August is Senior Pet Awareness month at BlogPaws (for anyone not familiar with BlogPaws it is a social media company and community for pet enthusiasts and bloggers).
Having senior dogs is new for me and my hubby. Our first two dogs together both sadly died at young ages (5 and 6), so we never experienced growing old with them. Now our current dogs are 12 (13 in 2 more months), 8 and 8 (both almost 9). The two girls are the younger and they aren’t really acting like seniors just yet, other than slowing down just a little bit. But our Beagle Kobi is definitely showing his age, especially within the last few months.
We’ve had senior cats before and are pretty used to what goes along with that, but dogs are definitely much different!
We are learning as we go along, and I am learning things from other bloggers also. Overall, so far we feel very lucky that Kobi’s health is pretty good. The issues we are seeing with him so far have been fairly easy to deal with. He started having problems getting traction with his hind legs late last year, and a trip to the vet, including blood work and x-rays, found nothing wrong. We keep a close eye on him for any progression but we haven’t seen any. We got Pawz dog boots for outdoors walking, and doggie slipper socks for indoors. I first wrote about both of those things back in June, and I’m happy to report that both have worked well. At one point he had a sore spot inbetween his toes, I think from the toes being splayed trying to get traction. But once we started using the booties, and treating the sore spot with coconut oil, (we had tried antibiotic ointment but it wasn’t doing the trick) it has gotten better. He was licking at it which didn’t help, but keeping the socks on him in the house kept him away from it also.
Kobi still loves to walk, though he has slowed down quite a bit. We try to walk him every other day or so, but only for 20-30 minutes now. He starts out prancing like a puppy, but after about that much time, he slows down quite a bit. He just loves being out there getting to smell things, so we just have to get used to going slower and letting him set the pace.
His other big issue has been his eyes. Back in the Spring his eyes started running and he was squinting them a lot. Off he went to the vet again and they gave him some ointment in case there was infection, but they really felt it was only allergies. Eventually they did get some better, far less goopy and the squinting got better. They were still a little runny, so we got some rinse and once we started using that saw even more improvement.
I had also heard that local honey could help allergies in dogs so I picked up some of that. Kobi didn’t care for licking it off a spoon, so I just finally got the idea of mixing it with some yogurt and pureed banana, and he loves it! I’ve just started that, so am not sure yet if that will make a difference. They are saying the ragweed is bad this time of year in our area, and it’s been very dry, so we have seen a little more goopiness lately, so we started the rinse again to help. I also bought some all natural wipes to try to get rid of the tear stains, which are worse on one eye than the other. Those don’t seem to be working so if anyone has any suggestions to help on removing tear stains, I’d appreciate it!
We have a set of stairs going up to our bed so Kobi can get up there to sleep with us at night, and we put carpet treads on our wooden stairs in the house. Both of those things help him a lot. He seems to do okay on the outside stairs going off the deck….the wood is rougher on those so he can get traction better. He no longer tries to jump on any furniture, couches or chairs, but we have dog beds in every room in the house, and he also just loves to lie on the cool floor sometimes.
Kobi is getting a bit deaf, and we find ourselves having to raise our voice when talking to him. But he has been quick to pick up on hand signals. He also sleeps way sounder than he used to. There have even been a couple mornings where he slept through everyone getting up. Since breakfast is first thing, and he lives to eat, it really concerned me. However, I think it is only because he sleeps so sound and doesn’t hear things, that he now sleeps through things he never would have before. As soon as he realized, he jumped up and ran downstairs. He still follows me into the kitchen most times I go in there, though occasionally he won’t realize at first. He seems to get a bit confused sometimes. If I leave a room or the house and don’t come back the same way, he just waits where I last left him. When he was younger he would know to go look for me elsewhere. But I think that goes back to the hearing also….he simply doesn’t hear me in the other room like he used to.
Overall, Kobi is alert and happy. His appetite is great. He may sleep more than he used to, but he has always been one that is just happy to be in the house following me around and sleeping next to me anyway. He’s a tough old guy and he seems to adjust just fine to the changes. If his back legs slip out from under him, he just rights himself and goes back to what he was doing.
We are learning what works, through research and advice from others. By the time the two girls get older, we should have a lot of things figured out, though I’m sure new issues will come up too. Mostly we just hope that Kobi continues to stay healthy. He has had some lumps and bumps removed but so far everything has been benign. He does have a little growth on one of his eyelids now, it isn’t bothering him, but we are having it looked at by the vet to be sure it’s nothing to worry about. I wonder how many more visits we’ll be making to the vet in the future, with all these senior pets (both of our cats are seniors also)! It’s okay, it goes with the territory, and we are just so happy that we are getting to experience having our dogs be with us for so much longer.