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I took Heidi out to run errands and go for a walk at a wooded trail yesterday. Heidi is 11 and winter has been hard on her. I think it's not the cold as much as not being able to get out a exercise much. She can still wow people with her looks (a guy rolled down his car window to comment on her). And with her attitude, that "not looking for a fight, but won't refuse one" expression. But we walked about half a mile on our trail and she wanted to turn back. I used to urge her on, but now let her decide. Just last November we walked around a lake, four miles, and she was good. I am missing our long walks together.
 

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Yep - assuming no transient medical issue, sounds like your dog is winding down. We just went through this with a 13 y/o pitbull. Used to love two laps of the park, then late last fall made it clear by stopping at the gate and looking to the car that one lap was enough. She had congestive heart failure and the exercise became too much - we had her put down with perfect timing (not too soon, or too late). The dog knows. Her treat appetite fell off, too, during this period. Good luck with a difficult process that you can lighten somewhat with the the knowledge your dog had the best possible life. All dogs (and people) should be so lucky.

Then you can do what we did - run out and get two new adult dogs at the same time to fill your canine gap.
 

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I know how that is,mine is 10 1/2 and he's usually done at about 2 1/2 -3mile, he lets me know when he's had enough he just keeps looking up at me like (are we done yet mommy) when it gets hot he doesn't even want to go outside, he's like me we love the cold
 

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Have you had the vet check her to ensure there's not a medical problem causing this fairly sudden slowdown in activity? Do you have her on any type of arthritis medication like Dasuquin ... sometimes something simple like this can help seniors who become inactive.
 

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What helped for me and my senior dog (my Aussie) was to change the whole walking plan. When the days of the long walks were over, I switched to short easy flat walks - I would even drive to the park or favorite spot. And to make it easier for my dog to jump in the backseat - I would push and fold in the pasenger front seat and park real close to the curb so it was easier for him . I would then pretend to get tired and sit on a bench (yes it can be done in winter) to rest. My senior dog would first stand and be on guard, then would lie down and all the while - look around and watch. When I could tell he was ready to go, I would head back to the car. I learned to go in a circle - and to different places to take shorter walks. He really loved his walks and by making adjustments he was able to enjoy them right up until he died.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Good ideas. I actually have a vet appt. on Friday for Heidi and will be discussing her slowdown in activity. She does have HD/arthritis, but is on a supplement and aspirin only; perhaps she needs something stronger for pain management. She enjoys my heating pad, which I use for my own joint problems if I get up and forget to turn it off, Heidi will be sitting on it. Then I can't bear to make her get up, so I just lose it till she gets off my chair!

I see that it takes a lot of creativity to keep a senior active. We have hiked in the past, to other areas in our state, but it may be only close by parks now, as it doesn't make sense to drive for two hours to walk one mile. She and I certainly do have fun and had lots of hikes planned for summer. We'll see. When the weather gets nice, she might be more interested.
 

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I have an almost 14 year old that like yours has HD and athritis. I used to give him Rimidyl and tramadol on occasion when i thought he needed it . Then about 2 years ago i put him on it daily and it made a big difference. I also have him on a joint supp ( acti flex 4000) and he has always been on grain free ( because grains cause inflamation). He had been doing 45 - 60 minute walks till about the age of 12 1/2 and then he started to slow down. Just in the last 6 months i noticed him getting even slower and more tired and of course thought it was his age and his hips. About 5 weeks ago i felt some distention in his abdomen and took him to the vets. They found his spleen was enlarged and did a splenctomy. His spleen was 7 lbs and the size of a volleyball. It has not ruptured so that was good. He is doing soo much better and is back up to 45 minute walks and is even playing with the other dogs.
They can be soo stoic that sometimes we dont know when something is bothering them. I would get bloodwork done and a check up just in case and start him on some pain meds and anti inflammatories too.
I do believe in keeping them moving to help with the aches and pains. Even if it is a shorter walk they still love to walk and explore the woods. Even it is slow and steady

Hope this helps
 

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Months before Pyrate's time came he started wanting to take shorter walks so I accommodated him by doing so. Toward the end he didn't even want to try to make it to his favorite Post Office walk where he gets treats and petted by the post mistress so I would just walk him around the front yard and around the house close to home. I knew when the end was getting close as he didn't want to leave the yard. It broke my heart knowing he was in pain even on medication and I still have a big space in my heart that will always belong to Pyrate. It's hard to see them grow older. After he went I couldn't even walk Raina to the post office because I was too emotional. Now Raina does enjoy that walk every morning and has made friends with some of the people who loved Pyrate but I still miss him. My heart goes out to you.
 

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There is just nothing fun about the dog getting old. My old dog will be 14 in less than a month and her walks are about 1/10 what they used to be. We used to go for miles with run through the woods in the middle, now the end of our street and back is her limit even then I can tell she is wearing out. Luna had an ACL replaced in one knee, the other knee is not great, she has arthritus and her hips hurt. She is still happy and still wants to go on walking I just am to the point I can tell when it is too much now. She still doesn't want to turn back but I have found that pushing her to hard, even if she seems to want it, has a big strain on her the next couple days.
 

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I am going thru a similar situation.
Apache turned 10 in December, he still acts like a pup, very alert and active, actually sometimes hes a pain in the butt! He's been on rymadyl for almost 2 years and dasuquin I'm sure that has a lot to do with it.
Kiya on the other hand is going to be 9 in May and she's really starting to slow down.
I had been going out on daily walks with all 3 untill the 32" of snow we got a few weeks ago. On one of our last walks we had a dusting of snow. Kiya was trailing behind so bad. I thought for sure I'd have to start leaving her home or just very short walks. Then she started limping and would barely move. Of course the worse runs thru my mind, then I picked up her foot and there it was a huge snow/ice ball in her pad. I felt much better. This snow is really hard on her she has such a hard time walking on it, and she falls over.
It's so hard to watch them get old.
 

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I have tell my oldie that he can't come with us if we go for walks. He will never understand it. It is very sad. I remember the days of endless walks and endless fetching games and now he is crippled when he gets up.
WD is the picture of youth and health and I soak it up for later.
 

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It is sad when they can't go as long as they used to especially those nice long hikes.

My aussie is 13 still going strong but those long walks are to much for her,,so we take short ones, flat areas, and such.

Dodge (my male that passed 2 years ago),,he was my constant companion his entire life, when he hit around 11, and the chronic anaplasmosis was causing neuro issues, he still wanted to go and still tried, but I could see it was to much for him.

I'll never forget those winter nites before he passed, I'd get home from work in the dark, and he & I would take a nice patrol around the edge of my property, moon out, no sounds, still as anything, sky full of stars..I honestly miss those quiet walks just him and I ..
 

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What a loving post and remind me of the joys that can still be had when my dog is old. From my aussie and husky, I found it also to be a special time - to grow closer and value each precious moment with a dear companion. Thank you.
 

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Bridget, my old guy is 11 and was like that up until last summer. We did an experiment with Deramaxx (a NSAID, rimadyl would be comparable) to see if it helped--and it did, a lot. The supplements just weren't enough any more.

That told us the slow down was due to pain. That led us to xrays, ortho exam, and a search for a vet who could offer a comprehensive plan to manage his arthritis that wasn't just throwing Rimadyl at it. He stayed on the Rimadyl (after Deramaxx went off the market) in the beginning while we were putting his plan into place and to give the other things time to work, but the goal was to get him to a place where he could have a high quality of life without pain, without needing the NSAID. He is now off the NSAIDs but doing better than he has in many years.

The key for us was a multipronged approach -- supplements are part of it, but they aren't sufficient with chronic arthritis. Pain meds are part too, but we eventually dropped the NSAIDs and maintain a small dose of Gabipentin to prevent a pain rebound (it's safer than NSAIDs). Gentle, easy exercise is also part of it, as keeping them walking is often good for the joints.

The key additional piece of the protocol for us was starting Adequan therapy. In the third week of the loading dose, I felt something magical happened. He wanted to jog for the first time in years--and he sets the pace. He put both his front paws in my lap to crawl up on the couch, with all his weight on his hips, something he probably hadn't done in five years. He's romping around the socialization field playing with younger dogs. It is AMAZING how effective it is.

He used to drag slowly at a snails pace on walks, and stay close to us at the socialization field because he hurt. He moved like an old dog, and I felt like he was fading. The adequan gave him back his spunk.

Unlike most supplements and pain meds, it doesn't just mask inflammation. I regrows the cartilage in the joint. It requires a commitment to twice-weekly shots for a month (the "loading" dose), then weekly, now for us bi-weekly to maintain, forever. It is so worth it for the improved quality of life though.

There is a competing similar product that's a little cheaper, and a friend has been able to drop down to once-a-month to maintain on that one.

Eventually, we are going to add some acupuncture and laser therapy sessions for him. For now, things are working well though.
 
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