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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

I'm dog sitting a very elderly dog for 10 days while her owners are on vacation. She's 18 years old and a 5lb little dog. She looks like a Chinese Crested mix because she has the body shape. She's super sweet, mellow, and I really like her.

The problem is I don't know to do to entertain her. She's so old that she's lost most of her teeth and can't really pick anything up. She shows no interest in any toys I put out for her, or wants to play with my little dog Wicket (though that's probably a good thing since Wicket might hurt her). She paces back and forth in my place and I'm not sure if she's anxious from being away from her owners or bored out of her mind. I really want her to enjoy herself, but for a dog so old and with little interest in much else, I have no clue. Anybody have ideas? Or is this how super senior dogs are?

She seems to like her walks, but I don't want to over exercise her. It seems like she's starting to get arthritic and her hind legs slow her down. She's not really expressive so I don't know if she's tired or can keep going. She walks very very slow but is determined to keep walking. Should I let her keep walking or should I limit the duration she walks? She's a really good walker, but just slow. What do you guys think? And what do you guys suggest?

Thank you for any advice and suggestions :)
 

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Do you know if she likes swimming? It would be easier on her joints.

If she's interested in food maybe hide some treats around the house for a game of hide and seek. Or a treat dispensing toy that she can roll might be good.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She doesn't like water, but if she did, I would definitely take her for a small swim :)

She likes her wet food because it's easy for her to gum up, lol. I've tried spreading a little bit on the rim of a kong. She licks for for like 10 seconds and loses interest. She doesn't seem to like treats very much, but I'll try a few other little tid-bits for her to sample to see if I can find anything she likes. Don't want to give her too much, don't want to upset her belly.
 

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I know a guy who has a dog that's 20 years old. He's surprisingly healthy, probably last a good 3 more years.
If he ever takes the dog out then it's just near the house to let him sniff around.
Perhaps you just wanna put a leash on her and let her sniff around, instead of actually walking her like you would a younger dog. That way, she's in control and there isn't too much strain on her joints. May seem kinda boring for us but dogs love to sniff everything all day.
Or you could get one of those leashes that are adjustable and can be extended to like 20+ feet. So she sniffs just outside the house while you relax, and then when she wants to go into another area to sniff, just walk a couple steps and she'll have a whole new area to explore.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I know a guy who has a dog that's 20 years old. He's surprisingly healthy, probably last a good 3 more years.
If he ever takes the dog out then it's just near the house to let him sniff around.
Perhaps you just wanna put a leash on her and let her sniff around, instead of actually walking her like you would a younger dog. That way, she's in control and there isn't too much strain on her joints. May seem kinda boring for us but dogs love to sniff everything all day.
Or you could get one of those leashes that are adjustable and can be extended to like 20+ feet. So she sniffs just outside the house while you relax, and then when she wants to go into another area to sniff, just walk a couple steps and she'll have a whole new area to explore.
When I take her out, I follow by her side or let her walk ahead of me. If she goes in a direction she shouldn't (like into the street), I lightly pull on her leash and wave my hands in the direction I want her to go in (basically deaf this one, lol). But let me tell ya, she may be as old as dirt but she can still go go go. When she wants to walk, she pulls when I stop (for example to pick up poop). And she wants to walk walk, not a sniff walk, she will keep waddling down the sidewalk until I stop her or we turn a corner. She follows me sometimes too, like when we're heading home. I've been taking it as a sign she wants to go home when she stops leading. I just don't want her to over exert herself, but still get exercise and entertainment.
 

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An in-law's old dog, a lab, simply loved to go for a leisurely walk to take in the sights, sounds and smells.
 

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If shes never stayed with you before and is just pacing it's probably just because this is so off from what she's used to. It could be the reason why she's not "into" anything as shes just worried just enough to not be interested or comfortable. Didn't her owner tell you anything about her likes? I find it odd when people leave their dog without saying anything helpful to keep them happy. I would walk her if she enjoys that, but don't just keep going. Just because she will walk for 3 hours doesn't mean she should. If she likes sights and smells, maybe you can break up the walk somewhere like stopping at a park and just hanging out in the grass and also gives the old timer rests.
 

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I would do whatever the dog usually does. My oldest was 14, 15 yrs old and she just wanted loving, food and sleep.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
If shes never stayed with you before and is just pacing it's probably just because this is so off from what she's used to. It could be the reason why she's not "into" anything as shes just worried just enough to not be interested or comfortable. Didn't her owner tell you anything about her likes? I find it odd when people leave their dog without saying anything helpful to keep them happy. I would walk her if she enjoys that, but don't just keep going. Just because she will walk for 3 hours doesn't mean she should. If she likes sights and smells, maybe you can break up the walk somewhere like stopping at a park and just hanging out in the grass and also gives the old timer rests.
Her owners said she liked to sleep and didn't really play very much. Cuddling in her blanket is her favorite thing to do, but she seems like my hard floor more than her blanket at the moment. She appears more settled today and much more lively since I clipped her nails. I keep her walks to just a block or two and back, I think she likes walking more now that she doesn't have long nails and it's not so awkward to walk. Her owners didn't like how stressed she got when they took her to get groomed so haven't taken her in a long time, but I guess were afraid to clip her nails themselves. She didn't mind getting her nails trimmed, but didn't like her mats being cut off, lol. I have her on a "puppy" schedule right now and take her out to potty every 3-4 hours with scheduled walks, free roaming in my home time, and nap times.
 

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Frequent, short walks are good for old dogs, just let her set the pace.

Muggsy and I played this game with his favorite ball. He would lay down on the floor, I would roll the ball to his muzzle and he would bop it back to me with his nose. It seems stupid, but he liked it.
 

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I agree that she may be a bit concerned about the new location. Also, if she's deaf, may also be losing her sight... no connection, just age related. So, her main method of orientation is smell, even more so than normal.

In addition, - I'm stretching here - if she hasn't been groomed, then maybe her ears weren't cleaned... and she may have had ear infections: yeast or bacteria ... Even if she doesn't shake her head or scratch, you can tell by smell. A clean ear shouldn't smell.

In any case, lots of old dogs like massages - let her tell you where, as well as gentle ear scratching, during cuddle time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I agree that she may be a bit concerned about the new location. Also, if she's deaf, may also be losing her sight... no connection, just age related. So, her main method of orientation is smell, even more so than normal.

In addition, - I'm stretching here - if she hasn't been groomed, then maybe her ears weren't cleaned... and she may have had ear infections: yeast or bacteria ... Even if she doesn't shake her head or scratch, you can tell by smell. A clean ear shouldn't smell.

In any case, lots of old dogs like massages - let her tell you where, as well as gentle ear scratching, during cuddle time.
She is starting to lose her sight, and I think maybe developing cataracts. So far she's been able to see me signaling her to come or go here. She could also be looking for other dogs she lives with. The owners have two big big dogs that are young and rambunctious. They went camping and brought the two energetic ones, but didn't want to stress the old timer out with the whole camping ordeal. Going from an environment with lots of activity going on to a place that is quiet and calm. I do hope she enjoys the quiet vacation. She's finally snuggling into her blanket. I really like that she's deaf; I don't have to worry about disturbing her nap or startling her, lol.

Will do take that advice about her ears. Now that's she's settling down, I'll be doing a little more grooming soon. I didn't want to do too much at once and stress her out too much.

She certainly likes to be scratched behind the ear. I will try to massage her and see if she likes that :D
 

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Smelly things. Her eyesight, hearing, and mobility are down - but her nose is likely still just fine. A piece of bacon under a cup might prove surprisingly fun - for both of you.
 
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