Taking care of our elderly canine

We have an Australian Shepherd that turned 14 in September of 2013, he’s a really good dog. There have been a couple times that I really though we were going to loose him in the last year, but he’s really pulled through, surprising both of us. He suffers from some dementia, tending to get stuck in corners or in the bathroom between the toilet and the bathtub, why he even goes in the bathroom, I have no idea. I’m going to put out there what kind of supplements I give him, your mileage may vary on taking care of your elderly canine, but this works for my dog. I am including amazon links to the products I use, but I have found some cheaper localy, you just have to look for yourself.

I have had him on cholodin since just after the dementia started and it makes an amazing difference in his general confusion.
http://www.amazon.com/Cholodin-Canine-180-Chewable-Tablets/dp/B000MF99XM/ref=pd_sim_petsupplies_2 If I forget to give him the cholodin then he regresses, its amazing to me the difference its made. He gets 3 per day, he weighs in around 60lbs.

 For the weakness in the back and general joint/hip pain I’ve been giving him:

2 tabs/day http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001G7R30Q/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

4/day http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001EPQ7OS/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

4/day http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001EPQ4Y6/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

1/day http://www.amazon.com/Zeel-Arthritis-Pain-Relief-Tablets/dp/B000Y38NJIref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1389389015&sr=1-1&keywords=zeel

2/day  http://www.amazon.com/PETCO-Joint-Support-III-Tablets/dp/B001VIWDMI/ref=pd_sim_sbs_petsupplies_2

The only reason I give him the petco brand of the glucosamine is I got it b1g1 locally.  I basically grind it all up in a food processor and mix it with ground food and he eats it all up.  The only thing he will eat straight out of my hand is the cholodin, and not reliably. 

When he first started having problems we took him to the vet, she recommended all of these things for him, for us to try.  It’s been trial and error, and lots of working with her, but we’ve narrowed it down to this regiment that works for him.  I’ve tried removing things, and adding things, and this mix works.   Occasionally I will give him an aspirin (from petsmart) when I can tell he’s really hurting but that’s less then once a week in the summer, it’s moved up to daily this winter. 

When we first started having problems with him it was taking 2-4 tramadol a day to control his pain and he still had the confusion.  I honestly believed that we were going to have to put him down last spring, however I was in California for two weeks when he went down really bad and my husband couldn’t face doing it while I wasn’t home to say goodbye (I’ve had his since he was 6 weeks old), he had improved so much on the cholodin that by the time I got home he was a completely different dog.  That cleared up the confusion (95% of the time anyway), but we were still dosing him with the tramadol.  It took us about 6 months to get him off the tramadol completely, I was very leary of letting him be in pain.  I still have the tramadol, and and I’ve been giving it to him occasionally this winter, but it’s been rare since we narrowed down his supplements.

He’s still slow getting up, and sleeps on his sleeping mat, but he’s not in the pain or wandering off and getting stuck in the corner or beside the toilet like he was.  This summer he even was interested in chasing his Frisbee again (a few times, thrown not super far.) This winter has definitely been tough on him, he goes up and down, but he’s still eating heartily and seeming to enjoy life, I believe the supplements that I’ve been giving him have had a lot to do with it.


Sad days

One of our dogs died yesterday.

One of our dogs has some kind of cancer that is growing in his stomach,  it will eventually kill him.  Or old age will catch him,  as he is nearly fourteen.  He is doing really well these days tho,  the supplements we have him on seem to be helping for now.  We’ve been preparing ourselves for his passing for a while now,  and spending as much quality time with him as possible.  He is a very good dog.

Our other dog seemed to be bloated Monday night,  he just looked really full to me.  He is not a breed that is prone to bloat so I really didn’t think to much of it.  He seemed to be acting fairly normal aside from that.   I’ve never seen bloat,  and don’t know too terribly much about it.

Tuesday morning he was acting sluggish and didn’t want to move around too much.  I brought him inside and called the vet.  She,  like me,  didn’t think bloat either,  tho his stomach was back to normal now anyway.  We gave him some pepto and he seemed to be improving.

Wednesday morning he seemed fine before I left for the chiropractor,  I’ve been sick this last week and was fighting off a three day migraine.  When I got home that afternoon he seemed to have taken a turn for the very worse.

I think he was just waiting on me to die.  I moved him into the living room and he was gone within 20 minutes.

We are just completely blind sided by this.  It was completely unexpected.

He came to me by a very convoluted story,  from a shelter in North Carolina.  He had a neurological disease that gave him a tremor,  and we never knew the cause.  He was a very special dog,  my blue merle border collie.  I know he had a good life while he was with me.   As near as I could come up with,  I think he was around 9 years old.  He was around a year old  when I got him,  so he had a good long life with me.

I never expected him to live to old age,  because of the neurological thing he had going on.  I just never expected him to go like this.

Goodbye wiggles,  I’m gonna miss you.


The Folly of Modern Convenience

For over two years now I’ve been comitted to an every other week meat pickup that consists of the trashed meat from a major retail chain.  This is a twice weekly pickup, of which I only participate in twice a month.  The average size of the pickup is in the 1500lb range….every time.

Did you realize that those clean, tidy, non bloody, sterile, styrofoamed bottom plastic wrapped chunks of meat in the grocery store were once a living animal that had to die so you could have the convenience of popping in to your one stop shoping experience so far removed from the place that meat comes from that there are actually people out there that have no idea what meat really is?  I wish I was kidding.

We were a society with a farm on every corner, a garden in every back yard, milk delivered fresh from the cow in glass reusealbe bottles , a society that knew the person who raised their food and the location of where it came from.  These days if you ask somene where food comes from they are likely to say “the store.” When asked where the store gets it from they probably don’t even know. If you ask the store where the food on their shelves comes from they are likely to name off one of only a few conglomerate food distribution companies…and have no knowledge of where those companies get that food from.

Every time I turn around these days it seems like there has been another recall on some form of food that has been tainted in some way or another with bacteria of one sort or another.  Back when I started to keep track of all of this, back when I went vegetarian, it was only meat of one kind or another that was involved in these recalls.  These days it seems to be a little of everything.  Within the last couple of weeks a local man died from tainted cantelope.   Tainted cantelope.  Tainted….cantelope?  This just blows my mind.

I’ve seen first hand in the last 2+ years how much food gets thrown away by just one major retail store here in the metro area.   This is just meat and processed meat products.  From there I can extrapolate easily the amount of fresh produce, bread, dairy and so called shelf stable foods get trashed as well.  Let me tell you that the shear amount of waste that goes on from each and every retail store around the states will absolutely blow your mind.  You truly have to see it to even imagine the scope of it.  This was, before it passed its “use by” date, perfectly edible food for human consumption.  I’m not even talking about the millions of pounds of food included in the recalls for one reason or another that is destroyed.  I’m just talking about the food that was shipped in from all over the globe so the average consumer could have the convenience of one stop shopping.  This is the food that gets too old to be either “pretty” or “safely eaten.”

I have little to no sympathy or patience for the talk I hear about people starving either here in the states or around the world.  It’s not that I’m not a compasionate person, that’s not it at all. My heart goes out, it truly does.  However let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that there isn’t enough food in this world to go around.  I’m not even including the food each and every one of us lets go bad in our pantry, freezer, or fridge here.  I’m sure that adds up as well.  I’m simply talking about the food that every day ends up in the landfills feeding no one due to our cultures insistance upon “convenience.”

So, for the last 2+ years, I’ve been picking through the meat only garbage of a typical major retailer for food for my cats and dogs.  99% of this food is either on the day of expiration or only 1 day past it.  Perfectly edible for even human consumption.  Yet, its trash.  Don’t talk to me about people starving in this country, I’ve seen the reason.

This meat pickup that I’ve been doing for 2+ years is at an end, I won’t be seeing the folly of modern convenience anymore going forward but you better believe that I will never forget it.

– Fin