Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Soft Places for Seniors to Sleep

We're talking about senior dogs, like my girl Big Sandy, and helping them to be comfortable, keeping them active, and healthy. Since older dogs tend to sleep more, it is really important they have a place that provides not only soft comfort but support for joints. Big Sandy has several beds that give her body a good place to rest.
She has her favorite Fido Fleece Cloud Bed and she drifts off to sleep whenever she lies in it. It is oval and soft fleece. Big Sandy can prop her head up on the side which she seems to like. Don't tell anyone, but sometimes she pees while she is asleep. (we'll talk about those little leaks later). If she wets her bed, Jenn can throw the whole Cloud Bed in the washer and then the dryer. Jenn has washed the Fido Fleece at least fifty times in the past six months and it still holds the same shape and looks as good as new. This bed costs a bit more, but has really been worth it.
Big Sandy's other bed is an orthopedic pad from Costco which Jenn paid about $20 for. It is made with orthopedic foam several inches thick. It is a large square and definitely big enough the stretch out on. It has a water resistant cover that zips off. So if there is a little accident, Jenn can just wash the cover. This bed was a super bargain.
Big Sandy also really likes a round nesting bed like our friend Bailey's bed.Having a comfortable bed is a very nice thing for every dog to have. For an older dog, it is something that can give their bodies relief even if they have to share it sometimes. When I was smaller, Big Sandy and I could share the same bed. But now I know that I need to respect her space.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Keeping our Senior Girl Healthy and Happy

Big Sandy is our senior girl. She is around 15 years old and she is a special dog because she has three legs and is missing half her tail. Big Sandy has always been very active being a Therapy Dog, performing with the Paws4Ever Drill Team and being Jenn's demo dog in her classes. But like many senior dogs, Big Sandy's decreasing mobility means she's had to retire from some of her various jobs. This doesn't mean she is out to pasture. As I have learned, you just have to be considerate of a few things when living with an older dog.

First off is mobility. Big Sandy has a common condition called spondylosis, where the vertebrae in the spine fuse together with little bony protrusions. Spondylosis progresses over time. This leads to less flexibility in the spine and a dog eventually walking with a hunched back. We know she has spondylosis from her routine x-rays. Many people don't realize their dogs have spondylosis and dogs live a good long time with it.

So, we don't ask Big Sandy to jump up on things or navigate stairs. The stairs are blocked with a baby gate and there are rugs on the tile so Big Sandy doesn't slip. Jenn or Eric help her when they need to or use a ramp.
Big Sandy may not been so into to playing with me like she used to be. I have to be careful about not knocking her down. Jenn has to remind me to calm down and not whack Big Sandy with my big wiggly butt.

Jenn does TTouch on Big Sandy everyday doing gentle touches, strokes and moving her legs in circles. She sometimes uses a warm pad to do the touches which makes Big Sandy do heavy sighs. I think it feels really good to her.
Here's a great video on YouTube on TTouch for your senior dog, click here.

This is just a little of what I'm learning about living with an older dog. There's more to come...