use energy to improve and alter the frequency of our cells – good news if there is an imbalance manifesting itself as a physical or emotional condition.
The concept that everything is energy is nothing new and has been known in different cultures by different names for centuries:
• Ki in Japan
• Chi or Qi in China
• Prana in India
• Vitality or Life Force in the West
If everything is vibrating, it makes sense that a form of energy healing is using sound to literally tune in and tune up frequencies for positive effect.
I’ve personally found great results in using energy healing and sound to get to where I am today: amongst other things, I’ve managed to avoid extensive surgery for endometriosis and am now living totally symptom-free. So I’d like to share with you how I’ve used my Tibetan singing bowl in healing sessions.
Back in 2016 on my first ever trip to Glastonbury, I fell in love with the music shop on the high street and had to take something home as a token of this magical place. After playing pretty much all the singing bowls in the shop, I found the one calling to me and took her home. Back then, I was in a pretty stressful corporate job, which had me frequently experiencing stomach cramps. Out of desperation one day, I used my intuition, lay on my back, and placed my singing bowl on my stomach. I gently struck the side of the bowl and felt the vibrations right through my abdomen. It was so lovely that I began to hit harder and harder. It was incredible how amazing it felt and it definitely provided some relief, so I carried on. It didn’t cure the problem as ultimately, I needed to leave that job, but it was a much needed coping mechanism in the interim. A few months later, I quit to start my own business offering healing to people and animals full-time. I’ve since participated in workshops to learn more about singing bowls and have integrated their healing vibrations into my sessions with clients when intuition calls. And not just for clients with stomach cramps. What I’m seeing is that the vibrations really help shift stagnant energy in general, especially for the solar plexus and sacral chakras. I was hesitant at first, striking gently so as not to jar clients out of their relaxed states. However, the feedback I kept getting was that they so wished I’d hit it harder. Let me tell you, my clients love it! I also hold the bowl over my client and play it while working my way down the front of the body and what is fascinating is that it vibrates differently over areas that need more work or which are holding unresolved issues. Some clients have reported feeling the spiral swirling of energy going right through them and down their bodies, even though they weren’t aware of what I was using to create the sound.
Dr Mitchell Gaynor, director of Medical Oncology and Integrative Medicine at the Cornell Cancer Prevention Center in New York explains that, “If we accept that sound is vibration and we know that vibration touches every part of our physical being, then we understand that sound is heard not only through our ears but through every cell in our bodies. One reason sound heals on a physical level is because it so deeply touches and transforms us on the emotional and spiritual planes. Sound can redress imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and can play a positive role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.”
The sound frequencies created by the singing bowls restore and optimise the flow of energy in the various parts of the body where it is needed and also encourage the brain to move into a Theta state, required for deeply meditative, relaxed and peaceful states. In this deep state of relaxation, the body’s parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, which regulates stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
My experience has shown that true healing usually requires a combination of approaches and therapies, as each of us is bio-individually unique, so you need to find what works for you. It could well be that using sound along with other forms of energy healing like Reiki along with changes to diet, could support you on the road to optimum health. So I highly recommend exploring sound baths or gong baths as one of the tools in your toolbox, even if you just need a bit of rest and relaxation.
If you’re interested in exploring an energy healing session to boost your healing journey, then please visit my website for more information. I’ll be more than happy to introduce you to the healing powers of the singing bowls should you book a session. Distant healing sessions also available if you live outside of London.
Here I am a special guest interviewed by the lovely Paula Kalik from Up Your Vibe, where she inspires her audience to take responsibility for their own health and well-being. The audio version was featured on Coach On Fire Radio Network and you’ll find the video version below. Please note that my practice in Battersea that Paula mentions below is now closed and I am seeing clients remotely on Zoom.
“This show addresses women’s health and Liz walks you through her own health issues and her recovery. Liz is an Energy Healer for people and animals, and it was her own unexpected success story with Endometriosis 8 years ago that put her on this path to help others. Having had extensive surgery for Stage 4 Endometriosis with fibrosis in her uterus, she was advised to have the same surgery every 2 years moving forward. To date she has avoided all further surgeries and lives completely symptom-free, now helping many female clients with the same and similar female health issues. She has a practice in Battersea and does home visits within London, while also offering Distant Healing sessions remotely to clients across the globe.”
Liz talks about;
– What were the symptoms of your Endometriosis?
– I see the surgeon’s prognosis was that you’d need the same surgery every 2 years moving forward, so what was his reaction during your checkup?
– How does Energy Healing work?
– If the Energy Healing got the Endometriosis under control, tell us about what you did with food to reach a point of being symptom-free.
Liz has a favorite quote: “the best way to achieve happiness for oneself is to give happiness to others.” ― David Michie from the book The Dalai Lama’s Cat
Find out more about Liz and her amazing successes, and find out how to book your consultation with her. You can contact Liz here on her website: www.lizfindlay.com
I’m sure we’d all strive to do as much as we can to prolong our special time with our companion animals so we can enjoy their unconditional love as long as possible. As our furry family members get on in years, there are a few things we can implement in order to make life more comfortable for them and help them get a “good innings”. Here I’d like to share a few of my top tips with you on how to do this.
First thing would be to research the age at which your companion animal is considered a “senior” as it differs across species and even breeds. For example, it is said that the toy breeds like a Chihuahua might only be considered to be a senior at the age of about 10 or 11 years old, whereas the giant breeds like Great Danes reach it much earlier, around the ages of 6 or 7. These are just guidelines and it’s important to know that genetics, nutrition and environment also determine how quickly the animal ages. It’s the same in humans and really, there’s not much difference between us and animals.
1. Comfortable Bed
It really is important for our seniors to have somewhere comfortable to lay down and rest, especially since it’s normal for them to become a bit more lethargic and not as playful as in their youth. You want to give their joints as much care as possible so I suggest a good quality memory foam bed, but place several of these beds throughout your home so they always have somewhere comfortable to lay down no matter which room you’re in. I’ll add here that natural fabrics are better, especially for those animals with any sort of skin condition, so you can throw a lovely 100% cotton sheet over the bed/s. Dr Les Ellam of Achy Paw suggests sitting on your dog’s bed for half and hour as a test, and if your bum is numb then there’s not enough padding. It’s probably also a better idea to get a flat bed rather than one with a back and sides, as a dog with arthritis might find it a challenge to navigate through the opening.
As they age, they feel the cold a bit more (think of your granny with a knee blanket) and this is mostly to do with the metabolism slowing down as a natural process. One thing you can do to help is to avoid clipping their coats in the winter months as this can specifically help the joints. Or at least don’t clip quite as short as the summer months so their natural coat can still provide some insulation. You can also make sure they have comfortable spots to lay in the sunny rooms of your home as this helps them get vitamin D as well. While I prefer for companion animals to be indoors with the family, I understand that some people cannot arrange this for various reasons and so make sure your senior has a dry spot to sleep in a covered outdoor space to shield from wind, while also providing sufficient blankets to cuddle into.
3. Joint Care
Many of our senior companion animals start showing the tell-tale signs of arthritis where the dogs maybe struggle on their walks or cats not being able to jump to their high up “hidey spots” anymore. There are a few things we can do for the joint care:
Turmeric is excellent for joints but I suggest Googling for “Golden Paste” recipes and dosage because you’ll need black pepper to allow the curcumin within the turmeric to be absorbed into the blood stream. If your animal has suffered from pancreatitis or colitis then perhaps look at a different way as Golden Paste usually contains an oil as a base, such as coconut oil, and you’d want to avoid that (however it’s really good for animals who can have it). You will also greatly help your senior’s joints by incorporating EDA & DHA into their diets and a good source that’s quick and easy is oily fish, such as tinned sardines or mackerel. The Relax HAOK9 Massage that I offer to clients can also help joints a great deal by keeping them lubricated and boosting circulation, among other benefits.
4. Sensory Enrichment
This is actually beneficial for all animals but when our seniors start losing some of their senses, like sight and hearing, we can focus on the remaining senses and stimulate them. One such was is to get animal-friendly house plants and I specifically suggest culinary herbs for the animals to smell (note that some house plants are toxic for animals and so please do your research). One of my senior dog clients absolutely loved having a sniff of a fresh mint plant and another dog client even had a little munch of my parsley (excellent self-selection). Another way to achieve sensory stimulation is through a Snuffly Ruffly mat, where you hide treats in the bits of material for the companion animals to sniff out and eat. There are a few companies out there producing these mats but I specifically recommend this one as I know that the producer has done incredible research even down to the fabric so that little threads don’t come off and get swallowed by the animals. They are also fully machine washable and used by the Principal of the Healing Animals Organisation:
Just like humans, animals may start needing a little help with getting around and especially with stairs. You can build little half steps or a ramp for your dogs if the current ones are a little high to take in one step or they need help getting onto the couch or into the car. Please make sure that ramps are stable and have rubber grip so the dog doesn’t slip off as we don’t want injuries to occur. Contact me for tips on how to encourage your dog to use a ramp. Something that is also super important is to have carpets instead of wood, laminate or tiled floors. This is because our seniors can slip easily and need the carpet for grip so if need be, get some runners with the rubber mat underneath to secure them in place to put over your wood/tile floors. If your senior already has arthritis or hip issues, that last thing you want is for slippery floors to be putting strain on the animal’s joints.
I’m definitely an advocate for harnesses for all dogs instead of leads attached to a collar (to prevent thyroid damage etc), but did you know that you can get special harnesses to help dogs with mobility problems? They extend to go around the hips and have a handle so you essentially hold the hips up. This is great to help a senior dog stand up from a seated position, as well as in/out of cars and on walks. I heard someone say how sad they felt seeing a dog being walked slowly with one of these harnesses as the back legs didn’t move at all, however I pointed out how fabulous it was that the dog still got to go on walks and enjoy the outdoors as opposed to being cooped up inside. What a fabulous invention!
Animal Healing and massage greatly support our senior companion animals with their well-being, helping them to have a better quality of life. Contact me if you’d like to book a session and if you have any questions. I’m more than happy to take a look around your home to see what can be improved upon for your special furry friend.