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.
My Mum tries to get me to wear booties too, but I’m having non of it, now if she offered coconut oil as a bribe then we can talk! I so love it! 🙂
Big wags to all,
Your pal Snoopy 🙂
I was very surprised at how good Kobi is about the booties, but he is kind of an old laid back guy anyway. He doesn’t like coconut oil though! There’s not much he doesn’t like. But we’re going to mix it in with some stuff to get him to eat some. But we’ve used it topically and it’s been great. And I have to thank you for introducing us to it!
2 brown dawgs says
You have some very good ideas for helping your senior dog. 🙂
Thank you! We’re definitely learning as we go along!
Ann Paws says
You mention some things here that I had never heard of before. I notice Shiner is also getting some more tear staining under her “white” eye. Maybe it’s just more noticeable on that side since it’s white.
I have no personal experience with this product, but there is something called “Angel Eyes” that I think goes in the food and it’s supposed to work pretty good. A vet I worked with used to tell people about it when they asked about tear staining.
Kobi definitely has one eye that is worse than the other, as far as the tear staining. I don’t know why, because we clean goop out of the corners of both eyes!
I will look into the Angel Eyes, thank you, Ann!
SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) says
We nominated you for an award on our Blog Post tomorrow – check it out.
Oh, I will, thank you! I’m excited!
Our little Beagle Roxanne was about 13 when we lost her. She aged fairly well though in the end she was losing her hearing and had some arthritis in the back legs and a polyp in her rectum which made defecating difficult. Still we did what we could and let her set her own pace.
When my little Beagle stopped eating I knew she was through. It’s a blessing and a curse watching them age.
You are so right, Jodi. On the one hand I enjoy the fact that Kobi just wants to be with me all the time, just hanging out next to me. But knowing that his time is getting short is difficult. I dread the day if he ever stops eating, because yes, we will know for sure then. The beagles do love their food!
coconut oil is not only good for dogs it is also really good for older people. My sister took care of an elderly woman with alzeimers and the doctor recommended as much coconut oil as possible in her food, within 2 weeks she could remember her childrens names , and some of her past, it worked very well. Its supposed to be excellent for the memory. We use it to cook with and it smells like coconut but you can’t taste it once its cooked.
I had been thinking of trying to cook with it, but hadn’t tried it yet. That is really something, with the Alzheimer’s. Considering the way my memory is these days, I think we definitely need to add it to our food too!
I am reading that it can be good for a lot of other ailments also.
Jackie Bouchard says
Wow, he looks SO cute in his socks! I don’t think our beagle, Bailey, would have put up with those. She couldn’t stand to have anything on her. That’s great that he’ll wear them. I remember when Bailey was getting older, and her hearing was going – I knew the first time when she didn’t come running when I got a spoon out of the silverware drawer!
That’s sad that you lost your other pups so young. We lost our last one at only 2 1/2 so it’s been a while since we had a senior.
Wow, 2 1/2, that is really tough. I thought 5 and 6 was bad enough. 🙁
Kobi doesn’t put up with having much put on him….he barely tolerates a bandana, and I tried an elf hat once that did not go over well! However, he doesn’t seem to mind the socks. He might prance for a few seconds and that’s about it. They do look adorable though, don’t they? 🙂
Yes, you definitely know something is up with a beagle when they don’t respond to any kind of kitchen noise!
As Lilac and Blueberry got older, their eyes began to water more. Our vet told us that it was because they have less fat around their eyes and they just water a little more because of that. There was a little more to the explanation, but that’s the gist of it, and it made me worry a lot less about it!
Oh good, thank you for letting me know that. There seems to be so much to worry about, that one less thing is always good. I just noticed Sheba’s eyes seemed to be watering too, and wondered if she was also starting with allergies. Good to know it could be just another aging thing.
SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) says
Love Kobi’s socks. Sounds like you’re doing a good job adjusting routines and things to adjust to having a senior. I’m sure Kobi appreciates it.
Thank you. Kobi is such a good boy, he deserves all the special treatment. 🙂
Mary Ruiz says
Hey Janet..try Angel Eyes for Kobis eye stains. Toby is still able to jump in the couch of he uses the ramp hubbg made fr him to get in his chair. When he feels he’s not up to jumping up he puts his head on the chai and waits or some one to pick him up nd put him on the couch.
Thank you, Mary, I will look for the Angel Eyes! That is so great your hubby made a ramp for Toby. We’ll need one for Cricket when she gets older, but Kobi doesn’t even try to get on the furniture, other than the bed. He seems content on the floor or in a dog bed where he can stretch out. Occasionally Cricket has overdone it playing ball, and she’ll do the same thing as Toby, wanting to get on the couch or chair, just resting her head there! It’s so cute, isn’t it?
Kobi in the socks – SO cute!! I love all your accommodations, and you’ve given me some good ideas. Emmett is definitely a senior – at least 10 – and Lucas is getting close – probably close to 8ish. I’ve seen a distinct slow-down in Emmett, but we haven’t had to make too many adjustments yet. I’m going to look into those socks for Lucas, though, because he occasionally has a hard time getting up (he already has bad hips on top of getting older), so thank you so much for the recommendation!
Thanks, Maggie. He is so good about having the socks put on him too….no issues at all (other than they fall off a lot and we have to keep putting them back on, and we find them everywhere…indoors and out!). They really do help him, so I hope they will work for Lucas too! Let me know!
My hubby and I also lost our first dog together unexpected at the young age of six, so this is our first experience with having seniors too. It sure sounds like you are on top of each of their issues as they crop up, and going the extra mile with the treads on the stairs and the steps up to your bed! Very interesting that the coconut oil worked. I have read so much good about it that we now do a lot of our own cooking with it, and it’s pretty tasty too. 🙂
You do great with your dogs too, Donna, and you’ve had to deal with a lot. It’s kind of funny that we got rid of all of the carpets in our house because of puppy and kitty accidents, and now we have to put carpet treads down for older slipping dogs! I haven’t started cooking with coconut oil yet, but I plan to. It really seems to have a lot of health benefits for humans and dogs. I use it as a moisturizer also!
What a great story of how we can make seniorhood happy and healthy for our senior pets – Sammy’s the oldest cat I’ve ever had – thirteen happy years so far and he shows little sign of slowing down. Your Kobi is adorable – I love his socks – what a brilliant idea that is. Glad to know the pet stairs work because Sam isn’t far from needing those. Now he sometimes asks for me to pick him up and put him on the bed or carry him upstairs (which I’m happy to do) but soon it will be “helping stairs” time! Thanks for all the good info and we wish Kobi and ALL your animals to have many, many more years of love in your family. They give us so much – it’s our pleasure to give it back isn’t it!!
Hugs, Pam (and Sam)
Thank you, Pam, we think Kobi looks cute in his socks too! Our cat Samantha also uses the pet stairs up to the bed all the time…the cats, at 11 and 15 don’t jump as much, but Sam just recently started jumping up on the kitchen counter again! But Conrad has to be lifted up now (that’s where they eat). Thank you so much….I hope Sammy has many more years too…our oldest cat lived to be 18! Yes, I just love taking care of them after they have given us so much love.
Sounds a bit like my place. We have had many older felines but no senior pets, Mom’s other dog passed away from cancer really fast at ten. Now Katie is eleven and doing really well, but she has slowed down, has various ailments here and there, gets different medicines (from the vet and OTC), sleeps more and sounder, etc. We keep her as active as we can but sometimes we can tell she just wants to hang out and nap. There is a lot to learn!
I’m glad Katie is doing well too, Emma. It seems like only a year ago Kobi wasn’t showing many signs of aging…it seemed to come on fast. But I’m glad it sounds like what he’s experiencing is normal for aging dogs. Kobi sure does sleep a lot!