I have two senior dogs. Flash and Patches are nearly 15 years old. In fact, their birthday was just a month after I brought home a puppy, poor dears.
And I worry about my senior dogs. Am I doing right by them? So I set out to discover how to make their quality of life better. I came across the PetMD’s site page for senior dogs. Excellent stuff. Things like:
- Age equivalency for different sized dogs and cats versus humans – Flash and Patches are about 83 in human years
- Humans and dogs are pretty much effected by the same age related diseases
- Quality of food and medical care makes a big difference
- Exercise is just as important now for their joints and mobility
My senior dogs still get around pretty well, but the difference in mobility is noticeable now that we have an active puppy. Patches is more active than Flash.
Flash will still jump up on the couch or bed, but Patches no longer does. (This is a gently recycled post and this jumping thing is no longer true, but Patches was romping in the snow this morning)
Seriously, in fourteen years, the last couple of months are the first I’ve noticed these two slowing down. I need to make an appointment with their vet and see how to move forward differently.
Joints and Arthritis
One of the things I know makes a difference in joint care (seniors tend toward arthritis, evidenced by the reluctance to jump up on the couch or bed, slower moving) is glucosamine and chondroitin. Jones sells Windees and Windee Rings – beef trachea – which are natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin, but I don’t give those to my dogs daily. Weighing the slower metabolism (weight gain) against the joint care is touchy. I do give them a joint supplement which helps.
Also, as I’m sure many of you know, senior dogs are too often surrendered to shelters and are less likely to be adopted out than cute puppies are. The Senior Dog Project works to get senior dogs adopted out. I think that’s a beautiful thing.
Another sad part of aging, for both dogs and humans, is the loss of vision and hearing. Flash is having a tough time with his vision, but both dogs seem to be hearing fairly well still (no longer true – hearing is sketchy now at 14, versus the 12 when this was written). And weight becomes a concern. Flash and Patches were moved from generic kibble (smack me, okay?) to a decent brand kibble for senior dogs. It seems to make some difference, though neither dog has ever been a pig about their food. Both will leave the food out until they’re ready to eat, as does the puppy. I have weird dogs. (Both dogs maintain a healthy weight, even at 15)
Last, adding a quality oil to the dogs’ diet at their age. I pick up cheap fish oil capsules at Aldi and they love them. Seems to be helping. The DHA and EPA fatty acids help the joints. And the human grade fish oil works just fine without breaking the bank. I just googled how much they could have for their size.
Y’all, love on your dogs while you can. We don’t have them nearly long enough. Oh! And puppies! We’ve found that getting a puppy when the senior starts to slow down will perk it right back up and give it a couple more years of life, most of the time. That’s not a hard, fast rule, but it does seem to help. It’s bought us at least three more years with our senior dogs, and they don’t seem to have any major issues besides the joint pain, which we control.
If you really want to see your dog smile, senior or otherwise, enter our giveaway for a Jones Natural Chews Braided Stix. It’s three bully sticks braided together and makes a great long lasting chew for most dogs. Especially puppies. Click this sentence to be taken to the entry page, then scroll down to find simple instructions for entering! Your dog will thank you.
Spreading the good chews …