Are your elder animals warm and cozy?
As animals and people age, our ability to regulate body temperature can decrease. Adaptability to varying temperature is not as strong.
Colder temperatures cause constriction, which slows down circulation, and tightens muscles.
Decreases in circulation can show up as aches, pains in joints or
muscles like arthritis, and overall weakness.
Keeping track of the temperature inside the house with your elder dogs and cats so you can make needed adjustments will help your elder animals feel cozy and be more at ease.
Remember that dogs and cats are usually close to the floor, and drafts may be happening in places that you didn’t think about before. You can kneel or lay down in their favorite spots just to make sure. You may be surprised at finding drafts from a door or window in seemingly unlikely spots.
For horses, these cold nights we’ve been having in Virginia have been a sudden temperature drop. Ibis, my 31 yr. old horse was pretty grumpy that first night when I went out to feed breakfast and it had frosted. I had forgotten to put a blanket on him that night, and he let me know his displeasure. In his younger years, he rarely needed a blanket. But these days, he is MUCH happier when his back is being kept warm on those very brisk nights. He is back to giving those big nickers for breakfast and meeting me at the fence. Love those nickers that comes from a happy horse!
“Staying seventy percent warm, seventy percent satisfied with food,
eating lots of root vegetables…will make you strong and healthy.”
~ Chinese Countryside Proverb
You too may have been seeing the effects of colder temperatures in your elder cat, dog or horse who has become:
- Grumpy or irritable when approached, handled, stroked or brushed
- Less inclined to interact with other animals in the house or barn
- More isolated, and wants time alone
- Shaking and trembling (this could also be anxiety, blood sugar, or other related)
For Cats and Dogs, keeping their backs warm can be key to staying more stable. Making sure they have a cozy bed, a blanket they can snuggle into, or even some clothes can go a long way to helping them maintain their body temperature as they age. Cold can easily seep deep into our bodies and bones and create even more stress for our immune system and organ function which is often already compromised in elder years.
Warming foods, or at least having them be room temperature is also very helpful. Think of how great a hot cup of tea feels as it moves its way into your body, and helps to warm you up on a cold or damp day or night.
A little bit of exercise can help, just enough to get thing moving, but not enough to overheat.
Using Ear TTouches can also help to balance body temperature. Stroking around the base of the ear, and then stroking from the base of the are all the way to the tip has been shown to help bring body temperature back into balance if you are too cold or too hot.
Watch this video of Sandy explaining how to use Ear TTouches:
Ear TTouches can also help with digestion, respiration, decreasing stress and anxiety, aiding immune function and even can help with prevent and bring someone out of shock. The video describes using this TTouch for anxiety, but they have many uses, including warming up body temperature. Try this out with your own dogs, cats and horses — even for yourself!
Through private sessions, coaching, classes, articles, workshops and speaking events, Sandy offers empowerment and insights to awaken women who love animals to their natural gifts. She has developed a synthesis of unique approaches to help women: Learn What Their Animals Are Saying, Integrate Holistic Tools for Animal Health and Behavioral Care, and to Help Women Who Love Animals To Access Their Natural Skills and Soul’s Purpose.
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