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14 yrs and still going strong — Vancouver owner shares holistic approach to caring for a senior dog

Trina Laine and her 14-year old Boston Terrier, Betty, are the ultimate Ride-or-Die duo — they don’t go anywhere without each other. That’s because Betty is Trina’s registered emotional support dog; there for her when she needs it most.

An emotional support animal provides emotional support. They are specifically trained to assist with helping complete tasks, but mostly they provide therapeutic benefits to their owner with a medically diagnosed disability.

Which makes Betty kind of a big deal. Pretty cool that this 13 lb ball of fur, love, and occasional farts is able to support her person by simply being a dog.

Caring for senior dogs
Only the best for Betty ❤️

But it’s not a one-way street. Just as Betty is there for Trina (thick and thin) so, too, is Trina there for Betty, who, at age 14, is in the thick of her senior years — and needs her now more than ever.

Thanks to Trina’s eternal love, devotion, and care, Betty is going strong!

Trina knows: even if it takes you a little longer to get to the water bowl, aren’t interested in sniffing as many butts, or have a few more greys than it did before, you never leave a woman behind. Ride-or-Die, baby. Ride-or-Die.

And at 14, Betty is still as frisky and sweet as the day Trina first met her.

“Betty was the runt of a litter of three. She’s been such an important part of my life, from my late teens through to adulthood. I don’t think I could choose a single memory that stands out to me — they’re all equally significant and important to me. I have a portrait of her tattooed on my leg, a gift for my 28th birthday. It’s perfect — just like Betty.”

Caring for senior dogs
Part time dog mom, part time chauffeur!

Like every dog owner on their journey of parenthood, Trina’s watched the years creep up on Betty, and she’s been careful to ensure Betty gets the best.

“Probably around seven is when I started noticing the typical signs of aging — white hair on her muzzle, etc. That's when I decided to try her on a raw food diet. We switched to Instinct's Raw medallions — it’s 85% meat protein, and 15% fruits and veggies. It’s easy to thaw and the feeding guide is easy to follow. I noticed improvements right fairly quickly. Her breath was fresher, there’s was less shedding, she had a shinier coat, and there was less waste to clean up.”

We asked Trina if she had any advice to offer senior pet owners that are considering switching their bestie to a raw based diet. “When looking into raw food, it’s important to switch up the type of protein (we do one bag of lamb and then one bag of beef) because dogs can build up a sensitivity. Make sure to choose animal proteins that are similar in genetic make-up. Choose low-fat natural treats (fresh veggies and dried sardines are our go-to). It’s also important for good kidney health to avoid high fat and too much protein.”

Caring for senior dogs
A healthy senior is a happy senior.

Of course, we all know — it’s not just about diet. Part of a balanced lifestyle, for humans and dogs, includes getting plenty of exercises, supplements, rest, and the occasional treat days.

Trina and Betty take a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle.

“Walks are one of the most important things I do with Betty. Just like our human bodies, staying active even as we age is so important — if you don’t use it, you lose it. Even just 10 minutes, twice a day is good, depending on your dog's abilities.”

Betty also gets some CBD oil to help with joint and muscle relief.

“I’ve been giving Betty Mary’s Canine CBD oil in her food for about two years now. It’s non-psycho-active and infused in salmon oil. Great for pain, anxiety, and muscular health."

One big thing to keep an eye out for your sweet senior? Trina says: Dental care.

“I’ve had Betty a really long time and only in the last few years did I learn how closely linked healthy teeth are to a healthy dog. I’d recommend brushing from a young age. But if like, with Betty, that’s not always possible, we would give her raw bones ( we stopped at around 12 because we didn’t want any broken teeth) or natural teeth cleaning treats. And raw food plays a massive part in her healthy teeth. At 14.5 she’s only had 2 removed and her breath is surprisingly good for a senior dog!”

Caring for senior dogs
*cue A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton* 🎶

And, of course, we all need a little help every now and then.

Finding the right professional to guide us through the journey into our golden years is key, and Betty and Trina have found theirs in Kitsilano at Cypress St. Animal Hospital. “They are wonderful and by far the most affordable vet in the city.”

We asked Trina to go through what a typical day for her and her bestie looks like.

“Betty is up at 8:00 am for her raw food breakfast, then we head out for our morning walk. She will spend her day lounging in the sun, snuffling around the garden in the backyard for raspberries, and napping. Supper is at 5:00, and no matter what she’s doing, she will wander over to the kitchen and sit patiently for me to feed her.

After that, she settles for a few more hours and we will head out for our last walk before the sun goes down. She’s usually out for the night by 9:00 pm. And I’ll crawl into bed next to her shortly after.”

“For Betty, exercise, lots of affection, and taking care of those teeth! But you can do this for any dog. Keep them active, but also don’t let them push themselves to exhaustion. Try raw food and CBD. It’s made a significant difference for Betty.”


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Have more questions on how the Points work? Check out our article that helps answer some common questions!

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