Jump to content

Geriatric Dogs


Recommended Posts

My ol' gal Sebau is 13 now, and for her age, she still trucks along pretty darned good. :P (and still keep the boys under an iron paw! :lol )

 

However, I've noticed that she's getting stiffer,and doesn't see or hear as well. She seems to lose me sometimes, and wanders around looking for me, or gets confused. She has the most trouble at night-- I guess because it's dark and her eyesight isn't the best. I've set up night lights to help, and that does seem to make a difference. She sleeps a lot more now too, though she still enjoys her walks, and can go about 1 mile or so at a time w/o being too tired or dragging.

 

Earlier this year we bought a dog door because she can't hold it all day anymore, and it has been a godsend. She figured out how to use it right away, and now uses it as needed (or just to go out and hang out in the yard on a nice day!).

 

Is there anything I can do to make things easier for her? She gets glucosamine/chondroitin and MSM daily, and it does help, as well as a multi-vite, vit. E and fish oil.

In vino veritas
Rachael with Rook, missing Sully, Sebau, and Diesel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Scouts_mom

My Tia is now 12 and I am dealing with some of the same issues. Somethings I can suggest that you consider: Make sure her bed(s) are out of drafts and are fairly firm. Tia has problems getting up and out of very soft beds. Consider a simple ramp if she has trouble with stairs (I thinking about this to help Tia get up the porch steps. Also make sure she gets some good exercise every day (but don't over do it). I notice that Tia moves much easier if she gets to the dog park or has a good walk every few days. She doesn't run any more, but just trotting across the park to see what is happening with a group of people/dogs is great exercise. She was having problems with one specific leg (nerve problems that made it drag slightly), but we went to an accupunture and after a series of treatments it is much improved. When I see signs the problem is returning we go in for another treatment. Tia doesn't mind the treatments at all and seems to enjoy the attention.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Winterwish

 

You and Sebau are blessed to have each other and you'll be helping others consider how they will be with their elderly pups too.

Edited by Winterwish
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Luckily feeding isn't an issue-- she's still a garbage can on 4 feet. She'll eat ANYTHING! :eek:blink: (She's always been like that... as a young dog, that often included non-edible items like underwear crotches, socks, tissues, toilet paper, paper, mulch.. my favorite paint brushes.... :blink: She has finally grown out of that... at about the age of 10 :lol )

 

She eats her meals with gusto and doesn't leave a scrap. Actually, I have to watch her because she'll boss the boys out of their bowls! :rolleyes: If I'm present, she won't try it, but if she thinks I'm not looking... :lol and neither Diesel nor Sully, both food hounds, will protest. They'll just back away and look pitiful. Hence, I'm always present at meal times. :lol As a benefit, I do always know who is eating and how much, though in my house, I would be very worried if someone left food in a bowl.

 

Jasmine, the great dane, is food-aggressive, so she eats in a separate room.

 

I don't push her on walks, and they are much, much shorter than they were even a couple years ago, but she still loves them and gets so excited when she sees the leashes come out. (all three do, walkies are one of their favorite things!) There are certain areas I avoid because of off-lead dogs, but we still manage a good mile, and she's not dragging at the end. I know that that will change, but I'll shorten the walks as the need arises.

 

Diesel does not like to walk without her and gets very upset, so I usually walk all three together.

 

She's ok on the stairs, but she takes them much more slowly. I think her body build is a benefit-- she's short and squat, with a low center of gravity, so her legs don't tend to slip out from under her. :blush However, she's big enough that she doesn't have to leap up the steps. ( she's dalmatian-size, but w/ a very broad chest)

 

If necessary, in the future, Steve can build a ramp off the deck, and we can carry her upstairs to bed, she's about 60 pounds, so she's not very heavy.

 

I just wish they didn't get old so quickly. It's not fair. :(

 

It seems like just yesterday she was a young dog, getting in to everything, with boundless energy and clear bright eyes. :( The boys will be eight this spring. Where does the time go???

In vino veritas
Rachael with Rook, missing Sully, Sebau, and Diesel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Tenderhearts

Something that helped with Lori Ann, and now with Raven, other than the supplements you mentioned were a couple of good hip massages a day. I also supplement with Ascriptin on the days that the stiffness is much more pronounced. At Sebau's size, she could get one 325 mg Ascriptin every 24 hours, and I also give it with food even though it's buffered with Maalox.

 

You might also want to check on Deramaxx for her on an as-needed basis. When Toby gets especially painful/stiff in the hips, he'll get the Deramaxx for a few days up to a week, then seems to be much better for weeks, up to months after a short-term stint on that.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would definitely second the ramp and the massages if Sebau likes them. Since it sounds like she is having some cognitive problems in addition to her visual problems, try not to move anything (like furniture) and keep smaller things (especially slippery things like newspapers) off the floor.

 

It sounds like you are being a wonderful caretaker for her and that she is having a wonderful life as a senior. And, yes, they do age much too quickly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nevada is 15+ years old now. She has some back problems, so this year I bought her a raised feeder. She really seems to like it and it seems to help her back-no need to bend over to eat or drink. I have also placed rugs & runners on surfaces that she might slip on. Her back end isn't as steady as it use to be. The rugs help her maintain her balance. She also has access to a pee-pee pad during the day in case that she can't hold it.

I tried a ramp for her so she didn't need to jump up on my bed. It was like trying to get a mule up the ramp :rolleyes: & then she decided to jump over the ramp to get into bed. :omg The ramp got returned!

At times, I need to assist her on the sofa. Her legs gets caught in a wierd position & I move it for her. The Diva looks at me & expects me to assist her........my little Diva :wub:

 

Carol-Glendale, AZ

Trolley (Figsiza Trollyn)

Nevada 1992-2008...always in my heart

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Along with this site, golden greys on yahoo groups is a good source of info.

 

 

ROBIN ~ Mom to: Beau Think It Aint, Chloe JC Allthewayhome, Teddy ICU Drunk Sailor, Elsie N Fracine , Ollie RG's Travertine, Ponch A's Jupiter~ Yoshi, Zoobie & Belle, the kitties.

Waiting at the bridge Angel Polli Bohemian Ocean , Rocky, Blue,Sasha & Zoobie & Bobbi

Greyhound Angels Adoption (GAA) The Lexus Project

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're doing a great job with your ol' gal. :) Another supplement you might consider adding is a probiotic for digestion. My senior, Phoenix (15.5+), has many similar behaviors... limited night vision helped with night lights, probably deaf or close to it, and aimless wandering, especially in the yard where everything must be sniffed. She does best now in an ex-pen so the boys don't step on her or bump her. Shorter walkies are great, as well as massages and plenty of ear rubs. :beatheart

Jeanne with Remington & Scooter the cat
....and Beloved Bridge Angels Sandee, Shari, Wells, Derby, Phoenix, Jerry Lee and Finnian.....
If tears could build a stairway, and memories a lane, I'd walk right up to heaven
and bring you home again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest TBSFlame

My Tessie is 12 and I have seen her go down in these last few months. Sometimes she will lose her backend if bumped by another dog. She sleeps a lot and is very bossy. She will come bark at me to come to the den to fix her sofa cover. She doesn't like the coldness of the leather. lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think everything's pretty much been covered! Yes, you're doing a great job!

 

I did find with Jim - who still looooved his twice daily walks right up to the day before he died - that I had to lift him in and out of the car for the last 6-9 months. I actually changed my car for him (the things we do... :wub:) and now have a Toyota Yaris Verso which was built with wheelchair users in mind but is in fact a very nice small car. It opens widely at the back (side mounted) there's a big, wide, flat space, and the floor is probably less than fifteen inches off the ground. Eventually, he couldn't even jump into that and would stand patiently waiting to be lifted. It's something you might have to address at some point with Sebau - either a different vehicle, or a ramp, unless you're very strong. ;)

 

Different dogs need different things from beds as they age. Jim was so bony, he needed a soft bed, but yes, there did have to be a degree of firmness to it to, so that he could get out of it. He also took to lying flat out at times (instead of in a bed) as he got older and I notice Jack (nearly twelve and a half) is doing the same. I bought a piece of VetBed which is on the lounge floor pretending to be a sheepskin rug (and failing miserably :lol) and when it's in the wash he's unhappy. Sebau might not need that since she's stocky.

 

Jim needed rugs on the shiny floors (so does Jack) and more frequent meals to keep weight on him. He slept more often and much more deeply - so does Jack. Both like/d massage. Apart from more frequent vet vists to keep an eye on various geriatric issues, and pain relief as and when needed, there isn't much else to be done that hasn't been covered - not that I can think of right now.

 

I guess the only other thing, if you think she's losing her hearing, is to start adding hand signals to voice commands so she understands what is required if she does go deaf. Dogs usually pick that up quite quickly - for instance, when I ask Jack to sit, I'll point to the floor near his backside and he'll now plop himself right down without me having to say the word 'sit', just with the pointing finger. You can bend a little and pat your thigh quickly a couple of times for 'come', stand sideways to the door and making 'sweeping out' motions with your hand for 'go outside' or 'come inside' , hold your hand low and parallel to the floor (palm down) for 'lie down', hand held up straight, palm towards them for 'wait' - you get the idea. There are probably standardised hand signals but I don't know them and I dont' think it matters as long as you make each one clear and distinct from the others.

GTAvatar-2015_zpsb0oqcimj.jpg

The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As everyone's said, you are all ready doing a greyt job. While just about everything's been covered, there are a couple of things I would add:

 

1) A senior's metabolism slows down, as does the activity level. This is a big part of weight gain in seniors and why senior food is lower calorie. Especially with developing joint issues, it is important to keep her weight down (not under weight though). Every bit of extra weight makes aching joints drastically more uncomfortable.

 

2) Seniors tend to chill easier than youngster. This can also aggravate aching joints. Cover with a blankie or use jammies more. With jammies and coats, please remember that stiff, achy joints don't go into those sleeves as easily. Also, the other 3 legs may not support the body as well when one leg is being put in a sleeve. There are coat/jammie seamtresses who will make them with the belly straps and chest panel/belly strap combinations for the seniors. If you have problems finding one, let me know...

 

Enjoy these years and take lots of pictures.

Edited by Sassy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Hannah

Mum and dad's dog - cousin minnie - is 14.5 now and is very hard of hearing and also loosing her sight :(

 

some of the things we have changed for her

 

as she doesnt hear so well or see so well movements are big and impressive (and silly looking in the park) so she can see them. or if she is inside and not looking at you we have found either clapping or stamping your feet on the floor will get her attention, we think she can feel the vibrations through the floor and air rather than hear sounds.

 

when out walking in a non familiar place she now has a flexi lead because she panics when she can't see her humans and follows anyone who looks to be the right shape/size. its not too bad if we are somewhere deserted and holly is along for walkies too as holly will go round minnie up and point her back in the right direction, but in busy places the flexi lead is a godsend. she can wander and explore with relative freedom but has quickly worked out that her human is on the other end of the leash :) of course the human in question now has to walk round trees and plants and untangle the leash from bushes and brambles while minnie stands there with a 'come on, hurry up and pay more attention next time' look on her face :lol

 

she has a nice warm firm bed next to the aga but will sometimes choose to lie on the tiles instead :dunno: mum and dads vet says dogs will be dogs and if she doesnt want to lie on the bed nothing they can do will make her :lol

 

she does like whole body vigerous rubs. I place one hand on each side and rub quickly and firmly up and down in opposite directions, she trances and leans and so long as I keep my hands moving on the same place she shifts her body to get the bits she wants rubbed. Mum was worried I was hurting her at first until she saw the stink-eye I got for stopping too soon and also saw her keep pestering me at every visit to do it :lol now I have to take her into the kitchen so all the shedded fuzz it brings out can be swept off the tiles.

 

dad is considering a ramp for her, shes only 20pounds so she is easy to pick up, or she would be if she liked being picked up :rolleyes: she tolerates me picking her up (as I dont give her any other option) but has been known to wriggle and when she does she is as easy to hold as a greased piglet :lol

 

old lady grumps from Minnie to Sebau

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As everyone's said, you are all ready doing a greyt job. While just about everything's been covered, there are a couple of things I would add:

 

1) A senior's metabolism slows down, as does the activity level. This is a big part of weight gain in seniors and why senior food is lower calorie. Especially with developing joint issues, it is important to keep her weight down (not under weight though). Every bit of extra weight makes aching joints drastically more uncomfortable.

 

Since Sebau is a non-grey I would endorse that! For greys I find they tend to lose weight as they age, so I never use senior food for them.

 

2) Seniors tend to chill easier than youngster. This can also aggravate aching joints. Cover with a blankie or use jammies more. With jammies and coats, please remember that stiff, achy joints don't go into those sleeves as easily. Also, the other 3 legs may not support the body as well when one leg is being put in a sleeve. There are coat/jammie seamtresses who will make them with the belly straps and chest panel/belly strap combinations for the seniors. If you have problems finding one, let me know...

 

A good point. :nod

 

I made my old Jim a fleece jacket with legs to cover his very arthritic elbow joints. I made it so that it opened all along the back (including the neck part) and fastened with velcro. That way I could gently put one foreleg into it at a time, at a very low level, and I didn't have to push his head through. I made Renie one, too. Here she is wearing hers

 

RenieRedGreenCoat.jpg

 

And here it is opened out flat

 

AndywithCoat.jpg

 

I have the pattern if anyone wants it, but you will have to be reasonable good at sewing because there aren't really any instructions to speak of. :P

 

 

It's VERY true that the older they get, the more time you have to give them to shift their weight onto the other three legs to lift one up for you. That applies to nail clipping etc, too, of course.

 

As a side note - while out walking last night in the dark, Jack started to limp. We thought he maybe had a muscle cramp, but I picked up his feet to look at them too. When I got to his front right, I found he'd trodden onto one of those very small aerosol caps and it had wedged neatly over his pad. :lol Poor thing. But yes, I had to give him plenty of time to adjust before I could pick up his feet, even though he was quite willing to let me.

GTAvatar-2015_zpsb0oqcimj.jpg

The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest MomofSweetPotatoes

No advice either. Great job you are doing with your older Sebau.

 

Actually, I did think of one thing: Keep a variety of soft bedding and firm bedding. I find that on days my old guys are stiff, they tend to go for the firmer bedding. I think it is easier for them to move on and off of. I just toss a blanket on top of the firm bed so that they can nest it if they wish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:bighug for Sebau. Sugar is 12, and really started showing old age symptoms this summer. She also likes the firmer beds. Her arthritis is pretty bad, so walks are out, but she does still, on occasion, run around the back yard :rolleyes:

 

The only things I would add are, if you think you might want to have use a ramp, start getting her used to it now! Sugar refuses to set foot on the ramp I bought, but maybe if I'd gotten her used to it when she was steadier on her feet, :dunno I am keeping it and training Fletcher to use it, because while I can lift a 60 lb dog, a 90 pounder is another story! So, train all your dogs to use the ramp while you're at it :)

 

The other thing is, Sugar has begun to have accidents in her bed at night. I have a dog door, and she uses it, but I think at night she is either so sound asleep she doesn't realize what she's doing, or in the struggle to get up, she looses control of her bladder, maybe both. (She would be mortified to know I was telling people this!) So, now all the dog beds have those washable pads under the top blankie. All I have to wash is the blankie and the pad(s), not the whole dog bed. Much easier! I was told about a place that sells the ones hospitals and nursing homes use for people. They sell new and used, the used ones (much cheaper) are a little worn, and slightly stained, but they have been sterilized, and work great for us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a large variety of bedding, and they all seem to rotate where they lay. :lol

 

Sebau has a couple coats/sweaters but she -hates- them. Even when it's really cold, she ends up panting with them on. She has a heavy double coat-oily stiff hairs on the outside, and soft fluffy lofty hairs as the undercoat (thanks to the GSD in her background).

 

On the other hand, the boys, especially Sully, LOVE their attire! :lol

 

She's on a regular diet-- I guess even at 13 she's about as active as the boys. When she was younger, it was almost impossible to wear her out. We literally lived by the mantra of "a tired dog is a good dog... a good dog is a tired dog..." :lol For a while, we walked/ran 9 miles or so EVERY day. :blink: Or she'd shred the house. :eek

 

Now she seems more like a normal dog. She seems so slowed down to me, but her energy level is very good for her age. I do watch her weight. She's short and squat so she does put on weight easily. It's one reason we'd never free feed. I'd have a bunch of sausage shaped roly poly dogs! :lol

 

This morning was a blast, she took off after our "special" squirrel (he's not the brightest) and had a great run around the yard after him. Darned near got him too. This goes on several times a day. :lol For some reason, this squirrel hasn't learned to climb up a tree to get away from the dogs, he runs clear across the yard (about an acre!-- and we have plenty large trees in the yard he could go up) and over the fence. :blink: Sad to say, I know one of these days he's not going to make it.

 

I do hate watching her slow down, but I know it's inevitable, and I know I need to be thankful that she's done so well. At 13 the ol' gal still has a ton of spunk. I've gotten comments from other people that they can't believe she's 13, they think she's 8 or so. (but like I stated, most of the dogs around here are "outside" types, and don't get a whole lot of care. I'd guess that a lot never make it to very old age)

 

Thanks for the tips! I'm glad I'm already doing a lot of these things (a lot of which I've picked up from reading GT over the years. I would've never known about glucosamine/chondroitin, fish oil, tripe, etc. w/o GT)

In vino veritas
Rachael with Rook, missing Sully, Sebau, and Diesel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest HersheysMom

It really sounds like she still has a lot of spunk. And she has her very own squirrel to entertain her!

 

I can really relate. Hershey is just shy of 12, has had several "wellness" checks this year and is in excellent physical shape, like Sebau. However, just like her, he has lost much of his night vision, wanders at night, and has trouble settling. We also used nightlights, and had to add additional lights outside as well. He's used a ramp in the back yard for most of his life, but flat out stopped doing stairs about two years ago (may have to do with his eyesight.) Again, he's had numerous checkups and him not doing stairs is more due to him being anxious than anything else. Physically, he is capable of doing stairs (he will do them when other dogs are around, but not by himself at home) He does have severe arthritis in one shoulder, but that's really the worst medical issue he has.

 

I'd like to share some supplements that have worked wonders for him. We give him many of the same supplements you do. Salmon Oil, vitamin E, and glucosamine. He also gets Dog Gone Pain, which really helped him with any stiffness. For us, it worked better than a combination of Deramaxx AND Tramadol combined. Here is a link:

 

http://www.doggonepain.com/

 

For the night wandering, we've also used this product, which helped cut it down a great deal:

 

Anxiety Stress Formula

 

Unfortunately, he's been so bad about taking pills we had to discontinue the Anxiety Stress Formula. It was four large pills a day that were supposed to be chewable and we just couldn't get them down no matter what we tried. My other dog takes them with no problem, so you may not have a problem. Anyway, after discovering a main ingredient in this formula is Melatonin, I talked to my vet and started him on just one dose of Melatonin in the evening. This seems to work just as well and you can find it in any health food store. He still gets up 2x a night panting, but he goes right out, pees & comes back in and goes back to sleep, whereas before he would go from room to room and bed to bed not settling at all.

 

Good luck with your gal!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...