Our Aging Dogs

It is one of the hardest things that pet owners deal with when it comes to our animals, and we all wish that they would live so much longer. Our Ebby recently turned 15 years young, and we have experienced a few worrisome moments.  We do count our lucky stars most of the time with our sweet girl, because she is doing great for her age, and we have learned so much about caring for her as she gets older. Here are a just a few of those learnings that have kept her happy and healthy:

  • Ebby is a 60 pound black lab, and it is very common for her breed to develop benign lipomas or fatty tumors that continue to grow bigger and bigger as they get older. They are primarily caused by inability for older dogs to expel toxins and those toxins collect in the form of these fatty tumors. When she was 12, one of those fatty tumors on her back belly started to pinch nerves in her back leg.  This caused so much discomfort and pain that she wouldn’t even get up at times. With the help of my vet along with some research, I made some changes.  That made a tremendous difference and even reduced the size of that tumor, no longer pinching her nerves.  Here are the steps I took:
    • Started giving her filtered water. Tap water in many areas, including in Dallas where we live, have chemicals that are very difficult for older dogs to rid themselves of. 
    • Changed her diet. I started giving Ebby the highest quality grain free kibble along with a high quality canned food.  I had always fed her highly rated food, but research and discussions with my vet led me to an even less toxic meal solution.  In addition, I started to add carrots and celery to her food, which help to break down toxins and help her get rid of them.
    • Exercise. When she was younger, we used to run together and her favorite pastime was playing fetch until my arm became sore.  She was now at that age where those things were no longer possible, so I became more diligent in daily walks and inside play. 
    • Supplements. I started giving her natural supplements like dandelion root and turmeric.  These natural supplements also help to break down toxins.

  • As she continued to age, mobility started to worsen. My vet prescribed a joint supplement that she started to take daily when she was 13.  Just last year, she started to have even more problems with her hips and joints.  It got so bad last October that she stopped eating.  We started her on a very safe pain medication, and we could tell her pain lessened significantly and her appetite came back with a vengeance.  We also started giving her CBD oil last year, which is another safe and vet recommended supplement that can help both with her pain levels and increased anxiety that comes with aging.  If you are interested in CBD treatment for your pet, please send me an email at scott@dogbonewalks.com.

  • Man’s best friend, always and forever. Dogs can sense the aging process.  They know that their body is changing, and that they can’t do what they used to do as easily as they once did.  I felt it was important that Ebby could still have enjoyment with me and know that she was still my pride and joy.  Fetch sessions became walks, playtime with me happened more often but in shorter increments, and I continued to shower her with love and kisses.

  • Keeping them happy. Ebby always gets excited when I grab the leash or get ready to feed her.  I have continued to encourage that excitement.  I encourage anyone with an aging dog to find those things that bring them joy, and encourage them often.  We also recently added a new pet to our family, a sweet kitten named Enzo.  It’s important that our aging pets are still getting plenty of attention and affection when a new pet enters the household, and we have definitely done that with Ebby. 

We hope these tips help anyone with aging pets extend their life and keep them happy members of our households for many years.  Please feel free to leave comments with any tips you may have for our sweet older pets.

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