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KNOWITALL's avatar

What do you do to help your aging dogs?

Asked by KNOWITALL (22107points) March 15th, 2019

I just got Cosequin for my old gal, are there any other helpful hints as your dog ages? Or supplments you’ve had success with, especially for heavy-boned labs?

The only reason I got the Cosequin was because she was starting to hesitate before jumping up on the couch, and was choosing the floor more often.

Just looking to make life easy for my favorite old gal. (And yes, several old comforters are on the floor for her now.)

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14 Answers

kritiper's avatar

Check with your vet. You might be able to give your dog a baby aspirin, or larger, depending on how big your dog is.
And get a nice fluffy dog bed for the floor. But not too thick! (Might be more padding than comforters.)

canidmajor's avatar

I have heard that some people have had success with CBD oil for their dogs. Ask your vet about that. If I had heard about veterinary applications of CBD when my previous old dog started to hurt, I would have liked to try it for him. It works really well for me.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@kritiper I don’t have kids so my dogs have everything…lol
She only uses the dog bed when it’s really cold in the bedroom because she gets too hot, but the comforters don’t trap as much heat.

What would the baby aspirin be for? Pain? I’ve only had three days on the Cosequin, so I’m waiting to see how that works for her before getting too intense about it.

@canid Hmmm, that is interesting actually. I don’t think her pain levels are bad at this point, she’s only 10 yrs old, but since she’s a rescue, I don’t really have an accurate history. She’s still pretty spry when the cats come to visit…haha!

longgone's avatar

Most importantly, attention. Watch out for tongue flicks, yawns, panting, shaking, and licking things (like legs, walls, or the floor). Your dog might show pain in other ways, but these are very common. I did different things to help with Nerina’s discomfort: Massages and hot water bottles on rainy days. Strong pain meds every day when she was too old for an operation, but in chronic pain from hip dysplasia. Very good dog food for general health. A padded mat next to the bed because jumping off onto the carpet hurt her. Comfy spots in cool areas, with cotton blankets to prevent the overheating that happens so often for old dogs.

General lenience. She didn’t have to sit before crossing the street anymore, since that hurt. I tried to be very patient with her slow pace and delayed reactions. Basically, all rules relaxed when Nerina got old. She noticed, and became quite mischievous. At her last Christmas, she went over to the tree when everyone was eating and started to unwrap presents all by herself.

Safety. Instead of asking her to do scary jumps into cars, I’d lift her up. When she walked up long flights of stairs, I’d be behind her, ready to catch her if she slipped. When other dogs or little kids were around, I became a wall for her so she wouldn’t get bowled over.

Structure and calm. Nerina got a lot of quiet time to sleep, which she eventually preferred to our standard routine of going most places together. My young dog was prevented from climbing all over her, and I’d separate them when she’d had enough of his playful pestering. I made sure she got quiet time between activities. I think old dogs are often very exhausted, but hiding it well. Some need up to 18 hours of sleep per day.

Sympathy. Many old dogs develop fears. Existing insecurities may become more of an issue. Nerina was the most bombproof dog you can imagine. She went to demonstrations, parades, musicals – she was always fine. I knew things were changing when she was eleven, and we went to the mall to grab a last-minute Christmas present. I left her outside of a perfume store, assuming her nose would not handle a place like that very well. She was usually happy to wait outside and watch everyone walking by, but that day I heard music, and suddenly she was trotting into the store, searching for me. I then saw a parade of polar bears pass outside. As a young dog, she would have happily greeted any human, even one in a polar bear costume. Getting older, she lost some of her stable temperament.

I think you’ll do great, from what I know about you as a dog owner. Give that old girl a kiss and a treat from me.

PS: For safety reasons, pain meds intended for humans should not be given to pets. Some dogs (and many cats) are very sensitive to pain medications for humans. There are frequently reports of these animals becoming dangerously ill or dying, even when the correct dose is given. There are good, safe, and inexpensive pain meds especially for dogs that your vet can prescribe.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@longgone Thank you so much! Her name is Embra, or Emmy or Emmy Lou Harris. She’s a super shiny, soft black lab with a greying beard. About 70lbs.

She is still pretty spry with my 3yr old Goldendoodle. She has never been allowed on beds or got human food until my house. Always in a room alone all day, or on a lead outside, now she roams freely in a fence. I buy NutriSource, is that ok? I wondered about senior food.

We ride to hardees for sliders, lay in bed staring in eachothers eyes. She’s my best ol gal.

She does nose her kibble in a weird way, spilling it in the floor. Almost like she’s looking for treasure or bugs.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Rick put in a handicapp ramp for Dakota 3 years ago so she wouldn’t have to struggle with the steps.
I spent some time trying to find some kind of portable lift to help her in and out of the truck and camper, but never found one.
We also started giving her a couple of Ibuprofen every week during the last year and that seemed to help a lot with aches and pains. However after talking to the vet he sold us some doggy NSAID that won’t cause possible kidney issues like the Ibuprophen can.
Also, at one point near the end she suddenly developed breathing issues so I sprayed inhaler mist in the general direction of her.mouth and nose.
Good luck to you and your fur baby.

longgone's avatar

@KNOWITALL She sounds lovely. If I met you on the street, I’d ask whether I can say hi for sure. I love old Labrador girls. Mine was black, too. I miss her.

Has she always done the nosing thing? How are her teeth? Worn off? Discoloured?

Be careful with the human food, old dogs have more sensitive stomachs and should have a balanced and nutritious diet so their bodies are strong enough to fight off infections.

I think I’d add one thing to my novel above, and that’s mental stimulation. Old dogs love to experience some new things once in a while, it keeps their brains young. Off-leash walks in new places are a huge treat, and they don’t need to be long.

If your old dog is not already wearing a harness instead of a collar, switching to that is a very kind thing you can do. Collars increase the risk for high eye pressure, which is as dangerous as it sounds. Nerina developed lameness in her front legs before I switched her, but we caught it in time for her to make a full recovery. I’m so glad she got to run and fetch right up to her last days. Here’s the full story.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@longgone Love practical suggestions, I’ll get a harness!!

MrGrimm888's avatar

Dutch has a great idea, with the ramps. Some pet stores sell little stairs. Make sure they’re carpeted. That will help with slipping.

Do NOT start any animal on medication, unless specifically told by a veterinarian.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

We never did find a portable ramp that was long enough to create a gentle rise instead of a steep incline (except for the rampRick made but it’s not portable.)
If you’re handy you might be able to fashion a collapsible portable ramp about 15 feet long. I figure that’s about what it would take.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Some couches have “feet.” They can add up to 5 inches. Most are removable, and might help a bit.

KNOWITALL's avatar

She’s doing well on Cosequin and the sun helps. She hates the chewables though.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

We’d dissolve her meds in a small amount of beef broth then soak it all up in a piece of bread and mix it in with her food.

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