A day in the life of an OAD (old aged dog)
When in schools our education team ask children ‘can you think of a reason why someone may give up their dog for rehoming?’. To my surprise we are often told,’ because the dog is too old’! Too old for what we may ask?
As I’m sure you’ve heard, here at Dogs Trust, we remind the population that ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’. But often we don’t consider how long that may be; and the changes in the dog’s life, not just our own lives, which can occur across that time.
On average a dog’s life expectancy ranges from 10 to 15 years with consideration for breed and the health of the dog. As a result, it is so important when getting puppies or young dogs that we remember that pooch won’t always be the young, lively, spritely pup you imagine it to be.
When I first met Bruno, he was a cheeky, energetic 10 year old. He’s a Labrador x collie but unfortunately didn’t inherit a collie’s renowned intelligence! He loved to chase balls, rabbits and needed hour long walks no matter what the weather!
Over the years, Bruno has developed arthritis in his hips, legs and spine, he’s on medication to control the pain and is on strict lead walks. Our hour long laps of parks, beaches and woodland, has now reduced down to a slow plod to the end of the road and back. But boy does he love to explore and sniff his patch, and check to see what other pooches have passed by each day!
As well as the reduced mobility and walking, Bruno has gained some quirky anxieties in his old age. He has become absolutely terrified of most indoor flooring which is not ideal in a home full of laminate. And to help balance, he has a tendency to reverse through doorways and corridors which can be quite hazardous, as well as time consuming!
Most noticeably, over the years Bruno has begun to snooze a lot more! I often ask children in school what they think my 15-year-old dog is doing at home on his own right now? When I get the response ‘wrecking your house’ it is quite entertaining as he is far more likely to be in his bed catching some Z’s!
Having an older dog can be a challenge, they may not be able to jump in the car and go on the same days out or adventures anymore. They may cost a bit more on the trip to the vets, when they recommend lotions and potions to help your dog be comfortable. The dog walker may not be able to take them out on hour long group walks, and they may start to get a bit neurotic about the position of their water bowl or the spooky slippery floor! But they will still show the same endless love, they will enjoy the quiet times to rest and they will still love seeing you come through the door each day…
And finally, Bruno’s daily routine…