Christmas with the Older Dog


As the festive season is upon us, plans are being made for family and friends, but how much do we need to think about our canine friends.

Although some dogs can relish and enjoy the excitement of Christmas and all it brings, many dogs do not. Now is the time to consider your dog and how they will cope with the festivities to come. Older or infirm dogs have different needs and considerations. They may have pain, reduced mobility or impaired senses. These can reduce the tolerance for changes and cause distress or anxiety.


  • The decorations are up! and often furniture gets moved around to allow for the tree. Dogs eyesight can deteriorate as they age and they will have a mental map of their some and immediate surroundings. Try to make changes to the outlay of the home minimal and keep the floor as clear as possible so there are less obstacles to navigate


  • Visitors, human and animal. With friends and family traveling to see you they may bring their own pets with them. Your dog may not appreciate this, especially if they are not used to having other pets in the house. Allow space for both pets to get away from each other. Utilise baby gates, crates and breaks from each other. With all the other fuss going on, don’t expect a usually sociable dog to welcome another into it’s home. The extra stress of the season may heighten anxiety and create behaviour changes. A dog that is not used to noise or young children for example may be frightened. Ensure quiet time and try to keep fuss to a minimum – it’s their home too


  • Travelling – if you are the one travelling with your dog, ensure there is a safe, comfortable area for them to reside in the vehicle. A firm memory foam mattress is ideal for the boot, and a non slip surface if they are on the back seat. Lifting in and out of the car can help avoid arthritis flare ups. Ensure there are comfort breaks on long journeys. Familiar bedding from home would also be appreciated


  • All the food! – With the extra food around at Christmas, try not to adapt their diet too much. A few extra’s here and there are to be expected, but foreign foods can often cause tummy upsets which is less than ideal if you are travelling or visiting. Try to stick to the same feeding routine and food best you can. Don’t forget about the Christmas foods that are toxic to dogs. If in doubt…leave it out!


  • Routine routine routine – as dogs age they thrive on a daily routine. You hay have noticed your older dog knows exactly when feeding time is and may put themselves to bed! Their tolerance for change reduces so try to ensure their routine is stuck to as much as possible to reduce distress


  • Exercise – again with their routine, they will be used to a certain amount of exercise. During the holidays this often changes. Dogs that suffer with arthritis need little and often exercise, a big beach walk on Christmas morning may sound romantic but it could be detrimental to your dogs condition. On a cold day also consider a coat to help keep the muscles and joints warm

Christmas should be an enjoyable time for all so while considering all of the above, both human and animal can have a pleasant experience.

Rebecca Wilkinson RVN NCert(AnBeh) ICH

Laser Treatment – A Game Changer for Arthritis

Lasers have been used for many years in many different formats, intensity and wavelengths. Class 3 and 4 lasers are used medically and can penetrate cells of the body to create a chemical reaction called photobiomodulation.

This process of using carefully created medical lasers helps relieve pain by releasing endorphins, stimulating injured cells to regenerate, increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation. There is a lot of evidence in human medicine that it can reduce chronic pain, as well as reduce joint inflammation and promote healing. There are few studies yet confirming this same effect in dogs, but it is now a well recognised treatment option for conditions such as wounds, arthritis, muscle strains and sprains and pain

In this simple treatment, a laser wand is used on the affected arthritic area. As the light is emitted across your pet, they often enjoy the experience. The laser gives a warm, comforting sensation and can potentially give instant relief.

A hand-held wand delivers the treatment (goggles protect the eyes of practitioners and patients) and the dosage is applied with a sweeping motion or by using back-and-forth movements as though following a grid while treating one small area at a time. Ideally the pet is sat or laid down on a comfortable mat.


  • What about the other medications my pet is on?

Laser can be used safely alongside any other medications. You may even find pain medication can be reduced once the effects of the Laser kick in

  • How do I know if my pet is in pain?

Pets don’t show pain symptoms like we do, they rarely cry out or moan. Some signs to look out for are lameness/limping, changes of behaviour and/or appetite, difficulty settling, and changes in body posture. If in any doubt please see you vet.

  • Does my pet have to be shaved?

No, the laser can be used over the coat. Different setting are used for different coat thicknesses and colour to apply the correct dose

  • How long will a session take?

This depends on the size of the pet, coat type, areas treated and dosing. It can be between 5 minutes for a small wound to 45 minutes for a large dog with multiple areas to treat

  • Will my pet insurance pay for it?

Most pet insurance companies will pay out for Laser but check your policy before booking


Laser treatment is often started with 2-3 weekly sessions then dropping in frequency as the patient responds. Many patients can then be ‘maintained’ less frequently to maintain the results.

Each patient will be assessed and a treatment plan will be created to achieve the best results. Laser should only be carried out by a Vet, RVN or trained animal therapist

Contact us today to book in 


Veterinary Acupuncture now on site

We are pleased to have the fantastic Jody Lam MA, Vet MB, MRCVS on board with us one day a week offering Acupuncture.

Veterinary acupuncture has evolved from the ancient art of placing needles into particular locations on the body in order to alleviate pain, improve recovery rates and increase resistance to disease. It has been practiced by the Chinese and other Eastern cultures for thousands of years and may be used to treat a wide variety of illnesses in both people and animals.

Pain is the most common indication for acupuncture, particularly chronic pain such as arthritis, but it can be very useful for muscular strains and spinal problems too.

This maybe a service offered by your own vet, but if not give Jody a call or a message. She is currently working from Operation K9 one day a week.

Check out Jody’s page here;

Operation K9 - Canine Hydrotherapy North Yorkshire Arthritis

Canine Arthritis Management

A non-profit organisation run by vets, nurses and rehab professionals. Their passion is to educate owners and colleagues on the disease to help dogs live a longer, healthier life free from pain.

An excellent source of information from signs and symptoms to treatment options and end of life care.

Learn about how to adapt your home to suit your dog’s condition and other tips and advice from dedicated professionals

Rebecca has completed her “CAMAdvocate” Level 1 and is working towards her Practitioner course.

Visit their website here

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