What does healthy aging look like for your dog? How can proactive dog parents advocate for their faithful companions through every stage of life—from rowdy puppy days through the slower senior years?
As an integrative veterinarian, I’m a proponent of the team approach to caring for your dog’s whole health–your dog’s mind, body, and spirit. One memorable example of this team approach to holistic dog care occurred through a chance encounter with a dog named Rémedy (nicknamed Rémy) and her mom, Jamie.
Meet a senior dog named Rémedy
While attending a dog-centric conference, I met Rémy. She was a gentle soul, a rescued Cocker Spaniel who “sees” life a bit differently than the average dog. Due to glaucoma, both of Rémy’s eyes had been removed to relieve her from this very painful condition.
As Rémy nuzzled my hand, Jamie peppered me with valuable questions.
“Are her nails too long?” Jamie asked. “I know they are important. I get them done every week, but they just take off the tips because we don’t want to hurt her.”
Reaching for Rémy’s paw and stroking back the fur to get a better view, I thought, “How long can they be if you get them done every week?”
“Eeek!” I exclaimed. “Those are really long nails!”
Jamie looked horrified. “I don’t know what to do differently.”
Along with all the other essentials a woman needs, I carry dog toenail trimmers in my purse at all times, and that pretty much says it all. Empowering pet parents is my passion, but the topic of nail trimming—why and how—is my soapbox.
“I thought because we do them every week that the quicks would recede,” Jamie confessed.
“Is it working?” I asked.
“No,” Jamie responded, “but they are black nails and we don’t want to hurt her.”
I explained how to trim the nails, black or white, and actually know how far back you can get without causing the dog pain or making them bleed.
Jamie looked skeptical. “Can you show me?”
We sought out a quiet corner in the hotel, and what ensued was the highlight of the conference for us both.
I trimmed Rémy’s nails, explaining to Jamie why this was so important and how long nails impact posture and gait. I showed her how she could do this at home, looking for simple landmarks to guide her. As the lightbulb went on for Jamie, her excitement increased. Her enthusiasm for conquering nail trimming inspired me to pour my heart into this seemingly mundane affair.
That experience captured the essence of why I started Dr. Buzby’s: The Senior Dog Company. My mission is to build relationships with people who are passionate in seeking the best care for their aging dogs…care that encompasses all aspects of dog wellness including mind, body, and spirit.
Caring for an aging dog takes a team approach
I believe that each dog should have his or her own individual healthcare team. Your dog’s team may be big or small. Perhaps that team includes a veterinarian, vet acupuncturist, or rehab practitioner. Or perhaps that team is simply your dog, your vet, and you.
Your veterinarian is obviously a critical team player, but YOU are the heart and soul of that team. You know your dog better than anyone. And you care for your dog on a day-to-day basis. You are your dog’s biggest healthcare advocate!
Each member of my company celebrates your role, and it would be a privilege to join your team! Through everything we do—from our award-winning veterinary blog to our innovative senior dog products—our mission is to educate, empower, and inspire pet parents in improving the quality and quantity of life for their canine companions.
10 resources to help you care for your aging dog’s mind, body, and spirit
If you’re a hands-on dog mom or dog dad, I hope we can be part of your dog parenting journey by sharing information that educates, empowers, and inspires you.
Here is my “library” of 10 important dog wellness resources that can help you enrich all aspects of your dog’s life, so that your aging dog has the healthiest, happiest, longest life possible.
Keeping your dog physically active: 4 tips for a healthy body
- Canine Body Condition Score: Find Your Dog’s Number
- Keeping a “Pulse” on Your Dog’s Vital Signs
- Move it or Lose It: The Health of Your Dog’s Spine
- Help Your Dog Live Leaner and Longer
Keeping your dog’s brain cells firing: 3 tips for a healthy mind
- 7 Tips to Keep Your Aging Dog’s Mind Fit
- You Love Your Dog: 7 Caring Ways to Let Them Know It
- The Benefits of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids For Your Dog
A healthy lifestyle: 3 tips for making healthy nutritional, supplement, and treat choices
- Chews Wisely: Dental Health For Your Dog
- Homecooked Diets For Your Dog with Dr. Jackie Parr
- Why is My Dear Old Dog Not Eating?
And if you want to watch Rémedy’s nail trim (recorded live at the conference), here it is:
Do you have a question about the importance of whole pet health?
I’d love to hear. Please comment below.