ᴀꜱ ʏᴏᴜʀ ꜱᴇɴɪᴏʀ ᴅᴏɢ ᴀɢᴇꜱ, ᴡʜᴀᴛ ʀᴇᴘʀᴇꜱᴇɴᴛꜱ ᴀ ‘ɢᴏᴏᴅ’ Qᴜᴀʟɪᴛʏ ᴏꜰ ʟɪꜰᴇ ꜰᴏʀ ʜɪᴍ ᴏʀ ʜᴇʀ ᴡɪʟʟ ꜱʜɪꜰᴛ.
By Dr. Monica Tarantino
But OUR shift as pet parents must always be on WHAT exactly constitutes a good quality of life for them. Let's talk about what this means for you and your dog. And I'll use Becca my black lab mix as an example. When we first adopted Becca at age 10, she had arthritis but could still walk 1 to 2 miles a day. She lives for her walks and food. We supported her with joint supplements, doggy NSAIDS as needed and physical therapy.
Now at age 16, Becca’s arthritis has progressed quite a bit. She can only walk a few blocks now and when she does, her pace is slow and we have to keep close watch on one of her back legs which drags occasionally. She still loves her walks. She still loves her dog food and gets happy to see us. She still gets up everytime we come home to great us. She STILL has a great quality of life, but it looks different now.
As our dogs age, we must constantly evaluate their quality of life because at some point, we know it will decrease no matter what we can do for her and we’ll have to make that difficult choice.
Involving your veterinarian in this is VITAL to them aging in a healthy and happy way and as I’ve stated before, that means getting them into the vet every 6 months for checkups and reassessment. More frequently if dealing with diseases that require that.
In case you haven’t heard, Dr. Lisa Lippman and I have a senior dog course that teaches you how to create longer living and happier old dogs. It deep dives into all of the common questions pet parents have and has a quality of life section for pet parents wanting to know our approach. Learn more here!