Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Living to 15

Within a week, a neighbor and a co-worker both had to let their dogs go due to old age, coincidentally both at the age of 15. Now that Mr. B has early-stage kidney disease, we are trying everything to ensure that not only him, but also Ms. M have long and healthy lives. Mr. B has been on a special canned kidney diet, but in a short month, he gained considerable amount of weight. To give him a better diet and minimize his weight gain, we decided to switch him to a limited ingredient diet, lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Sometimes we wonder if all of this is too much, because we have had family dogs that just ate table scraps and they lived a long and healthy life. However, Ms. M and Mr. B are truly our pooches and our best friends and we could not even imagine how empty our house would feel without one or the other.

In addition, my co-worker believes the key to her pooch's healthy, long life was largely dependent on exercise, especially low impact, long walks. Though we take the pooches on long walks during the summer, these become harder to come by when the weather gets colder. Our friend had both his pitbulls live past 16 and we would always see him walking the pooches everywhere. We recognize that we should appreciate every moment we have with the pooches, but every other aspect of our lives take up so much time, that sometimes we feel like we are not taking them out enough to exercise.
We always wondered if there was a key to helping your pooches live a long and happy life?

32 comments:

jet said...

sorry to hear about Mr B - hopefully his kidneys hold out for a long time yet! I don't have any hints for you unfortunately, as my first dog died young and my current ones are both still young

Two Crazy Coaches said...

Aw, I didn't know about Mr B. Sounds like you guys are doing the right things to help him out though! I wish I had advice for you! My parents dog, that we got when I was 14 is 16 years old and she hardly gets walks and lives off of Science Diet (yuck!!) and carrots. Give them hugs every day!!

Kerri said...

I think luck has a lot to do with longevity. You can feed the best food and take long walks every day, but if your dog has a condition, like my last dog, then there's only so much you can do. I think it's best to make sure you do as much as possible to ensure they are happy and healthy, and then just appreciate every day.

loveandaleash said...

I didn't know about B's issues either. I think you're doing the right things. Twice a year vet checkups, the highest quality food you can afford, and plenty of exercise, as you suggest. I hope that having caught B's problem early on, you will be able to manage it and he will live to 16+. A good friend's pit bull had cancer at age 7, had her leg amputated, and is still thriving and happy at 14!

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

This is such a great post. With all of Havi's issues, our parents always say that they fed their pups CostCo kibble and the pups lived long lives. We wonder whats too much, but we would do anything. The long walk theory is great, and we def do that in the summer. Were big slackers in the winter as well.

Kristine said...

It's so hard to say. There are so many factors involved that don't necessarily have anything to do with you or what you do. My childhood dog, a Siberian husky, lived to be 17 years old. She was fed only dog food and primarily only kibble. We gave her no treats except the very occasional milkbone, and the only human food she every ate was some turkey meat at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But she also lived primarily outdoors in the backyard and received short walks once a day. Sure and we took her hiking and camping and did all those fun things with her, but she spent most of her time alone in the yard. If that was what prolonged her life, I think most dogs would be happier eating table scraps and living a few years less!

It sounds to me like you are doing the best you can and B has a great chance of living a very long time.

Of Pit Bulls and Patience said...

Like everyone else, I wish I knew. Our sheltie lived to be 18, despite minimal vet care, no supplements to help her aching joints, and canned whatevers-on-sale food. She never went on walks, was very anxious about leaving the yard, and generally did her own thing. But if I could go back, I'd change everything we did with her even if it shortened her life.

I think the key is that we focus on enjoying the time we have rather than limiting their happiness to prolong our time together. That isn't to say throw everything you're trying out the window- do everything you can, but make sure you're having fun doing it. The low impact exercise sounds great- do you live in an apartment that you could walk during bad weather? I have a friend who walks her dogs through each floor doing obedience exercises in the winter to keep them busy...

HoundDogMom said...

Boy, when you get the magic pill or secret ingredient we would like to have it. I have not had a fur-kid live past 12 and when I get one to be 13 we are having a heck of a party, then we lost Cleo at 7 that was devasting to me. We are sorry to hear about Mr. B and we hope he stays healthy for a long time.

I do often wonder what we do to our pets that they might not live as long. Because I know people that have them outdoors, feed them table scraps and anything else and the live to be 20 years old. I think that a lot of it may have to do with the amount of vaccines we give our fur-kids these days.

We feel your pooches get lots of walks and attention. Heck they get more than The HoundDogs and I think that is because we have a huge fenced in yard and it is way to easy to just let them out the back door. Sniffs, The HoundDogs

kasia077 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kasia077 said...

It's not always convenient but homemade food can add years to their lives. Lean meat (turkey, chicken), veggies, oatmeal or rice are not expensive and good for them. Max also enjoys a steak on the anniversary of his adoption. :)

Sarah said...

While we do the best we can in terms of taking care of our dogs, death is the one thing we can't control. Growing up I had a dog who lived to be 15 and like many others who commented, she got minimal vet care, unhealthy food and spent a good amount of her time in the yard. She lasted several years more than we thought she would - which I attribute to the new dog we had gotten at the time. When he passed, she was not far behind. Maybe canine companionship plays a part? Who knows - I say treasure every moment, stay on top of their health, feed well, exercise and whenever their time is up, be thankful for the time that you had without regretting what might have been.

Two French Bulldogs said...

We totally agree. Back in the day table scraps and rarely going to the vet and food from the grocery store doggy aisle was sufficient. Do they put to many things in dog food
today? We think so. Natural Balance limited ingredient is worth checking out
Benny & Lily

Trissi_V said...

I'm so sorry about Mr. B. You guys are doing everything that you can in order to keep your dogs healthy.

Both of my parents dogs had chronic issues and have gone to the vet at least once to twice a month, for blood work, med modification, etc etc. Tyler (chow/collie mix) was about 10 (I think) when he passed away. Bo (sheppard mix)has a reoccurring tumor in his leg, arthritis, hip issues and a skin condition...he's 13 and still going. With both pups, they were genetically going to have issues...it just can't be helped sometimes.

Somehow, I picked out 2 dogs for them that would need MASSIVE amounts of vet care. Every time I see my parents my father tells me I owe them lots of money.

road-dog-tales said...

We didn't know about Mr. B. Hope diet and exercise will do the trick - we know he gets plenty of lovin'! Our Mom's childhood dog lived to be 21 - on a diet of puppy chow and table scraps (spaghetti, smashed potatoes, meat, whatever) and spent most of her life in a "nice" fenced backyard with shelter in the winter (it was in GA). So, who know what the secret is?

The Road Dogs & Mom

waldobungie said...

I didn't know Mr. B has early stage kidney disease! Yuck! Poor guy! Well if anyone can help him to live a long and happy life, even with this new development, it's you guys!

Kari in Vegas said...

We are preparing ourselves for the inevitable with Tori. It is ALMOST easier because we knew going in we wouldn't have long with her but it will still break our hearts

Kari
dogisgodinreverse.com

Maisie's Mom said...

I didn't know about Mr. B either, so sorry to hear it! have you considered a consultation with a holistic vet? Integrative Pet Care was an invaluable resource for my senior dog Kaya. they had great suggestions about supplements, etc. also, as far as exercise goes does Mr. B like to run? if so, I highly recommend Chicago Dog Runners. he will return home exhausted after an hour run!

http://maisieme.blogspot.com/

Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

There are so many different beliefs on what is right or wrong that is its almost impossible to know what to do. Sorry to hear about Mr. B's diagnosis, but hopefully since you caught it in the early stages, you will be able to slow the progression. The only advice I have is to do what you feel comfortable with. Give hugs to Mr. B for us :)

brooke said...

Sorry to hear about Mr B. Have you tried a holistic vet? They may have a good diet for him that's not a canned processed type. Darwin's been getting half her food as homemade (ground beef or turkey with veggies) for the last almost 2 years since we started seeing the holistic vet. I can't say if it'll help her live longer, but it's helped her lose weight and her coat is nice and shiny.

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

Did I miss a post about Mr. B's kidneys? I'm so sorry to hear that :(

I've come to think that a "long" life is really relative. Obviously a good diet, exercise, and regular vet care will extend a dog's life, but like the previous commenter said, you really can't control when the end comes. I'm like you though and will do a lot to try to keep my dogs healthy. With Nemo's recent diagnosis I sometimes wonder if we're really helping anything, but I have to know that I tried everything I could and I have to believe that it will help in the end somehow. And even though I can't control how long he'll be with me, I can make sure that his life is as happy and fun and as amazing as possible, and I think that's what it's all about :)

Stacey said...

the picture with the bunny ears is adorable! great post too, unfortunatly i don't know any hints just learning

mayziegal said...

Oh, no! I didn't know abouts Mr. B. He sure is lucky to have pawrents like you to watch out for him. I'm pretty sure they're both gonna live to be oh-pinyon-ated senior doggies. Okay, I know Miss M already is. But she'll prolly get even MORE oh-pinyon-ated. I bet you can't wait!

Wiggles & Wags,
mayzie

PeeS. My Cuzin Bridger is a BIG dog and he's about 12 years old. My auntie has always taken him for nice long walkies, fed him good foodables, and kept his teethies clean with raw meaty bones. He's got a little bit of arthur-itis but that's about it. He still gets around real good.

Corbin said...

Mom had a Brittany Spaniel growing up that lived to be 15... also fed grocery store kibble and taken to the vet here and there when needed. Also had a Cocker Spaniel that lived to 15 (my Aunt Maggie), she was fed decent food at the begining and better food towards the middle of her life when good foods started becoming more popular. She received vet care every year... Who knows what the secret is... and I know as much as my mom wants me around forever, I'm just going to enjoy the years I do have, and wheven my time does come, at least I'll know I lived the years I had!
-Corbin
ps. Give Mr. B a hug for me about his kidneys... Ya know, in the cool brotherly way.

In Black and White said...

Billy's my first ever dog (we didn't have a family dog either) so I'm just feeling my way as I go along...
You guys do a great job exercising the pooches. On a wet cold day like this I can barely bring myself to take them out at all. Sigh.

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

That's a good question and one we have been searching for an answer to as well. I'm 13 going on 14 in March but not sure if anything we have done or not done has contributed. At 6 yrs I was eating Scinece Diet and then Mom come across homemade treats, dog cookbooks, and Whole Dog Journal after my sissy was diagnosed with allergies. We found holistic foods without any artificial ingredients or preservatives and those are the foods I have eaten since along with human foods like meats, veggies and fruit (only those that are safe to feed dogs)

We go to the vet regularly and being a senior dog I get at least 2 yearly exams that include blood work.

Mom has read several books that all reference how long our grandparents and great grandparents dogs lived before the invention of processed dry kibble. They were fed leftovers from the human meal which was meat, veggies, fruit and maybe homemade bread or grains. At that time there wasn't any processed foods or junk foods. Humans don't eat the same prepackaged food every day their entire life and Mom has been really wanting to cook for us for several years now but it's not really happened regularly...yet. My paws are still crossed ;) I can't complain too much because she feels really guilty about it and I don't want to make her feel bad.

I guess the things we have tried to do is: increase exercise both physical and mental, improve food choices, see the vet for any issues, geriatric exam w/blood work, brush teeth, clean ears, trim nails, snuggles and cuddles and lots of love.

Mr. Pip said...

I think you are doing everything right and I am sure they will both live a very long time. Unfortunately, I think dogs (and cats) are similar to people in that genetics play a role in how they age. We have definitely seen this with our cats - two cats who both lived health lives (while with us), but one died at 12 and the other at 20.

Although we like to joke around on the blog, we keep Pip on a very healthy diet mostly veggies,whole grains, and protein and I think it does make a difference. He has had arthritis since he was about 5, but fortunately it hasn't gotten worse.

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

Mr. B I didn't know. I'm glad everything is ok and under control. Lots of hugs coming your way {HUG}.

I forgot to mention in my previous comment that every morning Mom thanks God for the new day, me, Bella, Pea, and Dad. She also prays for us whenever we are in need.

Those are the things we do.

It's interesting you mentioned not having enough time available to do things because we have been wondering if we were just big time wasters or what and asking you guys how you get so much accomplished with the dogs. We are always amazed at all the things you all do together.

How do you work it all into your schedule?

Mom tries but then none of us get dinner until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. I think maybe we need to start our day a little earlier.

houndstooth said...

I'm sorry to hear about the kidney disease, but I've heard of people who have managed it well for their dogs for a long time. We have a sixteen-year-old dog here, and I can't say that we've done anything special for her. She just has incredible genes. I know that we won't see seventeen with her, her body is just giving out, but she's had one heck of a life. My guess is that the real secret is knowing your individual dog and knowing what he can or can't tolerate.

Pibble said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Mr. B. I know that he has the best, most loving and caring parents and if any boy will go way past 15, it will be Mr. B, with Ms. M by his side!

Roo said...

Sending healthy vibes to Mr. B! Mom always says the best medicine for health and happiness is lots of love. Something tells me Mr. B gets a lot of that medicine :)

Waggin at ya,
Roo

Anne-Kathrine said...

15 is a wonderful age. None of mine have made it that far. My latest made it to 14 and she was blind/deaf, and had kidney issues the last 4 yrs of her life (full kidney failure the last yr) And did very well. Pooches can live long healthy lives even with kidney issues as long as you know he has it :) and yes exercise is very important!! Good luck with Mr B!!

kissa-bull said...

i pray to god we are lucky enough to have our pibbles live to 15. we cant imagen mr b having better parents and just know he'll be okay

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