Woof, Woof! The Dog Blog by Mindy
Keliree Mitchell founded Petspotters, a Facebook site dedicated to connecting lost pets with their owners after losing her own pet Chihuahua, Mindy. Woof, Woof! represents stories related to this site and is dedicated to Mindy.
When my dogs were puppies, they were so cute and lovable. Mickey and Missy both had very high energy levels and required a great deal of attention. Thankfully, my husband Steve is an excellent dog trainer. He hasn’t had formal training, but he has the natural ability to train dogs, and Mickey and Missy love him. He was able to potty train them fairly quickly and teach them good behavior around the house. They never tore up furniture or shoes because he knew how to train them, and I’m sure the thought to tear something up never occurred to them. They were the perfect little puppies.
Then around age nine or ten, we began to see subtle changes in their behavior. Small things like not standing as quickly as they used to or not following me around the house. They still do it some, but for the most part, if they follow me to the laundry room, they will lie down in the doorway instead of coming on in. There were other changes too, like not wanting to spend so much time outside. They would much rather lie in their beds, so getting them to exercise is harder than it used to be. Also, they seem to be losing their hearing. There are other changes as well, as they make their way to becoming senior dogs.
There is no question now. They are definitely senior dogs. During this time in their lives, it is important that I monitor their behavior on a daily basis. I watch them to see if their appetite changes or if they are limping or moving particularly slow. Just like people, they can be fine one day and the next be terribly ill. Dogs can develop arthritis and many other age-related problems. Since they can’t tell me what is hurting, it is my duty to watch them and notice anything out of the ordinary. Missy is much older than Mickey, so her problems started earlier, but different breeds can also be more prone to different disabilities. Since she is a lab mix, I knew to watch for obesity but I never thought of her getting cancer.
To promote the best health of their senior years, I make sure they eat a special diet. That can be difficult with a grandson around that will feed them cookies, but we try. Also, a visit with the vet, regular vaccinations and an annual blood screening will help you stay on top of health issues before it’s too late. Don’t be disappointed that your senior dog is not interested in the same activities that he used to be. Older dogs can still be happy and wonderful companions. Give them the best life you can and love them with all your heart, that’s all they want.
“They too are created by the same loving hand of God which created us…it’s our duty to protect them and promote their well-being.”