Lets talk about seniors

Share advice for keeping your aging dog happy and healthy


When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Sat Jan 21, '12 9:35am PST 
So I thought maybe we could just put together a list of suggestions for making our old ones more comfortable and keeping them healthy, happy and active.

I have strategically placed rubber backed rugs over my bare floors to help Sabs keep from slipping. I also upgraded her bed to give more support for tired bones and placed one in the living room in addition to her bed in my room. I leave a light on at night to help with fading eyesight and make sure stairs are blocked off.

Anybody else?

Just a quick nap- before bed- time!!
Barked: Sat Jan 21, '12 4:32pm PST 
We have made some more accomodations for Feather this weekend. She now has a ramp to get outside, she has trouble with the 3 steps to get down to grass level. She was afraid of it at first, but now goes up and down, no trouble.

We also spend more time on the floor with her, on her bed. She can no longer get up on the bed or couch with us, so we go to her. She is delighted, wags her tail like crazy, and puts her big head in our laps. Besides, it gives the beagles and terrier more couch space, with us on the floor!!

Because she can not go too far on walks anymore, we thought we would try to entertain her mind a bit more. We give her HUGE raw meaty beef marrow or knuckle bones. She lays on her bed (covered with a towel) and chews and gnaws for hours. Sometimes falling to sleep with her head on the bone. It gives her mind some entertainment, and exhausts her, literally she falls to sleep for hours after.

We have big dog beds in almost every room of the house, even next to the island in the kitchen. She wants to be with us at all times, and she needs to be comfortable to do that.

We don't do much by way of special meds, she eats a raw diet so she gets plenty of cartilege from that. We do give salmon oil for inflammation, Co Q-10 for her heart, but that's about it. We have elevated bowls for her, it makes her meals much easier as she was visibly sore bending way down to eat and drink.

Yes, rubber backed rugs are everywhere here! She has such a hard time with her footing. She goes from rug to rug to navigate her way around the house.

I bought two sizes of support harnesses for her for when she can no longer get up on her own. I found it online at helpemup.com It is a total body harness, and fits comfortably. She hasn't needed it yet, and actually does OK in that department right now. We start underwater physical therapy soon, as she LOVES to swim, but it is too cold out right now. With the mild Winter we have had here in the Northeast, she was able to swim even right after Christmas, but too cold now. The pool at the Pet Physical therapy place is heated, and should be good for her joints. It's not structured, it's just paying for swim time with the therapist, at $15.00 for a half hour. Not too bad. Maybe we'll do it a couple times a week and see if she likes it.

Beyond that, I would LOVE to hear how others help their seniors, and get some more good ideas!!!

Barked: Sat Jan 21, '12 4:46pm PST 
I put my old boys on the greenies for joint care. They seem to have less problems getting up and going in the cold mornings after I started feeding it to them.

Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Sat Jan 21, '12 6:16pm PST 
Sanka won't use what I give him. He refuses to be called senior.laugh out loud

I had tried different things to help him get into an SUV, but he insists on trying to jump in. The problem is, he can only jump like an inch off the ground, so he always gets his front paws in then will fall back out.

So now, when he goes to jump in, since he won't use anything else, I have to stand behind him and catch him mid jump and lift the rest of him in. Not exactly ideal, but the first time he did that, nobody was really watching him because we didn't expect him to attempt such a jump, and he fell backwards on his back with his feet sticking in the air like the cartoon characters do when they pretend they're dead.

Definitely not something he should be doing! Surprised he didn't break a hip!

The other thing is I make him take breaks on walks now. He'll be all gung ho in the beginning and go, go, go, but then he's about ready to collapse on the way home. He can't last as long and doesn't know how to pace himself.

Although he enjoys walks, I have to take him out to get him to walk. If we don't go anywhere, he just lays down the whole day, which in turn makes him quite sore. So, I have to get him up and going and motivated to do something to keep his joints from stiffening up.

The Spoiled Ol'- Girl~Forever- Missed
Barked: Sat Jan 21, '12 6:46pm PST 
Boston has 4 dog siblings, so they help keep her young. She plays outside every day with them. Sometimes she overdoes it, trying to act like she is young again, so we have to watch her.

She has a big comfy bed and we give her glucosamine which seems to help her joints a lot.

So far, she still does OK with steps. She moves more slowly than she used to, but she still makes it around OK. She does MUCH better in the warm months. The cold is hard on her.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Sat Jan 21, '12 9:29pm PST 
@ Feather I was taking Sabs to assisted swimming but its $60 for half hour. The heated pool was great though and swimming definitely helps.

@Sanka that exact thing was what finally made me force Sabs retirement. She insisted on trying to leap in and out of the truck and after she had fallen a few times I decided it was time to call it a day, whether she liked it or not. I was doing the catch in mid air thing to, not the most graceful manueverlaugh out loud

Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Mon Jan 23, '12 8:07am PST 
For the poster using greenies,please be very careful. Some dogs will swallow pieces too large for their bodies to process and suffer blockages.

Also a note to those using elevated bowls be careful there are conflicting studies as to wether they help prevent or can contribute to the risk of bloat. When we had our Senior Akita mix (we lost her 5 years ago.) we were advised by our vet not to use the raised bowls because of this issue. You might want to consult yours.

I'm king of the- world!
Barked: Thu Jan 26, '12 4:50pm PST 
It makes me sad to be posting here! I never thought Duke would be a senior, but he just turned 9 in December.

He has severe arthritis in his hind right leg from a septic right stifle (MRSA) that almost took his life in June. Add three previous knee surgeries on that same joint, and one on the other knee, and you've got some nasty hind-end weakness and arthritis.

I just started giving Zeel last week and so far, I am pleasantly surprised! I was a skeptic. It's a homeopathic remedy and I didn't honestly believe it would work, but it really has. Duke jumped into bed tonight for the first time in...oh, months! His gait is also more balanced and he shifts his weight on the good leg less now than he used to.

I feed a raw diet and supplement with salmon oil, whole sardines, and high quality joint supplements. Duke gets acupuncture for the hind-end weakness. I give him whole-body massages a lot to keep things loose and relaxed. I'm also going to have him get a chiropractic adjustment as the holistic vet said his spine feels tight.

Duke has a set of stairs my SO made for him to get into bed. So far, the car is OK...although sometimes I have to give him a butt-lift.

I also take Duke indoor swimming as much as possible. Since daycare is seeming to be something that may be coming to and end, we may start swimming more, instead. It's $30 for an hour in the pool and he loves it!
Jax (earned- her wings- 5/30/12)

Give me your- toy.
Barked: Fri Feb 3, '12 7:01pm PST 
I went to Wal-Mart and bought Jax a foam topper, folded it in half and put a blanket on it for her bed. She loves it. It's a lot cheaper than buying a doggie bed. It is really long, so she can stretch out on it.