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Any advice on caring for a (very much loved) ageing pooch?

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Hi Everyone!


I've been missing from the Forum for a while (long story, won't bore you with it) - I've been lurking, just not posting!!!


Anyway, I'm hoping the Omlet Oracle can offer me some words of wisdom now I find myself in uncharted territory. Willow, my co-pilot, wing-dog and partner in crime, is a retired racing Greyhound. I have had her since she was almost 7 and she is now 14! I've never had a dog reach this ripe old age before and I'm just wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom for me, please?


Willow still enjoys her walks, although MUCH shorter (and slower!) than they used to be, she seems to want to go and enjoys her walk time. She still has very occasional moments of total lunacy in the garden, though again, these are much shorter and less frequent than they used to be.


She seems ok on her legs, obviously stiffer than she was, but not too bad, I don't think. I do lift her into the car now (no mean feat, I can assure you - she's BIG!) as they was proving a bit much for her.


My main problem is keeping weight on her - she eats quite well (mainly NatureDIet or Wainwrights equivalent), but is rather "boney" - she's always had a tendency NOT to put on weight (heaven knows how she can eat what she does, sleep like she does and still look like that!!??) so now she gets quite stodgy treats (she has a cornish pasty in her lunchbox for work today!) to help with the weight.


I'm thinking of going to the vet to talk things through. As far as I'm concerned Will still gets a lot out of life and I don't think we're too near having to make "a decision", but I'm genuinely scared there's something I should be doing that I'm not to help her enjoy her twilight years.


Thank you everyone!!!

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As a fellow grey owner, I can echo your comments. Our Skipper is 10 (retired at 3, which is quite young) and is slowing down a bit. He's never been one for much exercise, one 15 minute walk a day is all he wants/needs (and turns his nose up at that if raining), plus the occasional wall of death run round the garden. He did walk to the top of Skiddaw in the lake district once, but then hid in bed when we got our boots on for the rest of the week.


The only real changes we have made for Skipper are to add joint mobility chews to his treats and primrose oil capsules in his food for skin care. Food-wise he has a mix of wet food (Butchers) and kibble (Burgess Greyhound and Lurcher). Apart from a lack of teeth, he remains pretty healthy otherwise. He's been pretty much the same weight since we've had him - 32kg - and that hurts if it hits you at speed!


Our last dog (a collie cross) get to 15 before we had to make the decision, he was helped significantly in his later years by the joint mobility chews I think they are the ones with green-lipped mussel in.

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Thank you very much!!!! :D:D


Willow has been slowing down for a while. She is also 32kg (quite large for a girl!), although I suspect she has probably lost some weight. She is wearing a magnetic collar and does have some joint supplements which I think help. She had a fairly major "dental" a couple of years ago when she lost a few teeth, but other than that, she has a full set of gnashers, I do hope they don't need any further treatment as I wouldn't want to subject her to a GA for that (well, I wouldn't really want to for anything, really at her age, I fear the risks would rather outweigh the potential benefits).


I will get some of the joint chews (do you use the Pedigree ones?) she did have them at one point but I had forgotten about them more recently, so thank you for the reminder :oops::oops::oops:


She is becoming more picky with food, I'm not sure whether she is genuinely not keen on some things anymore or whether she is simply holding out for the stuff she really wants. I'm not too worried what she eats now, as long as she eats something vaguely nutritious each day (I think the Nature Diet/Wainwrights is great, though flippin' expensive with the amount she needs!). The addition of the greyhound's favourite (tinned fish of some description, pretty much any variety, just not the ones in brine) helps most things go down very well.


Since my original post, I've made an appointment with the vet (next Wednesday, our lovely vet is away on holiday until then and no one else will do for Willow!!!) just to have a chat really. The vet will probably think I'm mad as I don't think there's actually anything wrong with Willow, other than age, but I'd just like to chat through everything with her to make sure there's nothing else I should be doing!!!

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Thank you Princess Leia for that - my local Tesco didn't have any joint treats at the weekend, which was a bit annoying, but I will pop in to the bigger branch near work on the way home and stock up.

I would do ANYTHING to be able to ask Willow how she feels, what hurts and what I can do to help her, it's so frustrating worrying that there's something I could/should be doing that I'm not doing!?

Thanks all for your advice!!

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Zooplus is good price wise for Naturediet if you need to stock up. Think it's normal at that age to get thin. We lost our old boy at Easter he got very wobbly on his back legs towards the end but still enjoyed a small walk off lead and generally had a good appetite it's hard when they don't eat my girl now can take it or leave it and is very slight.

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Thank you UKMarch, sorry to hear about you losing your dog :( I DREAD that day :(:(

We had a good long chat with the vet. We have decided to trial Willow on a non steroidal anti inflammatory (Carprieve, I think it's called). She's had a few days of that now and I think it's had a positive effect. We're going to try it for a month and then re-evaluate whether it's worth continuing with it.

Willow takes it or leaves it as far as food is concerned, particularly in hot weather. I used to worry if she didn't eat her full "quota" in one day, but I now know that it's just normal for her to have the odd day when she doesn't bother.

Know what you mean about the ramp - friends leant me one to try, Willow just looked at it as if to say "isn't it going to be harder for you to lift me into the car with that ramp there!?!?!" :lol::lol: I really don't mind, fortunately she's not as heavy as she could be for a dog of her size, so I can do it, it's just not always that dignified!

We're now on the Bakers Joint sticks too (thanks, Princess Leia) which the vet said would certainly not do any harm and Willow seems to like them!

The vet didn't seem worried about her weight, she said it's more loss of muscle than actual weight and I shouldn't worry, it's typical for her age - more importantly, the vet said I needn't worry about being reported to the RSPCA for having an underweight dog! The vet was just lovely, as she always is, very patient, and she seemed to understand my concern. I do feel better for having seen her and feel that I'm actually doing SOMETHING to make whatever time Willow has left as good as it can be.

Thank you to all you lovely Omleteers for your advice!

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