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How Far Do You Walk Your Older Dogs?


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Hi, as the title suggest. My 12yr staffy x has been walking on average 5kms a day. But in the last week has been struggling with 4km. Although based in Brisbane we have had some cool days. Do I simply need to face facts, that she is getting older

It just seems weird that it happened acutely. Otherwise fine.

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That seems to be a long walk for an older dog, although Staffies can be very active. Older dogs don't so much need the exercise, rather they need and enjoy the stimulation. She probably would be happy going half as far in the same time. Dogs aim to please and she is probably trying very hard to keep up with you.

I've heard people say when their dog is obviously struggling .... oh, but she/he loves to walk, races to door, etc etc. Dogs who are old and/or sick still do the excitement excitement bit because it is habit. But once they get started, it is too much for them. I went through a short period with one of mine recently whereby he would turn himself inside out, hurtle to the side gate, get 50 metres up the footpath and want to come home. To be sure of what he wanted, I would let him off the lead and he would go faster than he'd ever walked and race down the driveway. I would let him in the gate and then continue with the others. It lasted a couple of weeks and then he was back to normal. I am down to three elderlies and we have two walks a day around the block a distance which walked at a normal pace would probably take 10 minutes or less. Depending on the amount of sniffing or standing staring into space, it can take 30-40 minutes LOL.

Edited by Dame Danny's Darling
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It's only this week she has slowed down. I say struggling, but rather I mean she has stopped once or twice on her walk. I certainly don't force her, and have slowed to her pace if she asks.

But I think perhaps cutting her walk down to two kms and dropping her home before continuing, may be best then.

Oh god I would feel terrible if she kept going the distance just to please me!!!!!!!

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5 km is a big distance for an old dog and in summer ,yes your dog is old .

Your dog most likely has shown signs before now and now it's really making it known it's struggling a bit .

And no, she definitely has NOT shown signs previously. We walk very late or very early to avoid the heat.

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I'd be off to the vet for a seniors check up & blood panel. The two times (recently) my boy suddenly showed signs he was off - once with increased liver enzyme count & more recently we gave him a course of arthritis shots. He perked up pretty much immediately in both cases. He still insists on walks twice a day but sometimes if he's had a big week or I think he's tired I change up his walks so they're less physically taxing - like a wander in the local gardens so he can sniff - not power walk.

To answer your question We walk as far as he wants or can at a pace he's comfortable with. We don't tick off a pre-determined route twice a day anymore. Thats for sure.

I'm a bit of a helicopter parent with my oldies, now, as my last dog "slowed down" and I simply accepted it as aging but she was really unwell & I didn't realize. Once the vet cottoned on to it at her annual check up we medicated her & she perked up considerably (went from slow & lethargic back to being able to get on the bed unassisted!) But it was too late by then and that really was the beginning of the end for her.

Of course - it could just be the heat but for the cost of the consult & a blood panel I'd be finding out & if all is well then you have a base line.

Edited by Scottsmum
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I'd head off to the vet as it was a quick change of behaviour. Full blood panel, urinalysis etc.

I'd also probably worm her as it is summer and even a small worm burden can suck the energy out of an oldie.

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Yep as it happened acutely, I'd be off to the vet. And depending on what you find there, I'd also consider a visit to a chiro vet. My chiro vet helps my 15.5 year old westie enormously and she's off for her next chiro check on Tuesday.

As for distances, my old girl goes around the block on a good day - so a km or so. And then sleeps the rest of the day away! She hasn't been able to manage anymore than that for at least the last 18 months or so.

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As this behaviour has only just presented itself and as other have said, a vet visit is imperative. On the other hand, most dogs have very high pain and sickness threshold. They are usually quite advanced in ill health before they show it.

I had a little dog who was always out the front of pack, leading the way, setting a great pace. One evening she was just walking back and sniffing with the rest of them. I asked her why she'd changed her habits, but didn't get any response. During the following morning's (a Friday) walk she was the same in as much as she wasn't leading and telling me to to hurry up, but she was also lethargic. Took her immediately to the vet who sent me speeding down to SASH thinking she was in heart failure. Sadly, my darling little Myrtie (long time DOLers might remember my Madam Lash thread about her) did not pull through and she was sent to god on the Monday.

Please don't start imagining the worst for your precious girl, but I do believe that the distance you are covering is probably too much for a dog of her age.

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5 km is a big distance for an old dog and in summer ,yes your dog is old .

Your dog most likely has shown signs before now and now it's really making it known it's struggling a bit .

And no, she definitely has NOT shown signs previously. We walk very late or very early to avoid the heat.

Oh and it could be the accumulation of hot days - as you know hust because you avoid walking in the heat if the day doesn't mean that the heat doesn't have an impact.

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A friend of ours bought one of these for her elderly dog when she couldn't walk the 3km distance we were doing on a daily basis.

The dog in the stroller is my 4year old Tibetan Spaniel, not the elderly Scottie the stroller was purchased for.

post-32592-0-08579500-1483841901_thumb.jpg

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valbitz that is a great stroller. Long-term DOLers will remember I did the same for my Mac and I too found it a great solution - Mac in the stroller and the others on the lead so we could all still go to the park.

And when Mac got too tired from pottering and sniffing around at the park I'd put him back in his stroller for a snooze until we were ready to go home!. (The bottle of red is mine not his! :laugh: )

post-11746-0-09424900-1483842653_thumb.jpeg

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valbitz that is a great stroller. Long-term DOLers will remember I did the same for my Mac and I too found it a great solution - Mac in the stroller and the others on the lead so we could all still go to the park.

And when Mac got too tired from pottering and sniffing around at the park I'd put him back in his stroller for a snooze until we were ready to go home!. (The bottle of red is mine not his! :laugh: )

post-11746-0-09424900-1483842653_thumb.jpeg

OMG!! I don’t think we’ve seen the bottle before, WM. Shocked that you are trying to cover up for Mac’s tipple habits. rofl1.gifrofl1.gif

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valbitz that is a great stroller. Long-term DOLers will remember I did the same for my Mac and I too found it a great solution - Mac in the stroller and the others on the lead so we could all still go to the park.

And when Mac got too tired from pottering and sniffing around at the park I'd put him back in his stroller for a snooze until we were ready to go home!. (The bottle of red is mine not his! :laugh: )

post-11746-0-09424900-1483842653_thumb.jpeg

The dog doing a poop in the corner... busted ! :laugh:

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valbitz that is a great stroller. Long-term DOLers will remember I did the same for my Mac and I too found it a great solution - Mac in the stroller and the others on the lead so we could all still go to the park.

And when Mac got too tired from pottering and sniffing around at the park I'd put him back in his stroller for a snooze until we were ready to go home!. (The bottle of red is mine not his! :laugh: )

post-11746-0-09424900-1483842653_thumb.jpeg

The dog doing a poop in the corner... busted ! :laugh:

Well spotted Marg! Its Sarah - my public poo-er! :laugh:

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Have a look at her trotting and see if she's uneven or something isnt quite right and get a vet check. Hopefully its only arthritis which can be managed

Ours started going lame after a walk at a young age and was on cartrophan courses twice a year forever. Then when she went lame on individual legs rest did nothing but Rapigel helped. We also had her using joint powder from around 10 or 11 years and that helped. My theory was if its arthritis rest isnt going to make it better and wont help the soft tissue if it gets weaker too so treated the symptoms and went out even if it was shorter until she was obviously feeling OK.

She was probably walking the 3km at a power walk pace at 13 but when she had the dog stroke we had to go back to the start of around the block til she recovered. She did start to struggle over the 3km and I cut back to about 2km and walked the younger one on his own as she started just dropping back halfway around (and this did happen fairly quickly one day she wouldnt keep up and then she was OK and then another time she jst slowed right down too - after that I just took them together if it was a short distance to the shops etc). She did have a bad issue with a hind leg about 700m from home once and that wasnt good as we just had to take a few steps and rest til we got back. It did improve with everything above (Rapigel put on before and then again after then hosed off after another hour).

We kept doing the 2km walks which I sometimes cut down to about 1500m or less depending on how she was going (she would get more stiff and sore when she was due for more cartrophan or if it was cold and we wouldnt go far if it was a little warm) but despite major issues in her last 6 months she would still go up to 1200m (off lead at her pace sometime a jog sometimes bouncing her old dog flat out running). She was 17 and did the full 1200m on her last day. But I did try to make sure her walks were around the area near home so we could cut back if needed.

Edited by rubiton
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Nana Gem is my 15.5 year old BC. When I got her about 16 months ago she was able to do about a 1.5km walk each day. I have stopped walking her now. We have outings where she can potter about and she visits people/dogs at their houses but I can't walk her any distance anymore. And to be honest she is happy as Larry. I think once they are older if they are struggling with their walks so long as they still get exercise and mental stimulation it's not a big issue to stop walking them. Go with what they can do and what they enjoy. Nana enjoys pottering so the most we will walk is to the end of my street (about 4 houses!!).

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Nana Gem is my 15.5 year old BC. When I got her about 16 months ago she was able to do about a 1.5km walk each day. I have stopped walking her now. We have outings where she can potter about and she visits people/dogs at their houses but I can't walk her any distance anymore. And to be honest she is happy as Larry. I think once they are older if they are struggling with their walks so long as they still get exercise and mental stimulation it's not a big issue to stop walking them. Go with what they can do and what they enjoy. Nana enjoys pottering so the most we will walk is to the end of my street (about 4 houses!!).

Absolutely my experience with the oldies.

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