Dealing with the Realization they are Slowing Down

Share advice for keeping your aging dog happy and healthy

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the Good dog
Barked: Fri Apr 15, '11 4:17pm PST 
Dakota is 10 now, we did her first senior panel on her at the vet this year. It made me very sad... She has been slowing down for the last year or so, she has arthritis and bad numbers on her thyroid. So we started meds in the last 2 months. I have also noticed her hearing isn't as good as it was. She is slower to get up and to lay down. But she still loves to play and is always up for a walk! It is hard to watch her age, I got her as a christmas present when she was 4 months old from the spca. We have been thru alot together and will continue to share this journey they call old age.
Trixie Bean!

none so blind as- those that will- not see
Barked: Sat Apr 16, '11 8:17am PST 
It hit me when my Trixie girl reached double figures that she was getting old.. She has slowed down in the past year or so. If she is over exersized on walks, she limps. She sleeps more than she did.. Shes calmer. The thought of my girl slowing down kills me. My aunties dog Poppy was from the same litter as Trixie and Poppy passed away this year. That scared me a lot although I know my Trixies always been healthier than Poppy. Still, shes 11 this year and her hips aren't as good as they were... frown

Shar-ey Shar
Barked: Mon Apr 18, '11 1:13am PST 
I don't know you or if you have any other dogs, but all I can offer you is this if you don't: get another dog soon.

Those were our plans, we were going to get her a friend in just a few months and have a dog to help us heal when "it" happened. We knew our Shar was getting up there in years (more tired after vigorous running on acreage, sore) but we changed her diet and she acted so much healthier, literally 3-5 years younger. We were sure we had at least another 2-4 years with her based on her attitude towards life. It was as if we had reversed the problems.

For us there were little to no warning signs. It may have been that she had cancer on the inside, or just a heart attack or heart failure. One night we went to sleep, and the next morning she was gone. She was 10. It will have been a month on the 24th and it has been so hard to even consider another dog, no matter how necessary it is for us. That's why I hope to offer the idea you work on getting another as soon as you know. Just so that it won't be so hard to even think about other dogs. There were times I was physically sick at the thought, and the only thing that has been able to keep me persevering has been the fact that our situation calls for one and that it may help heal.

It is harder for my husband as he raised her from 5-6 weeks old. I was only able to spend 2 years living with our precious girl. I couldn't have asked for a better dog. cry

In loving- memory of- Lilo

Support bully- love. Ban BSL.
Barked: Tue Apr 19, '11 5:24pm PST 
I've only just recently been struck with the realization that Lilo isn't the young dog she used to be. She is by no means a senior yet, but she has definitely hit that "middle age" point. In about two more years, she will be considered a senior. She is about seven or eight years old now, with a life span expectancy of about 12 years. She's been graying on her muzzle for the past year or so and every time I look at her, there seems to be more gray. It wasn't until I started helping care for Princess, though, that I noticed Lilo isn't the hyper dog she used to be. She used to jump all over the place, go for six walks a day, play fetch with me for an hour and a half, and hang from rope toys like it was nobody's business. I even used to be able to spin her while she hung from them. All those things Lilo used to be able to do, Princess can do. Lilo no longer can. Her walks are drastically shorter before she needs to go to sleep, she still gets excited when she sees people but she no longer jumps all over the place, our games of fetch only last thirty minutes now, and she can no longer hang from toys like she used to be able to do. The realization that she is not a young dog any more was shocking. And yes, scary.

It reminded me of when I noticed that Chance was slowing down back in '05/'06. He had all the same early signs. His walks were never long because of his rickets, but they got drastically shorter. He slowly began losing interest in toys, too. And most of the time, he slept. She doesn't sleep as often as he did, but she does sleep a lot more often than she used to. I comfort myself in knowing that they both had good lives and Lilo may have 3-6 more years here with us. Just like I made Chances last years wonderful- and his entire life before that- I plan on making Lilo's just as wonderful. She already had a wonderful life with us, so I guess I'll just continue doing what I've been doing. wink
The Urban- Hounds- (Formerly- the

Every dog must- have his day.
Barked: Fri Apr 22, '11 3:02pm PST 
One thing that struck me reading this is that when the dogs in this thread pass on, it will be sad, but their lives will not have been sad. These are dogs who have lived rich full amazing lives. Unfortunately death is a part of life, and loving a dog means facing death. The same is true with a person of course but with the shorter life span of dogs it comes screaming home to us. Part of our fear and sorrow is over our own mortality. Dogs thrust that in our face. When I look at my dogs getting older and remember I got them as a young newly wed in my early twenties, I realize Im not at that stage of my life anymore. Im hardly old (33) but Im not a young girl. Lately, Ive been thinking that maybe that is not that sad. I am moving into a new phase of my life and hopefully have many more years to share with my current dogs and cats and my husband as we get older togehter. Then I hope to share my life with a new pack of wonderful dogs after they pass on. I remind myself that I am very blessed that I can share my life with dogs, and that all dogs (the ones i have now and the ones I will have in the future) will be loving wonderful companions.

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Sun Apr 24, '11 7:16am PST 
Thank you Urban Hounds.

I loved Max as a squirrely adolescent and an adult who would work with me through his fears and especially as a senior who is a master at letting me know what he is thinking. Oddly he plays more often and for longer than he did as a youngster. He cannot run as fast or turn on a dime any more but he is as ferocious a sock hunter/killer as ever and prefers catching the frisbee in the air still. Hoping he is as gracious a geriatric dog as Sassy was, accepting all the indignities of ill health as well as she did.
In loving- memory of- Lilo

Support bully- love. Ban BSL.
Barked: Mon Apr 25, '11 9:18pm PST 
I think you hit the nail on the head, Urban Hounds. Often times, our first experiences with death is when we lose a pet. And since dogs are the most popular choice, it's quite often a dog. When a dog spends so many years with you, you learn to associate those years with the dog. Whenever I think of my middle school years, I think of Chance. Whenever I think of high school, I'll think of Cinnamon. And I suppose that one day, whenever I think of college, I'll think of Sandy. There's a quote that goes "Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives." and I find that truer words have never been uttered.

While on the topic of dealing with the realization that your senior dog is suddenly a senior, I have to ask, has anyone else been a bit blinded by it? I'm thinking of Chance when I ask this question. I know it might sound odd. Because I knew Chance was a senior, I'd accepted it, I'd noticed the subtle changes in his personality. But has anyone else... not noticed other changes in their senior dog? Today, I was looking through his pictures on my old Myspace page so I could save them to my computer and then to a disk. The pictures were in order, the oldest being 2007. And as I looked through them, I noticed him ageing progressively. Each year that passed, he looked older in the picture. In the first ones, he looked so young. He had no skin tumors, his weight was perfect, his eyes were bright. Then, as I went through the pictures, I saw that young, healthy dog... age. It was something I hadn't noticed while he was alive and with me. But by the end, I was seeing a completely different looking dog than the one that he'd been in 2007. Of course, I know he was the same dog (and loved him just as much when he was here with me) but he looked so different. Those signs that I'd missed when he was here hit me in the face. I was just wondering if that has ever happened to anyone else. I guess I loved him so much when he was here with me that I just didn't notice the changes in the way he looked. I paid more attention to the changes in his behavior, because those seemed more important and I guess I'd assumed those would be what would tell me in the end when it was his time to go.

Edited by author Mon Apr 25, '11 9:18pm PST

The Hounds- of- Bassetville- +3

Food? Where?!?
Barked: Mon Apr 25, '11 10:10pm PST 
This thread makes me want to wake up my hounds and take them outside for a midnight romp (in fact, I think I will as soon as I finish typing this wink). None of my pups are seniors, but Scout, Precious, and Gracie will be turning 6 in July. They aren't puppies anymore, and though they haven't necessarily slowed down, their muzzles are slowing turning white and they are starting to look a little older. I know that the day is coming that they will slow down, but I try my best not to think about. I try to the best of my ability to keep them healthy, so that when they are seniors it will be easier for them and me. dog

Miss- Pig!
Barked: Thu Apr 28, '11 9:38am PST 
Missy is not old considering she's a Terrier and they can go on for years and years wink But, i have noticed "middle age" signs. She can still walk for miles and she can still play fetch over and over with her ball launcher toy. But she is much calmer in the house now and she will lag behind on a walk at times. She has started greying around her eyes and seems more docile in temperament. Just this past year she's had her first ever health issue and i realize that this might be a more occurring issue as she gets older. It's really only this year that i've noticed the changes and actually took note that she's getting older.
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