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Thread: At what age to small dogs usually start to get "old age" problems

  1. #1

    Default At what age to small dogs usually start to get "old age" problems

    This week when I was taking Brutus for a walk I noticed that he has been slowing down and stopping a lot, even when I walk him in the early hours of the morning. Each time, I picked him up and his body was quivering like he was really nervous (or was possibly suffering an arrythmia). He is typically an excitable dog that pulls ahead on walks and will try to chase cars (runs at them on a lead at times) especially if they make odd manoeuvres like U turns or veering onto the wrong site of the road. Even with a lot of training, I have only been able to calm him down so much on walks. He also has some separation anxiety which has improved a lot with anxiety wraps, calming music, training etc.

    When I adopted him five years ago, he was supposedly 3-4 years of age which would make him no older than 9 years old. The previous owner's granddaughter told us he had a heart murmur but he was not on medication for it and the vet I take him to said that he couldn't hear the murmur. At any rate he seemed highly energetic and did not show obvious cardiac symptoms. His stomach appears a bit distended compared to the other three dogs I own who are a similar age. All dogs eat high quality dried and raw food and are treated monthly for fleas, worms and heart worms.

    My previous dog developed mitral disease at the age of 14. She didn't get the best diet due to me being so poor but I made sure I bought all the medicines required for her and took her to the vet when she needed it. I am worried that Brutus might have heart failure too. Is 9 too young for heart failure in a small dog (he is a terrier who weighs about 6kg)? The only thing I can think of is that he may have some other problem affecting his energy levels (possibly to do with his lungs) or some type of pain condition.

    I do think it may be his heart for these reasons:
    - supposed 'murmur'
    - distended stomach (shouldn't be due to diet as the others don't have it)
    - sudden tiring and disinterest in chasing/ barking on walks

    If he continues to show tiring on walks over the next few days I will take him to the vet (so far he has only done it a couple of times). It's just so sad that they get old. Does anybody have any other ideas of what may be wrong with him?
    Last edited by Megan Tones; 10-24-2013 at 10:09 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013


    Dogs are seniors aged 8+ although most usually don't show signs of their old age until 10+
    My Jack Russell is 13 years old and it looks like she's only got a short time left - She has bad arthritis, deaf, developing cataracts(blind) and a lump under her neck(the vet said its nothing major). We're afraid that next time we take her to the vet, they're gonna say she's suffering and will need to be put to sleep.. we'd put her out of her suffering when we need to but we're holding onto time as much as we can.
    Most people say they lose their little dogs when they're 16+ years old but I guess that isn't the case for some who go much earlier.

  3. #3


    Thanks - I am so sorry to hear about your little girl. I hope you get more time together.

    At that age I guess you can afford to spoil them a bit more because they aren't well enough to play up... but it's bitter sweet isn't it?

    And it's true unfortunately, little dogs don't always live 15-16 years plus.

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