Whitney has over 10 years of experience in dog training, rescuing, and healthcare.
Common Problems With Older Dogs
It can be hard dealing with a pet who is getting older. They start losing their sense of hearing and sight, not to mention their teeth. They may also begin to suffer arthritis and tend to need to see the vet more. It can all be troublesome for a loving parent to deal with, especially because we want the best for the dog who's protected the family, raised the kids, and cheered us up when we've had a bad day.
Currently, I have a dog who's about 13 or 14 years old—no one in the family can remember when we got him. He came into our family as a puppy and has had a long and well-loved life. To this day, if you call or yell his name from outside, and if he's on the other side of the house sleeping, he's not going to hear you. In the off-chance that he does hear, he'll probably then have problems trying to find you, not knowing exactly where you are. He has slight arthritis and trouble seeing, but the old man still barks at people who walk in the streets and when the mailman drops by—of course, that's only if he's lying near our other dog, who's also a senior at 11. Otherwise, he'll never know someone is coming towards the house.
Caring for older dogs can be a heartache, especially as they weaken and age. This article will outline the basic care that one should consider when caring for a dog in his geriatric years.
Normal Problems With Older Dogs
Whether your dog can be considered a senior actually depends on the size. Usually, larger breeds hit their senior years around 6 to 7 years old, whereas smaller breeds generally reach the senior years in the mid teens. Generally, though, if your dog is around 7 years old, they can be considered a senior.
A few things that you can expect include:
- Overall slowing down. You'll begin to notice subtle changes when your dog gets up from laying down for long periods, or when he tries to use stairs. General causes of muscle, bone, and joint concerns can be caused by arthritis and hypothyroidism.
- Graying. Dogs usually gray around the face and muzzle. This is much more noticeable in dogs with darker colored faces.
- Hearing problems. Whether the hearing is completely lost or if there are problems hearing every now and again, consult your vet just to make sure that the problem is caused by old age and nothing more serious.
- Cloudy eyes. Older dogs tend to get a blue-transparent haze over their pupil. This will not have much of an effect on the actual sight, unless cataracts are a concern. If sim you'll need to consult your vet. Remember, though, that cataracts are more of a white haze.
- Muscle atrophy. As dogs age, it's not uncommon for them to suffer some loss of muscle mass usually around the hind legs.
Older Dogs: Problems to Watch For
With older dogs, you want to keep a close eye on them, their health, appearance, and overall movement. You will want to consult your veterinarian if you notice any of the following concerns:
- Arthritis pain
- Bad breath or bleeding gums
- Sudden blindness, hearing loss, or head tilt
- Change in weight or appetite
- Change in urine output and overall thirst
- Hair loss, or overall itchy skin (especially if the dog has never really had a skin problem)
- Muscle loss—especially in the head and belly regions (can be a sign of Cushing's disease or masticatory myositis)
- Any cognitive dysfunctions
- Any abnormal behaviors
How to Help an Older Dog Age Comfortably
When you have a senior dog, the best thing you can really do is to make him comfortable. He's not going to act like his younger self and run around the block with you, much less really want to play fetch. So, what you can do is make him comfortable.
There are actually several different things that you may want to try and consider:
- Keep fresh water on every level or end of your home so that you dog doesn't have to go up and down the stairs or all over the house for it. Also, consider raised bowls for larger dogs. It will reduce the neck and back strain of having to bend down to eat and drink, aiding in overall digestion.
- Cover tile and wood floors with rugs to help them get around your house. Just make sure that you cover the main areas and walkways to prevent them from slipping and potentially causing an injury. You can also prevent slipping and injuries on slippery surfaces by making sure to keep their nails trimmed, as older dogs don't run as much, so their nails don't wear down naturally.
- The lack of exercise will, also, increase obesity risks, which can increase heart disease, diabetes, and even early onset death, so you want to make sure that you give your dog low-calorie and low-fat treats but only occasionally. You also want to avoid feeding him table scraps.
- Definitely purchase senior dog food. They have fewer calories and fats than the adult version. They are also formulated better in regards to the right amount of fiber, sodium, antioxidants, and other additives.
- You want to still walk your senior dog, but make the walks shorter. You may even want to consider a harness instead of a collar to help reduce neck strain.
- Groom frequently, as simple processes like brushing can increase circulation and help your dog's overall skin condition. Regular grooming also gives you the chance to inspect from head to tail, checking for any unusual bumps, sores, or rashes.
- Bring outside dogs indoors during extreme hot and cold weather. Older dogs are more susceptible to health problems. For example, the cold can enhance muscle stiffness and aching joints.
- Use carpeted ramps and stairs to help your dog get onto the couch or bed, if he's allowed to be on the furniture.
- You may want to upgrade your dog's plain old fleece dog bed. You can now find heated dog beds to ease pressure on aching joints and muscles, as well as beds formed to massage your dog as he sleeps and relaxes. Another type you may want to consider if there are incontinence problems are the raised beds that have cotton/mesh material that allows your dog to stay dry if he has an accident. The urine will flow through the bed, and you'll want to put a pan underneath to prevent it from dripping on your floors.
- On that note, consider diapers for dogs with incontinence problems. Also, never yell at a senior dog who has piddled on the floor. Remember that he can't help it. Just clean it up and continue with whatever you were doing.
- Be considerate if your dog is losing his sight. Basically, don't rearrange your house, as your dog no longer has clear eyesight, and the new obstacles can cause him to fall and cause an injury. Even if your dog loses his sight completely, he'll remember the general layout of the house, and shouldn't have any problems getting around.
- You may want to consider blocking access to the upstairs or downstairs portion of your house, depending on which area is the most used. This will prevent any use of the stairs, which will only put joints, bones, and muscles under more strain. Consider baby gates to block off the top or bottom of the staircase.
Linda Kendall on July 27, 2020:
My Bichon is 17 this October and she is walking funny all of a sudden, I was wondering if she lost her vision, she typically runs around excitied but it all stopped. I watched her walk down the stairs to go outside and she turned her self around to take a step at a time.
Courtney on June 22, 2020:
Okay so my dog Abby is a 17 year old senior Dachshund 18th this July I've already had 2 vet opinions on her and I'm trying to make the decision on euthanasia the very difficult decision that I do not want to make here's a quick rundown her eating habits and drinking habits have changed rapidly she went from constantly being hungry eating on her own to barely eating eating out of my hand and then somedays acting like she's starving she will no longer eat her dog food but only craves protein mostly she eats shredded boiled chicken sweet mashed potatoes and on occasion rice and Cottage cheese she started throwing up bile and having diarrhea with blood in it at least two to three times a week she has very bad breath periodontal disease and arthritis she has lost alot if weight and stumbles and falls often and having a hard time getting uo after laying for long periods of time I believe she might be in early stages of dementia because she just stands and stares at wall runs into things I'm up with her constantly at night like a baby I having to catch her throw up and her diarrhea because when she goes she's senile to the point that she just steps in it and gets it all over herself and her bed I feel like shes lived a long good life and she's tired and I am so exhausted I want her to live out her life naturally and pass on her own but at the same time I work at the school and I'm going back to work in August and she needs constant care and I no longer can provide that once I go back to work during the day as I am single and live only with my sister who also works at the school so neither of us are home to take care of her the vet basically said that she's too old to put under to have her teeth cleaned and even if he could it may just offer her a little pep in her step and prolong her life a little bit but just to let her die naturally on her own ultimately the decision is up to me my second opinion that i had said the decision is up to me as well and I just need to listen to what she's telling me some days I feel she's ready to leave and some days I feel she's just holding on to tight my family thinks I should put her down because of my exhaustion I guess I feel guilty doing that i took the quality of life quiz she got a 31 she basically sleeps most of the day and night and if not eating throwing up ir going potty shes seeking comfort from me any suggestions will be greatly appreciated
Bella on May 26, 2020:
I boyfriend has a German Shepherd Age 10 year's age she try to go for number one but she wet's her self she eat and drunk lot's of water her behaviour is little bit strange as she sleeps to go to the toilet does nothing and then to something she's unsure what she's doing yourself Is this behaviour normal for Tanya little dog .
Susan on March 26, 2020:
My Bichon who is 15-1/2 doesn't sleep well even though she is on gabapentin. She wakes up about 1-1/2 hours after going to bed, goes out to urinate, and then when she comes back to bed she moans. Also, I have a sleep number bed but she sometimes wants to go out in the family room on a seatee which is firmer. So my question is, do you think it could be her back. (I take her when I can for accuncture), or arthritis. I am thinking of getting an xray just to see if she has any internal problems. Thanks in advance.
nancy pratt on November 23, 2019:
i have a 12 yr old labadoodle white its a boy he has cadaracks on both eyes and he has loss some of his teeth he has bad breath i rescued him 12 yrs ago the people that use to own him use to beat him and treat him bad so the humane society took him and then i adopted him but over the yrs all he wants is me he follows me all over the house and some times he yips like he is in pain but i cant find nothing on him
David Slaughter Jr. on September 19, 2019:
My dogs name is Josie she's 18 years black lab border college. She's having distressed breathing she's laying on the concrete floor in the garage gasping for air forcing herself to breathe, what should I do?
Christina on September 03, 2019:
I see in the comments several people asking how to know when they should put their dog down. I dont know if this helps it did for me. Do a google search: quality of life for dogs. Its a questionare its really informative and it will help you know if your dogs life is happy or if its not. Its hard to excplain look it up and see for yourself
Linda S. on March 27, 2019:
Pearl, my 16 yr. 4 mo. old Pomeranian, is mostly deaf and toothless.
Last April (2018), she developed a UTI. In many years of geriatric nursing care, I was very familiar with UTI's in human geriatrics, but didn't realize that dogs might get them, too!
From that time on, Pearl had gone downhill rapidly, even with antibiotic treatment.
She walked like a drunk, couldn't keep her footing in my laminate kitchen floor (picture Bambi on his first forage onto a frozen pond - legs splaying out at all angles), and could no longer nogotiate the stairs to go outside for a potty trip.
In successive Vet visits, her kidneys registered high protein levels, so she was put on Enalapril to help her kidney function. Then Aluminum Hydroxide to keep up her Potassium levels. Her blood pressure was high, so she's on medication for that. Plus, she was dehydrated, so I had to give her lactose ringers of 10cc three times a week, subcutaneously in the scruff.
Initially, I didn't think she'd make it to Halloween. She did. Then, I was pretty certain she wouldn't reach her 16th birthday on November 30th. But I was absolutely certain she wouldn't be making the trip up from Utah to British Columbia, Canada, over Christmas. She did!!!
By this time, she was eating pretty well again, but hadn't grown back her Winter coat. (I get her and her daughter, 12 yr. old Leah, a short haircut for the summer - I call it "the squirrel cut" - short hair; bushy tail). Leah had fully grown back her lively, fluffy Pomeranuan coat, but Pearl had not.
While I was in B.C., I encountered, on Facebook, an advertisement for "Extend©", a joint supplement for dogs. After reading numerous testimonials, I decided to order it, understanding that it would be delivered to my home in Utah, and I couldn't begin adding it to Pearl's regimen until after we got home January 9th.
I started her on it on January 10th, and it has made a marked difference in her walking gait!
No, she doesn't run around like a puppy again. But here's what improvements I HAVE recorded: 1.) Her fur is almost FULLY grown back. 2.) She can now balance while sitting and give me a "high 5" (I've had many dogs all my life, and I had decided to break away from the classic "shake a paw" training). 3.) She wags her tail frequently, again. It had been MONTHS since she wagged her tail! 4.) At bedtime, she lays on her back and plays with me - I wiggle my fingers above her chest and she playfully paws at them, just as she did when she was young. 5.) Her appetite is back with a vengeance! 6.) She drinks well, and I no longer have to do the water treatment to her.
I also have her on Sun Chlorella Rejuva-Wafers, which have eliminated a couple of fatty subcutaneous lumps around her neck by changing her body pH to being higher in alkalinity.
As an aside, my husband and I have been on Sun Chlorella for about six years, and in a pre-usage pH test, our reading was 6.5 on the acid scale. Just one month after starting on Sun Chlorella, our readings were at 7.2 on the alkaline scale. It's a known fact that Cancer CANNOT live in an alkaline environment!
I still carry Pearl out to go potty, and now that Spring is upon us, she is thiroughly enjoying basking in the warm Spring air!
I buy the BIG box of large pee pads and the dog beds sit on top of the pee-pee pads. I put on on the bed, and Pearl sleeps ON it on my bed, but with her new favorite blanket over her she's very comfy.
Even the water dish and dry food sits on a pee-pee pad, as she often starts drinking and then squats to take a pee right there.
All in all, the only thing that I will use as an indicator to finally help her relax and cross over to "Rainbow Bridge" is her breath. Since all her teeth are gone, she now has sweet breath. Thus, when her breath starts to smell like pee, she will be in full kidney failure, and I will finally accept that it will be time to send her to "Rainbow Bridge".
Until then, I will make no more superfluous predictions about when she will be "done".
Pat R on March 16, 2019:
I have 3 seniors but my chihuahua is shaking all the time her eating is erratic she is blind and deaf i adopted her as a senior at 12 and she is 15 now.she has all the old age things now but she is loved and i will give her what she needs til she needs to leave me.thank you for sharing.
Donna on December 19, 2018:
My 14 yr old lab mix hos high anxieties over food,he can not get enough to eat,he is obsessive
cheryl marcum on December 05, 2018:
I have a 14 year old beagle she has been housebroke since she was 10 weeks old she is peeing and pooping in the house is it time for me to let her go and she has a very bad odor to her
Kara on November 13, 2018:
Just put our German Shepherd to sleep on Nov. 8. She was 10-11 with Degenerative Myelopathy. It has no cure. I tried supplements which helped, but hind legs became paralyzed. Feel guilt, angry, sad, helpless. My bf cried over her body for almost an hour. Love Hurts.
shirley on September 25, 2018:
my sixteen yr old cross terrier has change in urine output and overall thirst why is this
Jan on May 19, 2018:
My 16 year old Shih Tzu is not able to pee normally. He keeps wanting to go out and stands in one spot trying to pee and only gets a small puddle or drips. He has been to his vet and put on antibiotics after a urine sample showed some bacteria. After 14 days on meds there is no change Ann he wakes me up every couple of hours to pee then spends a good 20 + minutes trying to get something out but just drips. Back to the vet, has a catheter procedure done to get a clean specimen and have it cultured. To do that is pricy and would need to send it to be cultured within 24 hours. He was also xrayed and sent home with a stronger antibiotic plus gabapentin 50 ml twice a day for both meds.We desided to wait on culture until after his medication to see if anything changed. It did nothing and now wish I had done the culture but money was an issue. This is my boy Casey and I will do the right thing, but I wondered if anyone has been through this and what the outcome was. This is so heartbreaking to watch him try to pee. He also has a hunchback and his hind legs are getting weak. Any help or knowledge would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, his Mom.
Joanne on April 26, 2018:
We have a King Charles cavalier she is a big part of the family, 11yrs , the fur on her back as started to go real thin, she as started over the last couple of weeks finding it more difficult to get up/down stairs at night, we have to pick her up to put her on the bed , I’m very worried, any advice ?please Regards joanne
Mariyn Plowman on April 07, 2018:
I have a very old Australian Cattle dog mix. There were 2 to begin with, male and female liter mates, both neutered. I adopted them when they were 12. Before the male died, He would eat most of her food as well as his owe. She became quite thin and did not have much of an appetite and then started refusing the food we gave her. I switched over to a grain free chow and now add a table spoon of raw ground pork from our own pigs and a raw egg from our own chickens. She is doing quite well now except for being totally deaf, leaking urine. She also goes out 4-5 time a night to pee.
paul tomasetti on April 04, 2018:
what do you do for a broken heart !!!!!
Mrs Christine Gladstone on March 31, 2018:
my 17yr old yorkie,gets up at night 4-5 times just to drink , i have had him tested for diabetes, but he does not have it. He goes downstairs and starts barking so we have to get up to let him out, but, 99%of the time he just stands there and does nothing.Why is he doing this? and is it time for him to be put to sleep, which i really do not want to do, but my husband and i are soooo tired as we are not getting enough sleep
Lauri Milinich on March 22, 2018:
My 14 yr old yorkie has bad teeth that are poking out from her gums now and she also has spasms in her front paws. I have no money due to having m.s. and receive only s.s.d. I cry constantly because I can’t get help
keithgabi on February 14, 2018:
I would greatly appreciate any feedback or assistance regarding my 14 yr old Shih Tzu who has been the love of my life. Several months ago Gabi had her right eye taken out successfully which was such a relief considering her age. However, the past two months she constantly barks day and night. I have tried different methods to offset this behavior but am having zero luck. It seems like she is always scared of me and I am fighting for her affection which I am not accustomed to. I am a nurse who works most of the day and my new living arrangement with my boyfriend is slowly testing all of our patients as he is the one who also tries to help out and is subjected to the constant barking. We are extremely loving to Gabi but nothing seems to work. I also noticed that Gabi is substantiating spending more time in the back yard as well which is unlike her normal behavior. However, one percent of the time she will actually stop barking. I have gone to the vet and they suggest zanex as that sometimes helps but I often wonder if that is fair for her???? I’m so upset and have a hard time dealing with the aging process. If anyone has any advice, I would appreciate your time.
Christina on February 05, 2018:
We have a 15 year old family dog named yogy. She died at birth and my son rubbed her back to life. She dresses up with us, She eats when we eat,She’s just like a daughter to me. Well she’s aging now and her muscles are deteriating in her back legs. I can’t fathom being without her. They say you should never out live your children, that’s how much I love her. I only ask that I can give her the comfort that she has given me. It’s really hard for me to read how people are asking if it’s time to put there animals to rest, I would never do that. She will ALWAYS be with me. I love you Yogy with All my heart and soul. I pray that when my legs start giving out no one wants to put me down!!!
Mary on January 20, 2018:
I am having a tough time with my 16 year old dog. He is blind and has a hard time with his hind legs. He still eats and basically a healthy dog. He poop and stain the floor daily and whines and barks a lot too. I try to take good care of him and make life as comfortable as possible for him.
Is this any kind of life for him ? My difficulty is when should I put him to rest? Am I being too selfish by keeping him. This is no life for a dog
sophie on January 14, 2018:
my 14 yr old dog has grey all over her body and she has been not eating or drinking . she will not get up. she keeps on vomiting.i think she might not make it through the day
Driver on January 08, 2018:
To Shea, there are wrap around (with velcro) pad holders -- put a sanitary pad w wings inside it) that can be used for male urinary incontinence. My toy poodle (rescued like yours) wears them indoors and even likes wearing them! I found them online. Can be washed easily and I purchase supermarket or drug store brand Night time with wings sanitary towels for him -- the ones from pet shops are needlessly expensive. Look online for body band or male dog incontinance pad, etc ... then you measure your baby and order. Good luck and bless you both xox
Shea on January 05, 2018:
My Blind rescue dog is now not even getting off my bed to pee....I am sad because the vet says he has a strong heart and I know that it is full of love. But he is hunched over because he cant see and he whimpers a lot in pain. I can pull him close and cover him up with a blanket but in a couple of hours he is up aging. I never get a lot of sleep, I work full time and am not going through medical issues and don't know what to do with Shea.
Vicky on December 01, 2017:
At what age can I stop heartworm
Med. I have 15 yr shots who doesn't do or go much
Larry on November 26, 2017:
I am having a tough time with my 12 year old dog. He is blind and cannot use his hind legs. He does poop and stain the carpets. I simply take good care of him and make life as comfortable as possible for him.
My difficulty is when should I put him to rest? Am I being too selfish by keeping him. This is no life for a dog
I-am told by Friends and relatives.
Janet Dailey on November 23, 2017:
My 13 year old Maltese has been pooping and urinating in the House lately, she eats most of it,but leaves us enough to find
Dar on October 16, 2017:
My 13 1/2 yr old basset is afraid of any noise, goes upstairs to pee, her face is so frightened with any noise, not particularly loud, her long ears hang funny. Poor Obie. She is failing. She is acting very strange, eats well, tho.
Rick on September 26, 2017:
Terrier mix will be 18 soon, having trouble sitting down or standing, she keeps slipping on front feet and falling over,will not settle down. Eating and going out are no problem, still climbs stairs and will jump out of bed ( afraid she will break something but watching to try and help her down )
Natasha on September 06, 2017:
I had a look on all the comments below..but it seems that my dog's problem is the worst of all.my dog is 17 years n 9 months old
In the beginning he lost his sight and had other changes in his body but in the last 1 week I found drastic changes in his health.his legs began to swell and his back portion got filled with a yellow rotten liquid ,his skin is turning bloody red and as I tried to clean it lookworm water it became more worse..I can see openings in his skin and can also easily see inner flesh of his body.
He cries ,can't stand and walk
..has not eaten for almost three days,can't pee and poop...if I call a vet I know they will recommend us to put him down,but I don't want to kill my bestie ,,plss help in this context..
Cheryl on June 18, 2017:
Hello, I have a 13 year old black lab/Great Dane mix. He is struggling to walk. He is very happy, eats great, no bathroom accidents, plays with 2 year old sister black lab. About 45 days ago he broke a toe caused from him knuckling his paw from neurological condition. He is wearing a splint on the hurt paw. He is struggling more to walk and I don't' know how else to help him. His leg is just not working properly. I'm not ready to let go and he's not either. He's not giving up. I need to help him get more stabilized for walking. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Shelly on April 24, 2017:
My 17 year peekapoo has trouble with back legs still walking but kinda side ways he can't hear or see peeing all over and pooping all over and he steps in it .and walks all over the house we take him in yard goes pee and comes in the house and poops. You can't pet or groom him he still eats and drinks water is it time to put him down
Bonnie on April 08, 2017:
I have a 16 year old bishon/poodle mix she has cataracts both eyes but recently I have noticed this black ugly weepy discharge from her eyes and on her nose what could it be?
Bernie Goragely on March 28, 2017:
I have 10 year old King Charles he is on heart tablets and water tablets but other that he is in good nick . But the last 2days he doesn't seem to have much life in him just staying in basket not greeting us as he would always do when we come home far too quiet .should I be worried ?
Diane B. on March 27, 2017:
My Maltese is 15 1/2 years old and in the last 2 months has started to sometimes be incontinent of urine. her vision is fading and she's almost deaf. She also will go outide and wander around as though she doesn't know where she is and can't find her way back to the doggy door. She still loves to eat and is always begging for my food, her nose still works like a puppy's. My question is; I don't think she's in pain but she no longer plays with her toys, doesn't go out on walks and may have dementia/confusion. She eats, sleeps and goes to the bathroom. My sister says she doesn't have quality of life because she she isn't playful and probably is always so slow aroune the house. I don't think she's suffering and I just want to do right by her and not be selfish because I love her so much. How do you know when it's time to let them go?
Kayla D. on February 22, 2017:
I need some advice, I don't know what to do for my dog.. My grandparents have a dog thats slightly older than him, and they bought her stairs so she could get on the bed, we didn't want to buy stairs because we were afraid he wouldn't use them if they were available, so we built make-shift ones to try and help him.( we were right, he's being stubborn as always) He's nearing about fourteen years old, he's half poodle half peekignese(I know I spelled that wrong..) but lately he's having a lot of trouble getting on the bed, he can't even jump into the bath tub like he usually does to make sure everything's okay in the bathroom. He whines if he wants on the bed, so lately we pick him up to place him on the bed a lot. Sometimes when he runs, his back legs just stop running with him and his backside ends up falling over. We give him baby asprin, and it seems to help as a temporary pain ease, but it's only getting worse and worse. Could my dog be getting close to "His time"? I've had him since I was about seven, and I'm about to turn twenty. He's always been a grumpy old fart, but I don't know what I'd do if we were forced to put him down.. It jerks at my heart to think he's having so much trouble.. Can anyone give me advice? Please?
Helene on February 06, 2017:
I got my dog Amberly from the local pound in 1999 when she was 7 weeks old. I was told she was a Lab-Shepherd mix.She is about 50-60 lbs [I can't lift her to weigh her], red hair and up till this AM was walking outside, down a ramp to do her daily business. But this AM I found that she'd vomited and when I let her out, she came back and wouldn't eat and now won't get up to drink or eat or pee or poo [which she did on a towel that she was lying atop]. I tried to interest her in a chew toy or water or food or a dog biscuit, but she's not having any of it. She just lies in her bed [I managed to get her into it] and while she doesn't seem to be in any pain, she's not her usual self. From the age-date you provided, she is very, very, very old,, and I am also sort-of old [nearing 70 and disabled, living her alone] and cannot get her to a vet. Any ideas? I've been treating her with homeopathics since she was 8 weeks old and she hasn't been sick since then, but I'm not sure what to do now.
Dawn on January 02, 2017:
Stacey your dog needs to go to a vet hunnie and there are so many people out there who would donate money to make sure the little fellow got seen today of a vet, please don't be ashamed many ppl are in the same situation sometimes i have been there myself, whats mot important is the dog gets sorted out as soon as......i will give you a link to group on Facebook that helps with dogs vet bills for ppl on low incomes...https://www.facebook.com/bigbrotherfan?fref=ts
Stacy on December 31, 2016:
Hi Stacey, you absolutely need to take your dog to the vet. If he was hit by a car and is yelping with pain, even just randomly in pain, he needs to be seen by a vet. It is probably making the problem much worse (whatever he's yelping about) by trying to take care of it on your own. What's the name of your normal vet office or the nearest emergency vet office wherever you are? Maybe they could offer a payment plan, most vets will help you out with payment plans, or we could try to get your vet bill crowdfunded so you can take the little guy to be seen. What's the name of your normal vet office or the name of the nearest emergency vet where you are?
Stacy on December 31, 2016:
You absolutely need to take your dog to the vet. Explain the situation to the vet fully, and the fact that your pet was hit by a car, and you are bound to find a vet who will be willing to see your dog. There are vets which will work with you to make a payment plan and which will be very gracious and not shame you regarding your financial situation. But you Absolutely need to take your dog to the vet, don't try to self-diagnose or medicate without knowing what is going on inside your dog's body. It's likely making it worse (and much more expensive) to wait and try to solve it on your own.
stacey on December 31, 2016:
My12 year old chihuahua got hit by a car 2 days ago. cant take him to vet no money. his legs work fine and eats and drinks fine. goes potty fine. I need to know what I can give for sudden yelps of pain? Someone told me baby benadryl but I want to make sure I dont kill my dog if they were wrong. Can someone please tell me what to give him?
Jolene on October 25, 2016:
I need advice, I have a 17 1/2 year-old mini Dashshaund . Sammy has gotten very thin can no longer use his back legs drinks a lot and he still has his normal appetite. He pees of the time.we have to decide if it's time to let Sammy go. He cries at night but we don't know if it's for attention or pain. So help me out what would you do?
Tami on October 24, 2016:
I have a 7 year old cockapoo I rescued from the nursing home where I was working. He had a huge cyst on the side of his head and they were just going to put him down. My vet told me it was cancer, so Fat Boy had his surgery nearly 3 months ago. He was so full of life upon his recovery, but is slowing down now. He has the blue haze in his eyes, sleeps a lot and usually has to be woken up for his walks. I know what it all means, but I love him so. He is always by my side, watching over me, especially when I'm sick or in pain.
Winks on September 24, 2016:
Diane my 16 year old Shihtzu had this happen. He had a an MRI and it was a disk problem. They gave him a steroid shot. No stairs; we use ramps. No jumping. No uneven surface walking. Now he's fine. Try this. It was a miracle cure.
MJC on September 09, 2016:
My 15 year old toy poodle has been ill for quite awhile. I have taken her to vet many times over the past 6 months and every visit to the vet stresses her. She has Arthritis, Chronic Kidney failure, liver problems, Dementia and now the vet says that she needs gallbladder surgery due to her gallbladder being filled with "sludge" but may not survive the surgery with her other health problems. The vet advised a platelet transfusion for a "band-aid" until other blood test come back to see what is actually going on. I am so confused over what to do. I have spend over $5,000 over the past 2 weeks and feel it is just stressing my pet more to be put through all of this. Any advise is greatly appreciated. She is such a wonderful friend and was always so gentle - now she is biting the technicians and vets.
Rachael Bennett on September 02, 2016:
Oh i hope he is going to be ok. Thank you for your kind words.
Its so hard when they are older i started grieving georgie years ago worrying about when the time would come.
I say a little prayer for you all.
Diane Fitzgerald on September 01, 2016:
I am so sorry about you dog.
I have a shih tzu who I love very much, he is sixteen years old, the love of my life, and today at eight o clock pm , he lost the use of his back legs, we rushed him to emergency, and now the vet put him on steroids to relieve the inflamation, and we will see what happens tommorow.
Pray for my dog.
Rachael Bennett on August 31, 2016:
I just put to sleep my beautiful 19 year old cross snauzer
She had aged in the last few months deaf blind but still jumped up on lounge ate like a horse.
I think now she had congenital heart disease not cushings and bronchitis
Georgie started to go downhill after last month doing her crucial ligament which i chose not to operate on.
I bought a house 2 months ago to give her n her son a flat walk to yard. I was devo she never really got to enjoy it but i guess she got to walk out front door wen she could as i have a gate.
Her thirst was incredible aswas appetite and panting.
Yesterday i knew it was time she just lay down last 24 hours not getting up.
I got a late night vet to come and put her to sleep. As i type i am bawling my eyes out i and her son ceaser miss her soooo bad
She had the best life always quality meat bones chicken breast and rice and i know i did the right thing but crap i wish i had one more hour with her.
I never had children and at 45 i had her almost half my life. I know the pain will ease but im just so bloody heartbroken i cant stand it.
May you rest in peace my baby girl mumma will always love you and you filled my whole life with joy and total happiness. Xxx
Sophie on August 24, 2016:
The lady who talked about her dog having seizures due to rosemary is true for me. I tried a new recipe tonight with rosemary in it I never use rosemary...my husband gave her a few table scrapes after dinner and about 20 minutes later she was have seizures and trying to run all over the place in a manic state. It was scary. I have a 14 year old beagle and she's never done anything like this before. I gave her an 81 mg aspirin and I stayed calmed she's finally sleeping ..Whew! Thank you so much for the tip on the Rosemary who'd have thought? to put that together. Thank you!
Mandy on August 10, 2016:
Monty is a 12 year old weimaraner covered in lumps and bumps. he has had many procedures and operations as he has always been quite clumsy. His back legs are very stiff, he struggles with the stairs and finds getting up from the floor an effort. He sleeps more than he is awake these days but still eats 2 meals a day and is a scrounger for any left overs that may be going ! He also manages to jump up to the worktop in the kitchen and lick the plates !. he has a girlfriend called molly ( 3 year old black lab ) who calls for him at the back gate every day and they run around the field with Freddy the golden lab who is also 3. Monty runs around with them, jumping up and trying to box with Freddy. you would never believe he is 12. Some evenings he looks at me and I think he looks very tired, and feel guilty for all of his lumps and bumps and worry that he may be in some pain. I have had him since 8 weeks old. My adult sons were all boys when we got him and it will break all of our hearts to say goodbye. I wont let him suffer and just hope he will go off in his sleep on day.
anonymous on July 25, 2016:
I have a 15 year old Maltese. I love him so much, but this is a difficult and sad time for us. He is getting visibly older, and he has separation anxiety. I am underemployed and have been for years now. I have moved six times and I will be moving again soon, since I am staying at a friend's house while he is gone for the summer. I need to be able to leave to house to work and I've been considering driving my car to make money. The only problem is that my dear old friend doesn't want me to leave him alone. I also dread the day that I will be without him, but my life circumstances have changed and it's been a long haul keeping him with me. A few years ago, I considered finding him a home, but I was told that no one could stay at home with a dog, even a senior and no one would want to adopt a senior dog. I am doing the best I can to love him to the end. I will miss him so much, but it's also very hard to handle him at times.
sue on July 06, 2016:
Hi there, my trusty friend and companion must now be somewhere approaching 15 or so years, as she has lived with me for nearly 14 years now and was a rescue, although I think only an older puppy when she first came to me. She's adorable and my sweetheart, but as she has been getting older (like and with me!), her hearing is going as well as her sight, and her breathing does seem to very heavy at times. She pants an awful lot. The vet can't find anything specific but she's now on daily Metacam, just in case. Over recent months, she's been withdrawing from me more and more, and as I have a dog flap she seems to be always in the garden, lying on damp or wet grass. Some days I can fish her in 20-30 times each day, but after only a few minutes she goes off and I find her in the garden again - in all weathers! She'll still respond to a bit of a cuddle, but only for a short time before she's off out the dog flap again. If I close off her access to this, she paces around the house, clearly not happy. She still seems to enjoy her daily stroll around our nearby field, but out the flap again as soon as we return. Should I just go with the flow and let her do this? even though I just know the damp grass isn't good for her aching bones? I love her to bits and want to make her final days/months/years as comfortable as possible, but just don't know what to do for the best. Help!!
Leslie Gruen on April 28, 2016:
This article has been helpful to us. Our "baby" is a 12-year-old Springer Spaniel who a few weeks ago jumped into an ice cold pond to chase ducks and loved long, long walks everyday. Suddenly it seems her eyesight is impaired, no cataracts according to her vet. Because of her impaired vision, she no longer is interested in walking distances, going in the car for hiking in the woods, etc. She prefers being at home and on one of her three beds - yes, she has a blanket or down-blanket bed in our living room, dining area and bedroom. Her disinterest in hikes, walks and adventures is very much a concern but this article helped us understand. If you have any other suggestions for us please do share.
kiml on October 28, 2013:
my min pin is 16 on heart med, he is frail, bony spine, blind, deaf, he is eating so good and goes potty outside and walks around house.
Carolanneb on April 28, 2013:
I have 2 old beauties too. Peanut and Pebbles. They are miniature schnauzers & Peanut is almost 16yrs old, while Pebbles is nearly 14. Their hearing is poor now, their eyesight is going, but their appetite is better than ever. They rarely vomit, and I feed them healthy ppl food with some canned dog food for protein to fatten them up. Their fat just wilts off their bodies as they age....
My 14 yr old paces and paces and paces, and she too has this look of utter boredom in her eyes. But by George she still has that built in clock that when it's near time to eat, she's going to pace that much faster. The 16yr old, paces every once in a while ... but I think the younger one is going senile quicker than the older one., thus the pacing. I know she isn't in pain.... or she'd tell me. If I pick her up and cuddle her, she'll fall fast asleep. When I put her down on her pile of blankies to nap, she will either continue napping or she'll start her darn pacing again. hahaha, I sometimes just laugh at her. I'll hold out my hand as she's going by my armchair, and she'll stop to sniff it - lick my fingers in a kiss / then off she goes to continue pacing. She'll do this for an hour or more - but will then just slow down and walk over to her blankies and crash for a lovely long nap. She snores LOUD too! lol
I've debated putting them down too, but why when they both seem so darn content. (other than the pacing, I just know that they are happy... just getting old and scraggly.)
But all the posts I've read are right about one thing, We will KNOW when it's time. As much work as they both are right now, I know it's worth it....as they too don't want to go yet. They still adore bedtime when I lift them up to my big king-size bed, and they sleep all through the night. I have to wake them in the morning to go pee before I go to work.
Do we put them down just because they are a lot of work? NO!!! I truly truly think that when you sense your dog is unhappy, and or in pain..... then it's time. (Every case will be different too, as with me having 2 dogs, they always keep each other company and adore one another. I still get to witness their love & nurturing the other when they curl up to nap. One is always wrapped around the other, or the other always has her head across the other's body. That surely isn't a sign of a dog needing to be put down. )
Enjoy your pets, and watch for signs of pain. Crying, limping, swelling, etc. But blindness, hearing loss just go with aging... I'm afraid.
snigdha.s from India,mumbai on August 11, 2012:
Very touching and heart provoking hub. Have witnessed most of these symptoms with my pet during her last days. Very well written hub. God bless you
Liz on July 19, 2012:
My poodle is 17 years old. He had a double cataract surgery two years ago. He has numerous seizures, will slip and fall easily, has inflammatory bowel disease and his stools are pencil then even though I feed him brown rice with his kibble. He is incontinent and now started shaking. I think it may be time to put him to sleep, but my adult child makes me feel guilty about it. Except for the shaking, falling, seizures he seems fine.
tinasbaby on May 14, 2012:
This is a wonderful article! However, I'm still very distraught about caring for our senior dog. Our "baby" is a 12 yr, 8 month old german shepherd/malamute mix (so pretty big). She has always been VERY energetic, and very smart, wanting a LOT of stimulation. We've been able to provide that for her for most of her life, but she is really slowing down now, and can't walk very far (even with Rimadyl) any more. We take her in the car 3-4 times a day to a different neighborhood or park, so that she can have "new" scents to sniff, rather than just the same old walk around the block day in/day out. But she isn't seeming as interested in this as she was even just a few weeks ago. The problem is, she is very restless, and looks at us as if she's very bored, even after just returning from one of these multiple daily trips. We let her lay in the front yard for hours (as long as it isn't too hot or cold) so she can watch the activity going by. She does love the front yard! But she still seems so bored, even after hours of walks, front-yard time, etc. She has never liked fetch or other "typical" dog games, and we have tried so many things to stimulate her, but she will either only want to do them for a minute or so, or refuses to do any at all. But then she still stares like she's bored. We love her to pieces, and it is very distressing to us to not be able to have her happily occupied as much as she seems to want. It certainly isn't for lack of us trying! Some have suggested that maybe she WANTS to just lie around, since she is nearly 13, but I know my baby pretty well, and I can't imagine I'm misreading her on this.
She is pretty healthy overall for a nearly 13 year old lady, so I can't believe she is just getting to the point of needing to put to sleep. I want her last few months or years to be happy ones, but she just doesn't seem very interested in anything we try. (And we've tried SO many things, many more than what I've mentioned here, including find-the-treat, hide-and-seek, get-the-treat-out-of-the-box, etc.) It is breaking my heart to see her wanting more stimulation, but not knowing what else to try (she's not friendly with most other dogs anymore, so that's not an option, either.) :(
Bill on May 14, 2012:
My dog did the same thing. It happened for about 5 months then last week she could not get up to well at all. Somehow she got out or someone let her out and she was hit. She was brought to the AH and I had to put her down. I think she was may have been looking for a place to die. She was an unbelievable spirit and trumps most humans I know.
Enjoy as much time as you can with your family member. A test of your spirit comes when they are gone. Listen and you will know when it is time. They will take care of it themselves if they can. Humans used to be the same way.
Good luck, give your dog an extra pet for me.
Debra Carmichael on May 13, 2012:
Sabeloo, if you dog is crying you need to look to make sure to see if your dog is not hurt. My yorkie was cut really bad under her eye and it cost me $600.00 to have them take care of her. She had a v shaped cut that had a bubble after a couple days and I did not even see it. They said that they had cleaned a scab off of her face and I thought nothing of it until the bubble appeared. It was terrible. I have called groomers to make sure that they could do a groom without hurting my dog and have had one tell me that she could not guarantee that she would not be hurt. So of course I did not take her there or to the one that hurt her. I hope all is well, but really think maybe your dog might have been cut or shaved too close. They also put a very large scar on the back of my minature schnauzer. After I saw that I never took him there again. I hope all goes well.
linda on May 11, 2012:
i think most of you are keeping you dogs too long, i had four border collies but i had to let them go when they were suffering broke my heart still cant get over it after several years. Please think of the dog and not yourselves.
Ltbury on May 07, 2012:
We have a 14yr old red heeler. She is completely blind and has some arthritis but still had tons of energy even though she has slowed down a lot. When she was younger she had a habit of getting into our kitchen garbage but she hasn't done it in months. But now all of the sudden she has gotten crazy about eating EVERYTHING! I will leave a room for a few minutes and I will come back to find her eating anything from underwear to pieces of paper. I don't know what to do!
diane on May 04, 2012:
My sweet 13 year old dog is in his final days. I can't seem to find the courage to take him to the vet and end his life, and my heart is absolutely breaking. He's been incontinent for a few months, and I highly recommend using a diaper holder that velcro's around his waist. I bought infant-sized diapers that I put inside this diaper holder and it keeps him dry and my house clean. Anyway, he's going on 2 full days now of not eating or drinking anything, so I know it's just a matter of time. He does seem very content to just sleep on his bed in our bedroom. This is the hardest thing in the world for me. I keep telling him it's ok to go and that I love him so much.
Natasha on April 30, 2012:
Taking my golden retriever to the vet tomorrow to get put down, fingers crossed in can be delayed just a little while longer, it's so difficult but I know it's the best thing to do, nearly 13 shame she couldn't push another year:(
starr on April 26, 2012:
thanx for the post. reads like my exact situation. hopefully my 14 1/2 yr old shiba wont hang on much longer.
update us please !
sabeloo on March 23, 2012:
My 11 yr old sheltiehas been jcrying and running around all night for two nights. she won.t jump up on bed with me. she went to groomers lasy week. Could sh have caught something. I've been off work for 3 yrs and don't have much money. Can any one figure out what to due. She's eating and drinking Probably in might head but her chest seems to feel different
Please let me know what you think
Sylvia on March 10, 2012:
I have a 18 1/2 year Llasso Apso who is senile, deaf, blind and often loses her balance. Sometimes incontenent during the night. Do not have the heart to put her down as you would not put your granny down in this condition unless she was in pain. She is eating and drinking albeit she sometimes loses her balance. So whilst high maintenance that is the penalty that you pay to keep your loved ones! She still enjoys a cuddle, snores like hell and sleeps a lot. Can pee and poo in house though if you don't watch out. Put puppy pads down on floor at all times just in case. Puppy pad down in her bed as lining then fleece blanket on top as soon as you wash it is dried within a couple of hours. You know when it is time to let go, even though she may no longer know who I am and be that playful pet. She is content in her own little way. She is enjoying her food: Steak, chicken, burgers, fishfingers, hash browns, senior cesaer and loves a wash and blow dry which is very frequent as she often slips in her pee! I am sure it is deliberate!
Linda on February 29, 2012:
I have a 13 year old weimaraner: she has arthritis on her hind legs and getting up and walking is though for her. So I put her on cartrophen injections ( Canadian product)for her arthritis and she does well. It reduces the pain and inflammation. I give her that injection every 3 weeks or as needed.
She also has involuntary incontinence (night): the vet put her on Propolin 3 times per day and that does the job for now.
I bought a harness to help her during walks and stairs: it is easier on my back as I lift her with the strenght of my arms.
Geriatric dogs like mine become very sensitive and ache for reassurance and affection. I am no longer getting mad at her incontinence as I know that it is not her fault. She actually looked ashamed when she would wet herself or poop in bed once in a while. I know my time with her is limited but she still enjoys her food, walks and cuddles. This is all that matter for me. Animals do let us know when it is time to let go.
MarilynG on February 20, 2012:
We had 3 dogs. We just lost the youngest to cancer. Taffy was 9 and in good health at Christmas. Just after the 1st of the year, she started to breathe funny (heaving chest when she got exited or exercised). 3 days later, we were at the emergency vet because of the breathing. He gave her an antibiotic and took blood. Next day came the diagnosis of Addison's disease and a prescription of prednisone. Two days later she was blind. Two days after this she almost died, but we got her back. Three days later, she was totally blind. We took her to the vet and he found a heart arrythmia that wasn't there a week before. He took xrays and she was loaded with cancer. As we looked at her that last day, we could see she was in pain, but being the good dog she was, never let us know. It was the hardest decision I have ever made, to lose my best friend. No, she was more like one of my kids. My husband always said that I stopped having kids and started having dogs.
Our Oldest dog is 14 years and over the past two years has been treated for thyroid disease. But she lost weight and kept losing it. One of her biggest problems was eating the goodies that the cat dropped outside the front door. She would vomit and have diarrhea for days each time. In late fall, she ate something and it really affected her. She had diarrhea for a week and lost weight and strength. On Sunday, she collapsed on the lawn. I called the vet and he said that dogs will "paralyze" themselves when they were in pain. She had massive diarrhea again. It took 4 days before she recovered, but it had left her weak. She has stopped eating most of her dog food hoping for people food. But it all gives her diarrhea. She gets pepto everyday. Vet says her liver and kidneys are failing. We tiptoe through each day hoping that it is not her last.
The third dog was 11 on Valentine's Day. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure a few years back. She has started to have wet coughs, but we think they are allergy related. A little benadryl takes care of it. So afraid that we will lose all the dogs in just a few months.
We adopted a new dog from the pound a few weeks ago so the third dog will have a friend in the house as the other dogs pass on. But who knows how much longer we will have her.
fancydog on February 19, 2012:
We have a 15 year old miniature poodle that eats all day and poops all day. He sleeps on our bed so when he wakes up I immediately put him out in the yard to pee and poo. He does that in the morning. Later, during the day, we again put him out so he can do his duties. The problem is with timing. The second or third time he pees but then he poops inside the house. We are always steping on poo. I spent 20 minutes cleaning his poop in the kitchen tile floor and on our poop color carpet in our bedroom. Not only I clean his poop but I have to clean my shoes because I am constantly stepping on his poop. Our dog is completely blind so he is always knocking against doors, walls, and anything in his way. Can I put him on a diet or let him eat only at certain times so we can catch him before he goes in the house. Whenever I am cooking he is right next to me in the kitchen waiting for scraps and after he eats pieces of chicken, meat, fish, he goes to his bowl and eats more. Any advise please?
Kathy on February 16, 2012:
I think that tuckerdogavl must never make a mistake. Shame on you for criticizing the writer who is obviously trying to help. Very useful article.
tuckerdogavl on February 06, 2012:
How do you loosen your sense of sight or hearing? In your very first sentence. I can understand having loose skin, or loose change or that your belt is loose, but I don't see how you loose your sense of hearing?
Bryan on February 05, 2012:
I have a dachound his name is Bryan he is 12 years old, I have been reading everyones comments, and mine our same, I don't know how long I can put up with his peeing on everything, even thou he goes outside, and goes ever 15 minutes out side, he pees on everything, I am tired. I alwo have 2 grandsons, and my dog is getting fussy a lot, I am afraid he will bite the boys, he already gets mad at me, if I get on to him. I don't know what to do.
Jolon on January 19, 2012:
in response to kevin if you ever read this... i am at that stage with my eldest now... going vets tomorrow (or shall i say today) and reading what you put and the same is happening to my gizzie...obviously as all pet lovers do i am hoping that the vet may say he is ok, as i do tend to think the worst of situation's but i just have that feeling.... but obviously if he is in pain then i will do the right thing... gizmo is 13-14 collie cross lab had him since i was 10-11 years old so obviously gutted... my baby rajah is a husky/akita/sharr-pei and is the first of my own (gizmo is our family dog) 2 in april and after seeing gizzie im' dreading that time but hey i am a dog lover and that little saddness at the end can never over shadow all those great times/memories that our pups give us... like they saying goes... "a dog not just for christmas" :)
marlene oliveri on October 31, 2011:
I have a 15 year old black minature poodle. He is starting to lose his hearing, but eyesight is good. He is starting to have hip and joint problems, if he is on a floor his back legs will do a split and it is hard for him to get up. I tried the joint medication you can buy it on line, Joint med, with Glusomine, msm, Chro
Kevin on October 25, 2011:
Today I finally had to put my mini-pin down after 15 1/2 wonderful years.Yogi was showing signs of ageing last year a little slower getting up the steps shorter walks were in order. And his walks along the beach didn't seem to interest him no more. Yogi starting going blind and was able to see enough to get around his hearing was gone and his hips were going.I work out of my home so just about every two hours I would take him out this went on a good part of the day and sometimes at night he would stir and up I got and out in the yard he went.The last few night he was restless and he just couldn't get confortable and he started to wimper.I have spent so much time with my best buddy I would just choke up talking about putting him down .I knew he was in pain and I laid down next to my little buddy and started talking to him and got completely chocked up and he gave me that lick that said everything is okay.I knew and he knew the time had come.I called the vet and within a few hours I was in his office he gave him a shot to relax him as I held my little buddy and talked to him while he relaxed it was very peaceful the doctor asked us to step outside while he gave him his final shot.I brought yogi home he seemed so peaceful no longer in pain and .It was a tough decision to make we buried him under his favorite tree in the yard.I felt sad and still do but the menories I have of Yogi will be with me and my family forever. It is a hard decision to make but I felt it was the right decision.
treetag on September 29, 2011:
Oh my .... what a wonderful part of our lives are our pets.
But - we take on such a huge responsibility! Hard to think about that when you bring home a young dog or pup and become part of their family. I have had to "put down" two dogs in my 55 years and they were two of the hardest days of my life. Now - I have a 12 year old border collie who has arthritis and seems almost completely deaf - sleeps 12 hours a day and often whimpers in the evening... He always been a little "unpredictable" but has become increasingly so with age. Now - the vet won't accept him for boarding because her tech,s are afraid of him and he's snapped at both me and my husband more than once and I hate to admit it but I'm afraid I have a biting "time-bomb" in a sweet old dog's body and can't figure out what to do... my husband is finding this soooo hard and I am afraid to leave him at all because no one else really understands how to care for him. How do you decide to let a dog go who is still in somewhat good health? I feel so torn. I would be devastated if he bit someone else.........
DP on September 26, 2011:
my dedicated american eskimo is the nearest & dearest to my heart. we have ahd him since he was 2 months old and he will be 17 in a month. He is wonderful but lost his hearing and his sight was very weak.2 days ago he fell down the stairs and hit his head and probably hurt other body parts and he has blood in his eyes and can't see anymore. He has been having trouble moving around for a couple of years but he is on previcox and thryoid meds. I am begging for him to heal and see a little again. He is eating and drinking very well. He loves us and life and I am using child gates to keep him in a well covered room( wooden floors so I have several comforters on the floor and put lots of cushions around the room so that he doesn't bump into the walls. I have to go to work a couple days a week adn therefore leave him for 6 hours and my heart breaks. I can't leave him. I sleep on the floor with him because I was negligent in not blocking the staircase and he fell and now he can't see and it is my fault. Will he get better and see again soon? He seems disoriented that he can't see. He had vestibular disease 3 years ago and I nursed him back to health and he recovered nicely but now he is going around in circles again when he tries to lie down to sleep. I am wondering if this is all temporary because of his fall 3 days ago. Can anyone help me with information? He has been to the vet and the vet said the fall caused blood clots in his eye and maybe his back. He hates vets so I don't want to traumatize him by taking any more exrays etc if I know that he will get better soon. This breed can live to 20 years old and he is strong otherwise. He is very independent and has a strong will. 3 months ago the vet said that all his tests were excellent but since his fall I haven't tested him because it has only been a few days. Has anyone else had this experience? Please help.
tammy on September 20, 2011:
i have a dashound i have had him at the vet and hes on meds he lost movment in back legs it is starting to get better with rest but he hasent pooped how can i help him hes eating fine and drinking well i make sure his bladder is empty as well i am waiting abit before i have to put him down i luv him so the vet says his heart is well and hes happy will he go poop on his own in his bed plzzzzzzz help
rockys mom on August 20, 2011:
i love rocky 15 yrs old mini schnazer sight, hearing , back legs weakloss its hard seeing your best friend fade away i love you rocky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sammy's Mom on August 13, 2011:
What a wonderful page to find today -- I needed to find this today. Sammy is a 12 year old Rotty/Lab mix my 20 year old kids picked up in Montana for $15.00. He ended up with me at age 5,.. He became my self-appointed protector. I work from home so we were together 24x7. Our routine included swimming in pool at least 2 1/2 hours a day - minimum, ball chasing, cat chasing.. (loves cats and would never hurt one but if they run.. well.. why not chase?) etc. In our 4th year.. we became infested with ticks. No kidding.. it was the worst. Every time he went in and out I had to lay him down and check every inch of him with a flashlight (he's black).. I know every nook and cranny on his body better than he does! Did I mention at his peak he weighed over 100 lbs.?
The ticks were so bad I finally had to have the house tented (we live in Florida so common solution for termites.. not necessarily ticks but was the only way the bug company would guarantee getting rid of them) it was awful! I determined the ticks came with a mulch delivery so they would continue to be a problem so, I forced my youngest son to take Sammy back to NH.
Sammy spent the next 2 years with my son playing frisbee everyday, swimming often and hiking the Appalachian trail until he moved and could no longer keep him. With a couple bounces back and forth between family members he landed with my oldest son and his family including a girlfriend, and two kids 12 & 3.
Although a wonderful watch dog - trust me I have always slept very well with him in the house - he always had a bit of a nasty, unpredictable side. While living with my oldest and his family he started to get more aggressive, snapped at the girlfriend and got into the neighbors trash etc. so... I brought him home with me at Christmas 2010.
Since he's almost 12 I knew (and so did everyone else) when I agreed I would be the one that would have to make the hard decisions. It's incredible how quickly he's failed. After taking a long walk, he stayed in his bed for 3 days. Swimming still his absolute favorite thing in the world (I know he was happy to come home to "his" pool) was reduced to about 30-40 minutes - his choice.
I had to search for a new vet as mine had retired - Sammy bit the first one - deservedly so... but after a meltdown in the Subaru dealership.. I was lead to a wonderful, compassionate vet and also found one the specializes in home euthanasia....
My only concern is to make my guy as comfortable as possible in what I know are the last months of his life on this planet. He has given so much to me. It broke my heart the first time he asked to go inside after only 5 minutes in the pool.
He falls without warning. Just kind of collapses every now and then. It's always been the hind legs (vet called it knuckling) but occasionally the front left also goes limp.
But he's still very much my "Sammy Dog"... His mind, heart and tail are all 100%. But he's failing. He has lumps and bumps and funny things growing here and there but as much as it hurts, if I leave the room he follows me. My constant protector - ensuring no boogie men are in the bathroom waiting to hurt me... if there were.. they wouldn't stand a chance. How will I function without him watching me, protecting me?
I've been giving Novox for a couple of months, every so often at first,.. now twice a day is a necessity. We haven't been in the pool in 2 weeks. He looks at it but,.. he knows and doesn't ask.
The last time we went in the car.. I had a terrible time getting him in and out -although he only ways about 90 lbs. now. When he goes outside,.. he only goes a few feet.. does his business and comes right back. Three days ago he started losing interest in his food. This morning, he hardly touched his breakfast and has not and will not go outside.
I'm supposed to leave for a business trip tomorrow and can't stop crying. My boyfriend is coming here to the house, so Sammy Dog will be in his own surroundings but I'm so afraid. Afraid to go -- for fear he will pass without me or fear he will need me to help him pass and I won't be here - not sure which is worse. Afraid to not go - for losing my job.
Sammy Dog is my guy. We've been together 24x7 for a total of 6 years... and for all the times I've tripped over him, had had to tussle with him to get back so I can open the door,.. for all the times he placed himself between me and whoever dared try to kiss me... for all the dog hair I've vaccuumed, muddy paw prints I've wiped up, Chuck-Its I've bought, hours and hours I've spent throwing the floaty toy for him to go after and times I've stressed over every decision concerning his welfare and most recently, all the prayers I've sent... I just don't know how I'm going to let him go and what I will do without him.
It' so helpful to know there are those that understand.
Flo's mom on June 10, 2011:
Flo is still a happy 14 year-old 45 pound Aussie mix, but she can truly barely move. We have blocked off the house steps but the only way outside to pee and poop is down steps. I am looking for advice about a sling or something to help her do this or a way to teach her/let her know that she can do her business on the porch and does not need to go down. I have put down newspaper in the house but she does not use it. Any suggestions would be gratefully accepted.
Nesse the Poodle on May 13, 2011:
I am a 16 hear old miniature Poodle. I am totally blind and I am very hard of hearing. I adopted my Mommy four years ago. She lets me know every day how lucky she is that I came to live with her. Tonight she is sitting with me on the sofa, we do that a lot. I sleep on the sofa and in the middle of a king size bed. I have lots of beds that get washed frequently. I have a stroller fror walks. Although I prefer to go out to potty, sometimes Mommy is not watching when I wakeup (4:30 am) and I can't wait. Mommy says that is OK. Mommy liked this site because the subject of "accidents" was brought up and people were advised not to yell at a senior dog who cannot wait to go. Today I went to the Doctor because I had a rumbly stomach and could not eat. I got a shot and some pills and have had a light dinner. Mommy feeds me several meals a day. We enjoyed reading about all of the dogs and how2 long they were with their families. We hope that all of these kind people will let a senior adopt them. Mommy has had several other seniors adopt her and has no regrets. She has not had a puppy for 40 years. Please consider being adopted by a senior.
Liz on May 09, 2011:
Páidi was a near 16 year old Husky, kids called him 'el lobo,' the wolf. He was the hardiest, most determined dog and adored out walking in the valley with me and chasing our other dogs. He had been on medication for his heart and arthritis for years. I loved him like a true soul-mate, he was born in our kitchen just 3 months after I met my husband and moved in with him....Páidi and I settled into life here on Gran Canaria and today I had to make the decision to let him go ....his body was becoming full of sores, he could hardly walk...this morning he lay down and didn't want to move, he peed himself and refused all water and food....I knew in my heart it was time. I had heard him crying out in his sleep all night. I carried him to the garden twice to pee and it was a struggle....my heart was breaking and continues to break...I don't think I'll ever come near to loving another dog the way I loved the wild wolf soul of this amazing dog....the sad thing is I know I will have to grieve alone with my husband, I want to shout from the roof tops the pain I feel after losing him....but who is to hear or comfort? I loved Páidi like a member of my own family, or even more...it hurts so much that he is gone, I hope I have the strength for this, I know I must find it. Thanks for being there and sharing your stories, they helped me make the decision to let Páidi go today.
ebusinesstutor from Nanaimo, BC Canada on April 27, 2011:
Great hub, thanks for creating it.
Our little dog is starting to struggle, occasionally losing control over her back legs while her body shaking. She needs to go out to pee 2-4 times at night (used to sleep through the night).
Yet, other times she will play like a puppy, dancing and racing around the kitchen when my wife comes home.
We knew she was slowing down a bit but, as she was in good health, we thought she had a year. But with this loss of control over her hind legs a couple of times a day, I am afraid she won't last 6 months.
Bandit's Mom on April 09, 2011:
Today was Bandit's "Special Day". I took him to the vet for an evaluation on Thursday and she immediately said it was time. I already knew it was. It was so peaceful and quick. I wish I could lose the look on his face when he had already had the catheter inserted. I know it's all in my head but I felt he thought we were now going home.
We loved Bandit so very much and everyone seemed to know him. It is wonderful to read all the tributes on Facebook from my son's friends who had all known him for 15 years since they were 12 or 13 years old.
Bandit's Mom on March 31, 2011:
Bandit is our 15 year old half-sheltie. He was born with Parvo and was never alone for any time in the first three months of his life with his foster-parent. We adopted him at 3 months and he is without a doubt our crazier third child. He has always been afraid of being alone but handles it reluctantly when it's required of him. He has no sense of real danger and I'm sure he's hurt himself many times by leaping into situations and holes and goodness knows what without checking anything out first. We have a pool and if a child is in the water he will never takes his eyes off the child and he has patrolled and run around the edge of the pool so much that at times he has caused his feet to bleed and his pads to shred. Should the child at any time make normal excited squealing noises, Bandit immediately leaps into action as Life-Dog and leaps into the pool to save the child’s life. We don’t invite too many kids to our house any more, and we’ve learned to swim quite quietly.
Several times over the years he has suddenly been at death's door with alarmingly low electrolytes and undiagnosed ailments, only to bounce right back after $$$ of TLC and rehydration. He slowly welcomed a beautiful tall ridgeback lady we adopted after she was kidnapped for her puppies and then released with heart-worm. She was Bandit's running-buddy and he lay with her when after five years we had to have her euthanized because of advanced cancer.
Three years’ ago a tumor was felt on one of Bandit’s anal glands and our wonderful vet said that we should have it removed immediately because whether malignant or it would continue to grow and become more difficult to remove. At the same time we had the other gland removed because of the possibility of a growth occurring there too and the surgery was one that Bandit should only have to experience once. She was so right. For the first and only time I saw my little dog actually crying in pain with tears pouring down his furry face. I promised him then I would never, ever allow him to experience real pain again.
Now Bandit is coming close to his special time. He has arthritis and very bad hip dysplasia. He has a few little growths on his body and he is rapidly losing his hair. The peeing is not a problem but the pooping is. He can’t successfully squat to have a bowel movement and he and we hate those times when he ends up sitting in it and he has to be cleaned up. I have cut his rear-end fur very close and I gently pour warn water over his little butt before I try to wipe it. I do recommend doing that first because it often greatly reduces the wiping process. The water is always warm so it’s never uncomfortable. There was a recent memorable time when he appeared to have a bird coming out of his butt because he had pooped, fallen over and had sat on a dead bird. Much washing and wiping followed that discovery. A harness for his rear-end helps a little, but it doesn’t help at those times when we let him out to stagger around the yard and check out his favorite places.
We have gates at the top and bottom of the stairs because he throws himself down the stairs to get to the bottom. He does not try to walk and fall – he literally throws himself. He also will throw himself off the end of the bed if he wants to get down to get to one of us. He still cannot stand to be left alone. We have carpet runners all over the tiled floor and it’s so sweet and sad watching him follow a strange pathway to wherever we are.
Bandit takes Tramadol three times a day and Previcox and thyroid medicine. We give him glucosamine to try to help if it can. Some days are great and other days are not. On Monday I’m taking Bandit to the vet for evaluation. I need to know what I can do for him even if it’s something I don’t want to do. There will be no rush to decision, but I made a promise to him and I will keep it as best as I can.
Janet with Raza on March 22, 2011:
Raza is 15 1/2 now. He has only in the few months refused to go for runs with my husband as he rides on his bike each morning. It was then we just realized how old he was and on reading this article I am quite shocked he is a super senior.
He is getting deaf to low notes and I wonder if he thinks why have they stopped talking to me.LOL
He is 23 kg half lab and half english bull terrier and has been a lovely family pet. I started paying special attention to him lately with massage and brushing. He has been on something for his stiffness and shaking back legs. It subsided but is back again this week.
He has started drinking lots of water and has a big fatty growth on his side which he has been susceptible to over his lifetime.
Even though we used early products for teeth cleaning dry food , we never actually cleaned his teeth and they are very bad. This annoyed me a bit when we had taken care of them also using chew bars.
He has a lovely black shiney coat but his muzzle and eyes are just as describe now for a senior dog, blue haze on the eyes and going deaf, a little stiffness and sometimes losing his way around the house or yard.
Just last night I found some oozing sores on him which I actually thought were just the wax that comes when he looses his old coat. But when I dug around gently I found they were sores. I covered them with rawlies yellow balm as it is wonderful for sealing and healing and will go over him tonight again to check if there is anymore.'
We breed chihuahuas and has been kept young playing with them but recently he gets a bit grouchy with them when they zoom around. I think he cant quite make out anymore what is happening and becomes a little anxious.
Of course I realize the time is coming shortly when we will have to say goodbye to our dear friend.
Serena on March 06, 2011:
I bought a denim doggy diaper and the brand name is Simple Solutions for my toy poodle Kizzy. I attach an Always pad with wings in the crotch of the diaper which I change 3-6 times a day. My dog is 16 with an enlarged heart and needs Fortekor and Furosemide meds. The Furosemide makes her pee all the time. I was going insane cleaning until I found the diaper. It was such a relief! It was working well, but now she is starting to poo in the diaper, which I just turn upside down after I take it off her and shake the poo into the toilet. I'm glad to see that there are other people who will do so much for their dogs and don't just put them down because they are inconvenient. However, now after a year of sleep deprivation, because I still try to get up and take her out at 6am even though I am a night shift waitress, I am exhausted. I love her so much and she is still so happy to see me and is still eating and drinking. I want her to have a natural death at home, but now I wonder how much longer I can handle this, I'm so tired. She is a really intelligent and sweet girl. She now will not let me wipe her eyes, which have always had this black goop around them that I have always had to clean. I did not expect her to live this long. I give her L-Carnitine for her heart and glucosamine sulphate for her joints and acidophilis every day, just a pinch of each, the vet said it was O.K. She had the runs a lot and after I gave her a teaspoon of plain yohgurt every day it cleared up. I know people who would put their dogs down WAY before this point. I'm SO tired!
Diane on February 21, 2011:
I have a 16 1/2 who pees and even poops while he is sleeping. I was going crazy washing the floor, him, his bedding. My house always stunk like pee. Found the Belly Wrap with a people poise (max) makes life so much bearable. The poise pulls the urine in and the dog and everything is dry. I thought he hadn't peed all night everything was dry and when I checked the poise it was extremely heavy. All the urine was pulled into the poise and nothing was wet. Then the next morning there was some wetness because I didn't have it in the right place. It may take a couple of tries to get everything in the right place, make sure the poise is sticking to the belly wrap and if you have wetness move the poise around in the belly wrap and try again. For the bedding I take the cover off the dog beds and cover the mattress with heavy plastic bag, then put the cover back on, put a disposable pad made for people beds over the dog bed and then a nice soft blanket on top. That way I usually only have to wash the top blanket frequently and every two weeks or so wash the bed cover and replace the plastic bag which keeps the mattress clean as I found out they do not wash well and it is quite costly to keep replacing the entire dog bed. My guy eats, loves to be petted, makes decisions,gets around (though quite slow) and sleeps most of the time he just doesn't know when he is peeing. People always want to know when it is time to let them go. I always say if they are in pain then you don't want them to suffer one bit, but if not they really will let you know.
Charlie on February 07, 2011:
Comet is my best friend, she belonged to my partner who passed away from cancer four years ago. She helped me through grief, made me smile, slept on my bed, gave me a reason to go out for a walk. Comet it 18 this year, I write this in tears. She can no longer go more than two steps outside the back door, she falls over regularly. She has been incontinent for over a year. She's deaf when she wants to be, walks into things occasionally. She can only stomach chicken and rice, and though she eats well is losing weight rapidly. She wets her bed three times a day and hates that she's done it, she sits with her head low as we quietly change her bed. We bath her every other day (the experience is too upsetting for her to have a bath each day, even though she may need one). She has no other interest apart from food. I think she is still pleased to see me when I come home, but thats if she wakes up. She sleeps a lot. She is on a high dose for pain and arthritus but she struggles to lie down and needs help to get up.
Yesterday, she crouched (she doesn't really stand) on her bed and with her head bowed she cried.
I think its time, so I have phoned the Vet and I'm waiting for him to call back.
I feel so bad having to do this, but surely it is the right thing rather than watching as she falls away piece by piece, suffering.
Bear's Mom on February 06, 2011:
Bessie Lou - my heart goes out to you. We had to let our beloved Bear go on January 10th. He let us know he couldn't do it anymore and we were with him and loved him as he gently left us. I miss him more everyday and I believe, as you, that we will meet again. We will love you forever, my sweet Bear.
bessylou4 on January 25, 2011:
bessylou4: My hubby & I had to put our Schnauzer of 14 yrs., to sleep, on 1-24-11. Crickett was our most loving & adorable furry baby we will ever have. His personality was as a perfect "Little Gentleman," to my whole family. He was treated as human. He was going blind, constant shakes, took meds. for joint pain, auzhimmers like problem, didn't eat for over 2 months, jst 3 or 4 bits of sweets of human foods. He drank lots of water. He began vomiting, foamy bile. Hubby cooked for him but, nothing. Lost lots of weight, didn't enjoy morning walks, slept all the time. He was groaning softly w/ea breath. We gave him meds. for stomach pain & nausea but later, couldn't get him to take meds. He became more beautiful than ever. He was silvery white. Just to look at him, he seemed too healthy, to put him to sleep. It took us 3 Mo's. to reach the horrible decision to end his life but, we wanted him to keep his dignity & not become selfish, causing him more pain & suffering. It was as thou, someone tried to rip my heart from my chest, when my hubby called, crying & said; "He's Gone." I lost my breath & it hurts horribly, to know he's "no more," here in our lives.
He's in Gods care now, at the place prepared for our pets, called "The Rainbow Bridge."
God breathed the breath of life into humanity & spoke our pets into exsistance, creating each one for us to love, care for & to enjoy, while here on earth. He put us in dominion over the fowl of the air, the fish & creations, in the seas & all animals on earth. Now, ask yourself this question. If God created human & animal, why would God just let them die & go to "Aunna" a place of nowhere? when they are only guilty of loving us so unconditionally, without any demands on us???
I believe when we get to heaven, to meet "our master," they will cross over that bridge, into paradise, to meet us, "their master." "We Love You, Little Crickett"
chris333 on January 16, 2011:
I have a beagle cross who was a rescue dog when I got him at about 2 years of age. He is now about 12 and has put on weight sleeps about 18 hours a day and has lost his hearing! I was recently in hospital for 2 weeks and apparently he began to act a little strangely while I was away sleeping in odd places...in boxes, behind the wardrobe and even in my sons bedroom!
Ive been home a few weeks now and he is still acting strangely with his sleeping habits. He has a bed but is now migrating into the strangest places and Im worried about him! Last night he squeezed himself into a plastic box in my sons room again...
Does anyone understand his strange behaviour? Thanks!
Lyn on January 14, 2011:
I have a beautiful 17-1/2 yr old Shitzu the love of my life
I see everyday the tiredness she feels, she piddles all over the house
I leave pads for her, she eats very well and Ithink sometimes after
she eats she may forget, as she starts barking loudly at me in
the kitchen... we give her treats, whatever she wants. My girl
follows me around more than ever i love her more than words can ever
say.......and I am thankful that she is still with me.
Wirefox on December 29, 2010:
My wirefox terrier is 13 and symptoms of aging seem to be coming fast. Her eyes have the blue "glaze", and she has lost a good bit of hearing. (At least she isn't afraid of thunder and fireworks anymore, so that's a plus, lol.)
She is also, glued to me, and I realize she somehow knows she is in a fragile state, and feels secure when she is near me.
She is forgetful, and will turn around and go sit by the door to go out, shortly after I've let her in. There is no emergency, she has forgotten she just went out.
But she knows this house like the back of her paw, and gets around well, although I do notice weakness in her hind legs. :(
She still has a great sense of humor. Once we sees she had made me laugh, she will repeat the funny behavior over and over again. Yesterday she sneezed, and I "fake sneezed" back at her, which caused her to "fake sneeze", and I was cracking up as we stood there, with her sneezing every time I did. (She's adorable, and we've been through a lot together.)
For the moment, I make sure her bed is always new and comfy, she takes vitamins, and I've reduced treats to only a couple of things, as she gets upset stomach easily now. I also give her a remedyl when I can see her hips are bothering her.
Thank you for this forum. All the comments have been helpful. I will ask the vet about the drug Deprenyl, and check into some Mutlucks.
Bear's mom on December 27, 2010:
It's been 3 months since my first post. My beloved Bear was 13 in November. He hasn't been outside since early October but we have been using piddle pads - have designated an area of the house for him -- and he has been so good about using the pads. We had a lovely Christmas Eve with the whole family here. He really seems to be slowing down a little more each day. He won't eat his dog food any longer as well as many of his formerly favorite foods so now we are on a rice and beef or rice and chicken diet. He eats most treats and we have Pupparoni walks around the house every morning but I have had to shorten the walks. I live in fear and dread of the day when he can't do it anymore. My heart is breaking at the thought of having to lose this dearest friend. As much as he is loved, the love he gives is so much greater........
Sharon on December 19, 2010:
I have a 15 year of golden retriever who is still doing very well except he has been totally incontinent for a year and a half. We use adult Depends diapers ( the panties style) and just cut a hole for his tail. They work great and keep his skin dry. Depending on whether you want the bowel movements to stay in the diaper or not, cut the hole accordingly. It's a lot of work, but it has allowed us to keep him going for a long time.
sj6921 on December 05, 2010:
I was reading all the stories and hope you dont mind me sharing mine.
We have an older Doberman mix dog we have had for over 10 years. She was a rescue dog who they estimated to be between 3-5. I always call her the happiest dog in the world.
I just had to go out front to lift her off the lawn because her back legs give out lately.
We have high steps down our deck to the back yard so she doesn't go out there any more unless she is supervised.
(She has days where she can still make them.
She coughs a lot, and we have her on a med to help with that, but it is still getting worse. We have her on rimadyl to help with her arthritis.
She can't seem to keep cool and we have a little fan we keep on her at night even though we have the heat on.
It is very hard watching her struggle, but I can see in her eyes she isn't ready to give up yet.
She still plays and will attempt to run and will beat up our other younger Doberman.
After I picked her up from the lawn a couple minutes ago, she raced me down (wobbling all the way) to the front door. She was happy and wagging her tail.
My vet has always told me 'we will know when it is time'.
I don't think it is time yet, but it kills me up to know the time is coming.
The most important thing to remember is you have to be strong and make the decision that is best for your dog.
We don't want to lose our best friends and companions ever, but there comes a time you have to put your feelings aside and decide what is best for them.
I would never want my dogs to suffer for me.
We had a Doberman years ago who we had to take to the ER vet clinic because she started having bad breathing problems one weekend. Our other vet (no longer our vet) knew her cancer had spread but didn't think we needed to know this (jerk). Even though I told him many times the only thing I cared about was my dog NOT suffering! So when we got to the ER they did xrays and tests. The result was our dogs cancer had taken over almost all her major organs. She had been struggling to be by our side and we could have saved her pain if we knew. This dog climbed the steps to greet us and never left our side. She had put on such a good act, she had convinced us she was ok until she could barely breath. Dogs are so amazing in the way they will give so much for us.
We put her to sleep at the ER. It was terribly hard, not the decision, but losing her. It is still painful when I remember and think of the pain she must have been in and how she suffered through silently. Just remember...do everything you can to help them as they get older, but don't let them suffer, you will know in your heart when it is time.
Remember all the times they have been there for you...this is your time to be strong for them.
8 Senior Dog Wellness Tips
1. Familiarize Yourself With the Signs of Common Age-Related Diseases
While some indicators are seen with more than one condition, generally speaking, decreased appetite, thinning hair coat and increased thirst may signal kidney disease. Blood in the urine and straining to urinate might mean a urinary tract disease, while coughing, difficulty breathing and less ability to exercise could mean heart disease. Stiffness, swollen joints, favoring one leg and reluctance to go up or down stairs may point to arthritis. Any of these symptoms warrant a call to your vet.
2. See Your Vet More Often
More in-depth and more frequent exams should be a regular occurrence for older pets. Plan to see your vet every 6 months for a checkup instead of only once a year, even if there are no obvious issues. That will allow your veterinarian to be able to detect illness early, which is the key to successful treatment.
3. Keep Him Active
There is no need to retire your senior dog to his metaphorical rocking chair. In fact, it’s beneficial to their health and long-term mobility to keep older dogs active. According to Dr. Simms, “Senior dogs can be as active as they want to be,” unless they have joint disease or heart issues. If your dog does suffer from arthritis, supplements or joint medicines for dogs containing glucosamine or omega fatty acids may help relieve some of the symptoms. American Journey Wild Alaska Salmon Oil is rich in omega fatty acids and comes in a convenient squeeze bottle NaturVet Senior Wellness Aches & Discomfort Dog Tablets feature glucosamine, which can protect against joint degradation.
4. Consider Environmental Changes
An older pet who is having trouble with mobility may need you to make some small changes around the home to keep him comfortable. These might include a bed placed in an easily accessible area, an orthopedic bed, a raised feeding platform, or a set of steps to eliminate the need to jump.
5. Keep an Eye on His Water Bowl
Old dogs are more prone to dehydration than young ones. This may be because they have a health condition that causes them to urinate more often, or require a medication that acts as a diuretic. Make sure your dog has plenty of water at all times. If it’s fresh and cool (it never hurts to toss a few ice cubes in), he’ll be more likely to lap it up. Be extra generous in warm weather.
6. Don’t Forget His Mental Health
Geriatric dogs can suffer from senility and memory loss. Similarly to elderly people, dogs should regularly engage in stimulating activities to slow the progression of these conditions. Interactions such as playing with him, talking to him and taking him to the dog park to visit with a few canine companions and their people can help keep your dog mentally sharp longer.
7. Reassess His Diet
He may have done fine on the same brand and type of dog food for years, but whether it’s his favorite or not, it’s smart to rethink it when your pupper hits senior status. Many brands of dog food have a senior formula, but there can be quite a bit of variation between them. “Some senior dogs with cognitive dysfunction will benefit from Hill’s b/d Brain Aging Care Dry Dog Food,” says Dr. Simms. A wet food option designed to boost brain power in older dogs is Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind Adult 7+ Dog Food. You know what’s normal for your pet, so trust your gut if you feel something is off.
With aging also comes changes in metabolic rate, which causes fewer calories to be burned, and thus more to be stored as fat. As a result, mature dogs require fewer calories to maintain the same weight. So dogs in the autumn of life, so to speak, may benefit from a food with fewer calories and less fat. Weight gain in older dogs—again, much like us—increases the chance of a variety of medical problems. “It is important to keep senior dogs at a healthy weight,” says Dr. Simms. Research has shown that L-Carnitine, a derivative of amino acids found in animal products, may encourage the body to use its fat for energy. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Senior Dog Food is one variety with L-Carnitine as a key ingredient.
Protein is also important to keep in mind. Older dogs tend to lose muscle mass, which in turn results in a loss of protein reserves, which can affect their bodies’ ability to resist infection and repair tissues. Senior dog diets should have an increased protein-to-calorie ratio. But those are only general guidelines that don’t apply to every dog. Before you switch foods, it’s best to chat with your veterinarian about the most important considerations for your dog. Every pet is unique, and your good old dog will have his own individual needs that go beyond just his chronological age. For example, “Dogs with kidney problems will need a special diet,” says Dr. Simms. “Dogs with heart issues need low-sodium diets.” And while you are discussing diet recommendations with your dog’s vet, ask whether a multivitamin designed for seniors might be helpful. VetriScience Canine Plus Senior Multivitamins are chicken liver flavored chews, which means no pills to coax your pet to swallow.
8. Never Give Medication or Supplements Made for Humans
While it’s true that many conditions of old age in humans are seen in dogs as well, don’t think you can share your own arthritis pills or high blood pressure medication with your pup. Human drugs will be ineffective at best for a dog, while some can be fatal.
Christina Vercelletto is a pet, travel and lifestyle content specialist and a former editor of Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child, and Woman’s Day. She lives on Long Island with her Chiweenie, Pickles, and 20-pound Calico, Chub-Chub.
Six Tips on Caring for Older Dogs
In your eyes, your dog will alway s be a puppy, even if she’s getting up there in canine (and human) years, or her muzzle is beginning to gray. However, eventually the day will come when you notice that your pup is panting a little bit harder after a long walk and struggling to climb onto your bed. It’s time to start adjusting to the lifestyle needs of an older dog.
When a dog is considered a senior largely depends on breed. Smaller dogs (such as Chihuahuas or Terriers) don’t reach their golden years until they’re 10 or 12, while a Great Dane may attain senior status at the age of five or six. Beyond size and breed, genetics, diet and environment all have an impact on a dog’s life expectancy.
Just as modern medicine has extended the lives of people, with the right combination of attention and preventive care, it can also extend the lives of dogs. If you want your older dog to have a long and happy life, consider incorporating these strategies into your pet care routine.
Remember your dog’s teeth. Dental hygiene is particularly crucial as your dog ages. Regular brushing and professional cleaning can prevent painful dental disease and decay (and help your dog avoid the chewing problems mentioned earlier). If your dog doesn’t enjoy having his/her teeth brushed, consider dental treats and toys instead.
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Watch your dog’s diet. Mature dogs often have food issues, including problems chewing, lack of appetite, obesity and digestive difficulties. Consult with your vet on the best diet and exercise plan for your aging dog. Dietary changes may include adding more fiber to aid with digestion or decreasing carbohydrates to maintain optimal weight. Supplements such as fish oil or glucosamine can be added to alleviate joint pain.
Exercise your dog’s body and mind. Like people, aging dogs experience pain and have difficulty performing physical activities they used to enjoy. However, exercise continues to be imperative to their health and well being. Take your dog on short, gentle walks and monitor his/her breathing and gait to make sure nothing is amiss. Your dog’s brain needs plenty of exercise as well. Stimulating toys such as food puzzles help keep your dog sharp.
See the vet more often. Take your dog in for a vet checkup at least twice a year. Just as elderly people need to be aware of health issues and visit their doctors more often, aging pets benefit from more frequent visits. Older pets may need additional blood tests, dental care and examinations. Additionally, many breeds have predispositions toward certain ailments, including arthritis, hip dysplasia, cancer and diabetes. Early detection can help catch these before they become major problems.
“Seniorize” your house. Just as you once puppy-proofed your home, you now need to provide your older dog with special accommodations. For dogs with hip dysplasia or joint issues, consider a special ramp or stairs so they can still get in the car or join you on the bed. Keep food and water in areas they can easily reach, especially if they are vision-impaired. Heated beds can soothe achy joints, particularly if you live in a colder climate. Finally, non-slip surfaces will prevent falls and help your older pet maintain traction when rising.
Pay attention. Monitor changes in behavior appetite weight loss or gain dental issues and any lumps, bumps or lesions and bring them to your vet’s attention. (A journal is a great memory aid.)
Taking care of an older dog may involve a little more work than you’re used to doing, but caring for a lifetime companion is a deeply rewarding experience. Your dog has been good to you (and for you) for years—now’s the time to return the favor!
Caring for Senior Dogs: Quality of Life vs Quantity
It’s hard to think non-emotionally about the death of someone or something you love.
That can be just as true for pets as it is for people. After all, our dogs have become a part of our lives and families like never before.
But by acknowledging the limited time you have left together and recognizing some common end of life signs in dogs, you can truly honor your pup by providing the best quality of life for these senior years.
How Do I Care for My Elderly Dog?
Dogs truly are man's best friend. No one wants to see their best friend age, but odds are that you're going to have to care for your pet well into his senior years. Depending on your dog's breed, most dogs will live to around 10 years old. You want to make sure every one of those years is enjoyable and comfortable.
Caring for an elderly dog? Here are several tips for providing the best senior dog care.
Enforce a Healthy Diet
Senior dogs need low-calorie, high-fiber diets to help their aging bodies. Many popular dog food brands offer special lines for senior pets. You should also cut down on treats, such as milk bones. Instead, offer your dog slices of carrots or apples. These alternatives will delight your pet while also providing the nutrients he needs.
In both humans and animals, social interaction is a vital factor in a healthy life. If you're asking "How to make my dog happy?" set aside time for social interaction.
Take your dog out on regular walks where he can interact with other humans and animals. A dog park or neighborhood playground are great options. Try to set up a walking schedule with another pet owner so your dog gets social interaction and exercise.
Another great option for well-behaved pets is volunteering. Ask your local library, retirement home, or school if you can bring your dog in to interact with people. Not only will your dog get social interaction, but he will brighten someone else's day.
Receive Regular Care from Dr. Jessy or Dr. Weimer
When caring for older dogs, you should be visiting us at the Bredel Clinic at least twice a year.
Healthy, young pets only need a yearly check-up, but aging animals need extra care. By visiting more often, the Doctors are able to diagnose issues earlier and help ensure your dog is comfortable.
When it comes to an aging pet, never hesitate to visit us. If you notice any odd behaviors, call the Clinic immediately. Dr. Jessy or Dr. Weimer can assess the situation and set up an appointment if needed.
Adjust Your Home for Mobility
At a certain point, you need to adjust your home to cater to your pet's mobility. This means that if your dog regularly goes up and down stairs, make sure everything he needs is on the main level, such as his food and bed. Use a baby gate to block off your stairs so they don't overexert themselves.
If your dog enjoys laying on your bed or getting up on the couch, that movement may become impossible. Many pet stores sell dog stairs to accommodate aging animals.
Beyond Senior Dog Care
Now you know a little more about senior dog care and can provide your elderly dog the care they need.
Remember to enforce a healthy diet and socialize your pet. Regular vet care is especially important for aging animals, and you should increase how often your dog visits the vet.
Don't hesitate to make adjustments to your home to accommodate his mobility levels — a comfortable dog is a happy dog.
Regardless of your pet's breed or age, regular vet care is paramount. If you're in need of professional vet care, check out our services for more information and schedule your pet's next appointment.
Don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions about your best friend!