NorthStar Pet: Keeping Pets Young

Eddie is an Otter who lives at the Oregon Zoo. He's is a senior (an orphaned pup who is now 15 years old), and his veterinarian noticed some arthritis starting to appear in his elbows. The vet suggested activity to help Eddie's joints, so, Jenny DeGroot, the zoo's lead otter keeper, decided to try... basketball!

'"We had to get creative," DeGroot explained. "There aren't many natural opportunities for Eddie to work those arthritic elbow joints, because sea otters don't use their front limbs to swim — they swim by moving their back legs and flippers. So training him with the basketball hoop was a way to get Eddie using those front limbs more regularly."'

Eddie took to shooting hoops in less than a week!

Eddie sets a great example not only for us, but also for helping our pets stay active and fit into their senior years.

In my pet sitting visits, my senior clients face the natural aging process along with arthritis and joint issues, cancer, and weight concerns.

Utilizing creativity and integrated care, you can take conscious steps from the time your pets are puppies and kittens to lay the groundwork for happy senior years.

And, no matter how old your pet is, you can start today with mind and body enrichment activity that is appropriate to their age and physical condition.

There are a myriad of enrichment resources that include regular walks, jogging, dog parks and beaches, play informed by a pet's nature, brushing and petting, agility activities, massage, reiki, accupuncture, chiropractic, swimming, and hydrotherapy.

Along with love, lifelong good habits, supplements, socialization, nutrition, and activity are ingredients of a long, happy life.

(Any rumors that Eddie is being scouted by the Trail Blazers are unsubstantiated!)

Learn more:

Senior Dog Blog - Alternative Therapies

Cesar Millan - Alternative Therapies

Cesar Millan - Keeping Your Dog Active

PetEducation - Normal Aging in Cats

Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo