At Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary, we believe that animals are great teachers of unconditional love. Sanctuary educational programs provide a better understanding and appreciation of the aging process in our animal companions. KSAS also offers workshops in how to provide special care for senior companion animals.
Learn More about Kindred Spirits Wellness Program.
The concepts of eldercare and hospice are relatively new as applied to companion and domestic animals. Elderly animals are frequently neglected, abandoned or euthanized before their time. The attitude that animals are 'disposable' when they reach their senior years permeates much of American society. KSAS strives to create positive changes in attitude and behavior towards older animals through example here at the sanctuary, as well as through outreach programs to educate our community.
The long-term mission of KSAS is to provide education and support to empower people to care for their elderly animal companions at home. Aging is a natural stage in the cycle of life. The development of positive attitudes and greater understanding of aging benefits not only our elderly animal population, but people, too. Each year, Kindred Spirits holds Spring and Fall Open Houses. During these events, veterinarians and other practitioners present free talks on topics related to senior dog care. Past presentations have focused on wellness care, nutrition, chiropractic treatment, body work, homeopathic medicine, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and animal communication.
KSAS also offers more in-depth workshops on end-of-life and hospice care for dogs, estate planning for your pet, and other subjects of interest to pet guardians. Go to the Events page for details about Open Houses, workshops and other special events.
Nutrition and Supplements
For our Summer 2011 newsletter, we asked Mary Anne Schadler, DVM, to comment on the importance of good nutrition and supplements. Space did not permit us to publish her entire answer, so we have included an excerpt here:
“By far the most important factor in the health of your pet, from youth through old age, is the nutrition you provide for them. We are all aware of the huge health impact poor nutrition is having on humans in our culture and the same is true for animals. Nutrition can actually prevent, treat, and manage many diseases.
“Providing a homemade “stew” made with fresh, wholesome ingredients (such as ‘Salvador’s Stew’ fed to senior dogs at Kindred Spirits) as one-third of your pet’s diet along with a HIGH QUALITY commercial diet will provide huge health benefits. I challenge everyone to try this for one to two months and observe the positive changes in your animals. Senior animals in particular benefit from improved nutrition because their ability to digest, absorb, and utilize nutrients decreases while their health challenges increase.
“As for supplements, you CANNOT make up for poor nutrition with supplements, and may actually create health problems. I recommend essential fatty acids (from fish oil, flax oil, borage oil, or evening primrose oil), probiotics or a probiotic/digestive enzyme combination, and Standard Process Whole Body Support for all animals. Other supplements should be based on health challenges in each individual animal and implemented only with consideration of the entire nutritional and medical treatment picture for that individual. Be observant of your animal, change one thing at a time and if it is not helping after a few weeks or if the situation changes, re-evaluate!“I recommend Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health Care for Dogs and Cats, Homeopathic Care for Cats & Dogs by Don Hamilton, DVM, and The Natural Cat by Anitra Frazier for a new, healthier perspective on feeding and caring for our pets.”
Keeping Pets Safe from Chemicals
Senior dogs have sensitive immune systems. Help keep your dog healthy by choosing earth-friendly, non-toxic cleaning, lawn and yard products. Be especially careful about products used to clean floors, carpet and upholstery, since your dog probably spends most of his or her time on the floor or on furniture. Products used in your yard such as weed and bug killers, fertilizers and certain types of mulch may be poisonous to pets. Read labels carefully before you buy, and choose products without toxic or caustic ingredients. For cleaning, try non-toxic enzyme-based products or good old-fashioned white vinegar and baking soda. You can prevent many health problems by avoiding products that may harm your furry (and non-furry) family members, as well as our earth
Helping Lost Pets Find Their Way Home
Most people have heard of holiday hazards to your pet like poisonous poinsettia and chocolate. But one danger you don’t hear as much about is the very real risk of your pet slipping out the door when holiday visitors arrive or packages are delivered. The best holiday gift you can give your animal companion is a collar and ID tag with your pet’s name, address and phone number. Any time of year, it’s important that your pet wear a collar and ID tag with your current address and phone number in case he or she becomes lost. In addition to an ID tag, micro-chipping is a permanent way to identify lost pets and help them find their way home, even if they lose their collar and ID tag. During this simple, inexpensive procedure, a tiny microchip with identifying information is implanted just under your pet’s skin. Most shelters and many veterinary clinics scan for microchips, so your pet can be returned to you if he or she is lost and taken to a shelter or vet clinic.