Aw, Sparky Just Sleeps A Lot Because He’s Old.

How many have ever had an older dog that slept a lot? Or a dog that didn’t want to go on walks or play much anymore? Or maybe one that couldn’t jump on the sofa or bed anymore? Or one that had trouble getting up or down? Or a dog that was restless at night, couldn’t lie still for very long, or panted more?

Are all of these signs occurring just because Sparky is getting old? Or are these signs occurring because he is aging with degenerative changes? The truth lies closer to the latter.

Degenerative arthritis can cause any number of signs, some of which are very subtle. Many times clients will remark to me that Sparky doesn’t act like he’s painful. But reality is, all of the signs above are indeed evidence of pain. Dogs are natural survivors, and most don’t verbalize pain as we do. Sure, some may grunt or moan at times, but the more obvious things to look for are the signs mentioned above.
So what can be done about it? Well, a conversation with your veterinarian is the first step. By giving your vet a complete account of all the things your dog is doing, or not doing, allows him or her to begin to solve the puzzle. A thorough exam, that may or may not include lab work and x-rays, is a necessity. Oftentimes, medications will be prescribed for arthritis inflammation and pain. For older dogs, it is important to keep them on this medication to break the pain and inflammation “wind-up” that has occurred over time. Sporadic use of these medications may help but is incomplete compared to consistent use.

Keeping Sparky active is very important. As they say, “use it or lose it”! The key point here is to take your dog on walks, but only as much as he can tolerate. Just as with any exercise program, starting off slow and increasing over time is the proper approach.

Another way to keep Sparky active is through Certified Canine Rehabilitation. Some of my other blogs have given detailed accounts about Canine Rehab. They are available at www.fosteranimalhospital.com. But, in a nutshell, Canine Rehab is similar to physical therapy in people. Canine Rehab is also akin to having your dog’s own personal trainer, just with a medical slant. With rehab, problem areas are identified, and a Rehab Plan is put in place to address inflammation, pain, strength, endurance, obesity, flexibility and balance. Only a Certified Therapist is trained to address these areas through rehab.

So if your “Sparky” fits the bill with any of the above issues, contact us today to get started in solving and resolving some of these issues.

We can be reached at 704-786-0104. My email is sfoster@fosteranimalhospital.com