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Hi guys,

My rescue Malamute must be coming up to 13 years old now. I know that’s pretty old for her breed.

She’s still lively and happy, but her legs are starting to get weaker and she stumbles now and again.
Coupled with this, she’s unable to walk as far as she once did and shies away from hills, therefore her walks are much shorter and less exercise for her. Hence, she’s putting on extra weight, which is increasing the pressure on her weakening legs. A viscous circle.

I have her on Wainwright’s Senior stuff now, which has extra Glucosamine and have also been given her treats of Baker’s Joint Delicious, which also have added Glucosamine.

I have told my friendly neighbour that he needs to stop giving her snacks like bread when she’s out in the garden and we are only giving her low fat treats in the house, such as sardines, mackerel and eggs and good food which we mix in with her biscuits to make them more tasty for her.

Apart from cutting down the poor snacks and continuing the glucosamine, how can we stop her putting on more weight due to the less exercise?

I thought to take her for more short walks daily as she is struggling for one longer one? Although I can’t take her during the day, as it’s too hot for her.
What else is there she can eat?
Any other tips?

Thanks in advance.



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You need to consult with your veterinarian. Working out a plan for pain relief (if needed) and conditioning exercises would be the first start, as well as discussing diet.
 
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I have an almost 13 year old Great Pyr in similar condition, but we have the opposite problem of keeping weight on her. She has been eating a mixture of kibble and raw for the past several years, but I recently switched her to full raw for two reasons - because she doesn't like dry or canned food and we can't afford for her to lose weight, but also because her energy levels are much better on raw. So I would suggest looking into raw food, if that's something you're comfortable with/willing to consider, even just for one meal a day or mixed in with kibble. Premade raw is going to be really expensive for a large dog if you feed it solely, but there are other options (either the grocery store or finding a raw food co-op locally).

But in general, if she is gaining weight still or needs the extra pounds taken off, just cut back her food. Not just the snacks, but her actual kibble. Weight gain/loss all comes down to calories in vs calories expended. It's really important to not let a senior dog put on extra weight. It will cause even more difficulty with their mobility and add extra stress to their joints.

We are also struggling with activity because of the weather. I take her out for walks in the morning and evening when it is cool. When it starts cooling down, I'll take her out into a nearby field and just let her amble around smelling stuff at her own pace for as long as she likes (or about an hour, whichever comes first) on top of her walks. But listen to the dog - if she is struggling with distance, don't try to push it. You'll just end up making her sore and painful. If she seems hot, remember that elderly dogs may be more susceptible to overheating. Depending on how stable she is on tile flooring, you may look into taking her to dog friendly stores during the heat of the day when she ortherwise can't get a walk in. I do this a lot with my dogs during the summer. They also make little socks with rubber grippies on the bottom that help with walking on tile floors. It's good mental stimulation to be in a new place as well as some exercise walking around.

As far as glucosamine goes, I would look up the actual amounts in the food and treats and determine exactly how much she is actually getting. More times than not, even foods/treats with "added glucosamine" do not have anywhere near enough - you'd have to feed like 20 cups to get a proper dose, especially for an elderly arthritic dog. It may be worth looking into. I have all of my dogs on Dasuquin, which is pretty affordable and works the best out of anything I've tried - including Adequan.
 

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I can relate to your situation since I went through a similar one with my Collie/Husky mix who passed away at 15. His main age issue was the back legs as well.For the last year of his life I used the drug Rimadyl , prescribed by my vet,which gave him an additional year. This is a controversial drug and you can read more here; https://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2006/october/rimadyl-controversy-6509 I also switched him to a Science diet recommended by a friend of mine At Univ. of Pa Veterinary Center for that last year to protect his kidneys. As many dog owners know your dog will let you know when it is time so don't feel guilty when that time comes.
 

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I can relate to your situation since I went through a similar one with my Collie/Husky mix who passed away at 15. His main age issue was the back legs as well.For the last year of his life I used the drug Rimadyl , prescribed by my vet,which gave him an additional year. This is a controversial drug and you can read more here; https://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2006/october/rimadyl-controversy-6509 I also switched him to a Science diet recommended by a friend of mine At Univ. of Pa Veterinary Center for that last year to protect his kidneys. As many dog owners know your dog will let you know when it is time so don't feel guilty when that time comes.
Thanks for the info.
I’m going to go to the vet for some advice tomorrow.

Her legs are getting weak now.
I’ve had to put rugs all the way through the house, as she can’t stand up on the slippery tiles.
She’s still able to walk on the mats and the pavement/sidewalk outside and she is happy to walk for an hour, as long as we’re not going up hills.

I don’t really want to give her drugs, but have been looking into CBD oil. Can’t seem to find a proper place for dosage and being in UK, there’s little to go on here. Maybe the vet will be able to advise, but doubt it due nothing available in this country.

ps. what do you mean, “your dog will let you know when it’s time”?
I’ve never been in this situation before. Really really don’t want to put her down when she’s not in pain. Even if she can’t walk, surely she can still have some time?


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Thanks for the info.
I’m going to go to the vet for some advice tomorrow.

Her legs are getting weak now.
I’ve had to put rugs all the way through the house, as she can’t stand up on the slippery tiles.
She’s still able to walk on the mats and the pavement/sidewalk outside and she is happy to walk for an hour, as long as we’re not going up hills.

I don’t really want to give her drugs, but have been looking into CBD oil. Can’t seem to find a proper place for dosage and being in UK, there’s little to go on here. Maybe the vet will be able to advise, but doubt it due nothing available in this country.

ps. what do you mean, “your dog will let you know when it’s time”?
I’ve never been in this situation before. Really really don’t want to put her down when she’s not in pain. Even if she can’t walk, surely she can still have some time?


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Thanks for the info.
I’m going to go to the vet for some advice tomorrow.

Her legs are getting weak now.
I’ve had to put rugs all the way through the house, as she can’t stand up on the slippery tiles.
She’s still able to walk on the mats and the pavement/sidewalk outside and she is happy to walk for an hour, as long as we’re not going up hills.

I don’t really want to give her drugs, but have been looking into CBD oil. Can’t seem to find a proper place for dosage and being in UK, there’s little to go on here. Maybe the vet will be able to advise, but doubt it due nothing available in this country.

ps. what do you mean, “your dog will let you know when it’s time”?
I’ve never been in this situation before. Really really don’t want to put her down when she’s not in pain. Even if she can’t walk, surely she can still have some time?


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ps. what do you mean, “your dog will let you know when it’s time”?
Those of us that have had the sad experience of putting our dog down have learned this from our dogs. In my case with King I had done everything I could do to make him comfortable including using medication for a year to relieve the pain in his back end and switching to a diet suggested by a friend at a University Vegetarian Hospital. It was 3AM one morning when King woke us up crying and after looking into his eyes we both knew. Dogs don't complain the way we humans do and I have seen dogs on chemo wagging their tail and acting like it was just another day. However there comes a day when you know your dog is in intense pain and he/she looks at you and you know that the quality of life is just not there and your dogs quality of life is more important that the owners desire to keep them going no matter the circumstances. You will know when that time comes because we as owners have spent so much time with our dogs that we get to know them as much as they get to know us. It does not make the decision any easier and our grief is still substantial but it is the right thing to do and one should not feel guilty about that decision made with love and compassion.
Your Malamute may not be ready yet because you seem to still be exploring options and hopefully you may find something that can extend her life but at age 13 and in her current condition you need to be thinking about the end of life decisions. I wish you and your dog well.
 

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ps. what do you mean, “your dog will let you know when it’s time”?
Those of us that have had the sad experience of putting our dog down have learned this from our dogs. In my case with King I had done everything I could do to make him comfortable including using medication for a year to relieve the pain in his back end and switching to a diet suggested by a friend at a University Vegetarian Hospital. It was 3AM one morning when King woke us up crying and after looking into his eyes we both knew. Dogs don't complain the way we humans do and I have seen dogs on chemo wagging their tail and acting like it was just another day. However there comes a day when you know your dog is in intense pain and he/she looks at you and you know that the quality of life is just not there and your dogs quality of life is more important that the owners desire to keep them going no matter the circumstances. You will know when that time comes because we as owners have spent so much time with our dogs that we get to know them as much as they get to know us. It does not make the decision any easier and our grief is still substantial but it is the right thing to do and one should not feel guilty about that decision made with love and compassion.
Your Malamute may not be ready yet because you seem to still be exploring options and hopefully you may find something that can extend her life but at age 13 and in her current condition you need to be thinking about the end of life decisions. I wish you and your dog well.
Thank you for the explanation.
Sorry to hear about King.
I’ve kind of known the time is coming, but haven’t really thought about it properly.

So when I know it’s time...
Do I just take her to the vet? Or does the vet come out?
I can’t imagine it being good, if she’s in all that pain, to have to pick her up and carry her to the car etc.


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Thanks for the info.
I’m going to go to the vet for some advice tomorrow.

Her legs are getting weak now.
I’ve had to put rugs all the way through the house, as she can’t stand up on the slippery tiles.
She’s still able to walk on the mats and the pavement/sidewalk outside and she is happy to walk for an hour, as long as we’re not going up hills.

I don’t really want to give her drugs, but have been looking into CBD oil. Can’t seem to find a proper place for dosage and being in UK, there’s little to go on here. Maybe the vet will be able to advise, but doubt it due nothing available in this country.

ps. what do you mean, “your dog will let you know when it’s time”?
I’ve never been in this situation before. Really really don’t want to put her down when she’s not in pain. Even if she can’t walk, surely she can still have some time?


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Try looking at a product called ToeGrips. They're little rubber bands which go around a dog's toe nails and help them grip the floor. Measuring for them is hard and I think I got a size too big because they were slipping up the nail -- but for the few days we had them on the difference it made in my 15 year old's ability to not slip on the linoleum was amazing. I'm in the process of buying one size smaller. You have to check them every day to make sure they stay on and don't ride up into the nail bed, which can be painful.

My 15 year old has been on drugs for a long time because he has a bad knee and bad arthritis. There are a lot of pain meds which work well for dogs, but the vet will want to test liver chemistry 2 or 3 times a year and possibly switch drugs depending on the results.
 

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Make a point of calling or driving to the Vet to ask about their process for the end. Some Vets will come out, and some require a last visit. Yours may recommend a Vet that visits, if you ask.

A common process is to examine the dog briefly, to give a shot of an anesthetic to knock the dog out relieving the pain, to leave you alone with the dog to say goodbye, to give a final shot that for the end, and to leave you to say last goodbyes.

Some Vets will leave you alone, and then you take the dog for disposal. Some Vets will charge an additional fee to dispose of the dog by cremation or burial, or whatever the local laws allow. All of these are things to ask the Vet, now.

Try not to do this alone for the final visit, b/c the grief can hit you suddenly and in waves, so driving may be difficult.


Currently, you might ask the Vet, if the falling is from painful arthritis, or less painful nerve degeneration. Symptoms and results can be similar, but treatments are different. I don't know you exact situation, but some signs to look for are falling more frequently this week than last week, inability to get up from a fall on her own, inability to get up after resting, inability to climb up or down steps, incontinence. The Vet can tell you other indications.
 
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