A sweet senior Aussie

Senior Dogs Rock

Senior Dogs

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.

How cancer effects my senior dogs
Senior Aussie mixes

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.

Senior Aussie mix dog
Patches and Flash are litter mates. Their mom was an Australian Shepherd, and the dad a German Shepherd who got under the fence. These two looked the most like their mama, though the German Shepherd has become more pronounced with age.

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)

My old man
Flash waited with me in the car last night while Chewy ran between the front and back seats. Another difference between puppies and seniors.

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.

Jones Windee makes her happy
Flash and Patches would certainly eat Windees three times a day if I’d let them. But treats aren’t food, so only occasionally.

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.

Aussie gnaws lamb femur
Gnawing a Jones Chew is great for dental health for dogs – which reminds me, take good care of your senior dog’s teeth and gums.

The Losses

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.

Giveaway

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 …

Flea

11 thoughts on “Senior Dogs Rock

  1. Okays here is what our mom has been doing in her spare (hahahha) time, looking for a senior boy golden…yes you heard me right Mrs. Flea a dog that is not a pug. Hers is stuck on this for some reason, but hers says it would haf to be the right fix, plus hers is worried our house is not big enuf for four so she is stuck on GO. Hers finks Stella Rose would like to haf a senior buddy cos after all Isa got my Maggie and hers has got me. So Mom says she will keep on looking…..
    Angus McConnell

  2. We have our senior Katie that will be 12 this month,and she is a big dog 78lbs. Her arthritis is causing issues for her more and more. She is on many different product to try and help her feel better. Some days she is better than others. It is hard seeing a pup get old for sure! Sometimes it makes Mom cry because she remembers her last dog she lost to cancer at 10. We try to do as much as we can together and include Katie as much as possible.
    Emma recently posted..Some Interesting Tidbits For YouMy Profile

  3. I love seniors – they are so sweet and laid back. Even though Blueberry hasn’t quite reached senior status – due to her hip issues – I have dog stairs for her for the sofa and an old ottoman for her to use to get up on the bed (they are leftovers from my last senior pair) as well as a home-made step for her for getting into and out of the car. She’s also on supplements and I do my best to keep her as active as possible and her weight normal-low to keep pressure off her joints.

    You are doing a great job accommodating your two – and it’s a great idea you will be asking for the vet for further advice!
    Blueberry’s human recently posted..Weekend WatchMy Profile

  4. I’m so glad that getting a puppy has helped perk up your seniors too! Ours did wonders for our two girls….the girls are a little younger than yours though, almost 10 now.
    I love seniors, but they do really start to worry you at some point. I think Kobi started to worry us much more once he was about 12 1/2. His eyesight seemed fine, but he was showing some deafness, and had trouble with his back legs.
    He was just the best companion though….always by my side!
    Jan K recently posted..Fun with the Kong JumblerMy Profile

  5. It’s great how a puppy adds some spark to the home! Prudence will be 10 next month, I think our 2 kittens (now cats) keep her on her toes! Thanks for the tip regarding the fish oil capsules. I’ll try them w/ her this week.
    Theresa (& Prudence) recently posted..Tuesday’s Tails!My Profile

  6. We are HUGE fans of senior dogs. Some of my happiest memories are of my two senior OES who sadly departed this world. Now that Sam is technically a senior (even though he doesn’t act like it), I am relishing all our time together.

  7. Nice write up and love the pics 🙂 we try to rescue dogs where possible, I think it’s a really nice thing to do as there are so many homeless dogs that need help. Our last 2 have been rescue / older and they have been fantastic so I would encourage everyone to consider it. It’s true what you mentioned on the treats too, you have to give them in moderation so they stay healthy!

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