Holy Crap, I Found an Old Man In My House
I used to hike a lot in my 20s. Now that I am older my knees grind and my back hurts more often than not. I am a firm believer “in move it or lose it” but I have certainly slowed down in my older years. I get out a little less and go slower when I do.
When you are young, you can push hard and go fast. People sometimes think they need to stop doing the physical stuff they did in their 20s when they get older and things start to ache.
I believe that it’s not necessary to stop doing those things (in most cases). You can still go out and do what you did then but it is more a “faster or slower” thing later in life. It usually becomes necessary to hike slower and take more breaks.
So what does this have to do with an old man in my house? Chester is the old man!
Small dogs are officially senior at around 8 years of age. Chester is almost 11 (for small dogs, that’s 69 according to this chart) and I am just now admitting that he is a senior dog. It’s like it happened overnight. Who IS this old man in my house?
Now that I have admitted to myself that he is getting old, I do notice signs of him changing. He still likes to go-go-go on our hikes but his “going” is more like a steady plod instead of a sprint. He lollygags when it is time to get up off of the couch and go outside. He stretches and takes his time sauntering to the door. He definitely seems on less of a schedule.
I worry more about his physical health and discomfort now. On paper he is a very healthy dog. Now that I have the “he’s a old dog” mentality, I worry that every sigh and grunt is a sign that he is starting to have joint pain. Besides being a little stiff, he doesn’t seem to exhibit the telltale signs of arthritis in dogs.
I take a lot of precautions to, hopefully, prolong his good health. I give him joint supplements every day, we already lift him over obstacles on our hikes way more often than we used to, I am mentally preparing for the day we will have to carry him for a portion of our hikes (looking into good packs for carrying him now), and he has an orthopedic pad in his crate.
My point though is that just because he is an old man doesn’t mean he has to stop doing what we used to. We just know we have to take it slower now – give him more rest breaks. I have been looking into additional supplements I can give him and exercises to help him stay active well into his golden years.
Now that there is an old man living in my house, I am doing a lot more research on senior dogs and the products out there to help them with joint and mobility problems. I intend to start sharing more of what I learn and over time how we need to modify our activities to accommodate him (when we actually need to because he doesn’t seem to be slowing down much yet).
Do you have a senior dog? What kind of changes have you noticed in their health or behavior?
This post is part of the Fit Dog Friday Blog Hop brought to you by SlimDoggy, Peggy’s Pet Place and To Dog With Love. I encourage you to visit their blogs to learn more keeping your dog fit, healthy and at the proper weight. You can also join the community of proactive pet owners and healthy pets by writing your own blog post and linking it to the hop (visit one of the hosts to view the linky list and enter your own).
BlogPaws had declared August Senior Pets Month. Pets, whether puppies or seniors, bring so much love into our lives and our love for them grows throughout the years — which is why they dedicated a whole month to celebrating our Senior Pets
About the Author
Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.
Felix says he doesn’t feel a day over three…or at least he did until last week, when he jumped from a height of 8″, tore his ACL and know he needs knee surgery or else arthritis will claim that leg as it’s own. **sigh** I guess I better adjust to the little old man in our midst.
I have Had problems since about 52 years old, (I’m going on 56) even, after losing 70 pounds in 2006 and keeping it off, with my feet, legs and lower back. Especially my feet. My right foot hurts like hell when I walk. But, I supplement with flax seed oil as a natural anti inflammatory myself, as well as my 2 dachshund girls. I give them about 1200 units a day and they just chew on the gelatin capsules. It aids us. But- we are all getting old….we hang in there. I am also a firm believer- you don’t use it- you lose it! Keep on moving, slower, but we do it!!
I hear ya Patti. I felt invincible until I was about 35 and then I felt like the wheels came off. I started having all sorts of health problems. I, too, notice it hurts a little more and takes longer to recover when I fall on a trail or something.
I haven’t tried flax oil for myself or the dogs but I will keep it in mind.
I wondered how he got hurt. What the heck was he doing jumping 8 feet?? Where was the daddy? That being said, Gretel once jumped 4 feet off of our porch into the yard (and yes, there WERE stairs) when my back was turned. She thought I had a treat in my hand. I heard this thud and “humph” behind me and turned around and there she was! Fearless like Felix I guess.
BOL, no no, not 8 feet. 8 INCHES. We’re talking less than knee height (even my knees). I’d be celebrating if he jumped 8 ft and all he hurt was a knee!
OMG…I am glad that is cleared up! Geez, my eyes must be playing tricks on me. See…maybe I do need glasses 🙂
It’s so sad when we start to see our best friends starting to get old. The oldest in our pack, a Jack Russell named Bailey, is 15 years old now. Nothing could stop her from a good game of fetch the tennis ball or dive into the pool after it…….until the last month or so. She now sleeps more than she’s awake although the vet says her health is still good. But we know too well how quickly that can change when you have a 15-year-old dog.
Oh….I think my two sleep more than they are awake already when we are laying around home 🙂 I never had a dog as an adult until Chester but had a couple of cats that have grown old in my care. I don’t know if it is the same for dogs but they went through stages – good, pretty decent but old and definitely not good. On one hand I hope the decline is sudden with Chester but on the other I want it to happen slowly so I am prepared (but then you have to watch the decline). Dachshunds can easily live to 15 too, like your little guy. I am hoping he has several good years still in him. He still has passion and that is what counts 🙂
Ha! The old man in our house is me. Sure my hair is grey. And I remember when Sesame Street first came on television. But I don’t feel old.
Until I get hurt.
A bike accident that wouldn’t have fazed me in my 20s had me hurting for a long time and wondering if I’d ever get the range of motion back in my arm.
So applying this to dogs, as Honey ages, I’ll try to remember that minor injuries happen. But that as we get older, it takes us longer to heal.
I know what you mean Pamela. I felt invincible until I was about 35 and then I felt like the wheels came off. I started having all sorts of health problems. I, too, notice it hurts a little more and takes longer to recover when I fall on a trail or something.
Your point is a good one for me to remember for Chester too.
It’s tough to accept their age – particularly when they don’t exhibit too many signs like Chester. He still looks handsome and virile in that picture though! Thanks for joining the Hop – hope some of our tips today are helpful.
Thanks so much for addressing this really important issue. Five years ago I lost my beloved 19 year old. As they get into very advanced years, they need so many additional special care items that are (or at least were not at that time) offered. I hope that Chester will continue to age like Clooney and many years from now provide a handsome face to the issue of the special needs of older dachshunds to bring the products they need to maintain a comfortable quality of like to market.
Chester is starting to get a little more gray hair. I think its’ distinguishing 🙂 Since staying healthy and active is important to us, it will be a natural progression for me to talk about that as he ages. My aim is to keep him active as much as he can as long as possible. Also, to learn how to modify his lifestyle when we can’t while still maintaining ours.
Yes, actually I got a question on Facebook about exercises for a senior Dachshund so I will point them to your post.
We know too many people who just took to the rocking chair at the first sign of aging, but we agree with you that it is important to keep moving on a use it or lose it basis. Our hikes have been chosen on more level ground with a shorter destination than in previous years, but we aren’t ready for the spectator role in life yet.
As long as my body holds out, we plan to do the longer, steeper hikes we do. I am looking in to a good pack to carry Chester on those hikes when we have to. I carry a little pack for emergencies but it is not comfortable for either of us on long distances.
My Gretchen isn’t quite a senior yet (she’ll be 7 on Sept 1) but we haven’t been the most active. She already has arthritis in her front right elbow and gets monthly adequan injections which have helped a lot. I would like to start some easy exercises for her, though right now in Austin it’s way too hot to walk outside. I know I need to start her slowly. Any suggestions?
This post has some good suggestions (except the sit pretty one which isn’t very good for a Dachshund’s long, fragile back). Also, if she chases a ball or toy you could try throwing that for her inside for short distances to get her moving. It’s important to exercise dogs mentally too…especially as they age. Maybe look into K9 Nosework (you can make it up yourself at home – it’s very much like hide and seek with a treat.
With all the great conditioning Chester has had he’s going into his Golden Years with the best possible chance at staying fit and healthy
That is my hope anyway 🙂
I don’t have a senior dog, but I think my wiener has aged faster than he should have, and I think it’s because of the breeding — potentially. He’s an adopted dog, so I might not know about traumas he may have had as a pup. He has a bad back, and has dealt with arthritis.
My dog is currently hanging at my parents’ house while I finish up moving. He is moving in with me tomorrow. I’m planning on having him baby-gated up in my walk-in closet during the day since I can’t make the rest of the house a no-fly zone. When I’m at home, I have a pillow and blanket combo next to me wherever I may be, and his travel kennel is next to that (the main crate is in the closet). The new place has a sliding glass door so he will be able to peek out the window without wanting to jump on the furniture to do it.
I try to take him for short walks, but he doesn’t like walking (for obvious reasons). I would like to take him to the hiking area I go to, but I’m scared to death of ticks (my SO’s dad got lyme disease last year). Somewhere with softer ground and no pavement would be ideal. If he wasn’t scared of water (good lord, he is a posh dog) I would take him swimming.
Chester is a cutie. Dachshunds live long lives, so hopefully he’ll be around for quite a few more years.
That is scary that your So got ticks. I would be wary too. We don’t have many ticks here in Western Washington but they do exists and can still give you Lyme.
Yes, bad backs are primarily due to genetics – not trauma as once thought….although trauma can make the problem surface. It would make sense that arthritis could come with genes too. Chester has been a lucky boy. I adopted Gretel and don’t know her history so I will have to wait and see how she ages.
I didn’t know Chester was 11 years young. Your dogs are such sweeties – I love seeing the pictures of them.
Thanks to this blog and others who have the same breed, I’ve learned a lot about their health and I find it amazing all that we can learn about each dog breed. Glad that arthritis pain isn’t showing up – it’s bummer.
Yeah, each breed has their issues and idiosyncrasies. I have learned so much about Doxies over the years but still don’t know much about other breeds.
I know exactly what you’re saying….I looked up our dog’s ages on that chart and they are almost 59, 66, and 79! When did that happen (the same time hubby and I got into our 50’s I guess)? The oldest, Kobi, did not start showing his age until about a year ago though, so that was good. He’s a large Beagle, so it could still be years before your Chester really starts showing his age. Our Golden Sheba has just started limping and we have to consider it might be arthritis. Ugh. Just when we were trying to be more active too!
Yeah, when you want your dog to be your fitness partner it is hard when their health starts failing. I am looking into backpack carriers for Chester for when that time comes. That is an easy solution when your dog weights 10 lbs though…not so much when they are 40 lbs 🙂
My pack is still very young, but I did buy a doggie stroller fairly early in their lives. It would not be practical on a hike, but it has enabled us to walk in the neighborhood and to visit craft shows and other outdoor actiivities. I use it mainly for Baylee because she tires easily, but if one of the others starts to lag I can put them in it for a rest. And, just like a baby stroller it is useful to load with gear and purchases!
The carrying of stuff is the most appealing feature to me right now 🙂
Love Chester’s chin whiskers!
I have several senior dogs. Two are intact females with mammary tumors – Peanut and Lucy. Peanut is a Weim/Lab mix. We’ve recently noted her slowing way down, sleeping a lot in a corner out of the way and not digging so much. While I don’t WANT her to dig, I find it sad she indulges herself less. Unlike Beagles, who can be drama queens or kings, the Labs I’ve know are very stoic….so I’m watching her carefully and checking her tumors plus the other lumps on her body. Poor Lucy Beagle (yes, a drama queen when I come home – needs some loving right away!) has a pendulous mammary tumor, huge. She’s very heart worm positive which I’m treating monthly; she won’t tolerate the big treatment; it was her consort, Ricky, less old than she, but even worse heart-worm wise, who succumbed after his neuter – so I’m careful about Lucy. I want her here as long as she can be comfortable and happy. We were afraid Ricky made her pregnant but not so – whew. Minnie is a 12 year old Chow who came from a heart stick facility in KY. She is a delight but I know nothing of her background. She, too, is not being treated for HW d/t age. She’s doing much, much better – we thought she had hip dysplasia when she came, but the vet said he wished his GSD had hips as good as hers. She has arthritis, on glucosamine and chondroitin as well as Deramaxx – the very lowest dose – it’s helped her a lot. I know nothing about Chows…
I don’t think age alone is cause to not treat for HW but in these dogs (Peanut is negative), their overall health plus their HW contraindicates treatment. They do get out and about in the yards and fields so moving and exercise happens – it’s just happening less with Peanut :(.
Wow…that is a lot going on. How great of you to take such good care of these senior doggies. Chester has some fatty tumors on his underside. I wasn’t worried until recently when a couple more seemed to pop up at once. I am going to take him to the vet soon to get full blood work (so we have a baseline) and I will have them check out the lumps while I am there.
We have the old lady at my house. She also still loves to walk and play but at eleven and being a big dog, things are much slower and a bit shorter but she still wants to be along, so that is the good news!
Well, we don’t have an old dog in our house now, but we have had seniors in the past. We tried to include them as much as we could, but I also realized that some things just weren’t going to be possible. Sometimes we let them rest at home and then took an easier outing with them later, or a drive somewhere so they got a chance to get out if they wanted to. I think one of the best things I got was a heated dog bed. It seemed to make those winter nights a lot more bearable.
I will be said if there comes a day that I need to leave Chester at home. I do have to be realistic though. Thanks for your insight.
What’s the large breed senior age? Ru is 4 so he’s middle aged. Also, is the senior status also determined by breed and life expectancy? Or is it strictly determined by size?
Jules of Canines & Couture
Hi Jules. Yes, it is determined also by breed and life expectancy. This article does a good job of explaining http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/defining-senior-dog-status.html
Our last dog didn’t make it to “senior.” Not even close. (Bone cancer sucks.) So, I plan to cherish Rita’s senior days. It’s still a long way off, since she just turned 2.
Chester’s beard is so adorable. I wouldn’t have known he was a senior. He’s not gray at all! Our beagle, who made it past her 12th bday, was quite gray, although she still had a puppy spirit.
That does suck that your dog got bone cancer at a young age (not that it doesn’t suck at a older age too).
I appreciate Chester’s good health every day. He is getting more gray hairs but it is hard to see them. They just make his red markings look lighter.