Friday, March 6, 2009

Older dogs and younger kids

My dogs are both large breeds, 7 year old Mack weighing in at 90 pounds and 6 year old Bell weighing in at 125. With their size and advancing ages, they are technically speaking seniors. Being seniors, their bodies are ever so slowly starting to wear down. When Mack was 3, he blew out both of his CCL ligaments (aka ACLs in human terms), and we endured two rounds of TPLO to put him back together with titanium plates and screws. Given those injuries, Mack's knees developed arthritic changes in them at a young age. Bell had her hips x-rayed while under for a teeth cleaning last year and we discovered she is severely dysplastic in one of her hips. Needless to say, my beasts are not getting any younger. As a result, they both probably have varying amounts of discomfort daily based on the weather and their weight.

As a means of fighting the good fight, they both are kept as lean as possible so as to avoid any added stress on their joints. Did you know obesity is one of the leading diseases in veterinary medicine today. Be kind to your dogs and give them added years on their life by keeping them slim and trim. To further enhance their quality of life, they both get human grade fish oil pills (a natural anti inflammatory) and a giant glucosamine/msm/chrondroitin (helps cushion their joints and rebuild cartilage) pill tossed in at dinner. I also invested in some nice orthopedic beds from Orvis and they have never seemed happier. Their post sleep limps are almost nil.

Even with all I do, I cannot stop the ever present march of time. Some of my new challenges as a parent involve an overenthusiastic toddler who can sometimes pet a little too hard which can hurt their aching bodies. Becks has also fallen on Bell a few times when going balls to the walls. In both instances, he has been given a correction by the dogs- a growl, a yelp, and an open mouth on him a time or two. I try hard to keep my calm and carry on as they say, but I know it will only get more tricky as they get older and crankier. Becks and I have a lot of little talks about how that hurts and he is giving them a boo boo. Luckily, as they age, he does too which makes these life lessons easier for him to understand. I know one day they will teach him the hardest lesson of all by exiting this world as we know it, but I know in my heart he will be a better human being for it. I wish all kids were this blessed.

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