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Hey guys!
This is my first time on any kind of forum for my eight year old, Clue!

The thing is, as of the last few months or so, she's been acting super weird about going outside on a regular basis. Around November-2018 she would act all excited to go out, and when I open the door she'd take off the other way and run into our bedroom and lay on her bed.

It was between that and sticking her head out the door ( just enough to see the fence) and look at me like "What am I s'posed to do with this?" Since then, I've tried a bunch of different methods to get her to go outside and while they work in the moment, they are not long time solutions.. I would offer her cookies each time she'd go outside, but then she was learning that she ONLY wants to go out if cookies are involved (which isn't good for potty time or diets) so I stopped that, and I've always gone outside with her and made a game of it-- Fetch or a short walk. She's ecstatic about the walks, just not the normal yard shenanigans.
If I grab the leash, its like YES ADVENTURES.

Now, in March / April area it was warming up so I was thinking the cooler weather was hard on her arthritis..but still no luck instead now she doesn't even get up when I call her when she KNOWS I'm making her go outside. I've made it a habit all her life to call her for various reasons..brushing, pets, loves, treats...and I even tried to get her all excited about going outside..to be met with her GETTING Excited and then realizing I'm taking her outside..then she runs off and hides.

Along with that- Every day since I picked her up at the tender age of 3 months, she'd get up and greet me with whines/kisses/noises/licks/ everything, she'd zip around the house and cause a tornado of happiness around the house (grabbing toys, flinging them / acting crazy).. then it started every other day.. and then a couple times a week I greet the usual door happiness when I get home.

Normally now, the greets are energetic, but very short.

I understand she's a lot older and slowing down, so she's probably just being selective about when she gets up because she's gettin' kinda sore or whatever. I mean, she literally waits for ME to come and rub her belly when I get home. She'll see me, and roll over on the bed, waiting.. so I know she is excited I'm home.. so.. could that just be her being selective with her movements??

Around the march/April she started "bunny hopping" with her back legs, and the vet did say she had some stiffness in her leg that could be from some torn tissue / muscle soreness, that she didn't give the impression of hip dyspepsia when she examined her..and she cried when the vet did her normal routine of pulling the right back leg, and they gave me some vetprofen and ordered bed rest for a few days to have the tissue heal, but... Clue is super sensitive to it. The first day she had some, she wet the bed and drooled like no other.. and her movements were wobbly, so I assumed it was waaay too much of a dose for her and I did 1/2 and it was better, she didn't have an accident or look wobbly, but she was delusional for a little while and droopy.. then I just stopped it because I didn't feel like it was helping her?

I asked a vet tech and he said that was a kind of unusual reaction, so he advised just let her sleep as much the next few days and bring her back in if she's still limping / hopping. Only to give her the meds for major pain if needed.

After a couple weeks, no more bunny hopping, but she was still being weird about going outside. She's worse now.. I can only willing get her to go outside once a day :/ (Other times I'm having to heave her up on my own and drag her outside..) she pees real fast and comes racing back to the door to be let in.

I haven't noticed any kind of trauma happening outside to scare her, no changes in surroundings, diet or anything of that nature.

I feed her Iams Proactive Health Large Breed Senior Plus Dry Dog Food. She's ate Iams her whole pupper life, and she likes it. She gets a cup,2x a day.. I also give her Nutramax Cosequin DS PLUS MSM Chewable Tablets 2x a day (started in August 2018). I mix in a hardboiled egg 1x a day (half morning / half night). Her skin's itchy, which she normally suffers in the winter, but her coat is coarse and dry. Is there something else she could be eating that would be restoring her softness and helping the itch?

She's about 60 lbs (she's a small GSD, not under weight), female, spayed and hasn't had any major surgeries aside from being spayed. Never any puppies. No major on going health issues.

I've never had a dog that was 8 year old before, so this is new territory!
 

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food -- prime importance as the qualtiy either contributes to health or the opposite , robs health.

your dog's coat is coarse -- th dog has no energy , she behaves and probably is depressed .

food -- did you look at the ingredients ?

3588 kcal/kg 369 kcal/cup
Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal (Source of Chondroitin Sulfate and Glucosamine), Ground Whole Grain Barley, Fish Meal (source of fish oil), Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Dried Egg Product, Natural Flavor, Dried Brewers Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Caramel Color, Salt, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Fructooligosaccharides, Choline Chloride, Carrots, Tomatoes, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Fish Oil (preserved with mixed Tocopherols), Spinach, Vitamin E Supplement, DL-Methionine, Green Peas, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide), Beta-Carotene, Dried Apple Pomace, Vitamins (Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplemet, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of Vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Carnitine, Dried Blueberry Pomace, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Citric Acid.
FEEDING GUIDELINES


qualtiy protein ? Seniors need high quality , readily digestible and absorbable protein .
This is an abundance of grains . Yikes.


I would switch to a better food.
I would provide OMEGA 3 - essential fatty acids , which the dog is lacking . This will effect mood and enegy
and cellular energy.

I would give probiotics , for the mind gut connection, immune health, and for vitamin production - the B's . botin, folate and B 12 -- which are necessary to extract energy from carbohydrates and your dog is getting a LOT
of carbohydrates.

B 12 particularly important . Your dog is sleepy and lethargic -- did you check for anemia ? B 12 is important to red blood cells and oxygenation.
B 12 important for nerve function and protection of the myelin sheath for nerve conduction . DM is a degradation of the myelin sheath .
Depression and brain fog ? Abain looking at the Bs and B 12 .

Fish oil -- deep cold water wild cuaght herring . Salmon seems to have too many issues .
Fish oil provides omega 3 and DHA important for cognitive health , eye, brain, neural health, and again
an anti depressant - better mood.

Fish oil provides EPA which is anti inflammatory.

You can add DHA to a good fish oil -- Nordic Naturals makes a good DHA supplement.

you need to reduce inflammation both at the cellular and physical (joint) level.

diet should include real Vitamin E and real sources for Vitamin C which means you will have quercetin, rutin, and flavinoids such as hesperidin .

you need to feed the energy cells of the body- the mitochondria -- CO-Enzyme Q10 Ubiquinol and PQQ

Ashwagandha and PQQ stimulate new mitochondrial cells . Ashwagandha good for mood .

that's a start
 

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a nice wobbly home made bone broth is a good start.
You'll get a good dose of glucosamine and chondroitin right there.
Make sure you use boney material with the cartilage and tendons, the chicken keel - poultry necks
are ideal.

If you want to give a good dose of MSM, a source of organic sulfur than I would recommend
OPTI-MSM -- the only one I use.
 

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When was this dog's last senior wellness panel of bloodwork?

When older dogs lose energy and suddenly get rough coats and itchy skin, it's usually time to run a thryoid test -- it's included in a senior wellness panel, or it can be run separately. (The IDEXX "senior screen" panel offered by most vets is excellent bang for your buck since it includes so many things in a fairly low price.) I run this bloodwork on my senior dogs 2x year because things can go wrong so quickly with older dogs -- some people prefer 1x year and then again if anything seems "off"...and it sounds like your dog seems "off."

I would also get a set of (sedated) xrays of the hind end, including the spine and hips, to see if that bunny-hopping has a skeletal cause. Pain can cause them to get depressed and lose stamina. Knowing what's going on back there is the first step to formulating a plan to get her feeling better. Many of us have managed arthritic dogs well into old age with good quality of life (often with combinations of Adequan, supplements/diet, selective exercise, acupuncture, etc.), but it's important to know what's happening in order to target your approach.

As with humans, an anti-inflammatory diet is a BIG part of managing arthritis effectively -- Carmen's post gets to the heart of that.


It's worth adding: many general practice vets are NOT good with orthopedics...they're just mediocre. If you can get a recommendation for a regular vet who does excellent ortho evaluations, those vets are real gems worth keeping. A good ortho eval can sometimes take all day (watching the gait while others walk the dog, leading it up and down stairs, watching it get up from a nap in the back in the vet's office, etc.), but at minimum it involves several range of motion tests and good imaging (xrays), remembering that the spine can be as big a source of problems as hips. These vets will also offer you a multi-modal treatment plan, not just throw NSAIDs at the dog and send it on its way.
 
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