Sammy is getting old

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Sammy is getting old

Postby MaggieRocks » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:03 pm

He turned 15 in July and is showing his age now. I treasure him, but it makes me sad to see him decline. He walks around ok; wobbles now and then, but mostly does all right. No steps, though. Every time he goes out, one of us needs to pick him up and carry him down the 2 steps from the kitchen into the garage. Once he's outside, he walks around pretty good. Pees in the yard 75% of the time and in the driveway the other 25%. Poops in the driveway or on the sidewalk 75% of the time! (don't know what he has against grass :roll: ) But that's ok.

I don't think his vision is the greatest anymore, and I believe he has a bit of doggy dementia. Now and then, he'll walk into something that has been there forever, or he'll stand in a corner and just stare.

One thing that concerns me is his eating. Sometimes when he eats, he'll stop and sort of gasp for breath. It's hard to describe. It's not coughing. It almost seems like maybe he has something stuck in his throat, but he doesn't seem to be choking, either. He'll do this for a minute or two, then he'll stand there a bit, and go back to eating. Two or three times, he has spit up some of his kibble, but that's rare. Anyone know what might be causing this? We have always fed just dry kibble; no cans. I wonder if we should start mixing kibble with canned food or switch to canned food? This is a relatively new behavior, so haven't had a chance to ask the vet.

Funny thing is when we are out with Emma and meet someone for the first time, we always introduce her as "our puppy." Everyone is always surprised when "our puppy" is 10 years old!!! :)
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Re: Sammy is getting old

Postby Cindy » Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:52 am

Ugh - I hate this for you and the situation reminds me so much of what we went through with Kayla. Even though she definitely had the dementia thing going on she never lost her appetite and enthusiasm for the next meal or a good treat :lol: . It's just so hard watching them get old and knowing your time with them is growing shorter. Fifteen is a pretty good age though and hopefully he'll have several more. Not sure about the eating thing but wonder if the muscles in his throat are just slow to respond and something kind of gets stuck until they can work it down. You might try softening the kibble with water/gravy so see if that makes any difference. Keep us posted on what you find out.
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Re: Sammy is getting old

Postby gagesbarb » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:07 pm

Oh I know...I hate it when they get older and you see the changes...He has obviously thrived in your house :lol: 15 years old!!
I don't know about the "sound" either...what Cindy says sounds logical to me...Our Sam had mega-esophagus and laryngeal paralysis (not to say that is what is going on with your Sammy--our Sam had other symptoms) But he had trouble swallowing and the vet had us switch to canned food and make little meatballs and feed them to him one at a time...don't know you need to do that, but mixing kibble and canned food might help? or, could it be one of those backward sneezes? That always sounds weird to me...don't know why would happen when he eats, though...

We're dealing with health issues with Gage...kills me, and I am always thinking/observing/assessing--trying to make sure we are doing everything we can for him...but I also try to tell myself to focus on the fact that he is quite happy, and doesn't seem uncomfortable...He doesn't seem to know he has any problems, except that he could always use more treats and attention :roll: :lol:

Please let us know how things go...unfortunately, all of us have gone through this, as have you, I know...no matter, it is always hard, and you certainly have a village of sympathetic people here who want to offer support and share your feelings
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Re: Sammy is getting old

Postby janet909 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:59 am

I'm so sorry. I have been there more times than I care to remember. They all seem to have eating issues with age though Moby was the worst with his megesophagus. Softer food might help. We seem to feed less and less chow when they get older. 15 though !!!!! Lucky you. Never had one hit that age. Moby left us at 14 yrs 8 mos. I love seniors. There is nothing sweeter !!
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Re: Sammy is getting old

Postby MaggieRocks » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:22 pm

I have added a bit of water to his kibble a couple of times now, and it does seem to make it easier for him to eat. The only problem is when the kibble isn't dry, it tends to stick to the bowl, which makes it harder for him when he gets to the bottom! Just can't win. But one of us always stands by him to help out. Sometimes the "help" is one of us keeping a foot by his hind leg so his leg doesn't slide out from under him as he eats! And sometimes he starts out standing but by the time he's finished, he's laying on the floor!

We've had Sam since he was around 9 or 10. We first fostered him for 5-6 months, and he was 9 when we got him. Then he was adopted, and the couple who adopted him had him for about the same amount of time (5-6 months) when they gave him up. So we took him back and my husband said we were going to be his "retirement home." We just didn't want to see him go through any more changes at his age. He's been a challenge now and then-not the easy going dogs that Maggie and Emma both were, but we have never regretted adopting him.

The worst thing he ever did, which I have never shared here.....one time, my husband was out calling for Maggie. He had the kitchen door shut, but not latched. Maggie came around the house from the opposite direction, so my husband didn't see her. She pushed the door open and went in. My husband said he was standing outside calling Maggie and the next thing he knew....Sam went blowing by!!! He ran down our driveway (which is 1/4 mile long) and went out onto the road. My husband jumped in his truck to follow him (that boy could RUN!!!) Every time he slowed down, my husband would stop, get out of the truck and try to grab him, but he'd take off again. Sam finally cut in at a farm that had a bunch of chickens running around, and grabbed a chicken! :shock: My husband grabbed him, threw him in the truck and drove home. Then he told ME to go to the farm to pay for the chicken! :roll: Funny thing is, when I got there and talked to the man, he wouldn't take any money. He said he didn't see it happen and thought that his weim had killed the chicken!!! I felt like the worst dog owner in the world that day!!! :oops:
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Re: Sammy is getting old

Postby Cindy » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:47 am

Does Sam have something like a mat/throw rug to stand on while eating? We did that for Kayla when her rear quarters started getting weak and it really helped. We got a cheap rug at Walmart that was also washable because sometimes the food didn't always make it into her mouth and it was also great for sopping up the water which she knocked over on a regular basis!

That Sam story is hysterical, at least to someone who wasn't his owner!!
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Re: Sammy is getting old

Postby MaggieRocks » Sun Sep 24, 2017 6:18 pm

Oh yes, we have rugs. Started with an indoor/outdoor mat at the water bowl. Then we added a braided rug for his food bowl. My grandmother used to make braided rugs, so I have a bunch of them. Then we added a rug under the kitchen table because he stands under there when we eat. Then we added a rug in the hallway between the living room and the kitchen. Finally, we bought a runner for the hallway and an area rug for the kitchen. It does help, but the rug isn't as plush as the one in the living room so now and then, he still slides a bit. He is worse when he first gets up in the morning or when he gets up from a nap. After he's been awake awhile and walking around, his walking improves. We also got a big indoor/outdoor rug for the garage so he doesn't slide around in the garage when he comes in from a walk.

We've had a rug in the living room for 20+ years. We've been talking about removing the rug and maybe getting a hardwood floor like we have in the dining room. But after seeing the trouble an elderly dog has walking on a smooth floor, I'm not so sure it's a good idea.

Yeah, I was more irritated with my husband that day than I was with Sam. He knew to always make sure the door is latched, and he knew Maggie would sometimes open the door if not latched. Oh well. I told the guy that it was definitely our dog (after all, Sam was caught with a chicken in his mouth & I didn't want an innocent weim to get in trouble!) He sure was understanding about it. Guess his having a hunting dog helped! :lol:
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Re: Sammy is getting old

Postby Cindy » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:29 am

It sounds like you're "covered!!" :lol: :lol: :lol: I hear you sabot replacing carpeting with hardwood floors. We made the decision a few years ago to keep the carpeting to help out older dogs (Kayla at the time). Now that I think about it, all of my decorating ideas/decisions are made around the dogs and what's best for them and easiest to clean. I'm sure you can imagine what our house looks like :roll: :roll:
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Re: Sammy is getting old

Postby AuntieMom » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:55 pm

I love the seniors too. I agree about the softened food sticking to the bowl. I often will scrape the bowl for Trapper, he is getting on the frail side and has numerous health concerns.
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Re: Sammy is getting old

Postby gagesbarb » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:19 pm

Doesn't everyone make decorating decisions based on what works best for the dogs (and cats)? And for that matter, when I think about clothes, decisions are generally based on what would be good for dog walking, what would show the least fur and what would be easiest to clean given muddy paws, messy eaters and drinkers and slobber-y kisses :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Sammy is getting old

Postby Cindy » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:55 am

I have shelves in my closet for various stages of barn clothes. It seems that every time I put on a clean shirt and jeans and go to the barn, one of the horses slobbers all over me :o I know they don't mean to put green slime on my new white shirt but ... The sad part is that sometimes I don't notice how gross my jeans are when I've already driven halfway to the grocery store or wherever I need to run an errand. Fortunately I live in a pretty rural area so people don't notice my clothes but I usually pull on a baseball cap and sunglasses just in case I run into someone I know!
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