help, inheriting a dog!!

(32 Posts)
fiddlemethis Fri 15-Feb-13 11:40:32

Hello everyone, we have had a death in the family and there has been an old 13 year old spaniel left behind. We can't see her go into kennels but I havent got much of a clue about dogs. She seems to be pretty good with children but obviously we will be keeping both the children and the dog under watchful eye.
Mostly my question is what should we do when she arrives? She is overweight and I have no idea about how much we should be feeding her. Its all a bit daunting but I think we will all enjoy having her here once we figure it all out!!

I suggest you register her with a vet, who will be able to weigh her accurately and tell you how much she needs to lose. However they might try to sell you some hideously expensive diet food. grin

I have a spaniel but he is 4 so is still really active. Maybe just start off with a 20 minute walk and gradually extend it, that will help her lose weight too. She's quite elderly though so probably won't need loads of exercise again.

Do you know what she was being fed? It's best to keep her on the same food or just change gradually so as not to upset her system.
She may however go off her food if she gets stressed by all the changes.
Good luck. What sort of spaniel is she?

mistlethrush Fri 15-Feb-13 11:54:00

Congratulations on your new addition to the family - I hope that you'll have several happy years with her.

It will all be strange for her - particularly if she's been in a quiet home and is moving to a bustley family home. Try to make sure that she has a 'safe' preferably quiet place that she knows is hers and won't be 'invaded', and preferably have things in it that she's familiar with (eg basket).

I would plan on 2 meals a day - find out what she's been eating and try to start off with that, even if you gradually swap to something else. I like feeding a good-quality all-in-one because I know its been formulated to provide what the dog needs - I'm using James Wellbeloved for the first time with our new dog, and know many other people that use that, although there are plenty of different foods that you can choose from. Aim to get one that guarantees the ingredients so that you don't get a different quality depending upon what is the cheapest meat around that day.

You might want to look at a 'senior' dog food given her age.

Look at the feeding quantity and work out how you're going to measure it (we use a beaker as a scoop, having worked out how many our dog needs over the day). Remember if you use treats you need to knock off some of the food if you're trying to help her lose a bit of weight.

Take her to the vets and get some advice on what weight you should be aiming at and how long it should take to get there (and make sure any innoculations are up to date and worming).

You might need to build her up gradually to decent length walks - she might not be fit enough and her pads might not be tough enough either to start with.

Don't let the children go near her when she's eating - strict rule - even if she seems OK - its just not fair.

HOpefully you'll inherit her brushes etc too - otherwise you'll need them with a spaniel - little and often is probably the way to go. Stockpile old towels for the back door to wipe muddy feet.

fiddlemethis Fri 15-Feb-13 11:57:34

Oh gosh, would we have to get special diet food for her? That would be a big cost I'd rather avoid! I should think she will come with some food from her old place so we will get an idea of what she was eating, she was also being fed a lot of rich tea biscuits I think.....
She is a springer spaniel, she does resemble a barrel though smile

mistlethrush Fri 15-Feb-13 12:05:36

The vets will recommend a special diet for her - which no doubt they can get for you at £££££. However, you can also get 'low' versions in pet shops of the normal brands - but you could also see if making sure you only fed the recommended amount and no rich tea biscuits, at the same time as upping the exercise did the trick.

I find it a really good thing to have a dog as, even in the worst weather, DS knows that the dog 'has' to have a walk, so he comes out too - our old dog certainly needed less exercise than DS did!!!

slambang Fri 15-Feb-13 12:08:17

I'd say you don't need a special diet unless she has specific medical problems and far better for the poor dog to stick to what she's been used to (she'll have had enough upheaval without coping with a chnage of diet, plus I guess you don't want to be coping with runny dog tummy.)

Don't use quantity advice on the manufacturers' tins or packets - they massively over estimate how much to feed sell you . Older dogs are less active so don't need as much.

We use a measuring cup

slambang Fri 15-Feb-13 12:15:16

oops

we use a measuring cup and over time have adjusted the quantity to keep our dog trim. Feed smaller quantities of the more expensive food as it's got more nutrition.

To give an idea we feed our westie (smaller than a springer) a couple of small dog biscuits for breakfast, half a plastic cup of dry food supplemented with a bit of cheapo tin to make it yummy and a tooth chew at bedtime.

Hope you enjoy your new family member smile

tabulahrasa Fri 15-Feb-13 12:23:06

Diet food is for people really, not the dogs, it's to make people feel happier about it all, really all you need to do is feed less normal food.

Her food will have a reccomendation for different size dogs, get her weighed (so you can keep track) feed her the amount fr the weight she should be not what she is now ( you can of course cut it down gradually if there's a massive difference) give her some gentle exercise and she should soon slim down. Don't give her rich tea biscuits, lol.

I'd assume you'd be taking her bed anyway, put it somewhere close but out of the way, a corner near the couch is ideal... So she can go there when she wants to be left alone, but isn't isolated.

If your DC aren't used to dogs... They usually like to sniff before they're stroked, some dogs aren't keen on being stroked on the face ( I find children seem to do this anyway, yours might not) they prefer the top of the head and down their backs, some dogs can be a bit funny about paws and tails being touched and some aren't so keen on hugs - the chances are none of those will be an issue or at worst she'll just move away because she doesn't like it, but thought I'd mention it just in case smile

fiddlemethis Fri 15-Feb-13 12:39:01

Thanks all for your advice, its made me feel a lot less panicky. I was planning on taking her out in the morning to my daughters school and back which is about 10 mins each way and then taking her again at pick up, do you think that would be ok to start with? I also have a lovely corner which currently has loads of crap in, its out of the way so we could teach the children that when she is in her space to leave her alone. So a general check at the vets would be a good place to start.
I'm rather looking forward to it, I think it will be good for all of us in terms of getting out and about and the children are very excited and it would be horrible if she had to go into kennels at her age.

mistlethrush Fri 15-Feb-13 12:54:42

The corner sounds ideal. Make sure that your dcs understand that they are not allowed to go there, and are not allowed to touch her when she is there. I would also suggest that they learn not to touch her if she's asleep - its just sensible - she might be fine, but some dogs certainly wouldn't be.

The walk sounds good - as a start - but you should find that she can soon work up from that.

I've found the recommended guidelines a good place to start - you can always increase the food if she's losing weight too quickly or reduce it if she's not losing or indeed gaining weight.

Make sure that you get into the routine of letting her out in the garden first thing and last thing at night too... and watch for signals during the day to see if she's wanting to go out, particularly at first - but I would also be making sure that she goes out at least twice between the walks for the moment, just in case.

fiddlemethis Fri 15-Feb-13 13:16:47

Thank you mistlethrush, going out for the toilet was something I hadnt really thought about and you have probably saved me lots of little puddles around the house!
Yes, there is going to be a certain amount of training the children so they don't bother her when she doesnt want to be bothered!

mistlethrush Fri 15-Feb-13 13:21:40

We recently rescued an un-housetrained dog, so we know all about puddles (not that little) and presents (also large) being left around the house.... Its worth it though! ;)

UterusUterusGhali Fri 15-Feb-13 20:49:33

So sorry for your loss sad

Do make sure she doesn't get too overwhelmed at the school gates! Let Dds friends know she is older & may be cranky.

Very exciting though! I always thought a dog finds you, rather than the other way round.

ChoudeBruxelles Fri 15-Feb-13 20:52:57

We inherited my mums springer last march - he's now 9. We have a 2 year old springer of our own. Our biggest problem was letting them work out who was top dog - which involved a few scraps.

Register with a vet and they will advise you about weight. We just feed both dogs the same food but the older one gets less as he is a bit fat and not as active.

Lots of walks and fusses and I'm sure you will be fine x

fiddlemethis Fri 15-Feb-13 21:05:00

Thank you Uterus, its very sad and I do worry that the dog may be a little traumatised, hopefully though with lots of love and walks she will adjust ok. I'm quite excited about it though and looking forward to having a pooch around to keep me company smile I think there is something that resembles a "dog park" where people tie their dogs off the main road and in a quiet bit away from the play ground so I'll see how she goes there. I'd better figure out if she likes other dogs too!

fiddlemethis Fri 15-Feb-13 22:09:08

ok, the dog has arrived and she is massive!

fiddlemethis Sat 16-Feb-13 07:50:22

Poor thing, struggled to get up on her legs this morning sad she couldnt even get to the end of the road. Its going to be a long road trying to get her to lose some weight.

kitsmummy Sat 16-Feb-13 08:04:26

Oh the poor thing! I would definitely suggest a quick vets visit for weigh in and also to check her out - at her age it could be arthritis as well as the weight if she's having trouble getting up.

Hopefully it'll just be the weight though and i'm sure the pounds will start to fall off with less treats and more exercise. Good luck, you're doing a really great thing, it would have been terrible for a dog that age to go into kennels sad

mistlethrush Sat 16-Feb-13 08:46:16

Our last dog had arthritis and we used to give her 'flexi paws' pills which helped a lot - they have glucosamine chondroitin in... We got them on-line.

Booboostoo Sat 16-Feb-13 09:02:06

Good on you for taking her on!

If you can take her to a vet's for a check-up sooner rather than later. Struggling to get up is not normal behaviour and she may be suffering from arthritis which is something the vet can help her with. The weight gain can be associated with medical conditions as well so it might be worth taking some bloods to check.

If everything is fine physically (or as fine as it can be for an elderly dog) little and often is the key to exercise with very gradual increases in the duration of the walks/activities.

fiddlemethis Sat 16-Feb-13 11:45:31

How much is a check up likely to cost? And if she needs tablets for arthritis, is that likely to cost a lot too? I'm a bit worried now that its going to cost us a fortune.....

tabulahrasa Sat 16-Feb-13 12:19:23

A vet's check up is about £25 if there's nothing prescribed at my vets they all charge a bit differently... If you take her back just to get weighed after that that should be free and most vets run a weight loss clinic with a veterinary nurse either for nothing or for very little.

The tablets are just a vitamin and mineral supplement, you want one with glucosamine and chondroitin in - you get lots of different ones at any pet shop or online, I buy high strength ones which cost £15 for a bottle with 3 months worth in. You do get smaller bottles and cheaper brands though. But they work out at pennies a day.

If she is a bit arthritic, getting the weight off her is what will do most good anyway.

fiddlemethis Sat 16-Feb-13 12:31:20

I've just had a look and my vet nurse friend says we might be eligible for PDSA, how does that work? I've looked at the website and it says it asks for a donation, is that a set amount or do you just pay what you can afford? And does it cover general things like worming and on going prescriptions?

tabulahrasa Sat 16-Feb-13 12:42:49

Routine care things like vaccinations and worming you pay for, though they're cheaper than other vets.

Medical stuff is whatever donation you can give them.

ChoudeBruxelles Sat 16-Feb-13 13:53:14

We pay £11 a month each for our dogs to the vet - that include monthly flea and worming treatment, booster vaccinations each year and one free consultation. Maybe some vets near you offer a similar scheme. We pay insurance on top of that

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