“My older dog…she is beautiful and smart…but over the last several months…she has stopped being social, she spends most of her day in a closet. She has stopped listening to her training such as sit, stay, come, she refuses things she always ate in favor of new things. She doesn’t want to play anymore. She seems to be afraid of things she never was afraid of before. Thunder, me moving pots and pans in the kitchen. I am at a loss as to what to do.”Wow. What a change, right? If you haven’t already, I would certainly consider taking your lovely dog to a veterinarian. There’s a chance that her behavior is caused because she’s physically uncomfortable. Or…since you didn’t mention how old “older” is…there’s a chance that she has developed a sort of “doggy senility.”So a veterinary visit needs to be step one. If her veterinarian feels that she’s medically fit, we certainly have our work cut out for us. I totally understand your concern. This one is complicated. Was there a change in your life that may correlate with her change in behavior?While not critical, it will help if we can somehow identify what caused (or at least contributed to) her change in behavior. Because this one could take some unraveling you may want to consider contacting Dr. Theresa DePorter at Oakland Veterinary Referral Service. She is a veterinarian and a behaviorist and could be an excellent for your dog. You are right to be concerned. Please take care.“My older dog seems to be having more trouble getting around lately. What are some ways I can make him more comfortable?”Both dogs and cats can develop arthritis, especially as they get older. Signs of arthritis can be subtle and may include trouble with stairs, difficulty rising, or trouble jumping onto furniture. Cats may not groom themselves as well or they may have trouble getting to the litter box. It is important to have your pet examined by a veterinarian.There are several prescription pain medications and other treatments to keep your pet comfortable. Never give your pet any over-the-counter pain medications since these can be toxic and even deadly.If you have wood floors, use non-slip rugs to help your arthritic pet get around. Provide easy access to litter boxes with lower sides to help your arthritic cat. Mild to moderate activity should be provided, but ask your veterinarian what is best for your pet.Heated beds can help in colder weather and are available at many pet stores. Avoid heating pads that may cause burns. Fish oil and glucosamine supplements can be given to both cats and dogs.Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, laser therapy, and other treatments are now more commonly available. Ask your veterinarian what is best for your pet.
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