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

  • vindog

    Posts: 1440

    Jan 13, 2013 11:33 PM GMT


    Worked in vet industry for 6 years. I saw so much happen to people/pets during that time period.

    RE: Spending tons of money on a sick dog.....depends on tons of factors. Age, how much $$, how much it will actually improve quality of life, rehab time, etc. I had a 2 year old lab/chow/rot dog hit by a car, massive spinal injury. My options were either 1) euthanasia 2) try a spinal surgery that had a 10-15% chance of working and cost around 25K. The dog would have to have been not able to move for 4-6 months at which time we would have found out if it even worked. I'm a single guy, going to school and working...being able to care for/rehab this dog would have been near impossible. My vet who I worked for recommended, due to all these factors, to euthanize. After looking at the Xrays...I felt her spine was FUCKED and the chances were slim.

    Dogs live for the day/moment. You can't explain to them that what you are doing will in the long run may help them. I still feel like euthanizing was the right decision. She would have been so unhappy, and I helped set her free.

    I've seen people destroy themselves trying to hang onto a elderly pet or one in an accident.

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    Jan 13, 2013 11:50 PM GMT
    Save the money on omega-3 pills. My vet recommended a tsp of olive oil a day, and it has cut down drastically the shedding on my two year old. And both my boys love it in their food. But, then again, they are dogs, and eat practically anything. lol

    I like the idea of the battery toothbrush.

    I know people who have a 1.5 year old companion diagnosed with lymphoma. They have the money and went with the chemo. It was a grueling 6 month treatment. She had a 50% chance for one more year, and 10% another after that. She is a healthy 6 year old now. Beating the odds. If all stories could have such an ending.
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    Jan 13, 2013 11:51 PM GMT
    vindog said

    Worked in vet industry for 6 years. I saw so much happen to people/pets during that time period.

    RE: Spending tons of money on a sick dog.....depends on tons of factors. Age, how much $$, how much it will actually improve quality of life, rehab time, etc. I had a 2 year old lab/chow/rot dog hit by a car, massive spinal injury. My options were either 1) euthanasia 2) try a spinal surgery that had a 10-15% chance of working and cost around 25K. The dog would have to have been not able to move for 4-6 months at which time we would have found out if it even worked. I'm a single guy, going to school and working...being able to care for/rehab this dog would have been near impossible. My vet who I worked for recommended, due to all these factors, to euthanize. After looking at the Xrays...I felt her spine was FUCKED and the chances were slim.

    Dogs live for the day/moment. You can't explain to them that what you are doing will in the long run may help them. I still feel like euthanizing was the right decision. She would have been so unhappy, and I helped set her free.

    I've seen people destroy themselves trying to hang onto a elderly pet or one in an accident.



    I agree Vindog, it sounds like you did the right thing.
  • wild_sky360

    Posts: 4082

    Jan 13, 2013 11:58 PM GMT
    I've had three obsessively athletic Labrador Retrievers. When the oldest began struggling to keep up I had to hold him back to avoid coughing attacks or even fainting. Unlike the younger ones who would be frantic being made to wait, I think he caught on that I was just waiting for him to catch his breath.

    At first he objected, but got used to the routine of lying down between fetches and just watching the other dogs. I eventually trusted his judgement that he was truly ready for a toss when he'd rise for a turn. I also had to leave him at home on occasion to ensure the other two had a good workout on hikes. Once again, of his own accord, he'd make the decision to take a pass, or come with us. I let that be the determination of how long the hike was, rather than making that decision ahead of time

    This went on for some time, until the coughing and fainting would occur with any exertion. Despite that, he'd still choose to participate some times. When euthanasia was considered, it was an easier decision than I thought it would be. I let the determination be when he no longer wanted to participate. This wasn't the sole criteria. He was in terrible pain also, but I wanted to allow him to keep going, as long as HE wanted to.

    When he altogether passed on activities and lost interest in food, it was a clean decision that I made on his behalf instead of a degrading, drawn out end.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11422

    Jan 13, 2013 11:59 PM GMT
    Scruffypup saidpill-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

    I usually use peanut butter or almond butter ... works great .... my dogs love it .. especially the almond butter
    Almond_butter.JPG
    and I like it too icon_wink.gif
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    Jan 14, 2013 12:35 AM GMT
    AMoonHawk said
    Scruffypup saidpill-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

    I usually use peanut butter or almond butter ... works great .... my dogs love it .. especially the almond butter
    Almond_butter.JPG
    and I like it too icon_wink.gif



    Yeah, but neither of my dogs like nut butters. They look at me like I'm trying to poison them.
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    Jan 14, 2013 12:38 AM GMT
    Kalifornication said
    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?

    Nope, I like humans.
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    Jan 14, 2013 12:49 AM GMT
    Scruffypup said
    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.

    Agree that under the gum cleaning is what is really effective, and it requires professional dental instruments. In my area, anesthesia-free teeth cleaning is pretty common. That's what my current and past dog get. It was explained to me that if the dog will tolerate the procedure, it is just as effective as cleaning under anesthesia. Problem is not all dogs will allow it.

    What helps keep my dogs relatively plaque-free above the gum line are original, hard (not flavored) nylabones. As the dog chews, the surface gets rough and keeps plaque off and also massages the gums.
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    Jan 14, 2013 12:52 AM GMT
    Yeah, brushing teeth and cutting nails is one of the most overlooked issues that could keep your dog happy and healthy.

    Diet is important, but if you have a decent brand or consult a knowledgeable pet store person, they can give you recommendations for food for the breed/size/age of your dog. Dog food is generally formulated (like baby formula) to give them the exact nutrients they need, but you don't want to give them dog food that has a lot of filler like corn and grain.

    I have started giving my dog glucosamine...his breed is prone to joint issues so I'm just trying to give it to him prophylactically to keep his joints strong as he gets older.

    I have pet insurance for both my dogs. It's about $50/mo for two small breeds; they're up to date on their shots and if anything comes up they have decent coverage. Otherwise, if you're really responsible financially and can afford to spend a few thousand in severe emergency situations, you might as well go that route. I do think pets deserve healthcare either way, and that it's humane and responsible to take care of them when they get sick or injured.
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    Jan 14, 2013 1:15 AM GMT
    socalfitness said

    What helps keep my dogs relatively plaque-free above the gum line are original, hard (not flavored) nylabones. As the dog chews, the surface gets rough and keeps plaque off and also massages the gums.


    My dogs eat raw chicken/turkey legs every morning for breakfast. Sometimes as an alternative, they get raw chicken/turkey necks or chicken feet. (Although their isn't a lot of nutrition in the chicken feet, they're still very good for them, so I rarely give them those alone.) It's great for their teeth, gums and jaws, plus it's naturally what they're meant to eat.
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    Jan 14, 2013 1:16 AM GMT
    smartmoney said
    Kalifornication said
    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?

    Nope, I like humans.


    And.....you clicked on this thread because?
  • wild_sky360

    Posts: 4082

    Jan 14, 2013 1:30 AM GMT
    Scruffypup said




    My dogs eat raw chicken/turkey legs every morning for breakfast. Sometimes as an alternative, they get raw chicken/turkey necks or chicken feet. (Although their isn't a lot of nutrition in the chicken feet, they're still very good for them, so I rarely give them those alone.) It's great for their teeth, gums and jaws, plus it's naturally what they're meant to eat.


    I thought poultry bones were a hazard for dogs. They don't have the enzymes to digest bone like wolves do. A cat would carefully pick at it, but if I gave my guy a chicken bone it would be gone; entirely, in a couple of minutes.
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    Jan 14, 2013 3:01 AM GMT
    wild_sky360 said
    Scruffypup said




    My dogs eat raw chicken/turkey legs every morning for breakfast. Sometimes as an alternative, they get raw chicken/turkey necks or chicken feet. (Although their isn't a lot of nutrition in the chicken feet, they're still very good for them, so I rarely give them those alone.) It's great for their teeth, gums and jaws, plus it's naturally what they're meant to eat.


    I thought poultry bones were a hazard for dogs. They don't have the enzymes to digest bone like wolves do. A cat would carefully pick at it, but if I gave my guy a chicken bone it would be gone; entirely, in a couple of minutes.


    Ha. That's completely false. Have you ever cleaned a raw chicken? The bones are quite rubbery when raw, but when cooked get very brittle and splinter. NEVER give a dog a cooked bone! Many years ago before I knew much about dog food, I would occasionally give my dogs cooked chicken bones. Every single time, they would choke, so I stopped. I've been feeding my dogs raw bones every day for the past 4 years and NOT ONCE have they choked! A dog is designed to kill and eat small animals, and if left alone in the wild, what do you think they would eat? They won't go picking strawberries, that's for sure. icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 14, 2013 3:57 AM GMT
    Scruffypup said
    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.


    Accupressure? Too much work. My dogs just always trusted me and I approached the task like it was a treat for us. I could scrape their teeth and then get under their gums from almost the day I got them, him at 7 months and her at only 3, and they'd never wince, even the few times I drew blood. In fact, most of the time they grunt with pleasure when I approach with the scissors - the same grunts they give during belly rubs. Here are some screen caps of me doing it I took off a vid - I filmed not with an iphone but a bulky digital camera in my right hand while raising the lips and scraping under the gums with my left - meaning I'm not even holding their heads in place. The first two are of my girl (black), the third of my boy (white). In the third pic you can tell I actually lifted up and got underneath the gum line.

    2dgs7f5.jpg

    2pt3442.jpg

    29ghhrq.jpg
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    Jan 14, 2013 4:31 AM GMT
    Wow. I wonder if my dogs would let me do that at their age. I may try this tomorrow.
  • vindog

    Posts: 1440

    Jan 14, 2013 7:40 PM GMT
    Scruffypup saidWow. I wonder if my dogs would let me do that at their age. I may try this tomorrow.



    My dogs definitely would not.
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    Jan 15, 2013 3:54 AM GMT
    Photobucket
    Dog Gumbo anyone? icon_lol.gif This is something new we're trying. It's not a pot, but a magnetic ring that is supposed to help with joint and arthritis problems. I'm a bit skeptical about it, but there is some real evidence that this thing works. In a tightly controlled study (a rarity in the world of alternative medicine) Thomas Skalak of the University of Virginia found that static magnets reduced swelling by up to 50 percent in the tiny hind paws of rats. Skalak published his results in the November issue of the American Journal of Physiology. We've only done this twice so far, so I'll let you guys know how this works. At least it's painless and he seems to like it because he gets lots of attention when he's in this contraption.
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    Jan 28, 2013 4:06 AM GMT
    kellypeanut_zpsc3547fe1.jpg
    This is called a "Peanut" exercise ball. (Kelly's taking a break here) It's a lot like a Swiss ball for humans, but as you can see, it's got a groove in the middle which makes it easier for the dog to place his body in. I think it's great for elderly dogs as it keeps their core strong and helps assist them in walking, especially when they're having joint pain. I'm seeing good results from this, but if you decide to use this type of therapy for your dog, I would recommend getting a professional to do it or show you how to assist your dog properly. This exercise can make your dog very sore at first if you make them do it too long (just like humans), so it's important to start out with just a couple of minutes on the ball at first, then slowly build up time. I basically just balance Kelly on top of the ball while slowly rocking him back and forth. As he attempts to "catch" himself, it causes him to use muscles that don't normally get used much. And when I rock him towards me, I sometimes give him a treat, so he has a positive association with the ball.
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    Jan 28, 2013 4:11 AM GMT
    To be honest I am not really into older dogs, I like puppies they are so cute and also the healthy ones that run around and play. If my dog was old and ailing I would put it down or put it up for adoption.
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    Jan 28, 2013 1:07 PM GMT
    DNY92 saidTo be honest I am not really into older dogs, I like puppies they are so cute and also the healthy ones that run around and play. If my dog was old and ailing I would put it down or put it up for adoption.


    Maybe someone will put you down when you're old. Please remove me from your Hotlist. I don't want to be associated with you in any way.
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    Jan 28, 2013 10:29 PM GMT
    Scruffypup said
    DNY92 saidTo be honest I am not really into older dogs, I like puppies they are so cute and also the healthy ones that run around and play. If my dog was old and ailing I would put it down or put it up for adoption.


    Maybe someone will put you down when you're old. Please remove me from your Hotlist. I don't want to be associated with you in any way.


    Lol you wish you were on my hotlist...
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    Jan 29, 2013 1:28 AM GMT
    DNY92 said
    Scruffypup said
    DNY92 saidTo be honest I am not really into older dogs, I like puppies they are so cute and also the healthy ones that run around and play. If my dog was old and ailing I would put it down or put it up for adoption.


    Maybe someone will put you down when you're old. Please remove me from your Hotlist. I don't want to be associated with you in any way.


    Lol you wish you were on my hotlist...


    DNY92_zpsff6957d2.jpg
    You were saying?
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    Jan 29, 2013 1:32 AM GMT
    Scruffypup said
    DNY92 said
    Scruffypup said
    DNY92 saidTo be honest I am not really into older dogs, I like puppies they are so cute and also the healthy ones that run around and play. If my dog was old and ailing I would put it down or put it up for adoption.


    Maybe someone will put you down when you're old. Please remove me from your Hotlist. I don't want to be associated with you in any way.


    Lol you wish you were on my hotlist...


    DNY92_zpsff6957d2.jpg
    You were saying?



    Opps, probably a slip of the finger, not that desperate icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jan 29, 2013 1:36 AM GMT
    Yup. icon_cool.gif
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    Jan 29, 2013 2:05 AM GMT
    Just throwing this out there since I haven't really seen anything about it yet. But for anyone who has older dogs with joint pains you might want to look into acupuncture. Years ago I had a Lab/Retriever mix. I believe Labs are one breed that is know for getting joint problems in their back legs later in life. She wasn't able to get up and down stairs as she use to and had to be carried a lot of the time. Along with the pain cries when moving sometimes. The vet recommended acupuncture and there was a Great improvement. The treatments were monthly and afterwards she was able to get up and down stairs on her own and didn't appear to be in much pain at all. Overall it was differently worth it to make the last 2yrs of her life as pain free as possible.