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