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Elderly dog really struggling in the heat

(10 Posts)
Quasicrystals1456 Sat 11-Jul-15 08:45:39

Not really sure if this is a question or just thinking out loud.

I have a lovely old cross breed 14yo dog. Always been bright and easy. Until the last few months...

We've had terrible problems with him eating soil and making himself sick. He stays on the lead on walks and we've now proofed the garden as he was going out to dig up the flower beds. He has natures diet, and some mid afternoon probiotic yoghurt which seems to have helped. He also has loxicom for arthritis.

But in the last few days he's lost his appetite and doesn't want to go out for a walk (whatever time of day). We have a younger dog who we do still walk but old boy isn't interested.

Is this the beginning of the end or just a blip because of the heat? He's cool enough in the house but doesn't move around much. Not sure what else I can do to keep him comfortable.

Thank you for reading!

LimeJellyHead Sat 11-Jul-15 11:13:12

When you say "lost his appetite" do you mean almost completely or just eating less? Lots of dogs eat less in the summer.

Does he have a cooling coat for summer walkies, even if you have to take him out separately and for just 5-10 mins at a time? And a nice cool place to be in the day with maybe a cooling mat and floor fan?

If he is not getting walkies at the moment, could he be bored and fed up, with nothing exciting to look forward to? As dogs get older and less physically active it is important to do something else with them instead like a gentle indoor game that involves thinking. My oldies love interactive games and also refreshing their basics like sit, lie down, paw and stay. They get it right and get a good feeling from it plus a treat of course, lol. They also like playing with their treat toys too. Even treats in a scrunched up bit of newspaper or magazine pages keeps them amused.

Quasicrystals1456 Sat 11-Jul-15 11:46:38

Many thanks for the reply. He did go for 2 short walks yesterday; one at night so it was cool and quiet but DH said he was VERY slow. This morning he didn't go out, and is showing no signs of being interested. So this behaviour is a marked deterioration.

He's eating about 1/2 what he normally would. He's also had a lifetime of trying to lick stuff being put in the dishwasher and would come trotting in at the sound of plates being scraped in the hope of something falling into his mouth. Not today.

We had takeaway last night (duck) and he wasn't really watching with interest as normal. So it's not just loss of appetite, but loss of interest in food.

This also spans to not being interested in games etc. DS was stroking/chatting to him earlier. He's not bored. It's like he's too tired to bother? Balls/treats aren't of interest now.

It's actually not that hot today (I hadn't been out when I posted earlier) so fans and cooling mats wouldn't help at the moment.

I feel worse now knowing its not the heat sad I'm very reluctant to take him to the vet as he gets so stressed out by it.

AlpacaLypse Sat 11-Jul-15 11:49:16

Do you know if your vet does home visits? Ours does - it IS more expensive, but with animals who are very stressed by visiting the clinic it's worth it.

tabulahrasa Sat 11-Jul-15 11:51:47

Were the bouts of sickness definitely to do with soil and not coinciding with being put on loxicom?

Quasicrystals1456 Sat 11-Jul-15 12:01:03

The bouts of sickness are definitely soil related - the Loxicom saw a real improvement in his physical health, and as long as we're clever and don't let him get to the soil he isn't sick.

It's so strange - I've had him for 9 years, and he had campylobacter 18m ago which was a month of hell, but he bounced back ok. But then he became a soil eater... We thought it was because he was lacking in some nutrient, but changing to a superior diet (grain free) and probiotic yoghurt has helped his diet, but hasn't stopped the craving he has.

I think a home visit might be in order. I just wonder if he's an old dog, and need to accept that this isn't treatable.

tabulahrasa Sat 11-Jul-15 12:08:05

loxicom is great as an anti inflammatory, but it can have some pretty serious digestive side effects, my dog's were masked by the symptoms of his food intolerances until he was really very ill...which was why I was asking.

It could be almost anything I wouldn't worry about it being something untreatable until after he's seen a vet, older dogs still get normal treatable illnesses smile

LimeJellyHead Sat 11-Jul-15 13:28:35

What you are describing sounds like my oldie, Berkeley, who is 15 years old. It is like he is checking out now. I am sorry but it could just be old age. Just keep him happy and comfortable. I doubt a vet could do much but I am not saying don't do that if you feel you should. Really I would just say do things he still likes to do, keep routines as much as you can etc...

My husband gets exasperated with me sometimes because every day I fret and worry about Berkeley... is he happy, is he this and that. I comment and worry about every change. Hubby says he is just getting old and we need to accept that. In old age we all slow down, eat less, show less interest in things.

Hugs flowers

SirVixofVixHall Sat 11-Jul-15 13:36:53

I think he really needs to see a vet. It is easy to assume "just old age" when something could be going on that needs addresseing and could be treated. If he panics in the vet's then I agree a house-call might be better. But if the vet can't come out maybe she/he could give him a low dose of something to calm him slightly beforehand?

Quasicrystals1456 Sun 12-Jul-15 12:15:10

Thanks all. He seems to have 'picked up' slightly after a quiet day yesterday.

I'm going to monitor mood, behaviour, input/output this week so I can really have a grip on changes.

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