If we are lucky enough to still have our dogs when they become old and grey then helping them stay comfortable, as pain-free as possible is something that we may have to deal with.
My Boxer x Labrador, Phoebe is a large dog who has had arthritis for a couple of years. This was confounded by a partially torn ligament in her back leg when she chased a hare over a recently plowed field.
She, of course, has prescribed pain medication and I have tried some supplements like turmeric, CBD oil etc but there has been no miracle cure.
So, how do you keep an old dog happy and active? Well, weight management is important and that’s very difficult when feeding time is one of the things they really look forward to. Luckily mine like veg so I try and bulk meals up as much as possible.
Careful logistical management is very important too. I have found that although she manages the stairs, she bunny hops down so I limit how many times a day she goes up and down to a minimum. She now chooses not to jump on the sofa or bed as its very painful for her to get off them.
Laminate flooring is a nightmare! If we are anywhere with it, I have to create a track; for her with blankets or whatever is available. If booking hotels or holiday lets, I find myself looking at the room floor coverings and whether there is a lift or not!
There are some advantages. Her walks are slower, and she doesn’t go far from your side which I really like. Walking 2 older dogs certainly takes less concentration than 2 mad youngsters!
Its approaching holiday time and we will have 2 youngsters as well as my two oldies. I am seriously considering a dog ‘buggy for Phoebe so she can be with us all without limiting the younger active dogs walks too much.
As yet she doesn’t need a car ramp but I have removed one of the back passenger seats so she just has a little step to get in the passager door through to he back doggy area, Opening the boot means a much bigger leap in and out!
I have heard a few nightmare stories of dogs going off their legs whilst on walks. So I am going to buy a ‘Help ‘Em Up harness and shoulder strap’ just in case. I certainly couldn’t pull her on a blanket, coat or anything else in an emergency without really distressing her and me!
Phoebe has no problem with her neck or shoulders, but I do use a raised bowl. This does take some strain off her joints.
Have you a dog with limited mobility? Are there other methods you used that were successful? Do you have any hints or tips? Do let us know!!!