Main > Keeping strength and muscle tone in the golden years for our dogs: (18 replies)
Keeping strength and muscle tone in the golden years for our dogs:
by Nans gsd on 07 June 2012 - 16:45
Any one have any suggestions?? Thank you in advance, Nan
by starrchar on 07 June 2012 - 20:12
|Physical therapy. When our GSD was diagnosed with DM I was given a number of PT exercises to do with her daily. The vet told me that these exercises were good for any large dog to maintain strength, coordination and muscle mass. I tried to find a link that had photos or videos, but I wasn't successful. Here is a link that at least explains some of the exercises. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canine_physical_therapy I will continue to look for some visuals. I hope this helps a little.|
by Nans gsd on 07 June 2012 - 20:26
|Yep, PT is great, and I do some massage on her but strengthing is really what she needs. After all she is 94.5 years old and those people also need PT so I will proceed ahead.|
Thank you for this info I will try them all except the hydrotherapy; she HATES, HATES, water. Hubs pushed her in the pool (by accident) when she was 4 months old, she was behind him on the pool side and he stepped back and in she went and she has NEVER forgotten it. Now almost 14 she still hates water, boy they don't forget do they.
By the way, how is your girl doing with DM? Believe me I have been thru it also and it is not at all any fun. And worrisome for the animal also, and talking about taking away their dignity. LIke no other disease. Just devastating.
I will say a little prayer for her in hopes for her comfort. Thx again Nan
by starrchar on 07 June 2012 - 20:31
|Here's another link with some photos, but still looking for something better. http://home.roadrunner.com/~exercisesfordm/|
by Nans gsd on 07 June 2012 - 21:00
|Thank you that is a wonderful site. Lots of good tools to use. Thx again, Nan|
by starrchar on 07 June 2012 - 22:49
|Wow, 14 years is really up there for a GSD and it sounds like she is doing well! Shelby hates water too, so swimming was never a option. It's not worth putting her under that kind of the stress. For strengthening, teach your girl to back up (do this 5 or 6 times- about 4-5 ft.), go from a sit to stand (about 10 times) and have her put her front paws up on an ottoman or sofa while keeping the back legs on the ground- up for two minutes and down (do this about 6 times). Also, get behind her and hold one back leg up for 60seconds and then switch. Do this about 6 times, each leg. I am just giving you a rough idea and you know your dog better than anyone, so what I suggested may be too much or too easy. With all of these exercise you can slowly increase the number of times and the duration. Make it positive with lots of praise and/or treats. Taking her up and down hills and walking through tall grass is really good for her too.|
Thank you for asking about Shelby and for your prayer for her. Yes, only until you go through this can you understand how horrible it it. I'm so sorry you had to lose a dog to DM. Shelby is declining inspite of all the things I have tried. According to my vet she is doing better than most, but still she is losing her mobility and it's heartbreaking to watch. She is at the point where she sort of walks and drags herself. She still seems to enjoy life and I do everything possible to keep her stimulated mentally and physically. She loves her PT because it's almost like a training session with lots of food rewards and praise. She loves her massages and is quite spoiled. When I think I'm finished massaging her, she lets me know by pawing my arm repeatedly! I let her get away with it and I continue to massage her :). We take her for rides in our golf cart around the neighborhood and she enjoys that. She loves food, so she's getting lots of treats- all natural stuff like dehydrated sweet potatoes. I try not to think about the decision that will need to be made in the future, but it looms over like a dark cloud. I want to do the right thing at the right time. Shelby's vet said she would help me know when it becomes time to let Shelby got to the Bridge. She said every dog is different. She's a rehab vet, so unfortunately for her she sees a lot of DM. She is the one overseeing the clinical trial for the ALS drug Shelby is on. She said that she hates this disease like no other...
Good luck with the PT. I just couldn't find any website or link that provided a good program with good pictures. Take care and keep up the good work with your girl!
by GSDNewbie on 08 June 2012 - 00:26
|Both my seniors get hydrotherapy weekly, one does not care for water but his is only done to shoulder depth and he does not mind that. I also walk them in sandy beach. Mine still chase ball and are not too far along so I just make sure they are warmed up and sound before they run as injuries are harder to heal at later years. They get massaged and checked every other day for any stiffness and or sores. I use liniment washdowns if they have done more than usual to keep them limbered and feeling good. They get a diet tailored to their needs and supplements.|
by Nans gsd on 08 June 2012 - 01:40
|GSDNewbie: what kind of diet and what supplements if you don't mind me asking? I am also looking for that info, and to no avail. If something works for one I realize it does not necessarily work for another, BUT, sometimes all things are good. The information is invaluable for the health and well being of our senior dogs. Thank you in advance for sharing, Nan|
by Nans gsd on 08 June 2012 - 01:46
|Starchar: I am so sorry your girl is loosing ground; god damn it; something has to give here. You are soooooo lucky to have a rehab vet for her well-being; that is invaluable also. I tell you I hate this disease with a passion.|
Just for your peace of mind these dogs are so in tune to their people; Shelby will also tell you when the time comes; I know it is like a black cloud lurking overhead, but just enjoy her as you do every moment you have and if she is starting to drag her body, well you probably know my thoughts already. That cannot be too comfortable for her. Again I will say a prayer for her comfort. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, it is priceless and invaluable to the dog comminity in itself along with your continued experiences and information on DM> Again, thank you. Nan
by GSDNewbie on 08 June 2012 - 05:50
|My male gets a little bit of meat and a lower protein kibble diet than the female. He chubbs up in weight easily and I have to keep his amount low and exercise up to keep him fit and trim so he only gets 2 and half cups of kibble a day and maintains 85 pounds easily which suits his heavy bone structure. My female maintains 50 pounds because of her poor structure I keep her lighter for her build, is on 1 and half cup day blue buffalo grain free and some raw beef no chicken as she had a life of major allergy issues, cottage cheese, and oil. It just works for her. I believe every dog handles food differently and no one food is the best for all dogs.... so whatever works for your dog. My small dog <Boston terrier> who is 6 but was a rescue from a Pennsylvania puppy mill so has issues as well eats same diet as female only his serving size plus same supplements. My senior male does not get oil or cottage cheese to his food because it upsets his tummy unlike my other three. I have not had him his whole life and maybe his digestive is just not used to getting those things... who knows. Supplements include Joint strong, Young at Heart, and Hylauronic Acid. I also make sure the nails are kept trimmed length as longer nails puts undue pressure on paws and legs more than people realize at that age. Regular tooth and gum inspections as well. My never bred female is almost 8 and you would think she was 13 so I do put her in senior care category.... she has has a life long fight with allergies and other health problems, yet she still smiles and tries her hardest to still feel she does her part in the home. My older male is just turned ten and on average spends most of his time acting like a 6 year old. I expect tp have my senior male for a while more, but fear the loss of my female will come at a much younger age. She does not move as well and gets sore from her conformation issues such as flat feet in front combined with low wither. One of her hips is stiff and slows her so that between the front and rear issues she crabs when out fetching with the others, but she does not let it slow or stop her.... I have seen her throw herself and fall down the hill faster than she can run it on purpose to get to the ball first almost in a tackle motion to beat the others including my 2 year old. She refuses to give up or let them outdo her. She has always had the biggest heart and determination to keep doing what she was meant to do. I think the biggest thing that keeps them young is the rule in our home: No matter what age, Every gsd needs to feel needed and that they are working some sort of task or role. Every gsd in our home is given something to do each day and praised. It does not have to be huge if they are not feeling well and can be something simple. It gives them that gleam in their eye, bounce in their step, and boosts their dignity and pride making them happy. A depressed gsd is one that will give up, a gsd not working or feeling useless will be a depressed gsd. I know while my leg was screwed up for the years it was, I felt useless and allowed it to affect me as I am an active person. It affected my health and drug me down a dark place. I obviously will never be like I was before hand, but again I feel like I am living and being mobile helps with everything else that was being affected just because I am happier now. When human or dog just settles for a spot in the sun with no mental or physical stimulation at all, they give up. If the health is failing you can also work their mind. I started a game with my pup when he was first learning to be my service dog and he got bored somewhere. I take something small and basically play the ball in the three cups with him. I switch the item back and forth where he cant see inside my hands hold them fisted before him aand ask which hand the item is in. In no time he learned what I wanted and tells me. It kept his mind active and distracted him from fidgeting until he was older and had better control of it. I use things like this with the older dogs just to keep them thinking and busy and it works on days they may be stiff or sore.|
by Nans gsd on 08 June 2012 - 15:46
|Thank you GSDNewbie that was very enlightening. My girl does collect all the feed bowls and brings them to me every morning, doesn't do it at night feeding just AM feeding. Go figure. I notice though that her first part of the AM is really good, it's later in the day that she becomes stiff and by bedtime hubs has to help her get up to go to bed. She fell in the street on our walk the other day, freaked me out. Thought OH NO, here it comes but massaged her and gave her a Tranadol that night and one last night and probably will give her one tonight (the last one) and those seem to snap her out of it. Her left front shoulder went out from under her and smack down on her face with whole body down, I thought shit; but she got right up and thank god was able to get up and went on, she also is a very determined bitch, for which I am glad. Don't know if you have tried the Vetronix arthritX on your guys but it is an herbal arthritis formula which I leave my girl on, gets it in her breakfast every AM. I really have noticed it helping her and she also gets a raw diet. Honest Kitchen with raw ground meats of various kinds in AM and chicken/pork/beef/fish of some sort at PM feeding and I have started measuring her food as she has put on some weight which I do not think has helped her at all. It must come off so we are working on that. I walk her every other day l/2 mile, sometimes less if she is struggeling but am trying to get more mileage for her to keep her muscle tone. |
I truly agree with you as far as their mental/physical motivation, very, very important and necessary and that is why I think I am going to try the above physical therapy and more walking for her. Push her a little harder and further as long as she can tolerate.
Thank you all for sharing, this really gives me some good ideas for her and future seniors for which I also have a male that is almost 12 and is starting to struggle a bit; think I will try some on him also.
Great days everyone, Nan
PS: All get Happy Hips duck jerkey (she gets 2 per day which is about 600-800mg of glucosamine); 2000 mg salmon oil with Vit E (400 mg). That is all the supplements I give. I could up her salmon oil though and I might start giving her 2000 mg at night also. We'll see. Thx again, Nan
by Abby Normal on 09 June 2012 - 07:36
|Really interesting thread Nan. I have a GSD going into 'golden' years at nearly 10., though that is nowhere near to your girl's wonderful age. But I do think about this a lot especially as she has mild HD, so am very interested in anything I can do to keep her as fit as she is right now as time marches on.|
Luckily she loves to swim, and I have a small hydro pool that she loves. The one supplement I introduced which I noticed had a marked effect on her movement and also her general demeanor was 'Yumove'. It contains the usual Glucosamine, Chondroitin plus Green Lipped Mussel extract, but it also seemed to give her more 'bounce' generally. I give her slightly more than the recommended amount. I spoke to the manufacturers and it is fine to give more. I did this because there was an initial double 'loading' dose, and she was 'flying' on that amount, and she was still good but not as good on the standard dose when I reduced it. I had always given her Glucosamine & Chondroitin, so I think the difference was the Green Lipped Mussel which you can also buy anywhere separately and add in. The Yumove tablets are chewable, and they will eat them just as 'treats'.
I don't currently give salmon oil, but think maybe I should introduce this now. What is your opinion on this, and the best one to use (I am in the UK, but can probably get any variety on the internet).
by Nans gsd on 09 June 2012 - 14:59
|Kudo's to you Abby for taking such good care of your girl. Yumove sounds good, however I am not a great believer of the Glousamine/Condrointant (SP) sorry; but in the seniors case, maybe it is a good thing.|
As far as the salmon oil I just bought capsules and they are 1000 mg each; I just wanted the ease of giving pre-measured rather than the salmon oil in the liquid form (it's a mess); BUT be sure to give it whatever form you use with a Vit E capsule, probably 400 mg for your girl. Somehow the E activates the Salmon oil in the system so the body uses the salmon oil/E both. Can't really explain it very well but according to studies they need both.??? So I give both 2,000 mg salmon oil with 400 mg. Vit E at the same time, daily. And for my old girl I might double that. I will see how this week goes. The capsules I bought of both the oil and the E I found at WalMart; so any drug store and even some grocery stores all carry this stuff now so should not be hard to find. On line also, any vitamin shoppe should carry both.
As far as the green lipid muscle extract I am not sure but I don't think it can hurt. As far as helping keep the muscle tone I will try to read up more about it and see if that is what it is intended for amongst other things. Did your girl have any upsets when starting this formula? Just curious?
Well best of luck for all the seniors; can't hurt to share into. Nan
Just to let you know I did some reading on the green lipped mussel and went ahead and ordered some. Thx Nan
by Abby Normal on 11 June 2012 - 12:19
Thanks for the info on the salmon oil and vitamin E, I am going to order some. I will get capsules, as I dont fancy getting all 'fishy', it's bad enough when I open a tin of sardines for them, I always seem to manage to get some splashback LOL.
Let me know how you get on with the Green Lipped Mussel extract, my girl did not have any tummy upsets, but she seems to be made of cast iron with anything she consumes! I am lucky in that respect. She is fed raw BTW.
I think it's great to share ideas and try and do the very best for them, especially in their golden years bless them.
by Nans gsd on 11 June 2012 - 15:56
|Yeah Abbey; The salmon oil capsules are definitely the way to go; I also did not realish the idea of trying to figure out with the squirt bottle how much they were getting. And I don't think doubling my girls salmon oil is an option for her as you feel down to her skin thru her dense coat you can feel a layer of oil near her skin; tells me she is getting enough at this time. So for now the 2,000 mg will have to do.|
I should be getting the green lippid mussel soon and will start her on that as well as myself; that tells me if for now it is going to agree with everyone.
Anyway, I hope others will share as a post online this past week had a big 14 year old GSD boy having a birthday cheeseburger; he was so cute for 14, man asked them what they have been feeding, etc. Really would love to know. But of course my guys all get raw also and I did notice a vast difference when I change over to raw for a while but don't notice so much difference now as it has been over 2 years. BUT when I made the change this girl was limping pretty bad and all that went away after a few months on raw, so tells me something is right.
Have great days, Nan and thanks for sharing.
by Abby Normal on 13 June 2012 - 05:29
|I wished that beautiful old fellow happy birthday too, isn't he just wonderful? Him enjoying his cheeseburger was just lovely, it got me quite emotional.|
by Escobar on 13 June 2012 - 23:15
|Love the site. Thanks for sharing it!!|
I have a 9 year old black Labrador and the bottom of the page made me cry. I have so much respect for people that do the best for their animals at all times. Those are my heros.
Good luck with your dogs.
by Chaina on 14 June 2012 - 20:27
|Thank you GSDNewbie for your extensive input on this topic.|
by GSDNewbie on 14 June 2012 - 21:05
|thanks, but I think everyone put in as much|