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Thread: What Can I Do for My Old Dog

  1. #1

    Default What Can I Do for My Old Dog

    Hi everyone,

    I am in a bit of a complicated situation at the moment and would really appreciate any advice you could give me.

    I have never owned a dog before, so I dont know much about them. Me and my husband are entering the family business and we have moved into my father-in-laws old house, with which we also 'inherited' a dog named CJ. CJ is half Labrador, half Staffie and about 13-14 years old. He was looked after well in the first 5-6 years, but has been fairly neglected since my in-laws split up about 8-9 years ago. He is still really friendly though and has been taking to me over the last couple of weeks.
    He has, I think, been diagnosed with arthritis, anyway he limps badly on his hindlegs and he cant sit, he prefers to just lie down. A lot of the time it looks like he is struggling to stand up, and when he lies down he sometimes just seems to collapse.
    He is also going blind and he is sometimes a little confused at night when its dark. I am assuming its got to do that he cant see much at all.
    He is also very dirty, has not been washed in years. He hates water and I am scared that if I try to wash him he will maybe freak and suffer a heart attack. (is that likely at all?)

    Now my husband and my sister-in-law have been trying to tell my father-in-law that CJ probably needs to be put down but my father-in-law refuses to do so.

    So I have this lovely dog that I dont own and I want to do whatever lies in my power to look after him really well.
    What can I do for him? Should I try and wash him? Does he need any medicine? I think he's been taken to the vet a few months ago, and apparently he was not in any pain then.

    Any advice is much appreciated,
    thank you

  2. #2


    I would firstly use warm water & a dog shampoo & wash him him. If your not sure of washing him yourself some vets will do it for you but I would not take him to a groomer at his age in his condition as it could be too stressful.
    Once you have him clean get a vet appiontment & talk all this through with the vet. He most likely needs some anti inflamatory drugs & a pain killer. Let the vet direct you on whether he is at a stage where being pts is the kindest thing.
    Let us know how you get on, ok..........
    Good luck.
    Dogs make everyday life enjoyable...........

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010


    Good on you Simone for not cowtowing to pressure and sending this old guy off to rainbow bridge (PTS). We are all entitled to some dignity in our dotage, and I think you are marvellous for what you want to achieve.

    My advice / 2cents worth:
    First, try giving him a sponge bath from a bucket of warm water when he is calm and lolling about in the backyard. This will introduce him to the concept of 'water' without it coming from a hose, and eventually you may be able to raise his comfort level to being in a bath for a 'full monty'.

    Then, get onto a great vet, and take him in for a full assessment and some xrays if necessary. From what you have described, it sounds more like dysplasia than arthritis... but your vet will be able to confirm what is going on. Get his teeth checked (gum disease can actually kill doglets if the infection gets into their blood or bones)... doglets that have not had the best of care can be suffering dreadfully and you won't know it (other than tell-tale 'dog breath'). Get some bloods done too to check for heartworm - if he has not been looked after particularly well for a while, the likelyhood is that he won't have been receiving anti-HW meds either. Probably needs a good worming as well! But let your vet dose him after his assessment - too much all at once could overload his system and send him backwards.

    Don't make any sudden changes to his diet, and don't walk him until your vet tells you it's OK - arthritis, walk = good , dyspasia, walk = BAD.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I'd be tempted to go to the vet first...

    Maybe get some "doggy valium" to make bathing him easier. Though I do find bath phobic dogs are ok with buckets of warm water being spooned over them and johnson's baby shampoo - cos it doesn't hurt their eyes.

    Stuff like "sasha's blend" can help with the joint problems, and there is some stuff the vet can do also.

    His blindness might be cateracts, but in a 13 yo dog, might not be worth treating it. Blind dogs can usually manage quite well as long as their sense of smell is working. Again, I'd ask the vet - what would the vet do if it was the vet's dog (apart from fix the problem five years ago).

    You will also need to find out if he's been vaccinated (eg C5 or C3) and wormed (and what kind of wormer - but need to cover heart worm and digestive worms and there can be different tablets or injections for that), and if he's had flea treatment. He may not need flea treatment but I do my dog as a standard thing - I just couldn't cope with a flea outbreak in my house.

  5. #5


    hey guys,

    thanks so much for your advice. I bought some shampoo and hope tomorrow will be a nice warm day then I will try and wash him.
    I'll find out which vet has been looking after him so far and will see when I can book him in.
    For just now I'm gonna go give him some love

    Thanks again,

  6. #6


    And that LOVE is the most important ingredant of all in cases like these.
    God bless you & the old boy, so glad he has found some peace for his twilight times.
    Dogs make everyday life enjoyable...........

  7. #7


    My German Shephard hated having a bath, except when I put warm water in the bath tub and she would lay in there and didn't want to get out. She also loved the part where I massaged the shampoo into her. I would suggest trying different things with this dog.

    You could try different things with arthritis too. My brother's dog was almost crippled and we thought he was going to be put to sleep. He gave the dog a certain "senior" biscuits and he was a completely different dog again, playing like he was a kid.

    Good on you for helping CJ

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Southern NSW


    Lucky dog, we also found Sasha's blend a great help with our older rescue's.

    Be interesting how he feels after a wash. It is amazing what a bit of loving can do.

    The only thing I would stress is that you do not start heartworm tablets with out getting the dog checked by a vet. The tablets/preventative treatment can kill if they have it when they have heart worm.

    13-14 is a grand old age for a dog. Do you know wether he likes a swim? because some dogs hate a wash, but will go for a swim

    Good luck and thank you for caring :-)
    Pets are forever

  9. #9


    Just want to chime in here with a little bit of info. I had a blind pug that came via a rescue organisation. She was 7 when I got her and lived another 3 years. When she came into rescue, she had multiple issues and even when she was handed over to us, she still had several medications, etc... We had to use special eye drops for the rest of her life because she was unable to produce tears naturally. She became this way due to massive neglect as a back yard breeders dog!

    She was a phenomenal dog. She learnt the layout of our house and tore around like a puppy. Most people were unaware that she was even blind! She knew when people arrived home by the sound of the car and would do her funny yodel and would spin and carry on like a crazy dog. She went for walks, ate like a typical little pug (which was everything) and was the best dog I ever had! We just adored her. If the rescue had not decided to give her a chance (and most people wouldn't as she spent months in hospital), she would have been put down at 7 years old.


  10. #10


    Hi guys,

    thank you so much for your advice.
    I washed him the other day and with a couple treats he seemed quite happpy! i just sponged him with warm water and then shampood him carefull. he looks about 5 years younger now to be honest i think he's really appreciated it..
    i also got him some stuff for his joints (on the vet's advice) and i think he's slowly getting a little better.. he's started to follow me around everywhere but he's been trained not to come into the house, so whenever i go in he just waits outside and looks in, then he lies down straigh in front of the door and waits for me to come out again. he's so sweet! i spend as much time with him as i can and it's just so good to see him being a little happier.

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