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...


The Beasts- Royal, Brock & Alki said...

love the ttouch video! thanks for sharing it & all this good info!

butt wiggles,

Raising Addie said...

mmmm.... who doesn't love a good massage!

Chasing my tale...
Addie, Lucie, and Hailey