Tuesday, October 8, 2013


My darling Annie is a senior citizen, something I need to remind myself of almost constantly. Aging in dogs is a topic very much in need of discussion - we just don't think about it and subsequently aren't tuned into subtle changes in our pets' behavior.

Try to think of what humans go through and apply that to our pets. Eyesight and hearing fail, joints become stiff and achy, there is an increase in dental issues then add to the mix the fact that our pets can't tell us what they feel. 

Annie is taking Glucosamine and I don't understand why it was prescribed for her urinary infection. That's a question for the doctor during her follow-up visit this week but to my original thought concerning the Glucosamine. After a few days on this medicine, the spring was back in Annie's step, she was more active and animated. It was then I realized she had slowed down considerably, had become disinterested in her favorite pastimes (barking at the mailman, running around the house at top speed without any coaxing from me, asking to play or go for a walk), reluctant to jump on and off my bed or the couch and even had a few bouts of limping.

I consider myself more tuned in to my pets than most pet parents. Our veterinarian was amazed at how quickly we noticed changes in Buddy. His renal failure was diagnosed in its earliest stages because we observed almost imperceptible differences in his behavior. Make no mistake about it; cats especially are very adept at hiding illness. It is an ingrained defense mechanism needed for survival in the wild.

Why did I miss all this? Actually, I didn't but without so much as a thought about it I just accepted the changes as part of aging or as depression brought on by the integration of Orphée into our household. That was my mistake - I did not question whether or not the symptoms were part of some illness or if they were from aging and could any steps be taken to minimize or eliminate them.

Lesson learned. Pay attention to the slightest change in behavior or temperament. Remember as your pet ages you must adjust your mindset to the needs of a four-legged senior. Your pet will be all the better for it.

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