Caring For An Older Pet- Part 3 April 6, 2016 00:27

Age-related ailments

Welcome to Part 3 of Caring For An Older Pet. In this blog, we focus on those ailments and conditions are are often associated, or even 'expected' or explained by old age. Jamie does not believe or focus on the 'inevitability' of these conditions: instead we look at how they can be treated and managed. 


It can be a shock when you realise that your pet is blind or is going blind. Hardening of the retina is part of the aging process and will eventually result in blindness. Cataracts can cause blindness but surgery may restore sight.

Unless your pet has been in an accident, the chances are that they lost their sight gradually. Your pet has adjusted in the same manner- gradually. They may even be blind before you notice. 

Scent is a dog's 'number one' sense. They use it to identify home, family and other pets; familiar and unfamiliar visitors; to negotiate space, to navigate and to orientate; to know what to eat; and to isolate danger. Their sense of smell is much more powerful than our own. When they lose another sense, such as sight, their sense of smell becomes even stronger.

Sight is a dog's weaker sense. When their sight is fading, they lose the ability to see detail. For example, when you are walking, they may not see curbs, unexpected bumps or cracks in the pavement. That means that you need to walk your dog on a leash and be on the look-out for danger.

A dog may still see 'moving targets' (possibly related to their hunting ancestry). If you are in a park and you call your dog but they can not see you, wave your arms and jump about - they may be able to see you then. Gradually though, this ability may also diminish.

Blindness changes the way your dog walks. They will slow right down. It's a simple case of self-preservation: the slower they go, the less likely they are to have an accident, or at least a serious one. They may also muzzle more to find out what's ahead, or to ascertain the size and shape of objects (such as trees).

Be Tactile

It's a good idea to touch your pet more when they are losing their sight. Approach them slowly and touch them so that they know you are there. Tactile communication crosses other sensory barriers - they may not be able to see or even hear you, but hey still know a loving touch or pat.

Make Life Easier

It's up to you to make life easier and safer for your older pet. It's the same as living with a blind person - don't change the furniture around or move their water or food dishes. If you are messy or untidy - this is your chance to reform! Don't leave objects lying around and don't allow visitors (keep an eye on young children or toddlers) to come in and dump their bags all over the place. Keep walkways clear. Don't leave chairs pulled out. Blind or partially blind pets may still be sensitive to space and light, so don't keep them in the dark. Light sensitivity helps them to orientate and navigate. It also gives them more confidence.

You probably don't need to rearrange your whole house - as we've said, your pet probably lost their sight gradually and has already learnt to climb and descend stairs. Beware though, of pools and ponds - you will need to put up barriers and gates. The same applies to pits, ditches or holes. If you are renovating, you can help them to orientate by walking them around on a leash (cats too).

If your pet is blind, use common sense and change your expectations of them. Let them slow down. Let them tell you what they can do. You are now 'their eyes' and you need to watch out for them.


Cats, even more so then dogs, will make their own adjustments to blindness. The common-sense approach to living with blindness also applies to cats. You may find that your cat will stay closer to home, remain on ground level or stay closer to family than previously. Encourage this type of behaviour or natural adjustment.

Natural Supplements

Eyebright, a herb in tablet form, can help your pet when they are going blind. It will sharpen the sight they do have and slow-down deterioration. Antioxidants will also help, but again, a diet with vegetables, particularly carrots and garlic, will assist greatly. Room temperature* chamomile tea (fresh, organic) squirted into eyes with a syringe will relieve sore, watery, itchy or bloodshot eyes.

*Make the tea and strain well. Put in the fridge until cold. Then stand tea at room temperature. Make sure syringe is sterilised before use. Approach from the side and put tea in the eye gently. Don't frighten your pet. 

Other possible causes to blindness

If your pet's blindness is not gradual, you need to determine other factors or causes. They may have had an accident, in which case you need professional help- preferably from an eye specialist- as to what damage has been done and what surgical options are available.

There are other diseases and causes which may need primary treatment, such as stroke, epilepsy or even brain tumor or another neurological problem. Be suspicious if you notice sudden or obvious disorientation, glazed eyes or navigation-spatial distress. These are not age-related and need urgent diagnosis and attention.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

It is interesting to note that in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the eyes are connected to the liver. If your pet seems to have lost sight suddenly, or has unusual eye irritations (e.g., eyes that are itchy, watery, glazed, dull, bloodshot or have a 'pussy' discharge) coupled with other symptoms of a liver problem (e.g., loss of appetite, diarrhoea, vomiting, increased thirst, incontinence) you should seek professional help.


Hearing loss

Unless your pet has been in an accident, they have probably lost their hearing gradually. Gradual deterioration allows both of you to adjust and to find ways to compensate for your pet's disability.

You need to be observant. Does your pet have better hearing on one side than the other? If so, approach or make noises to attract their attention from the good side. You may also find that they are more sensitive to certain noises, usually sounds that are higher pitched. For example, my dog Jamie, could always hear the clicking of my fingers and would approach immediately, but would not always hear my voice. You can try changing the tone or pitch of your call or whistle, or even use a commercial whistle to call or get their attention.

Adjusting to loss of hearing is very similar to managing blindness. Use your common sense and change you expectations. If an obedient pet suddenly doesn't respond, don't get worked up about it and lose your temper - quite simply, they can't hear you. Instead of yelling and making sounds, go up to them. Be tactile rather than vocal in your praise.

Depending on your pet and your relationship with them, you may try telepathy. Before you shun this idea, think about how animals do communicate and their heightened sense of intuition. How many times have you heard pet owners say, 'He knows exactly what I am thinking'. That's all it is, an understanding without words. In my experience (as well as in mythology) cats and animals to whom you are particularly close, are telepathic to the point of being psychic. Give it a go. Work at it. Watch The Horse Whisperer. Take one of Jamie's channeling courses and ask for the focus of your study to be on communicating with animals. You are simply being asked to develop other ways to communicate with your best friend than conventional vocal ways.

The most important factor to consider with hearing loss, blindness, or other age-related ailments or disabilities is your pet's safety. Encourage cats to stay closer to home (even more important for city felines as the chances of traffic accidents increases with hearing loss). Give them cosy spots around the house, which they generally prefer to romping around city streets and roof tops. Enrich your with garden fragrant-appeal by introducing herbs or scents that cats love, such as cat nip and lavender. Keep dogs on leashes when walking on streets or crossing roads, and keep an eye on them at all times - they may not hear sudden noises that they would have previously interpreted as dangerous.

You need to make visitors and other people aware of your pet's disability and how to compensate for it. Jamie and I traveled to the High Country in Victoria. One of the cattlemen was demonstrating whip-cracking and aimed the whip at Jamie. Horrified, I grabbed Jamie and pulled him away. The cattleman was surprised, 'He would have jumped,' he said. 'No, he wouldn't, he can't hear that.' The cattleman had no idea that Jamie was 16 years old and 70% deaf. That's the sort of danger and unthinking behaviour of others of which you need to be aware- be on your game.



Arthritis is often seen as part and parcel of old age. In fact, there are simple ways to prevent and to control arthritis. 

Exercise Common Sense

You may need to change the way you exercise your dog. Some arthritic dogs improve with exercise, and others may worsen. You may find that two to three short walks a day are better than one long one. Note what time of the day your pet is worse: for example, if your dog is stiff in the mornings and improves with exercise, take them for a SHORT walk in the morning. Observe, too, how their arthritis is affected by temperature. Most are worse in cold weather. A short work when it is cooler is probably best. However, try to ascertain their threshold. If it is too cold, wait until the weather improves or give a gently rub-down instead. Keep arthritic cats warm and cosy. 


For dogs that are worse with exercise, you should consider a gentle rub-down or massage instead. The worst thing you can do is risk an accident by forcing a previous exercise routine on them. Massage for an arthritic cat is also the best way to go. Massage also helps you to notice changes in their condition, e.g., painful spots, shifting pain, inflammation and so forth. This information is invaluable to your natural,therapist or homoeopath. Jamie also recommends aromatherapy massage. Jamie makes two types of oils: Arnica and Lavender Oil is for muscle tension and soreness, and Loosen Up is for arthritis. Loosen Up is a blend of homoeopathics, Jamie vibrational essences and essential oils of rosemary, lavender and chamomile. It relieves discomfort and pain and is relaxing. If however, your pet has high blood pressure or epilepsy, opt instead for Arnica and Lavender Oil or let us know via email and we can custom-make an arthritis oil for your best friend. (Check out

How to Massage

Simply pour a little oil in your cupped hand and gently rub onto your pet's problem area. Of course, absorption is not as quick for long-haired pets, but it is effective nevertheless. Don't use a massage oil that is made for people - the dilution is too strong. Jamie pet-care massage oils are made to a safe pet dilution. Of course, you can use a cold-pressed virgin vegetable oil for pet massage, but Jamie oils have the added therapeutic benefit of Bach flowers and our own vibrational essences, homoeopathics, herbal-infused oils such as arnica (for shock, muscle-building and pain relief) and A-grade practitioner-quality essential oils.

Herbs and Vitamin Supplements

Rosemary and ginger are the herbs of benefit for arthritis and muscle conditions. Add a little rosemary to your pet's dinner (or add it to the rice, finely chopped). If, however, your pet has epilepsy, rosemary should be avoided. Ginger is very strong so use it conservatively.

Celery seed tablets are very effective, particularly in the early or mid stages. Give half the dosage required for people and administer daily in your pet's food (half every second day for cats or toy/small breeds). Celery seed needs to get into your pet's system, so may take about a month to become effective for small or medium-sized pets, or up to six weeks for larger dogs.

There are a lot of successful (but often expensive) arthritis supplements on the market. Basically, you are looking for one with either shark cartilage or other crustacean additives. Jamie favours these types of treatment because you can make it just part of daily meals and they are simply to manage. 

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture is extremely effective for arthritis and musculoskeletal deterioration. At least it relieves pain and discomfort. In doing so, it also eases your pet's emotional irritation and frustration and gives them more energy and movement. Depending on your pet's condition, acupuncture could be ongoing, or a short course may be all that is required. When you take you pet for acupuncture, notice the points or areas being treated. You can work on those same areas when you massage your pet at home. Acupuncture is an ideal accompaniment to homoeopathy, energy healing or a naturopathic treatments.


Homoeopathic treatment for arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions is extremely successful. Homeopathy matches your pet's symptom picture with a suitable remedy. That means that remedies are individualised to suit your pet's own emotional needs and personality. That is why it is advisable to consult with an animal homoeopath, rather than to attempt to find a suitable homoeopathic remedy yourself. Homoeopathy can nip arthritis in the bud or provide safe, ongoing treatment for chronic or advanced cases.


Urinary System

Failure of the urinary system, such as cystitis, kidney failure and Feline Urolithiasis Syndrome (FUS) are especially common in cats. You need to carefully observe older pets for early warning signs. If you are consulting a conventional vet, we URGE you to seek a second opinion from a homoeopath, natural animal therapist or energy healer before accepting a gloomy prognosis. There are options, especially if you detect signs early.


Symptoms include incontinence, more frequent urination, unusual, painful or bloody discharge and increased thirst. You need to consult a professional for an expert diagnosis and treatment.

You can assist primary treatment by giving your cat spring, distilled or filtered water- and plenty of it. Massage oils including juniperberry, ylang ylang and sandalwood can be used for a gentle rub-down. Those same essential oils may be used in a burner. Appropriate dietary supplements include Vitamin C and hops. It is important that you feed your cat an all-natural diet, as described under 'Food and Nutrition' (Part 1). Cats which have kidney and urinary conditions should be fed organic produce to give them every chance of a quick and permanent recovery. Bach flower essences and Jamie vibrational essences should also be used to treat shock, pain, and to balance emotions that may be causing or impacting on the disease. These essences change the 'energy of disease' and hasten recovery.


Tiny mineral crystals form in the urine, causing irritation that can cause a cystitis attack. The crystals form in the urethra, making it difficult or impossible for your cat to urinate. The condition requires urgent medical attention.

Symptoms are the same as for cystitis and kidney failure, along with abdominal pain or discomfort and unsuccessful attempts to pass urine.

An all-natural diet and spring water (or filtered or distilled) is essential. Star fruit may also be added to meals. Crabapple Bach flower essence is advised when your cat is leaking urine. Homoeopathy also presents many options.


Kidney Disease

Kidney disease can be acute or chronic. In an older pet, the kidneys may begin to wear out, or their more fragile immune system may attract infections more easily. Early detection and treatment is essential. It is imperative to change to an all-natural diet.

Symptoms are the same as for cystitis and FUS, as well as weight loss, lack of appetite and loss of energy. In more advanced cases, vomiting, dehydration and oedema may manifest.

Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends watermelon peel as a food additive. Olive, a Bach flower essence, is excellent to promote 'will to live', 'peace of mind' and alleviates weakness. Again, homoeopathy provides many options but professional treatment must be sought for full constitutional remedy solutions.


Liver Conditions or Diseases

Liver conditions and diseases are numerous and various- they range from hepatitis to food poisoning to cancer. Again, professional assistance must be sought for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. We do urge you however, to seek a second opinion from a natural, alternative or energetic professional before you accept a poor prognosis from a conventional vet. The reason that natural and alternative therapies provides alternatives is because they treat your pet as an individual rather than isolating a single, diseased organ which appears doomed. Energy medicine takes it one step further and treats and shifts emotional and spiritual causes to disease or even addresses the impact of owner issues that your pet may have tried to shift. You can read more about the energetic approach under Vibrational Balancing of this website and in Part 4 of this series (to be published end of April).

Livers are unique. They have the ability to regenerate- often very quickly. Pets (and people) can function adequately on 20% of their liver. That is why or is difficult to detect early warning signs. Watch your older pet: if you detect ANY sign of liver dysfunction- incontinence, loss of appetite, increased thirst, frequent urination, vomiting, increased body temperature or an inability to control temperature, loss of balance, disorientation, disturbed sleep or insomnia or even fits- seek immediate help. If you are considered paranoid or even 'batty', search for someone working in natural, alternative or energetic therapies for healing and assistance. 

An all-natural diet (preferably organic) is essential for any pet with a liver condition. Remove all fat from their diet (this includes bones and red meat) and trim cooked chicken. Feed your pet small meals, often (up to 6 x a day). Add Vitamin B, tofu for extra protein, and calcium. Olive and Rescue Remedy are good Bach flower essences to start with, but change the remedies as your pet's condition improves (see Bach Flower essences and Part 4 of this series).

Custom-made massage oils from Jamie can also be made for your pet. Massage also relieves stress and liver pain and helps you to bond and really understand how you pet is responding to treatment. Acupuncture or acupressure are excellent supports for your chosen therapy; and rosemary, juniperberry, lavender and grapefruit are good essential oils for your household burner.


Part 4 of this series looks at Natural, Alternative and Energetic Therapies and Treatments For Your Older Pet. It is due for publication at the end of April 2016. If you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to email Donna on or phone 0402 161868. Our Vibrational Balancing healing consultancy is offered to animals and pets as well as people, either as an 1-1 consultation or as a Distant Healing.