Elderly Dogs - A Thread for Sharing Ideas on Caring for Our Aging Best Friends

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    Jan 13, 2013 3:21 PM GMT
    I think it's just the strangest thing when I see guys refer to a pet as their best friend.
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    Jan 13, 2013 3:25 PM GMT
    Scruffypup said
    surfswim saidFound this quite interesting what people have posted.

    I am a qualified veterinary surgeon, so obviously this is a topic I am greatly interested in.

    The views about spending as much money as possible to make them better if there is any possible treatment is a controersial one to me.

    Euthanasia is the greaest gift to our profession. And often it can be the greatest gift to your pet. Please never forget that.


    I was hoping this would bring some professionals out. Thanks for joining us.

    I have to say, I don't see what is so controversial about exhausting all possibilities before resorting to euthanasia. Wouldn't we want someone to do that for us? Why would we think our dogs would want any less? I do realize that some people drag their dying dogs around our of a selfish refusal to be without them, so if that's what you're referring to, then I'm totally with you on that. But that's not what I'm talking about in my above statement. My dog in the video above would have been dead several years ago had I not changed his diet, got him into rehab and got him on medication to treat his heart condition. I think he's a happy dog and glad to be alive. I don't regret trying to extend his life for a second. When the time comes that he gives me that look that says "I'm not enjoying my life anymore", I will do the right thing, regardless of how much it hurts me.


    I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments - there is so many conditions sich as heart disese, diabetes, thyroid problems etc that can be managed well with medications. And I fully support owners down this route if they share the same sentiments. However sometimes owners feel they cant follow these protocols through (money/time etc any number of reasons involved) and as a vet I know that the animals condition will deteriorate, then we advise the alternative.

    Its other diseases that cause problems - for example chemo in animals is one which splits our profession. if the owner has he money or not, it is something I am generally against.

    I confess o not having been qualified for long! I'm 23!!!
    But already in my short career I have had that "most difficult" of conversations. And although I am hardened to the experience you still get emotional.
    I often say its a "very difficult" decision, but more often than not its the opposite. Showing the ultimate respect and putting your friend to rest is sometimes the easiest decision to make.
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    Jan 13, 2013 3:27 PM GMT
    TexDef07 said
    surfswim saidFound this quite interesting what people have posted.

    I am a qualified veterinary surgeon, so obviously this is a topic I am greatly interested in.

    The views about spending as much money as possible to make them better if there is any possible treatment is a controersial one to me.

    Euthanasia is the greaest gift to our profession. And often it can be the greatest gift to your pet. Please never forget that.

    At the age of 16 1/2 our late Westie was having seizures and had grown so weak she could barely get up off the floor. We were ready to pay for whatever drugs or procedures might help her. Our vet who had cared for her for years took me aside and said "I can prescribe more things they won't change the fact that by now your dog isn't living, just existing. We all love her but you need to do the right thing."
    I was grateful fro the honest advice evn though it was hard to follow.


    Sorry to hear that. Very powerful words from that vet. No matter how hard it can be to follow through with I'm sure your westie will have appreciated it more than yo ucan imagine
  • AMoonHawk

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    Jan 13, 2013 5:12 PM GMT
    xrichx saidSpeaking of euthanasia.. When/how do you decide you don't want to spend $x amount of money to save your pet, and just put him down instead. I hear pet surgeries/procedures can be crazy expensive. Is pet insurance worth getting?

    I think you have to balance this against, how much longer they would possibly live and how healthy are they really going to be. Are they going to be able to get around on their own. I had a friend who many years ago had a dog since he was a pup, so she really loved him. When he got old she spent a small fortune on medical care, even though he still went blind and just mainly laid around. Personally, I thought the poor dog was miserable, and I would have put him to sleep because he didn't have a good quality of life. Eventually, she did have to put him to sleep, but she only bought him about a year and half. But it is a personal choice and of course whether or not you can afford it. Operations and care can actually cost thousands.
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    Jan 13, 2013 5:25 PM GMT
    smartmoney saidI think it's just the strangest thing when I see guys refer to a pet as their best friend.


    Do you have a dog as a companion?
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    Jan 13, 2013 5:30 PM GMT
    smartmoney saidI think it's just the strangest thing when I see guys refer to a pet as their best friend.


    You're a moron.
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    Jan 13, 2013 5:33 PM GMT
    They get old. Shoot 'em.

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    Jan 13, 2013 5:37 PM GMT
    Scruffypup said
    xrichx saidSpeaking of euthanasia.. When/how do you decide you don't want to spend $x amount of money to save your pet, and just put him down instead. I hear pet surgeries/procedures can be crazy expensive. Is pet insurance worth getting?


    I personally could never kill my dog over money, so I just can't relate to your question. I would only take my dog's life if he were in constant pain and I had tried everything possible to help him.


    I could haven't said it better !!
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    Jan 13, 2013 5:49 PM GMT
    Caslon22000 saidThey get old. Shoot 'em.



    pot meet kettle
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    Jan 13, 2013 5:51 PM GMT
    fable said
    Caslon22000 saidThey get old. Shoot 'em.



    pot meet kettle


    Brilliant!
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    Jan 13, 2013 5:59 PM GMT
    When i was growing up , our dogs always live a long happy life , i don't reckon one not reaching 16 or 17 years in age ...Excercise is the key , living in semi-rural setting in Queensland and having a very mild climate in winter ( similar to Florida ) , they could play and run most of the time after the ' Roo's and those being too fast to be caught , gave them lot of healthy work out ! !
    My last little mate past away a year ago at 17 years of age , he was strong as a horse until the last 2 days when his kidneys shut down .

    My advice if i dare to give one ....
    Have their teeth professionally cleaned once every year .
    Feed them good food
    Vitamins for their joints and bones are also very good to protect them againt join and bone problems .
    Excercise every day , they will love it .
    Don't yell at them , dogs are like human , they don't appreciate it , my parents or myself have never once , yell or even hit our dogs as a disciplinary mesure , a gentle tone to praise them , a firm tone to explain their mistake .
    I had so many bloody arguments with stupid galahs beating their dog as a disciplinary mesure !!
    And the most important , give them plenty of love !! , and make them a real part of your family !!
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    Jan 13, 2013 6:10 PM GMT
    When I had to have my Westie euthanized a couple of years ago a fellow RJer sent me this. It made me realize that the difficult choice was the right one.

    Rainbow Bridge

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...
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    Jan 13, 2013 6:24 PM GMT
    Caslon22000 saidThey get old. Shoot 'em.



    If you want to know how someone will treat the people in their life, watch how they treat their pets.
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    Jan 13, 2013 6:31 PM GMT
    I had to put my collie down a couple years ago he was chaseing a truck and hurt his hip. I was rubbing his head and telling him what a good dog he was and he just went to sleep. Going home I cried like a baby. I didnt think i would't act like that being Mr. tough as nails. He was so funny loved chaseing thunder in lighting storms. He was a crazy dog and mr personality. I still miss him.
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    Jan 13, 2013 6:53 PM GMT
    There's a vet who writes almost daily about holistic therapies and nutrition for animals... she's the editor for the "pets" section on Dr. Mercola's website. I've met her... great woman... she has a practice in the suburbs of Chicago. Its not cheap to take a pet to her clinic, but it's great that she's writing and sharing her knowledge that way.
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    Jan 13, 2013 7:06 PM GMT
    On euthanasia, make the choice if the dog is old, the surgery has a tough recovery, and particularly if the surgery will do little for the dog's quality of life. A responsible owner knows when to make the tough call to prevent the further suffering of a noble friend.

    I've got a 10-year-old guy who wants nothing more than to snatch up little dogs and split them in half. His former job on the farm was to dispatch pests, like possums, rats, racoons, squirrels, mice. It's confusing for him now to see creatures the exact same size as vermin--fleeing from him, like at a dog park--and be told NO. He's such a perfectly efficient murder-hound.

    But secretly, on the inside, I dying to tell the owners of those puny dogs, "You're a cat person. Just come out of the closet and get a cat. You're not fooling anybody. Can't you get a normal-sized dog?"
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    Jan 13, 2013 7:07 PM GMT
    Trollileo saidHey, guys. My golden retriever is 13. He just got fleas for the first time. I'm looking at picking up the proper medication later today and then spending the entire day cleaning the house. Do any of you have a preference for brand of medication?


    Yes, Frontline. Inexpensive, lasts for months.
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    Jan 13, 2013 7:21 PM GMT
    Trollileo saidIs it less expensive to buy this thing in a store than it is to order online? (Just so I know for future reference. The only pharmacies in this town don't list their prices online.)


    This 3-pack is $37. Not bad, where Wal-Mart has it for $42.
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    Jan 13, 2013 7:48 PM GMT
    fable said
    Caslon22000 saidThey get old. Shoot 'em.



    pot meet kettle


    If that's the case, he should have gone years ago. Preach.
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    Jan 13, 2013 7:48 PM GMT
    surfswim said
    Scruffypup said
    surfswim said

    Its other diseases that cause problems - for example chemo in animals is one which splits our profession. if the owner has he money or not, it is something I am generally against.
    .


    I feel the need to point out the obvious. There may be a cultural (or personal) bias in the above statement. Chemo is generally accepted by veterinarians and veterinary oncologists in the US; without question.

    I'm not a veterinary oncologist but rather a veterinary neurologist... however many (dozens upon dozens) of my patients are on Chemo protocols (in conjunction with surgery or for non-operable brain tumors as well as some of my autoimmune meningoencephalomyelitis patients). These patients, on average, have a FANTASTIC quality of life for some period of time.

    Nick
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    Jan 13, 2013 10:52 PM GMT
    Caslon22000 saidThey get old. Shoot 'em.




    Where would you prefer we shoot you?
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    Jan 13, 2013 11:09 PM GMT
    eagermuscle said I've been brushing my dog's teeth and scraping their minimal plaque from under their gum lines myself since they were puppies.


    Just remember, if you don't get under the gumline, what you're doing is strictly cosmetic. I can't imagine how you can get under their gumline without them being in terrible pain, especially with scissors. Although I recently met a (human) dental hygienist who claims she gets under the gum with her professional dental instruments. She says she just massages their face and gets them relaxed with accupressure and they let her scrap under the gums with no problem. Technically, I believe this would be considered malpractice, but I'm going to let her do it because my dogs are way too old too be put under.
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    Jan 13, 2013 11:11 PM GMT
    ozgreenguy saidSpeaking of caring for our treasured companions - I have recently been watching a show about overweight pets.
    http://www.downsizeme.tv/downsizemypet/
    Its amazing how many people don't realise the health problems that over feeding their pets is causing.


    I so agree with you. I have people tell me all the time that my dogs are too thin, but they don't know what they're talking about. Obesity in a dog is harder on them than it is a human because they age faster anyway. Just one ounce of extra weight on a dog, puts that much more pressure on their aging joints and heart.
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    Jan 13, 2013 11:18 PM GMT
    pill-buddy-ckn-285x433-180x135.jpg
    As dogs get older, they sometimes need more medication, like my little guy Kelly. He takes two different heart pills twice a day. But he hates the taste and smell of them, so if I can't get him to take them on his own, I'm forced to poke them down his throat. But I found this product that takes the stress out of pill time. They're called "Pill Buddies". Hiding pills in regular food doesn't always work because dogs can usually smell the pill through the food. But Pill Buddies have a clay like density, so they mask the smell and taste very well. If you try and find these in a pet store, you'll most likely only find "Pill Pockets", which I don't like as well because they contain artificial ingredients. I would suggest getting the Pill Buddies instead. Here's the link: http://www.petbest.com/products/Complete-Natural-Nutrition-Pill-Buddy-Naturals-Chicken-Formula/628587009430?utm_source=googleproduct&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=628587009430&gclid=CKzOq8S65rQCFQsGnQodkUUA-g
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    Jan 13, 2013 11:25 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidBut secretly, on the inside, I dying to tell the owners of those puny dogs, "You're a cat person. Just come out of the closet and get a cat. You're not fooling anybody. Can't you get a normal-sized dog?"


    You must have never lived with smaller dogs before. They're nothing like cats.