Post # 1
I’ve had many dogs in my life and old age problems are different for each one. I’m down to one dog now as my last senior passed last September.
My little terrier mix has cataracts and while he was losing his vision over the past several months, it’s suddenly gone over the past couple of weeks. His hearing has also gone to the point of near total deafness. At best he can hear some things but can’t find where they’re coming from. He recently had his teeth cleaned/extracted as needed, and the vet just did a blood panel to check for any metabolic issues like diabetes.
Blood work is good, he’s not even very arthritic, but he does seem to be having a terrible time with itchiness and is always biting at his body. Vet gave him a depo-medrol shot which didn’t help much and I give him Benadryl which doesn’t do much either.
I’ve gone to treating him like a puppy, making sure he can’t fall over things and taking him outside frequently to do his thing. He only has had accidents when he can’t find the door to show us a need. I raised a dog who was born deaf and used hand signals for her (she lived to be 15), but he can’t see, so hand signals are out.
He seems confused and stressed much of the time. He loved to ride in the car everywhere with me but now he can’t find the car and unless he’s right at my feet sleeping, he seems so lost.
My question to anyone who has experience with this: will he eventually adjust to his limitations and be happy again? I know dogs are champs at adjusting. His body is otherwise doing just just fine and I work from home so I can pay a lot of attention. It just depresses me to see him like this.
I forgot one other question: I seldom have to board him but previously I had a good kennel when a petsitter wasn’t an option. The kennel had an indoor/outdoor run, but I wonder if that will be too confusing. Any suggestions for boarding older dogs? I’ll have to next month and possibly in October. Thanks!
Post # 3
@lorie: he should eventually adjust. When I was growing up our dog went both blind and deaf. It took her time to adjust but after a while she seemed to use her paws and nose mostly to locate stuff but we helped by placing treats at the doors and furniture so she learnt to navigate via scent.
Post # 4
@lorie: I’m sorry to hear your baby is having troubles. 🙁 I would just continue doing what you’re doing now and making sure that he’s babied. Be sure not to move things around too much so that he can begin to figure out where different things are at in the house and can learn to avoid/go to certain areas.
As for the car, have you thought about a little car seat basket? Something like this
He may feel a lot more secure and they’re a little spendy, but with it all enclosed and soft he’d probably feel a lot better. He’ll be able to still smell that you’re right next to him, too.
He will adjust to his new limitations and it seems like you’re doing a great job of keeping him safe. Don’t worry, once he gets used to things he will be happy again. 🙂
Post # 5
For the itchiness-it may be a food allergy.
Watching a beloved pet age is difficult. Is there anything you can do to help him adjust, maybe put something that smells different by the door so he can find it? If you’re willing to work with him like have him smell it and then bring him outside right after do you think he could make the association? Leave an article of your clothing for him to sleep with for when he can’t be with you? I guess all you can do is take it a day at a time and see if you think he’s adjusting.
Post # 6
Awwww poor little guy. This sounds a lot like what happened with our family’s old dog. She was more or less normal in terms of blood work and general health, but she lost her vision and hearing in her old age. At first, she did seem a bit stressed, but I think any animal would if they suddenly lost vision and hearing. Eventually, she did adjust a little. She never went back to the way she was, obviously, but she at least seemed ok with getting around and with her new routine. My parents also work from home so they could watch her constantly and I think it really helped. This went on for about a year before she passed; she was 14 when that happened. I would say to keep doing what you’re doing and to really pay attention to your dog’s behavior to see if there are any changes.
Post # 7
Thank you all – good suggestion about putting a treat near the door! Sometimes he even has trouble finding his food bowl so I’m really hoping that sense of smell stays intact.
Post # 8
My family cat went blind after a stroke, she did pretty well getting around the house, but she had other issues from the stroke. She would hug the walls to get where she wanted to go, my mom did find her stuck in a corner one day when she came home from work. She was still getting to her food and litter box up until her last few days. If you can avoid moving furniture or buying new pieces that would help, so there are no “surprises” that turn up in the map of your house your dog has in his head.