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My 11 yr old Golden is afraid of a lot of things. This afternoon, he suddenly began panting, and wanted outside. I let him out and he took off running down the driveway, which he NEVER does. I got him inside and he seemed very afraid. I gave him some holistic calming drops and they seemed to help. He is very attached to my husband, and usually goes with him in his truck. However, a few days ago, Rusty tried to jump into the back seat of the truck and was unable to do so. He is too big to lift. I know he thinks he should go with his dad everywhere and when my husband leaves, he seems very sad. Does anyone have any suggestions on why he suddenly became afraid? Do you think it could because my husband had to leave and left Rusty here? What can we do to help him? I told my husband to use my car to take him and he does when he can, but I work during the day and my husband doesn't have the car.
 

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Just guessing here, but could he possibly be in pain, perhaps arthritis? A sudden onset of joint pain can be terrifying. If indeed he is in pain, there are many medications that will alleviate it, your Vet can help come up with a treatment plan.
 

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Due to his age, this sudden change in behavior and that failed attempt to jump into the truck, I think this might be a physical problem. He should definitely see a vet for a check up. His "fear" might be a reaction to pain.
 

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I'd suggest a trip to the vet too. In addition to physical problems, sometimes older pets can develop mental/emotional issues, just like older people--and they can be successfully treated just like physical problems can.
 

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I've had a lot of elderly animals in my life and many of them developed fears as they got older. I personally think that a lot of it has to do with a loss of their hearing and their eye sight. I think too, as other's mentioned that sudden pain from arthritic joints can get a dog scared, because they never know when the pain will hit...or why it hurts.

There there is also the possibility of a small stroke that can change behavior.
I've had a couple of dogs that had strokes that had me wondering if I should put them to sleep because they could barely walk. But within a week, they got over the worst of it and ended up with things like a slight tremor in one leg, or the tendency to turn in a circle a few times before figuring out which way they wanted to go. So a stroke, while it might change some things in how a dog acts, sometimes isn't totally debilitating.

A trip to the vet to check out any of these possibilities or other issues is definitely in order.

I have a golden retriever too, and although he's only 4 years old, I've noticed his muzzle is already starting to turn a lighter color - and know that he'll have grey around it at some point. It makes me sad that the bigger dogs age so fast. I hope the vet can help you with your guy and he'll be back to his regular self soon and for many years to come.

Stormy
 
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