1 important tip for aging dogs

We all know that caring for an aging dog is the same as caring for an aging adult. Infact, it is sometimes more difficult. Pet parents play an important role and often struggle with their pets’ dementia and incontinence, as well as navigating through the maze of end-of-life care decisions. The struggle is real, and I am going through it right now.

As Junior turned 10 years old, I was happy that he reached that age, but at the same time, I started a new journey as a parent of a senior dog. I have seen him slow down ever since and his fragile body is more prone to illnesses than ever. Besides the illness, his recovery has become very slow.

A natural aging process that we are all aware of; still we live in constant fear that anything bad will happen to our dogs which will be irreparable.

There are tons of articles and posts available on the internet regarding caring for aging or old dogs. So I will not waste any time in explaining those. As we are all responsible pet parents and we only want the best for our dogs, but I will definitely share 1 tip or advice with you’ll that Junior’s vet shared with me to ease my mind.

Being the over thinker that I am, I take Junior to the vet immediately if I notice even a slight change in his behaviour or physical appearance. My vet knows my nature very well and made me sit down and explained to me that it is not advisable to keep making Junior travel to the clinic every now and then.

He continued saying that he understands my worry and concerns about Junior’s health and asked me to open my ears wide and listen to the advice he was going to give next.

“Only worry when an old dog suddenly looses weight”.

Yes, there are many other illnesses an old dog can have, but his basic advice was, if your dog is relatively ok, then don’t bother about little changes in your dog. Only worry when the dog has suddenly lost 4-5 kgs or more weight in a month. That’s the major sign vets see in old dogs to know if the dog is seriously ill.   

After listening to this, my worries actually disappeared. I have stopped bothering about Junior skipping a meal, or throwing up once a while, or not pooping the entire day, etc. These little things have always bothered me because I feel there is some underlying issue always.

Isn’t it funny, such basic advice yet I have been unaware of it for so long. Sometimes the answers are right in front of us and we keep looking for it all over the internet or ask friends for advice or just jump from one vet to another.

I hope this 1 single advice brings relief to your anxious minds like how it bought to mine. Put your dogs on right supplements and food, moderate exercise and lots of love. Their old age will be as comfortable as it can be. 

My Dog is Aging

It is a well-known fact that dog’s age faster than humans. A dog is typically considered a senior at 8 years old. Well, Junior is 9+ years old, and so considered a senior. Today, I am not going to share any guidance or tips for caring of senior dogs. But I will exchange my journey so far with Junior.

Let me start by saying that I am blessed to see this day that Junior has reached this age. Blessed because my first and elder dog Casper lived only for 5 years 8 months and I always feared that Junior will be gone too soon too. We have had our share of ups and downs, but we made it till here. And I wish that Junior lives healthy and as long as he can.

Junior was born on 21st May ’12. He was among-st one of the cute puppies from a litter of 8. That was the last mating we had done for Casper. For all those who do not know, yes, Junior is Casper’s son. Junior was 40 days old when I bought him home. He was supposed to be adopted by a relative, but given back. After that, Junior was again adopted twice but returned for various reasons. Eventually, I adopted him and ever since, life has been wonderful.

Junior’s first day at home

Unlike Casper, Junior has always been a sloppy water drinker. He spills more than he drinks. Whereas Casper would never cowp the water bowls. Junior is also taller than a normal Labrador Retriever. I never got Junior mated and got him neutered at 7 months old. Casper and Junior had always been opposites. Casper was a very calm and sensible dog; while on the contrary, Junior has always been hyper and playful.

Uptil last year, Junior was extremely playful, naughty and hyper active. My friends and relatives would always tell me that they had never seen such a naughty dog at the age of 8. My parents would clear the entire house and make it dog proof when they knew I was bringing Junior there. Whenever Junior would meet his favourite people, they would be prepared for his jumpiness. Infact, when I would take Junior socialising, people would be surprised to know that an eight years old dog is so agile and still looks like a juvenile.

 I was carefree. Somewhere in my mind I had thought that Junior will always remain this active. However, since the time he got Pancreatitis, he slowed down. Ensuing he slowed down a little more after ever little illness. This is something I cannot digest, or let’s just say; I do not want to welcome the fact that my dog is aging.

Aging doesn’t have to be painful for a dog. I have followed my Vet’s instructions very well, made some lifestyle changes for Junior, started some supplements, changed his food, and Junior is doing just fine. Junior has always suffered from fat lumps, but that has never altered his way of living and they are not life threatening.

It’s been a little more than a week since Junior’s stye/tumour surgery, and he is back to his goofy self; but a little slow. My dog is aging hit me hard when my Dad told me that Junior has become quite calm than what he was before. And whatever my father says is cast in stone. If my Dad noticed it, then definitely Junior has slowed down.

As Junior is aging, his needs are changing. These slow and subtle changes first made me think that he is ignoring me. But my Vet made me understand the entire aging process. Now is the time that Junior needs me all the more. Having him and Casper is the best thing that ever happened to me. And now is my turn to prove my unconditional love for him and make him as comfortable as he can. I am ready to cancel plans or not go out, no matter what people say. Infact, many have even asked me for how long will Junior live, ignoring that fact that this question hurts me like hell and breaks my heart into pieces. I can understand that they do understand my love for Junior. But they even fail to understand, even after repeatedly telling them that Junior is my priority and I am missing out on nothing if I do not go out for lunch/dinner/holidays with them, or if I do not get a man to get married to. Some idiots even asked me about the money I paid for Junior’s surgery, and then got surprised when I told them the amount and vomited words like I spent too much on a dog.

Anyway, I am not a people pleaser and I really don’t care. Junior is soon due for his Cataract surgery (another sign of aging) and again, I will pay any amount required. Every passing day, I understand Junior’s every move. Some things that were once comfortable for him are now uncomfortable. I take a note and try finding alternatives as per his comfort. His skin and coat is changing. He sleeps more. His walk time has reduced. He plays less. And I have become anxious. Though it may sound like a lot of work to care for a dog as he hits senior years, such devotion has its own special rewards, including knowing that you’ve done everything you can for a companion that has been dependent on you from day one and has showered you with unconditional love and loyalty.

I am lucky and blessed to have spent 9 glorifying years with Junior, and I look forward to spend many more years to come. I love all dogs, but there is nothing like the sweet gentle soul of an old dog.