My Goldendoodle’s Golden Years
Caring for senior dogs can be emotionally and financially draining, especially when your aging dog is more a family member than a pet. However, with knowledge of the right resources and proper care techniques, older pooches can enjoy a high quality of life well into their golden years.
My dog Bailey, is a 14.5-year-old goldendoodle, she is a truly amazing dog. Weighing in at 65 pounds, she’s wicked smart and freakishly human-like with her vocabulary of about 250 words and ability to tell time. Bailey often bark-talks full conversations when she has something important to say.
She was an extremely energetic, naughty, loving puppy. At age four she matured into a well-behaved adult. At age eight she became a certified therapy dog, making people smile and helping ease anxiety to those in need. In her ninth year, I began to worry that as Bailey aged her health would begin to decline.
Determined to always give her the best care possible without money being a decision-making factor, I researched pet insurance, which led to Trupanion.I immediately enrolled Bailey in their coverage program. Since Trupanion only covers dogs under the age of 10, the timing was perfect. Their policy pays 90% of eligible vet bills, including surgeries, diagnostic tests, medications, treatments, and hospital stays.
Amazingly, Trupanion never imposes payout limits! If your pet has a $10,000 vet bill, they will pay $9,000 of the expenses once you cover the deductible. They also have an option to include Recovery and Complementary Care. The rider supports their core insurance policy by offering acupuncture, behavioral modification and therapy, chiropractic, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, naturopathy, and rehabilitative care for cats and dogs.
In 2017, Bailey suffered a stroke and two seizures. Trupanion provided pre-approval for Bailey’s MRI within hours of submitting a request. Choosing them is one of the best decisions I made for Bailey and I have vowed to never again have a dog without insuring through Trupanion.
I highly recommend that every pet owner check out Trupanion before they become too old for coverage. Having Trupanion means we never have to question the cost of treatment or care for Bailey. My recommendation for Trupanion and the following products and therapies are purely personal and I have no affiliation with any company.
As an acupuncture advocate, I thought it might benefit Bailey in her stroke recovery, along with her anti-seizure meds. Not only does she get excited when her acupuncturist arrives (because she knows it means lots of treats), the treatments have minimized her pain and maintained her mobility, which had been hampered by her stroke and arthritis.
Acupuncture is clearly a viable option for elderly pets. Established in 1974, the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society provides, promotes and supports “veterinary acupuncture and related treatment modalities through quality basic, advanced and continuing education; internationally recognized certification for veterinarians; and support responsible research.” For elderly pet owners, the IVAS offers a wealth of information and resources for those seeking alternative pain management options for their beloved dogs and cats.
I also recommend that all pet owners look into this therapeutic option before your dog or cat develops symptoms. While medications can alleviate many forms of pain, and are obviously the primary choice of most vets, Acupuncture provides a safe, effective alternative to many forms of pet medical issues, yet is all too often overlooked as a viable healthcare approach.
As Bailey becomes a senior citizen, her arthritis continues to worsen along with the loss of muscle mass in her hind legs. Water Therapy has given her yet another viable, highly effective healthcare alternative. Like many recovering humans, she doesn’t particularly enjoy water therapy sessions, but she seems very proud of herself after each session.
In conjunction with water therapy, Bailey now uses a Help ‘Em Up Harness, which in my opinion is the best mobility harness available. Help ‘Em Up offers a diverse line of remarkable shoulder and hip harness systems designed specifically to “lift the lives of aging or recovering dogs.” For dogs like Bailey, these amazing products give the support they need to stay active and mobile with their owners, despite otherwise debilitating physical complications.
I am incredibly grateful that so many resources and options exist to help our beloved dogs live their best lives. They deserve the care in their later years that only we can provide. Dogs are truly the most loving special beings and they are literally incapable of helping themselves once their bodies begin to fail over time. For the unconditional love they give us throughout their lives, we owe it to them to make their golden years as comfortable and happy as possible.
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