Everyone loves a puppy...

So, what do you do to take care of man’s best friend when he starts getting old?

Our beloved German Shepherd cross Briard, Guss, is now twelve years old and has had for some time arthritis in his hips. So, what can you do to help to minimise your dog's pain and keep him going? As our dog comes just about everywhere with me the first thing I did was to buy a dog ramp to help him get in and out of the car. He used to be able to leap in and out the back of our 4x4 but one day I noticed he was struggling. It’s not just a case of showing the ramp to the dog and hoping it will run up. You need to spend some time training.

Firstly, lay the ramp on the ground, put the dog on the lead and walk it across it. Of course, give the dog a treat once it does it correctly. After a day or two, put a few books underneath one end of the ramp so you create an incline. That will then lead you to being able to get your dog into the car quite easily, though it helps if it takes a bit of a run up and you go alongside your dog.
Now when your dog gets in and out of the car there is much less impact on the dog’s joints than when it was jumping off and onto the hard ground.

Secondly, there is an amazing product on the market called Librela, which targets your dog’s arthritis and reduces pain. It does, however, need to be administered by your vet. The change in your dog can be almost instant and amazing. In no time at all, Guss was climbing back up the stairs as he did when he was a puppy. The cost is around ninety-five euros per injection and is usually given once a month for the first three months and then you can monitor the progress yourself. Currently, Guss has an injection every two months. Finally, diet is all important. My vet prescribed Hill’s Metabolic and Mobility croquettes. Not only do they help with Guss’s articulation, but they are also great for weight control. I add some wet dog food to the croquettes as he’s never been used to or enjoyed just dry food. Exercise, though nothing too strenuous, is important too and if your dog likes to swim, so much the better. With the combination of these three things and, of course, a lot of love and attention, your dog couldn’t ask for more.

With a car ramp, the right diet and a lot of love, your dog can live its life to the full...

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