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Aging Dogs

- - - - - aging seniors exercise health poodles dogs

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9 replies to this topic

#1
Caniches

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My Standard Poodle, Mia, will be six years old at the end of June. We've always been very active together, engaging in dog sports and on- and off-leash play. Her Vet is always impressed that her heart rate remains below 60 bpm, and our trainers say that she acts more like a 2 yo. I give credit to her raw diet, begun when she was 4 months old, and following the minimum vaccine schedule, as well as all the mental and physical enrichment she's had.

I recently cut back on her exercise, a combination of my schedule and the summer heat, and I'm beginning to think this is actually better for her. Our new schedule includes a short on-leash run with me in the morning - less than 2 miles - with some stops for sniffing. In the afternoon she lazes on the patio, enjoying the breeze, and, I think, the sounds and smells of the day. In the evening we may play a bit together or do a little Rally or Tricks training. On other days, my husband takes her for another short but energetic walk.

When we hike with her off-lead, she's still a mile a minute - scenting deer, chasing squirrels, jumping into lakes and rivers. But our hikes are shorter, 2 or 3 miles at the most, and often only one mile, down from the two hours plus at our heyday, when she was 2-4 yo.

Mia's my first dog, and I just want to make sure I'm giving her the right amount of exercise and stimulation. Mostly I'm surprised how quickly time has passed. She's not quite a senior, yet, but she's getting there, while I still think of her as my perfect puppy. I wonder if I missed some signs of her aging. Then again, maybe it's just the heat that's slowing her down.

I'd really appreciate hearing from people who have, or have had, older dogs about the signs of aging, how they slowed down, and other thoughts about watching your dog grow old without you.

Thanks in advance.



#2
naturalfeddogs

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Our oldest is Lucky, she's an old hound possibly a blue tick/walker hound cross. She came to us about six years ago as an adult already, turning grey. We put her on raw that day, and our best guess at this point (and the vet too) is roughly around 12-15 years old. She sleeps a lot during the mid day hours, but morning and later in the afternoon she is up running around like nothing with our five Aussies. I attribute that to raw food as well. No other signs of her slowing down. I also give her chicken feet for treats occasionally for her joints and I think that helps.


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#3
Caniches

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Thanks, NFD. It's amazing that the raw diet is so protective. People still mistake Mia for a puppy, and I've known a few raw fed dogs over 10 yo who have plenty of spunk.

 

That said, this doesn't seem to be a popular topic, on the forums or elsewhere. I guess it's hard on all of us to see our pups surpass us in age. Still, it surprised me that there's so much info available on the proper amount of exercise and stimulation for puppies and young dogs,and so little info on what to expect and reading signs that you need to slow down as your dog ages.



#4
TRDmom

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Let your dog exercise as much as she is willing. Obviously its different for every dog and depends on age, weather, health, and so on.

My boxer was about 8 when she drastically became sedentary in only a few months and we lost her due to cancer. Similar experience with our other dog... Loved to be active (playing, hiking) until his bad heart got the best of him. I guess people don't like saying "my dog was active until it suddenly wasn't." I don't...

#5
Caniches

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Thanks, TRD. My concern is that I have a tendency to over-do it, and Mia loves me enough to keep pace, even when it hurts. I don't want to put her in that position. I figure since over-use injuries are possible with puppies, they might also become increasingly common as dogs age, especially when their bumbling owners aren't paying attention.

 

Everyone told me that my dog would slow down at 2 yo, but it seemed to me that she was 3 yo when she mentally matured and never really slowed down until this year (she'll be 6 yo at the end of the month). A lot of her current idleness is probably due to the heat, but seeing her slow down has been a bit painful for me, a reminder that she's no longer a puppy.



#6
naturalfeddogs

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If a dog starts to slow down at two years old, I would think there would be something wrong. Two is still so young even for large breeds. 



#7
Caniches

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If a dog starts to slow down at two years old, I would think there would be something wrong. Two is still so young even for large breeds. 

 

I tend to think it's from poor nutrition. I've seen some young dogs in bad shape, but they're usually Purina-fed. Poor pups.



#8
naturalfeddogs

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That could be in some cases, but growing up as a child my parents swore by Purina, and we always did have active dogs. Maybe not to the point of raw fed, but none were slowing down as if their age was getting to them. With that said, they probably did begin to slow down sooner than they should and we didn't even notice it as a problem.



#9
TRDmom

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I'm sure the quality and recipes of Purina animal feed has changed over the years. Much of what is used now is sourced from China (who didn't really gain momentum as an exporter to the US until the 1990s). Even domestically, I'm sure operations have changed in order to cut costs/increase profits.



#10
naturalfeddogs

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Oh I'm sure! 






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