Thanks for adopting a senior dog!
All new dogs that come in my home are leashed to me or DH for several weeks before being allowed more freedom. We never have accidents because we have them next to us and can notice if they start sniffing to pee or poop. They also ALWAYS go outside after meals and waking up (even from a nap). If they're not leashed to us, they're crated. This system has potty trained more foster dogs than I can remember -- including many seniors -- in just a few days.
As for the hips, the first step is an x-ray. Make sure that they include the spine in the images too. The reason why I want you to look at the spine as well as the hips is that the tail is part of the spine, so when there's tail pain, it can be a signal of a spinal problem (stenosis, arthritis, etc.). The tail thing could just be a fussy old dude who thinks that's a private spot, but it's very important to rule out spinal problems as they are rampant in this breed (and underdiagnosed by many vets, IMHO).
If you confirm hip HD, please talk with the vet about starting Adequan injections ASAP. The vet can teach you do do them. It's expensive to start (2 x week x 4 weeks), but then it's very reasonable to maintain it monthly or bi-weekly (depending on need). It's a gamechanger for arthritic hips -- it doesn't hide pain but actually HEALS inside the joint by lubricating it and sometimes simulating cartilage regeneration. The earlier they get on it the better, as it will delay further joint degeneration. It has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect in about half of dogs, with pain relief equal to RX meds, without the side effects of those meds. I have had multiple oldsters with crappy hips who were able to stay active and comfortable, without needing pain meds, on Adequan (and we can often tell when it's time for a dose, as they start to slow down). I have had some fosters with spinal problems on it too, even though it's not labeled for that, and it really helped them.
Acupuncture can help HD too. One of my oldsters was having some trouble going up and down stairs, and after several acupuncture sessions, he was much stronger on them.
As for food, the lowest cost decent food I know of is Costco's Kirkland Chicken and Rice ($30 per 40 lb), which is made by, and nearly identical to Diamond Naturals and TSC's 4Health. Victor is a step up for about $10-20 more per bag, depending on the forumula. Fromm Gold or 4Star is another great option at $10 more than Victor. You can keep playing this game of step-up...
I would also put the dog on Collegen Type II and Natural Eggshell Membrane supplements (give one in the AM, other in the PM), plus a big dose of fish oil and maybe Ester C. All of those have been very helpful for my arthritic seniors.
You also need to be sure to get the dog moving every day. Swimming and walking (esp. with some hills) as much as the dog wants to do will help minimize muscle wasting and keep the joints (or spine) loose. Let the dog set the pace, and pay close attention to when it's getting tired out (if you regularly walk with headphones or your phone, leave that stuff at home so you can be in tune with how the dog is doing -- I think it's really important to get to know the signs of weariness on individual dogs when walking seniors, as they can be very individual to the dog).
A really excellent vet told me years ago that he sees FAR better quality of life in very lean dogs with HD whose owners are doing all of these things (Adequan, supplements, excercise...and pain meds when needed) vs. just one of them. They seem to have a synergistic effect.
Last edited by Magwart; 06-15-2019 at 03:59 PM.