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Old 07-01-2014, 08:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New to senior dogs - walking and sleep

I recently adopted a senior GSD, and it's really my first time dealing with an older dog myself.

I've been taking her on walks everyday. Right now what I'm doing is just going around the block though it is a pretty big block for this area (a little over a half mile). She starts out pretty well, but by the time we get around the block back to the house, she's slowed down a bit and it seems that she drags her back feet every so often (I hear a scraping noise kind of like if you were to drag your shoe while walking). She isn't limping, but I'm not sure if I'm pushing her too hard. I'm not sure how active she was with her previous family. When I took her to my vet, he said he didn't see too much arthritis from her x-rays, and her hips look good (though he does have me giving her glucosamine daily). Do I need to scale back on the walks or am I just being overprotective?

Also, how much sleep is normal for a senior dog?
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Does she get yard time to play? If she had been sedentary before, then the sustained walking even for that period might be a bit tiring.

I have a 14 year old small dog. He sleeps most of the time now. He just eats, goes outside and then comes in and pretty much snoozes the rest of the time.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have 2 seniors right now and our walks have gotten pretty short. My girl Kiya 10yrs old drags her one back paw bad enough that the nails wear down. I try to keep off the pavement but that's not enough. When our walks were a little longer I was putting the plastic nail tips for dogs on, that helps a little. It's been getting pretty warm out so they get more days off now.
My dogs sleep all day even my younger dog.
You could scale back a little. I always tell myself "a body in motion tends to stay in motion" maybe mix it up short walk then next day a little longer.
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Old 07-02-2014, 11:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My rule of thumb with seniors is the same as with puppies, I let them do what they want (within reason) and let them dictate the pace. I'd go for as long as she seems comfortable but don't push too hard. Exercise is good for them to keep them limber and in decent shape

As for sleeping I agree with kiya, most dogs sleep for most of the day and seniors seem to sleep even more. My experience with seniors is their eyesight and hearing does go so waking them up can be a little more difficult and I always tried to avoid startling them awake as a courtesy. Stomping on the floor a few times nearby rather then touching seemed the easiest way for me
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My three sleep alot. Chevy the most ,Lucky next and then Thunder but its still quite a bit . Mine are 12 , 11 and 11. When walkinmg them I try to use soft services for Lucky such fields and paths. Nature paths are always great especially when their covered in mulch or other softer things. Chevy doesnt do well on asphalt and as the only plave to walk at our place is the side of the road she too walks our field and nieghbors field. It takes a awhile for them to get conditioned to walking. Our Daisy loved to walk but as she got older she seemed to enjoy car rides more and walks that were short. I tend to back off when their back paws are dragging a little but I could be totally wrong. Thanks for giving your senior girl a family and home.
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Gradually work up the length of your walks and it's better to do several shorter walks (like 3) rather than one longer walk.

What are you feeding? What supplements is she on? My seniors are on lots and lots of supplements and they really help.
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Old 07-02-2014, 02:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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And thanks for adopting a senior! They are the best!
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Old 07-02-2014, 06:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info, guys! I do give her yard time, but she doesn't have much interest in playing (though she does chase the squirrels!). Mostly she just follows me around the yard. If I leave her alone outside for a bit of time, she doesn't want to stay outside long and scratches at the door to come in. Mostly it's just long enough to sniff around and use the bathroom before she wants to go back in.

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Originally Posted by BowWowMeow View Post
What are you feeding? What supplements is she on? My seniors are on lots and lots of supplements and they really help.
Right now she's on Pedigree for big dogs since that's what her previous owners were feeding her. Tomorrow I'm going to go to a pet store that offers food that I've seen suggested on here (like Acana and whatnot) and try switching her over. I give her glucosamine supplements since that's all my vet has suggested for now since her arthritis isn't that bad currently.
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