German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
745 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This may be long.

I have had Rocky (GSD) and Toto (rat terrier) for 10 years, both neutered males - love each other, NEVER had one single issue. In fact, Rocky has alway been protective of Toto, and Toto can literally walk up and eat out of the same bowl with no issues. Rocky got diagnosed with mild arthiritis last year, the vet prescribed a pain med - I cannot remember the name but it started with an N. Due to the likelihood of liver issues I chose to use supplements instead, which did produce a noticeable difference in him.

About 6 months ago we got Layla, female GSD pup. Rocky tolerates her, she has always wanted to play with him but he just tolerates her. He does get a little possessive with his stuff - bones etc - therefore I will put them in separate rooms for that. I know that seniors need their space, Layla is crated whenever I am not home and at night, and when I am here we are usually outside doing frisbee or playing all or something. I want to give him his peace.

Well today we passed out new bones, and for the first time EVER he lunged at Toto when Toto walked passed him as he was chewing his bone. He did not make contact with him, but this is so far out of the realm of his behavior.

Same day, he was laying there, NOT chewing a bone, Layla walked by and he lunged, growled, and pinned her doing little bites and wouldnt stop. She was screaming, but more out of fear because I inspected her and there is not a scratch on her. Now there was a bone in proximity, approximately 5 feet away that I just noticed.

Few questions - can this behavior be a result of increased pain from arthritis? I have no problem doing the prescription if it is really needed at this point.

I understand that he may never really be one hundred percent okay with Layla, but the fact that he lunged at Toto is disconcerting and cause for action.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
745 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
One more thing - I currently have the front of the house separated off by baby gates because Layla was sneaking into the back living room and peeing. So I thought I could solve this problem by separation - but would it be mean to do that? I hang out in the front, and obviously Layla needs to be there for bonding, supervision etc - but I dont want Rocky to feel banished or anything. I was considering getting him a big comfy orthopedic dog bed and putting it in the back living room where he could chill, but do not want to do it if it is like abandoning a senior.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,536 Posts
When my dogs were old and in pain, we had the only fight ever. My guess is that pain may make Rocky cranky. Perhaps try the pain meds--especially in the summer heat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
745 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I'm going to do that. And ensure there are no bones or toys out. I just have to realize things have changed, and that as dogs get older and in pain all kinds of unexpected issues arise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,870 Posts
I'm all for supplements, and I use them aggressively for my 11 y.o. senior GSD, but there is a point were they aren't enough -- esp. if you are just using glucosamine and fish oil (the most common ones). I knew that when I gave my senior an NSAID one day and he sprang up and danced around like he felt great -- that was my sign the old supplements weren't cutting it. I totally understand the worry about kidneys and liver though -- and I share the concern.

So how about giving him the pain meds for a day or two and observing whether he feels a lot better--and stops being grumpy? If so, you have your answer.

In my case, we went on NSAID therapy temporarily to end the pain cycle, revamped our supplements (I have a whole thread about that here in which I got GREAT advice:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/foru...-available-alternatives-work-your-senior.html ). We also started Adequan therapy, and added Gabapentin (a non-NSAID, which works differently) -- see this article:
Holistic Veterinarian Caring for Pets in Vancouver, Burnaby, & Point Roberts.

The three-pronged approach (dual pain meds, revamped supplements, adequan) + regular walks worked together -- and dramatically improved his quality of life. Once the adequan and new supplements kicked in, then we faded the NSAID away (about 3 weeks later). We had to give the other stuff a chance to take effect, and break the pain wind-up in the brain though.

My old guy doesn't need the NSAID daily any more, and is very active and happy again. Once in a great while, he'll play too hard and then feel it the next day--we can give him a carprofen on those very rare days, without worrying about keeping him on it chronically.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
268 Posts
Aw, Rocky! Xoxo

Besides addressing his health issues, step back and take a look. Do you still play with him? Sure, it might be modified play for his age/ability, but I'd be grumpy too if I was getting older, started to hurt, and you brought home a puppy to do all the things I used to do. It's obvious you know this (your tender heart shines through) but step back to see how rocky interprets what you DO versus what you think you're doing. Know what I mean?

Treat him first. Greet him first. Play with him, then also play with pup and him, giving them both attention. Sit on the floor with them both and quietly play tug or bat the ball around their paws with your hands. Show Rocky that Layla is fun and not a threat. Same for your other boy. Besides pain or medication side effect issues, rocky obviously needed to assert himself as pack leader over the other two, once the little girl arrived.

Aw, Rocky :) xoxo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,796 Posts
Yes ... pain can make a senior (or any dog regardless of age) react in a negative way including getting "snappy" with other dogs.

If he were mine, I'd take him to the vet for a check-up ... make sure nothing unusual has happened since the last time he visited his vet.

When I have a senior my main concern is keeping them comfortable and I'll give them whatever medication achieves that goal including supplements and/or prescription pain medications. Knock on wood, I've had quite a few seniors and so far haven't had any problems with side effects from OTC supplements or prescription drugs EXCEPT with Pred (and I only use Pred for a long-term duration when all else fails).

GOOD LUCK!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,796 Posts
One more thing - I currently have the front of the house separated off by baby gates because Layla was sneaking into the back living room and peeing. So I thought I could solve this problem by separation - but would it be mean to do that? I hang out in the front, and obviously Layla needs to be there for bonding, supervision etc - but I dont want Rocky to feel banished or anything. I was considering getting him a big comfy orthopedic dog bed and putting it in the back living room where he could chill, but do not want to do it if it is like abandoning a senior.
I don't understand ... why can't Rocky be with you and Layla in either the front or back of the house?
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top