Boo McCourt has experience caring for aging cats and their changing needs.
How to Care for Your Senior Cat
As your cat begins to age, you will probably notice several physical and behavioral changes going on with your favorite pet. You may be alarmed to see your older cat is not the same chipper ball of fur it was, say, five years before. Your cat's behavior is transitioning as it gets older. Your cat's activity levels begin to slow down considerably; you may begin to notice that its eating habits are changing.
Drinking and sleeping habits may change quite noticeably because of aging. Although, do not always presume all changes your cat is going through are due to your cat's age. It is quite possible there is something else going on. So this would be a perfect time to see a veterinarian and have your senior cat checked out thoroughly. Please continue reading to find out the changes your cat goes through as it matures into a senior.
Indications of Physical and Behavioral Changes in Your Aging Cat
- Skin: The skin of your older cat is beginning to thin out, so your cat will start to have reduced blood circulation; this is when your cat is more susceptible to infections. Their immune systems become weaker and disposed to ailments often associated with aging.
- Grooming: Your older cat may start to groom themselves less frequently, giving them an odor or perhaps matting their hair, or causing them to itch. It is also not uncommon for your cat to pick and pull bits of their hair out.
- Appetite: Your older cat may be prone to loss of appetite. There may be several reasons for this. They may have some sort of dental problems going on and therefore have little desire to eat. Your cat's sense of smell may decrease, causing a loss of interest in eating. Something warm like tap water mixed with wet or dry food will help.
- Strange symptoms: If your cat is vomiting, urinating excessively, exhibits a poor appetite, and shows a loss in weight and poor grooming habits, your cat may be showing signs of kidney impairment. Kidney failure is a common disease in older cats.
- Mobility: If you notice your cat is having trouble walking, climbing, or getting to the litter box, especially if they need to use the stairs, your cat may be developing arthritis or some form of degenerative joint disease.
- Litter box habits: If your cat goes to the litter box more often than usual, the increased soil and odor may cause your cat to find other areas in the house to use as a litter box. If this is the case, assure the litter box is always free of clumps and clean for your cat to use. If your cat has painful arthritis, approaching the litter box may be demanding, especially if there are stairs your cat has to climb to get to the box.
- Arthritis: Just climbing into the litter box may be painful for your cat. Urinating or defecating in inappropriate locations is your cat's natural solution. It may be necessary to relocate your litter boxes to more accessible locations to prevent your elderly cats from eliminating in those inappropriate locations. You could try a litter box with low sides, or structuring a ramp into the box to help your older cat approach the litter box entry more efficiently.
- Excessive meowing: Your cat may meow more frequently and pace, or wander around. The use of night lights and some extra noise can help keep your older cat aware of its surroundings, especially if their sight and hearing are failing.
- Hiding: You may notice your cat avoiding their favorite resting place, and hiding instead, preferring under the bed, in the closets, in the corners, or someplace quiet and out of the way of household traffic.
- Hearing loss: Your cat doesn't come when called. This may be a possible sign of hearing loss.
- Change in routines: You may notice changes in sleeping or eating routines.
Older cats are not as active,Sully did a lot of lying around as she got older
Caring for Your Senior Cat
Proper Nutrition for Your Older Cat
Many older cats are inclined to gain weight as they grow older. Of course, this is not always the case. Many older cats actually become too thin as they get older, apparently as part of the normal aging process. However, progressive weight loss can also be caused by serious medical problems such as:
- kidney failure,
- inflammatory bowel disease,
- liver disease,
- hyperthyroidism, or some other serious health condition.
Changes in weight can be a sign of disease. As they grow older, their nutritional needs normally change. Proper nutrition can add years to your cat's life and slow down the progression of many of the diseases older cats are prone to.
As your cat reaches the age of seven, your cat's health problems begin to increase, especially with regards to their metabolism, kidneys, and vision. As a result, it's very important to feed your cat a food that meets its changing needs. A diet low in fat and calories helps maintain an appropriate weight.
Your cat's food should also have balanced levels of fiber to maintain gastrointestinal health, and reduced amounts of magnesium and phosphorus to help augment a healthy urinary tract and kidneys. Lastly, you want to make sure your older cat gets food that is easy to digest.
Exercise Is Good for Your Elderly Cat
Exercise is very important for your aging cat, not only for weight control but your cat's overall health and activity. Your older cat typically becomes less energetic as arthritis may be developing, and muscles begin to mature.
Routinely playing with your cat will build muscle tone and resiliency, increase blood circulation, and help reduce weight in cats that are susceptible to obesity. During times of exercise, be alert to labored breathing or exertion that may suggest your cat is ill. Here are some ideas for helping your cat stay healthy:
- Set up cardboard boxes, paper bags, and tunnels to create an obstacle course to coordinate an exercise session for your cat. If you cannot find the soft-sided tunnels, make tunnels of your own by turning the boxes upside down and cutting entrance and exit holes.
- Crumple up some paper; cats love the sound of paper being crumpled.
- A wand with feathers on the end. Bat it around so your cat can have a whack at it.
- A plastic bottle cap to bat around. It will roll around and keep your cat busy for a while.
- Frequent vet visits. As your cat gets older, you need to increase the frequency of your routine health care visits to the veterinarian to at least twice a year.
Stick to a Routine; Your Cat Loves Routine
Your cat will love the routine you set up, and as they get older, they will feel safer and happier if there is a familiar routine they can depend on every day. Decreased hearing, vision, and cognitive dysfunction commonly occur, so it is essential they know what to expect.
These changes may make them feel insecure. A solid routine can help provide a sense of security and decrease distress. One important example is feeding, if possible, feed your cat at the same time every day. They, in turn, will remind you when they are ready to feed.
Accessing Favorite Locations
As your cat becomes older, they may not be able to jump up to high places, and if those high places are their favorite spots, you might want to consider structuring small ramps or stairs so your cat can reach its favorite resting spot. If your cat has trouble getting up onto a couch or chair, design a “step up” of pillows or a box on the floor next to the furniture so your cat can climb onto the surface easily.
Cats ordinarily sleep a lot, and to help with those achy bones and maintain the thinner average body condition of your senior cat, provide a well-cushioned sleeping location that is comfortable for your cat. Older cats sleep more so a lot of time will be spent at that location. They will love you even more if that spot is serene and undisturbed.
My Ethel recently passed at 17, she loved hanging out in a box on the porch taking in the fresh air
If arthritis is preventing your cat from getting a beneficial scratch from a vertical post, you might want to consider a horizontal or angled scratching surface, such as corrugated cardboard scratching posts. These provide unrestrained access for nail conditioning.
Another concept that works really well is to gather a few small boxes and break them down so that they are flat. Scatter them near your cat's favorite spots. They will often use them for scratching. When they are scratched up, replace them. This is a very effective way for older cats to use their claws without having to reach up vertically.
Grooming for Your Older Cat
It is best to groom your older cat gently as possible. Your cat will benefit from more repeated hands-on help if their self-grooming begins to lessen over time. Pay special attention to a sudden lack of grooming, which may signal a health problem for your elderly cat.
This is particularly noteworthy for longer haired cats who become severely matted. Gently brushing or combing removes loose hairs and stimulates circulation. Not to mention making your cat feel cherished and loved.
It is important to leave a night light on for your older cat, who may have poor vision or eyesight problems, causing your cat to have a problem navigating at night. If your cat is blind, try to keep your cat's environment as fixed and consistent as possible, including litter box placement and furniture.
Lastly, your beloved older cat enjoys spending time with you and your family. It is important to give them that extra tender loving care that they will cherish for the rest of their lives. And to maintain their health by having regular check-ups with your veterinarian. So you both can live a happy and long life together.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on February 24, 2015:
Sorry for the late reply. I hope your kitty is doing okay. I made several trips to the vet this month for my 18 month old kitty. Best wishes to you and the cats.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 14, 2015:
You're welcome Crazy. Sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. My 15-year-olds are doing okay, while I'm keeping an eye on their bladder problem. I might be taking one of them to the vet soon for their UTI condition.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on February 14, 2015:
Thank you Kristen for reading and commenting. Yes they do require a bit more attention. I had to lay my 20 year old to rest last month. It has been so hard to let go. I know people who have cats well into their 20's. They are precious. Good luck with your seniors, love to the.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 07, 2015:
Great useful hub on senior cat care. I have two adult ones who's about 16 years old. Now I know what to look out for in the future.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on April 19, 2013:
I am wondering about my 18 year old. He eats and always comes back for more. Don't know if he forgot or just wants more. Take good care Rick of those kitty's.
RICK on April 14, 2013:
i have 2 19 yr old cats patches and mindy .mindy sleeps eat ,forgets she eats comes out for more. patches drink water out of the sink instead of drinking from her bowl .mindy the loner, patches huddle over me.laids down nest to me.is it their time.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on March 28, 2013:
Thank you so much. Two of my loved ones have passed, I still have my 18 year old CIA. He too suffers a hearing loss. He does the howling as well, I added night lights and will try the clothing idea. He will jump up on the bed and just howl as if he is lost. I just cuddle him more. I am so happy to hear Emily is doing well. Thank you for your support.
FlourishAnyway from USA on March 19, 2013:
Great hub with beautiful photos of some very loved felines. My oldest cat, Emily, will be 17 later this year and suffers hearing loss and age-related cognitive decline. The loud meowing in the middle of the night has been improved by nightlights and leaving clothing with my scent on it (an unlaudered shirt) in the chair where she sleeps. It helps orient her a little more. Voted up and more!
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on April 02, 2011:
Hi Annie, 17 years old is awesome. I am in the process of changing my elder cat's diet as well. She won't eat dry food anymore. So I give her wet food, tuna and cooked chicken. I think as long as your cat is healthy and getting around you should keep her as long as you can. Mine is almost 17. We have been through EVERYTHING, so I understand where you are coming from.
Annie on March 31, 2011:
I have a seventeen year old cat who at one time was sick a lot and had diahhorea. We started feeding her nothing but lean poultry and a little tinned salmon and she's fine, she can manage cat biscuits as well. She smells a bit and needs a litter tray and the rest of the family would like to see the end of her, but she's been there for me through some hard times so as long as she's fairly happy and healthy she's welcome to share my life.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on November 30, 2010:
Wow you have a 19 year old cat? That is awesome. I hope that for mine. They are pretty spry. Nice seeing you here Tarin.
Tarin from San Diego on November 29, 2010:
Wow a lot of the symptoms describe my 19 year old cat except for the loss of appetite.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on August 03, 2010:
Thank you stars. I love writing about cats. There is so much to write about. I just need to start publishing it.
stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on August 02, 2010:
Wonderful hub. It has so much interesting information in it. Thank You. God Bless You.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 26, 2010:
Thank you for reading, and the generous comment. Your right the kittens get all the attention. It is so easy to write about both, but I think I tend toward the older ones since my two are up there in age. Thanks for stopping by :)
FirstStepsFitness on July 25, 2010:
Very nice article ! So many consider the kittens but it's great to address the older feline too :)
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 05, 2010:
Thank you BK for your kind and touching words, this hub was written with a few(well a lot)tears thrown in. I am happy you found it as I had written it. With lots of love.
Hey Billy I have a 15 year old who thinks he is still a kitten sometimes. He too loves to eat. I thank you for commenting and wish a long and healthy life for your parents Persian.
billyaustindillon on July 05, 2010:
THis covers everything here about your aging cat - my parents have an old Persian cat - he is 13 now and still pretty sprightly - amazing how they just keep going. the only real sign is he seems perpetually hungry but the vet cleared him of any illness - just getting old he said :)
BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on July 05, 2010:
Thanks for such a thoughtful, lovely and loving hub. We must remember that we all age differently.
This is an excellent reminder which I will share.
Rated up and more. Thanks again!
Caring for Your Senior Cat
While your older cat might not show any obvious visible signs of aging, providing her with proper care at this advanced stage of life can go a long way toward prolonging her life and making her senior years comfortable.
Nutrition and Exercise. Feed your cat a high-quality cat food that's specially formulated for senior cats. Talk to your vet about your cat's nutrition needs at this age and how much you should be feeding her. If she has an underlying health condition, your vet might decide to place her on a therapeutic pet cat food such as Hill's ® Prescription Diet ® to help control her condition.
It's also important for aging cats to drink plenty of clean, fresh water to help improve kidney function and prevent dehydration. Be sure water is plentiful and easily accessible. Older cats may sometimes forget to drink, so consider either adding wet food to your cat's meals or switching to it altogether to help ensure she gets plenty of fluids.
Despite their tendency to be less active, older cats still benefit from regular exercise. Encourage your cat to move and play as much as she's willing to. But don't push, especially if she shows signs of joint pain or discomfort.
Joint Care: You can help reduce the risk of arthritis and joint problems by feeding a cat food that contains omega-3 fatty acids as well as supplements that promote joint health, such as glucosamine and chondroitin. If her food doesn't already contain these supplements, you can give them to her separately. Regular exercise may also promote healthy joints. Think about ways to make it easier for your senior cat to get around, as well. Plus, weight loss and weight control are the best ways to help address or prevent joint problems in cats. If her food and water dishes sit up high, they may need to be lowered to the ground. Similarly, keep her bed in a spot that's easy to get to. If she struggles to use the litter box, consider getting a shallower box with lower sides that are easier for her to step over.
Health Checks: Cats are masters at hiding their pain, so any signs of problems might go unnoticed until they become too pronounced to ignore. This is why it's important to take your aging cat for regular health checks. Your vet might be able to spot problems that you miss and catch serious issues before they become life-threatening or do too much damage to her. Pay close attention to your aging cat's behavior patterns and report any changes to your vet.
Dental Care: As your cat gets older she should also be taken for regular dental checkups and cleanings. Dental diseases and infections can threaten your cat's overall health if they're not detected and treated. You can help prevent tooth problems and detect them early by establishing an at-home dental hygiene routine and regularly brushing your cat's teeth.
It's not easy to face the prospect of seeing your cat enter her golden years, but with proper care you can help enhance, and possibly extend her life. Arming yourself with a better understanding of the senior cat problems she's likely to face will help you be a more vigilant pet parent and make it easier to give your aging cat the best quality of life. Senior cats aren't necessarily at the end of their life — they're just learning how to live it differently, so you and your cat still have plenty of time to do all the human-cat things that best friends like to do.
Jean Marie Bauhaus
Jean Marie Bauhaus is a pet parent, pet blogger and novelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she usually writes under the supervision of a lapful of furbabies.
Fifteen Steps to Detox Your Dog & Cat
Written by: Only Natural Pet Team | January 02 2020
Written by: Only Natural Pet Team
January 02 2020
What is the Best Way to Detox Your Dog & Cat?
Most likely, you have a general idea what toxins are. We often hear things described as being "toxic," and we understand that this is bad, potentially damaging, and perhaps poisonous. Toxins can cause, worsen, or accelerate many health problems in people and pets. But many of the toxins that can profoundly affect our own and our pets' health are hidden, and we may be unknowingly contributing to the load of toxins we and our pets have in their bodies. While toxins are bad for us, they can be even more devastating to our pets for several reasons.
First, pets are generally much smaller than we are, with smaller organs of elimination (e.g., liver, kidneys, lungs). When exposed to toxins, their bodies have to work much harder than ours do to eliminate them. Second, pets have a shorter life span. They don't have the luxury of time that we have for their bodies to eliminate toxins as gradually. Also, our pets can't talk to us to let us know when something in their food or their environment is making them feel sick. They can't switch their own food or decide to stop using a household cleaner that irritates their sinuses or lungs. Since we control our pets' environment, they rely on us 100% to reduce toxins they encounter.
So what can you do to minimize the toxins in your pets' lives and help them eliminate the toxic load they have in their bodies? Before tackling the specifics of how to help your pet with detoxification, lets take a brief look at what toxins are, where they come from, and how they affect cats and dogs.
Tracking Toxins in Your Dog & Cat
Toxins get into your pet through several means. Some get into your pet through accidental ingestion. Outdoor toxins like weed killers, pesticides, automotive exhaust & motor oil, and chemical road or sidewalk de-icers get into our pets when they breathe them in, eat chemical-laden grass, lick dust or residue off their paws or fur, or absorb them through their paws. Other environmental toxins arrive the same way from cleaners, air fresheners, laundry products and other chemicals used in the household. More toxins can be directly ingested in your pet's drinking water, in commercial food and treats, and in the over-the-counter or prescription medications they take. And finally, some toxins (e.g., ammonia) are produced within your pet's body, either through their own metabolic processes or by microbial activity, most often bacteria and/or yeast in the GI tract.
"Our pets' wild counterparts have very efficient toxin elimination systems that have developed over centuries to handle the natural toxins they encounter, but our domesticated pets are bombarded daily with an overwhelming number of toxins, most of which their bodies have not had enough evolutionary time to adapt to."
How Toxins Can Affect Your Dog & Cat
In a healthy body, toxins are rounded up and eliminated quickly through the organs of elimination (liver, kidneys, lungs, intestines, and skin). Our pets' wild counterparts have very efficient toxin elimination systems that have developed over centuries to handle the natural toxins they encounter, but our domesticated pets are bombarded daily with an overwhelming number of toxins, most of which their bodies have not had enough evolutionary time to adapt to. In the short run, our pets' bodies react to toxins as ours do - the immune system ramps up processes like inflammation, mucus production or diarrhea to help the immune system's army of cells resolve the problem and purge the offending "invaders" from the system.
When the body is overwhelmed with too many toxins, it is forced to store them until there is an opportunity to eliminate them at a better time. For many pets, the better time never arrives, and toxins can accumulate indefinitely, where over time they can cause symptoms like lethargy, fatigue, and/or proneness to infection. Ultimately toxic overload can impede the work of your pet's immune system to the point where cellular abnormalities like tumors and cysts may form, and other serious health conditions may develop as cells degrade and organ function is impaired.
The good news is that for most pets, their bodies are remarkably well-equipped to handle disease, eliminate a reasonable amount of toxins, and restore their own organs and body systems to health - with your help. When a natural diet with adequate nutrients, rest, exercise and joy are part of their daily experience, your pet may be capable of a level of health you never thought possible. Below are our suggestions, many of which can be found in these excellent books by top holistic veterinarians:
- The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care, by Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM
- The Nature of Animal Healing, by Martin Goldstein, DVM
- Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, by Richard Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, and Susan Hubble Pitcairn
Fifteen Steps to Detox Your Pet
Upgrade Your Dog's & Cat's Food & Treats
Improving the quality of your pet's diet is always the very best thing you can do to improve well-being and longevity. If you are still giving your pets any grocery store or pet store chain foods & treats, you are undoubtedly giving them a dose of chemical additives, artificial colors & flavors with every bite. Commercial food and treats have plenty of these toxic indigestible ingredients, along with poor quality proteins and fillers that tax your pet's digestion and increase the toxic load on their bodies. Choose natural food and treats, like those we offer at Only Natural Pet Store. We offer only the best in highly digestible, additive-free foods and treats.
Give Your Dog & Cat Filtered Water
While the water that flows through your household pipes may be technically "fit to drink," it contains enough toxic mineral and metal levels, chemicals like fluoride and chlorine, and even trace amounts of hormone-like compounds and other suspicious particulates to damage your pet's health. Your pets deserve better, and so do you. Water filtration units are readily available and you don't have to spend a lot to get a good one. It's well worth the investment - and after all, what's more valuable than the health of your companion?
Herbal Remedies for Your Pets
Nutrient supplements that contain "greens" and cleansing herbs can help your pet tremendously. Greens supplements add a wide variety of nutrients commonly missing from even the best pet foods, including full spectrum amino acids, chlorophyll, antioxidants, trace minerals, and essential fatty acids. Cleansing herbs each have unique properties that support the health of one or more organ systems in the body (See below for specifics). We offer many excellent greens and cleansing herb supplements.
Eliminate Household Chemicals
Besides the obvious chemicals in bug killers, cleaning products and solvents, beware of those found in perfumes, air fresheners, scented plug-ins, laundry products and even dryer sheets! These are laden with chemicals typically unregulated & untested by US health protection agencies, and many of them are known to cause or worsen respiratory conditions like asthma in people and pets. Look for 100% natural cleaning products, or make your own. There are many resources online for making effective cleaning products from ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. Some non-toxic stain and odor removal products we carry include: Only Natural Pet Stain & Odor Remover and Earth Friendly Pet Stain & Odor Remover.
Exercise Every Day with Your Pet
Your pet needs exercise as much as you do, and a daily workout has many benefits for your pet's organs of elimination. Exercise improves the movement of waste materials through the digestive tract, and thereby reduces the toxic effects of a too-sluggish bowel. Exercise also improves circulation of blood and lymph fluid, your pet's two primary means of moving micro-toxins and cellular debris through the body for elimination. Finally, exercise improves respiration and helps your pet remove excess mucus from the respiratory tract. Don't let a dog's bad walking behavior or a cat's boredom prevent you from giving your pets the exercise they need. A walking harness or head collar can help curb dogs' pulling tendencies, making walks easier. An outdoor walking harness for kitties allows safe outdoor exercise, and some interactive toys will keep your kitty's muscles toned from "hunting prey."
Improve Air Quality
Indoor air pollution can come from household chemicals (see #4 above), and it should be well understood that pets are affected by the toxins in cigarette and cigar smoke. Toxins in the air also come from gaseous chemicals emanating from new synthetic household items like flooring, carpeting, and furniture. If you have new household items that are giving off that tell-tale "new" smell, be sure to keep these areas of the house well-ventilated, keep pets off and out of these areas and consider using window fans or leaving windows open for some fresh air while the items are exuding high levels of chemical residues. Use bathroom fans to reduce chemical residues from spray-on cosmetic items like hair spray and perfume.
Minimize Your Pet's Exposure to Outdoor Pollutants & Chemicals
Pets that spend time outdoors will undoubtedly encounter chemicals used for pest control, weed killers, fertilizers and more. If your dog likes to munch on grass or other plants, keep a close eye on them when you are walking near neighbors' yards and in public places like parks, where use of chemicals is common. Adding greens to the diet may help curb this tendency in both cats and dogs (See #3 above). For cats, a great solution is the SmartCat Kitty Garden, which lets you grow a healthy assortment of grasses free of contaminants.
Keep Conventional Meds for Your Pet in Check
Toxic compounds are plentiful in conventional flea and tick products, heartworm medications, and many conventional drugs, including vaccines. While chemical treatments and conventional medications may be needed, it pays to be mindful of the frequency of dosing, and to look for natural alternatives when they are appropriate for your pet. We offer many natural flea and tick control products, as well as natural remedies for common pet health conditions that may offer safer alternatives to their conventional counterparts - check with your vet about natural remedies that may be of benefit. We also suggest that you carefully consider the misguided notion that every pet requires annual boosters for vaccines. Please see our article, " What You Need to Know About Vaccinations," for more information on this critical topic.
Support Your Pet's Liver
Your pet's liver does the lion's share of elimination of toxins. Antioxidants can assist the liver in this process, and many detoxification remedies have herbs like milk thistle that can be of great value to your pet's liver. While young healthy pets are unlikely to require daily liver support, older pets and those taking medications may benefit from regular use of liver support products. As always, consult with a holistic vet to determine whether and how liver-supporting remedies may be of benefit to your companion. Read more about liver support in our article, " Taking Care of the Liver," by our consulting holistic veterinarian, Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM.
Provide Immune Support for Your Pet
Take Care of Your Pet's Skin & Coat
Cats and dogs eliminate toxins through their skin, and a regular brushing regimen will help your pet's skin "breathe" and facilitate this process. Regular grooming also removes dust and debris that may contain toxic residue, so your pet ingests fewer toxins when they groom themselves if you are brushing their coat regularly. For dogs especially, consider the quality of the bath products you use, and choose natural grooming products that skip the toxic ingredients so your pet absorbs fewer toxins through the skin at bath time. We offer many natural skin health products and natural shampoo & bath products that support healthy skin.
Support Your Pet's Healthy Digestion
Most of the toxins your pet's body eliminates pass through the colon, and a healthy digestive system keeps toxins moving through before they can damage the intestinal walls and/or be reabsorbed. A sluggish bowel, or alternately, an irritated one (which may be present with chronic diarrhea) suggests that the microbe balance may be out of kilter, which complicates elimination of toxins. With constipation, toxic materials can be released back into your pet's bloodstream before they pass through. Microbes out of balance (for example bacteria and yeast) can produce their own toxins. Products designed to help your pet's digestion contain probiotics, enzymes, or complete gastrointestinal support formulas that contain both.
Support Your Pet's Kidneys
The simplest thing you can do to support the kidneys of a healthy cat or dog is to ensure that they are drinking an ample amount of filtered water every day. Toxins excreted through the kidneys become highly concentrated in chronically dehydrated pets, and can damage the tiny structures in the kidneys' filtration system. Likewise, mineral particles can form when urine is highly concentrated. This may result in the formation of crystals or stones that can cause blockages and/or irritation to urinary tract structures, which in turn may set the stage for recurrent infections that may damage kidneys. If your pet doesn't much drink water, consider a pet fountain (See #2 above), and provide more liquids with meals by adding broth or water and canned food to provide extra moisture. For pets with urinary tract issues, consider remedies for urinary tract and/or kidney support.
Keep It Clean
Studies show that the home environment generally has far worse air quality than the outdoors. Much of the toxic material found in our homes, however, blows into our houses from dust and outdoor pollutants. Keeping your home free of dust with regular dusting and vacuuming can greatly reduce the toxic particulate matter that pets end up ingesting. Another place to be strict with cleaning is your pet's food and water bowls. Change water daily and wash your pet's bowls, as dust and germs accumulate here in abundance.
Gently Detox Your Pet with Herbs & Homeopathics
Because our pets live with us and ingest many toxins in our shared environment, even the healthiest cats and dogs can benefit from regular intervals of gentle detoxification. We carry several excellent pet detoxification formulas with herbs like milk thistle, red clover, dandelion, and astragalus that can support your pet's organs and help them eliminate stored toxins.
Keep in mind that as the body is eliminating toxins, it is not unusual for there to be a brief "healing crisis," in which a cat or dog may develop symptoms like a runny nose or changes in bowel function or appetite. Such symptoms should subside in a few days. As always, observe your pet closely when you administer any remedy, stop any remedy if symptoms develop that concern you, and consult with a holistic veterinarian for appropriate guidance. Please see our article, " Administering Remedies to Your Companion," for additional suggestions.
Euthanasia Due to Behavior Problems
Some owners consider euthanasia because of uncontrollable behavior problems in their dogs. While the majority of behavior problems can eventually be managed, there are some cases where euthanasia is the necessary choice. However, euthanasia should be a last resort. Seek the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist before making a permanent and irreversible decision that might be regretted. An experienced professional can help you determine if the behavior can be modified, or if euthanasia is the most humane and ethical option.