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Elderly dogs

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by scottishbelle, Jul 14, 2009.


  1. scottishbelle

    scottishbelle PetForums Newbie

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    Hi I have two 16 years old cross breed terriers. One is built like a jack russell and the other is a cairn.

    Both are not clean any more. Both will pee and poo through the night. During the day, both are normally fine. they can go in and out to the garden at will.

    Problem 1 the eldest - the Jack russell - had a seizure Feb 2008 and was given Vivitonin. Back end is still a little woobly. He is getting worse in walking and only wants to sleep. He does look very thin but does eat and drink normally. Seems depressed!

    Problem 2 Second eldest - the Cairn. Never a bright dog but has taken to climbing through things like the coffee table. Is totally deaf and I reckon can't see much. Gets himself stuck in corners, growlling at the wall! Snaps at you if you try to help him if he doesn't see you first. Tries to bite but can't make contact and doesn't put any force into it anyway. More of a reation to being sneaked up on. but can just pee anyway if the mood take him.


    I know they are old. I know they are probably well past their sell by date. but does anyone out there have any advice or tips for dealing with such elderly dogs, Please? They both are in good health otherwise and seem to have quality of life.

    Many thanks
     
  2. haeveymolly

    haeveymolly PetForums VIP

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    Do you have them to regular check ups at the vets? are they able to go out even if for only small walks, because i would question their quality of life. Its such a shame when they get old and cant do what we would still like them to do.
     
  3. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

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    I think its important for oldies to have a routine, however mundane it may seem.

    Like people, i think dogs lose a certain amount of awareness, but this doesnt mean a loss in the quality of life.

    If you want to get their attention, try slapping the floor, as they will be able to feel the vibrations. You could also try some really smelly treats like hotdogs to distract them when they are exhibiting slightly odd behaviours.

    Try not too move furniture around, and treat their toileting like you would if they were young pups. Frequent visits to the garden, and physically go with them and see if they go. They may just be totally unaware of what they are doing, or just physically unable to control themselves. I would probably guess its the latter.

    I agree with haeveymolly that regular vet checks are a must with an older dog, especially ones that are exhibiting senile behaviour.

    Enjoy each day you have with them, and be proud that they have reached such an advanced age.
     
  4. scottishbelle

    scottishbelle PetForums Newbie

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    Yes they do have regular check ups. our vet operates a policy that for repeat requests for tablets, you must go every 3 months. I think that is good as it reminds me and reassures me. They got out for small walks every day and have the free run of a large back garden with the door open all day when I am in.
     
  5. scottishbelle

    scottishbelle PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks Nonnie. I've been thinking along the same lines as you. Raven does respond to banging on the floor or even a door beside him. As for toileting, I think you are right and they are not capable of going all thru' the night now. Hence why every morning I am cleaning the floor with disinfectant; thankfully it is a very easy floor to clean. I have never used treats though. Will try that! I think they both have some quality of life left. both remember to come up to me for a dog hug or a tummy rub when I am sitting watching TV of an evening. In Raven case, when he can find me!
     
  6. haeveymolly

    haeveymolly PetForums VIP

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    Then ime sure they are still happy, i agree with the previous post to keep a good routine, and well done for getting them to such an age.
     
  7. scottishbelle

    scottishbelle PetForums Newbie

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    Do you know what the average age is for these crossbred terriers to live to? I know the mother of both Jet and Raven lasted to 17 and the father dog to 18; he lived in the country and was fairly feral, wandering about at will! ; the dogs on Ardnamuchan have right on way on the roads almost!. The mother was a Jack Russell Cairn Cross and the father was a Cairn. I was hopefully I could keep them at least as long but what are the odds?

    they do have a great routine and I do feed them well - dry food always. I have regular "bed" time for all my dogs and I get up early every day to let them out. 7:00 is a long lie in for me! But I live in the country so that is fairly normal for us.
     
  8. jenniferx

    jenniferx PetForums VIP

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    16 is a brave age! I had my girl till she was 19 and she was a small/medium sized terrier cross of some description.

    Towards the end of her days I used to think of her as the equivalent of an old aged pensioner that had to move into a nursing home. But her life wasn't spent or useless just because of that. She needed extra help with lots of things, she was never a 'pretty' dog and with the onset of cushings looked in a dreadful way with the missing fur but what mattered to me was that when you looked into her eyes- it was still her. She still wanted to see what you were up to and was always happy to see me. Fortunately my dog retained her continence to the very end of her life as she was the sort who would have been very upset at soiling in the house.

    Geriatric dogs can be such an issue for some people, I remember a guy who used to tutor my sister telling me that my dog (happily sleeping in her bed) should be put out of her misery. This was just some random stranger in our home for the first time! Those people can go to hell. All that I cared about was that she was happy enough in her own ways and that we maintained a strong relationship with our vet to know that we were doing the best by her. I felt like Sheba was living on borrowed time from the age of 16 but we did OK for another three years. Hopefully you'll be able to do the same!
     
  9. scottishbelle

    scottishbelle PetForums Newbie

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    What lovely kind words! And obviously you have felt what I am going thru'. I want to do the best for them but I don't want to be selfish and keep them with me when it is really time for the big open meadows in Doggy Heaven! I will endeavour to keep them both as well as possible, for as long as possible. I am used to the quirks and little parcels in the morning.

    As an aside - how did you keep your temper with the tutor? No-one outside the family but my vet and hopefully, kind minded other pet owners such as on this site, have any right to express an opinion about the health and welfare of my pets. I honestly doubt the humanity of any person who would express such a purile view on first contact. If that is their instant and obviously unfelling reaction to a pet and it's owner, what is their general response to human contact. Not a good stance to take if you are involved with children if you get my drift!
     
  10. haeveymolly

    haeveymolly PetForums VIP

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    They are obviously from a long living line i think the average age is between about 12 to 15, over that is a bonus.
     
  11. jenniferx

    jenniferx PetForums VIP

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    Aww no problem. I felt like some of my very best and very worst times were with my dog when she was at her oldest. The way I dealt with extreme old age was to just keep saying to myself "Take what you can get because you won't be able to for much longer." I suppose that's kind of depressing but it helps if you get frustrated or angry about things which I used to (and then feel a tremendous sense of guilt about it). Oh and also not to grieve whilst she was still living. That was so important to me up until her dying day because - she was still here, she hadn't gone yet- I knew I'd have forever to mourn her, until then just enjoy it in so much as you can.

    The tutor was an ass-hat. I'm normally really not a confrontational person but told him that she was actually still quite active and did a mile a day -uphill on her walks and that he could hardly judge her having seen her sleeping in her bed for like, twenty seconds. I think it's because she looked so dodgy with her health conditions but it was classic judging a book by it's cover stuff. I have to say though, the tutor wasn't an isolated case. I had lots of people coming out with the same kind of stuff and it was so hurtful.

    When you love your dogs like you love your family the prospect of losing them is so painful, I think some people will never understand that. The last thing you need are those kind of comments. They mess with your head too when you're already vulnerable and thinking - are they right? Am I doing the right thing? If the time comes to make a difficult decision then I honestly think you'll know. My dog died at home, in her sleep on the sofa with just me there with her (rest of the household had gone abroad that week). It sounds a bit silly but it almost felt like she was waiting till it was just the two of us and a peaceful house. She was very much the closest living thing on earth to me, much to the annoyance of my partner. :) I miss her everyday but at the same time she couldn't live forever and I am happy that I feel like I fulfilled my responsibility to her if you know what I mean.
     
  12. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    I love my dogs, they are my life - but I have never kept a dog when its quality of life fails. I have seen dogs kept like that and I hate it. I think the decision has to be made, after all people have to live on in misery and they cope but how many of them would choose an old age like that. In a way I have been lucky because my dogs have not given me much choice when the time comes but I am sure I couldnt keep a dog that became incontinent and confused. I have had a deaf and more or less blind dog but she didnt get at all confused, we managed it with no problems. Maybe I am hard but I think it is the ultimate act of love to our dogs to have them put to sleep BEFORE life becomes intolerable. Better to do it a day or a month or 6 months too soon than an hour too late.
    None of us can see your dogs though so I have no idea what applies. I just know that I have a friend who had a dog that sounds like your confused one and I was horrified it was kept alive for so long.
     
  13. haeveymolly

    haeveymolly PetForums VIP

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    I agree with you, but its very difficult sometimes i feel guilty sometimes but my springer was 6 when he collapsed and rushed to vets as an emergency, if the drugs didnt work quickly then he had about 4 days they did thankfully annd then we had more energency rushes to vets he was put on oxygen and brought round each time he was then given around 4 weeks at this stage at its worse but with the right meds and constant care and the right care the vet said he could get back to his normal walks, a lottery really, but we had to give him that chance as he was then 7 and in normal terms not particulary an old dog we had him for 11 months from collapse,he did get back to normal walks although very stressfull for me as sudden death was always a threat. The day came when i knew if he went to the vets that p.t.s would be discussed he had deteriorated in a weekend and if we didnt take him we was ony keeping him alive for us because we couldnt even think of ever losing him he was so special but is that fair? No, so we went and the vet that had seen him and cared for him for all this time looked at me like she had never looked at me before and i knew, it was the hardest thing i have ever had to do in all my life. but we owe to our pets to do the very best and monty believe me had, had the very best.I do sometimes get a pang of guilt when i think obout the days he struggled but when you dont know how good they are ever going to actually get you have to give them that chance.
     
    #13 haeveymolly, Jul 16, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
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