Saturday, August 1, 2020

Aging dogs (updated in the comments)

Last night was another bad night with my beloved dog, Ginger. Something is going on with her and a trip to the vet may soon be in order. I'm afraid that most of the problems she's developing are all age related.

Having to admit she's getting old is so hard for me. I'm crying just typing this. I don't know how to convey how much our girl means to us and seeing what may be the first real signs of a decline in her is so very upsetting. She's thirteen years old now, and while the huge battery of tests she had done last September when she had Vestibular Disease indicated she was extremely healthy for a dog her age, recently she's had some odd behaviors that have me worried. 

To begin with, she's been acting a little more "scattered" in general. She's not hearing all that well anymore, and sometimes she acts a little distracted. More worrying, she's taken to pacing around at night and seems to have a hard time settling down to sleep. It's especially bad if we haven't taken her for a walk, but a couple of times lately she's refused to go out (which is in itself highly unusual). The heat is terrible right now, even at night, so I don't blame her if that's the reason. When we do manage a walk, she's not willing to go very far and she's been very slow, which also might be the heat, but she seems to settle down and rest better on the nights when she's had some exercise. Last night was horrible. She wouldn't go out to walk (which was fine, the heat index was so high even at 10pm that it probably wasn't a great idea) but she kept pacing and whining softly at the side of the bed and I kept getting up to see if she needed to go out and pee. She went outside briefly two of the 10 times she woke me up, but the other times she just walked around, got some water, and went back to the bedroom. Occasionally I wake up to her panting a little in the middle of the night, which makes me worry that she's in some kind of pain.

I called the vet this morning and asked if I could make an appointment for her next week. I also asked if I could give her something for pain in the meantime, to see if that's the problem. The vet told me to come by the office and pick up some anti-inflammatory medicine to try, and if that solves the problem (he thinks it might) I can cancel the appointment we made for next Thursday. I'm anxious to see if this helps! She's been slower about standing up and going up and down steps lately, so hopefully she's just got a touch of arthritis, which is relatively easy to treat. Easier than canine dementia setting in, which is my worst fear. 

I wish I could be at peace with her aging. I'm not sure if it's the timing, what with the pandemic and other stressors in my life right now, but I'm having a terrible time dealing with this. I've been crying all day today. I was even shedding tears as I picked up the medicine at the vet's. Nothing is so wrong with Ginger at this point that I need to be this emotional about it but I can't seem to stop. Maybe I need to join Ginger and George and take a nap. I certainly didn't get much rest last night. Hopefully Ginger's first pill (which she got just over an hour ago) will start to make a difference and she'll be back to her normal self soon. I'll let you know. Meanwhile, I'm off to try to distract my weepy self with some mindless tv, a healthy lunch, and hopefully (if Marco will be quiet for an hour or so) a good nap. Wish me luck.


  1. it's hard to see your furkids age. hope the medicine helps ginger. and I hope you all took a nap!

  2. I hope the nap worked (well, I hope the family cooperated and allowed you to nap). So sorry for what you're experiencing and I hope Ginger recovers from whatever is bothering her. There is never good time for this.

  3. I'm so sorry Jennifer. I can understand how upsetting this can be to you. Our furbabies are our children and we love and care about them so much that we naturally worry when something is off. It could be that part of the trouble is a combination of her loss of hearing, the heat and arthritis. I can tell you from a human perspective that the heat is much more difficult to take as you get older! I believe arthritis is very common in animals and that could cause her night behavior.

    You know with everything we have all been through lately it is easy for something like this added on top of it all to send you into a fit of tears. That happened to me the other day. Everything in general in the world combined with problems in my personal world just caught up with me and I cried on and off one day. I hope the medication works for Ginger and she feels better soon!

  4. Age is a terrible thing for dogs since they can't tell you what's wrong. All we can do is try our best to make sure they're comfortable.

  5. Yes, have a good nap. It is so sad to watch a pet grow old.

  6. Ginger has given you reason to cry the tears you've been holding in and that's ok, you'll feel better when they are out.
    She might be a new dog with some pain relief

  7. If only they could tell us what's wrong; we always feel so helpless. Let's hope the pills make her feel better. I understand your feelings. xx

  8. I am crying with you Jennifer. I so hope that the pills help her.

  9. Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for finding my blog and following. It is very hard to find a blogger by way of their following pic but I went back to Urspo and there you were!

    I know only too well what your are going through. My darling Millie had dementia at the end, she was just as you describe Ginger in many ways. She was 14 but I couldn’t bear to call the vet for the final kindness until there was no other way out. I still miss her after 10 months.

  10. My heart is with you and Ginger. I know you love her so much. She is such a part of your life. I how the medicine helps.

  11. The heartbreak of loving an animal. Sending hugs and wisdom.

  12. Woke up this morning to find Ginger had a swollen abdomen. Took her to the new emergency vet clinic and things don't look good. She's either got heart failure, liver failure, or cancer. They're trying to make her comfortable and draining the fluid. I'm on the verge of being devastated.

  13. Update at 6pm...Ginger is at home. Her prognosis isn't good. We'll be following up with her vet in the morning but for now she's stable and comfortable. It's been a hard day.

  14. Oh Jennifer, I'm so sorry to hear this. Sending love and positive, healing

  15. Poor Old Ginger! I guess that decline with old dogs happens in a zigzag manner with some days better than others. Let's hope that she gets better before she gets worse. Come on Ginger!

  16. Thats tough! All you can do now is shower love on her until it's time to say farewell

  17. we are going through the same with our aging dog Harper. I relate.

  18. Oh your poor dear Ginger and you are suffering with her. I hope she rallies and has more happy days on earth with you. Hugs to you both.

  19. Poor dear Ginger, and poor you. It reminds me so much of the last two years with my last cat. I still cry sometimes when I think of her, and the other cats I had and loved and cared for until their end, so I can very well understand what's going on with you right now. So sorry.

  20. So very hard. Thinking of you.

  21. {{{{{hugs}}}}} to you and gregg and ginger.

  22. Somehow I missed this post. Again, I'm so sorry to hear this is happening. I've been through it and I know it's incredibly hard. I'm thinking of both of you.

  23. Oh I am so upset along with you.
    Hanish at the end had everything failing. I didn't understand we were waiting for Daughter to get home. So many tears I understand what you are going through. My advice to you is do not wait as long as I did.
    I am so sorry. I never met your gud dugs but they are my sweethearts also.

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