The little things

Share advice for keeping your aging dog happy and healthy

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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Sat Jun 25, '11 8:52am PST 
Age seems to have really caught up with the Sankster this year.

I've been noticing a lot of little things.

He has a really hard time catching treats I toss to him. He can't seem to see them very well.frown He's taken to just guessing. He'll see my hand move like I'm tossing the treat, and he'll just open his mouth wide and close it in the hopes he caught something.

He needs breaks on walks. He's usually the energizer bunny, but now he's actually just stopping walking and standing there to take a break. Even moreso, he'll actually sit or lay down! This is totally from the norm for Sanka. Outside the house, him laying down is a rarity.

He makes wide circles to turn around. Sanka needs plenty of space to turn around now. He's like a semi...wide turns.

He can't remember which food bowl is his. I've been feeding him from the same spot for 11 years. 2 years ago, I added Kato. Kato's bowel is about 4 feet to the right of Sanka's bowl. For the first year and a half, there were no problems. Sanka ate from his bowl, and left Kato's alone. Sanka will now eat out of his bowl, get a drink, and then walk over to Kato's bowl to finish what he thinks he had started. When I go to divert him from eating Kato's food, he freezes as if I'm going to scold him or something. I guide him over to his bowl, and it's like a little light clicks on. "Oh yeah, this is my bowl. Thanks!"

There are a few more little things, but, I think you get the picture.

What are some little things you're noticing from your senior dog?

I\\\'ll do- anything for a- treat!
Barked: Sat Jun 25, '11 1:38pm PST 
Aw Sanka, that made me a little sad!

Lupi's only 3.5 years old, but sometimes we call her Granny or old lady dog because she's so lazy (we had her thyroid tested-results were laziness). She loves her walks but has no problem laying down in the middle of the sidewalk if she gets tired. Sometimes we have to wake her up before leaving the house in the morning. If I'm staying home she'll easily sleep until 9 or 10.

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Sat Jun 25, '11 2:49pm PST 
Max is getting bossy about walks. Yesterday he wanted to go THAT way and I wanted to go this way. We went THAT way. Today he didn't think we should go up the hill but after yesterday I insisted and turned around half way. Neither of us was happy, he thought we went too far and I didn't get to go as far as I wanted.

Hardly get any more 'vulture dog' and barks when it is dinner time.

Trixie Bean!

none so blind as- those that will- not see
Barked: Sat Jun 25, '11 3:19pm PST 
Beanie girl is the same silly dog as always.. But she is slower getting up than she used to, and she will limp after a long walk.. She sleeps a little more than she used to. The signs with her joints are pointing to something that I am REALLY hoping its not, so we are gonig to the vets as soon as I have some money. *sigh*. Dogs getting old isn't good. Makes me sad. Trix is 11 in September.

I fetch,- therefore I am.
Barked: Sat Jun 25, '11 10:05pm PST 
The reluctance to walk (and/or need to rest) could be due to arthritis pain. It can seem to come on quickly, as dogs are so very good at hiding their pain. It could be something more serious, though, so a check-in with the vet may be in order. They can rule out any major problems and suggest ways to decrease pain.

Aiki has been found occasionally convinced that I'm in the guest bathroom (where I almost never go). I'll be upstairs and hear him grumble or start barking, and I find him staring intently at the bathroom door. When I come into his field of view (he's nearly completely deaf, so he won't hear me approach), he's flabbergasted that I wasn't in the bathroom.

His vision is also going, and yes, any and all hand movements are considered a possible treat delivery motion.

It's tough watching our fur kids get old.
Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Sun Jun 26, '11 10:45am PST 

Sanka has a very high pain tolerance. I still remember a few years ago when we went on a hike in the field. Sanka is usually walking ahead of me, but I noticed him lagging behind. Still walking and keeping pace...just behind me. I stopped and to my horror found that he was covered in sand burrs, head to toe. He had them all over his feet, stuck in his pads, in between his toes. I had no idea. He didn't make a peep. No fuss. Didn't try to pull them out. Didn't stop walking. Just dealt with it and continued on.

I don't know for sure if he has arthritis. He does not limp. He does not get up after resting for hours with a limp. If he does not get exercise for a few days, he will get a little stiff, but that's really it.

People always get wide eyed when I tell them he's 11. He's got the grey beard, but he gets around just fine. He actually ran at the dog park yesterday...put 'er in high gear or as high as he could go.laugh out loud

I forgot to mention the biggest thing for me. No more rollerblading with the Sankster. I started rollerblading with him when he was 9. He would literally pull me for miles. It was so fun. After our first run, I started crying. He loved it so much. I loved it so much. How I wished I could go back in time and start rollerblading with him from the beginning. Last year, I would rollerblade with him every morning. He did excellent. Never stopped. Always kept stride. I'd always go at his pace, and he insisted on running. He still had energy when we'd get home. He loved it.

But this year...he just can't do it. I only rollerbladed a few times with him before calling it quits. He'd run for 50 ft and then that was it. He'd just walk the rest. Between that and him asking for breaks on a regular ole walk...it was just clear that our career as a rollerblading team has ended.cry

Shake it baby!
Barked: Sun Jun 26, '11 10:59am PST 
I'm so sorry for you and Sanka!hug

Aiki is most likely right, Sanka may have arthritis. There is medication available to help, though. I've seen dogs start some meds and feel like a pup again so don't give up hope!

Don't forget to mention Sanka's forgetfulness to the vet, too. Some vitamins or Derm caps might be in order to help with that. Good luck!

I fetch,- therefore I am.
Barked: Sun Jun 26, '11 1:37pm PST 
It really does sound like arthritis. Metacam anti-inflammatory really helps, and since it is a liquid it can be precisely dosed by weight. Tramadol also helps. Powdered or liquid glucosamine may also help. Aiki and Timber both get chiropractic and acupuncture, which have helped tremendously (and there's no placebo effect in a dog!).

I know that x-rays are expensive, so your vet may be willing to prescribe the meds without x-rays for a short term to see if they make a difference. Both metacam and tramadol are generally well-tolerated. My german shepherd Raven was on both (up to the max dosage of tramadol), and even though she had a pretty delicate tummy, she never had any problems with the meds.

Best of luck, and we all hope that you can find relief for Sanka.
Turner - Gone Too- Soon

Hi I'm Turner- Wanna Smell My- Butt?
Barked: Sun Jun 26, '11 2:34pm PST 
Time to enjoy the view during the walk. It's all about quality now. On the breaks sit and enjoy the scenery with him...

Give him a hug from us! hugbig grin hamster dance

Don't disturb me- I'm on fly- patrol!
Barked: Sun Jun 26, '11 2:54pm PST 
Aww Sanka I know how you feel hug. My other dog Ginger turned 12 in feb, I've had her since I was a kid, she is my first dog and has really aged in the last year or two. It makes me a little sad because its kind of like we grew up together me and this dog. When we walk its a very slow leaisurley walk except when she sees a squirell its like what arthritis, walking slow theres no time for that if there is a squirell! One funny thing she has picked up is a groaning/moaning thing she does. She lies down and makes her weird noises and does it everytime she changes position. It makes sense right, I notice that if I'm ever sore because I worked out a little too hard that it takes that extra little bit of noise to give me that umph to get off the couch haha. She also uses it to talk to you, If you say her name or say something and be like huh Ginger? She does it. I wouldn't worry about giving anti-inflamatories bescause even if you suspect theres arthritis you could just give glucosomine because there can be some bad side affects with giving anti-inflamatories long term and I like to stick with the natural stuff. Its sad when they get old I like to remember the times when were both young and make fun new memories now that shes an old fart wink
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