Updated: Jul 30, 2021
Over the past year my beloved 9 year old Cocker X rescue, Cebar, started slowing down A LOT. He hadn’t been sleeping on our bed for a couple of years due to injuring his back jumping off and was unhappily resigned to his own dog bed at the side of me. I noticed little things like when he wanted to get up on the couch he would just stand there and make a series of rocking movements forward and back, before being able to finally jump up. When we were out for a walk, his automatic sit at the curb stopped and he had to have the command and seemed tentative about sitting. He also had difficulty with the few stairs we had down the front of our house so we started taking him out the back way where it was flat for him.
When we were preparing for our little French Bulldog, Whisky to arrive, I was shopping online for things he would need, like crates, playpens and so forth, and somehow accidentally stumbled on things to help mobility in older dogs. To my absolute shock (and shame that I had never even thought to look before) I discovered there were ramps and stairs and all sorts of helpful things for senior dogs with mobility issues. So I set forth to research which would be best for him, given his weight, the height of our bed and the issues he was already having going up and down stairs.
After much deliberation, I settled on the PetSafe CozyUp PetSafe CozyUp for Older Dogs with Mobility Problems. I couldn’t get one in stock in Australia and ended up ordering one from Amazon in Australia, but they shipped from the US - which cost me as much in postage as it did for the item (Item $180.76 and $145.46 postage). But as neither my hubby or I are that kind of handy to DIY we just had to suck it up for Cebar’s sake.
It’s wooden with a cherry finish and has carpet mats on it. There is a landing area at the the top so he can move to the bed at almost a level height, however, in practice he crosses over before he gets there. It has a 25-inch height so it is suitable for taller beds or furniture and it can handle dogs up to 54.5kg. At first all seemed well and I can’t tell you how happy Cebar was to finally be back on “his” bed again, and he willing shared with us! But recently I have noticed he was not getting enough traction and going into a bit of a slide when he got about half way down and this was concerning him and us. So Vince (hubby) went to Bunnings, bought some dimpled non-slip thick rubber matting and nailed it to the incline - problem solved!
Next cab off the rank was to get him to the Vet for a check up and see if he did have Arthritis and was in pain, as I suspected. Sure enough he was diagnosed with Arthritis in his back and both his hips. She gave us a pat on the back for noticing the subtle changes as she said things like not sitting at the curb were often overlooked and she felt that he would benefit from a series of Cartrophin injections but first he would need a Senior Dog Blood Test, to make sure his kidneys and liver were functioning well enough for him to tolerate the drug. His bloods came back fine, so we started his injections over 4 week with boosters due every 3 months. Although tis helped a bit be feel we need to go back for a review as he may need the daily medication also. We obviously no longer insist on his “sitting” at the curb or before feeding etc. If he sits of his own volition so be it, but we don’t to make him sit any more.
We also ordered him a walking harness, the Huskimo Ultimate Harness (Bells Beach) Med for $54.90. He still walks well on lead but given we are using one for little Whisky (being a Frenchie) and Cebar always tries to put his head through, so this is more a psychologic purchase for him although it does have a handle on the back to assist in getting him in and out of the car (as currently my husband just has to lift him in and it not good for his back). There are lots of mobility harness on the market specifically for lifting dogs and we decided on getting one. The Kurgo Up & About Dog Lifter Support Harness US$44.99 purchase 2nd hand from Ebay as in Australia they retail around the $160 mark. This polyester harness is padded for comfort and has a chest strap that gives additional control and security for your senior dog. It’s been made especially to double as a lifter for heavier dogs (22 –40 kg) with mobility issues. We have not yet used it as Vince feels it’s not needed just yet.
As can be expected for a dog his age joint pain caused by arthritis, ageing muscle loss in his legs and his back issues (probably due to a bulging disc) and the start of those cloudy cataracts reducing his vision all contribute to mobility concerns. We have to be careful with slippery floors, getting in and out of vehicles and going up and down stairs. Whilst we have been doing “work arounds” for this getting some aids to help him have given him a great boost.
With the exception of our bedrooms, we have wooden floor boards and tiles in laundry and bathrooms. Consequently we are looking into putting down some rugs with non-slip backing so he can feel safe and secure. There are non-slip dog socks I have seen Frisco Colourblock Dog Socks that claim to assist with getting up and staying upright on slippery floors, they come in different sizes and secure with velcro fasteners, with non-slip dots on both side so they work whichever way you put them on. I am not so sure he would wear them - he’s never been a “dress up” dog and at almost 10 years old I suspect he’s not likely to change anytime soon, but at least I know they exist!
I’d love to hear about your Senior pet and any ways you have been able to help their mobility.